Find your perfect graduate degree
In this article, we will be covering...
The healthcare industry is often complex and massive, hence it requires the help of highly skilled healthcare workers to manage, plan, and direct the operations of a healthcare organization. Online Health Management doctorate programs prepare students for healthcare leadership roles in the health industry, allowing them to explore management principles through the lens of healthcare administration.
Beyond basic concepts, this terminal degree puts emphasis on research, organizational strategies, and communication.
Many Healthcare Management programs delve into the impact of healthcare law, policy, and reform along with numerous economic factors that influence the healthcare industry. A doctorate in healthcare management often requires the completion of original research, but it is mostly geared towards an applied or theoretical approach integral to their pursuit of leadership roles in healthcare administration.
It is common to see Health Management offered as a specialization in a doctorate in healthcare administration programs. Students who choose this learning track pursue health leadership roles in the academic, managerial, and research fields.
- Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Public Health
- Best Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Online Graduate Schools
- Best Online Doctor of Public Policy/Administration Degrees
Health professionals pursuing an online Doctor of Health Management program can expect to acquire highly specialized skills integral to driving change and solving complex challenges in healthcare organizations. Many graduates of this doctoral degree go on to work in various settings, including hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and group medical practices.
Check out our list of the country's top graduate schools and their best online Health Management doctoral degrees! As fully online programs in Health Management are rare, our list includes a high-quality traditional or on-campus program to give you more options.
Each graduate school or Doctor of Health Management program was chosen with the following characteristics in mind:
- The four online programs deliver their courses primarily online, which presents the least disruption to prospective students' ongoing careers and other commitments,
- Feature curriculum designs that address the two crucial areas in health management: the business management/decision-making side, and the research/data-driven side of the discipline,
- Taught and developed by expert faculty who have extensive experience as part of the healthcare industry,
- Feature competitive tuition rates, as well as a healthy range of financial aid options,
- Hold the relevant accreditation credentials from accrediting agencies, demonstrating full compliance with high-quality standards for online doctorate programs,
- Recognized by industry associations relevant to Healthcare Administration and Health Management.
Visit our Methodology page for further details.
5 Best Online Doctorate in Health Management Programs
Since its foundation in 1971, Liberty University has housed 15 colleges and schools with over 100,000 students.
Currently, there are more than 700 academic programs on offer, from the certificate to the doctoral level. Students from all over the world will be able to take advantage of over 600 programs that are made available online.
- The Doctorate in Health Administration program with a concentration in Healthcare Management offered at Liberty University is designed for healthcare professionals and other working professionals in the industry who want to attain top-level management positions in the healthcare field.
- Students will be able to gain advanced training in management, quality control, and human resource management, allowing them to develop skills in communication, research, and leadership in the process.
- The healthcare administration program also delves into the business processes and how to streamline them along with the best way to provide quality care to patients.
- Other topics covered in the Doctor of Health Administration online program curriculum include quantitative research methods, supply chain management, and consulting techniques.
Apart from a strong foundation in healthcare management through online courses, students in this DHA program are also given the opportunity to conduct practical research related to their specialization by completing an applied doctoral research project.
Did You Know?
Liberty University is committed to providing affordable higher education to aspiring students. In the last 8 years, tuition fees across its academic programs did not increase. The university has managed to keep costs low, true to its commitment as a nonprofit university. Moreover, almost 80% of students benefitted from financial aid towards their tuition, including student loans and grants.
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO
Established in 1965, Colorado Technical University has grown from a technical training school into a respected higher learning institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs designed for today’s technologically demanding industries.
Since 1995, the university has been offering online programs that cater to the needs of career-focused adults.
- Colorado Technical University offers the Doctor of Management program with a concentration in Healthcare Management and Leadership.
- This terminal degree allows students to leverage their experience and develop the expertise that will help them become fully prepared for management and leadership roles in the healthcare industry.
- Colorado Tech students explore topics such as healthcare economics, health policy and regulations, informatics, finance, and improvements in health systems.
- While the courses are predominantly online, students need to complete a residence component.
- To earn the program, students need to complete a total of 100 credit hours, encompassing concentration courses such as Health Policy and Regulations, Informatics in Healthcare, Continuous Improvement for Systems in Healthcare, Economics and Financing of Health Organizations, and Advanced Career Strategies for the Scholar-Practitioner.
In this program, students are required to complete their research proposal and final dissertation. It is important that the dissertation is approved by the student’s dissertation committee. They are also required to participate in the residential symposium.
Did You Know?
Colorado Technical University takes pride in providing industry-relevant education, featuring innovative technology and experienced faculty. Students have so many options when it comes to pursuing their degrees, whether they prefer to enroll part-time or full-time or complete their academic programs on campus or via online learning.
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
The University of California Los Angeles, one of the country’s leading research universities, is part of the University of California system. Established in 1881, this public, land-grant institution is the system’s second-oldest campus after UC Berkeley.
In 1919, it became the Southern Branch of the University of California before being named UCLA in 1927. It was finally elevated to the status of a university independent of the Berkeley campus in 1951.
Today, UCLA is one of the top public schools in the country and is a center of excellence in the health sciences. UCLA is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.
- The University of California Los Angeles delivers its onsite Doctor of Philosophy in Health Policy and Management through its Fielding School of Public Health. Being offered as a PhD, this program is orientated toward preparing students with in-depth expertise crucial in research careers.
- The program can typically be completed in 4-5 years, with graduates of the program typically pursuing teaching and research careers in the fields of healthcare management and health policy analysis. Classes in this on-campus program are typically offered on weekday schedules.
- The program requires the completion of a minimum of 17 courses, for a total of 70 credit hours.
- Students are required to specialize in a particular cognate that is complementary to health policy and management. Possible cognates include economics, epidemiology, organizational behavior, health care outcomes research, and public policy studies, or students may also design their own cognate together with a faculty member.
While this is a traditional on-campus program, it is offered by one of the country’s top public institutions in the health sciences. UCLA is highly selective in its admissions, but students who get accepted gain access to a wide array of resources, faculty expertise, and collaboration that go towards generating original research.
Did You Know?
The AIDS epidemic started to ravage the country in the 1980s. It was first diagnosed in 1981 in the UCLA Medical Center by Michael Stuart Gottlieb, an Assistant Professor at the time.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public research university located within the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. It was established by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1885 at Tempe and was called the Territorial Normal School, dedicated to teacher training. It underwent several name changes over the following decades, eventually becoming the Arizona State University in 1958.
At present, ASU is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”, and is also one of the country’s largest universities in terms of enrollment, with a total student population of over 110,000 across its campuses.
- Arizona State University offers an online Doctor of Behavioral Health degree with a concentration in Management. The program prepares students for career advancement in healthcare administration, with a special focus on the area of behavioral intervention.
- The health administration degree program is ideal for those with a Master’s degree in public health, business administration, healthcare administration, counseling, and social work, although ASU also considers those coming from other fields.
- The program contains a total of 84 credit hours, with both synchronous and asynchronous coursework. Students are required to complete a capstone research project, as well as a total of 240 internship hours.
- ASU also offers the alternative Doctor of Behavioral Health with a Clinical concentration. This program is ideal for those who are interested in more hands-on roles.
Compared to other programs in this list, this program takes management concepts and applies them to the more focused field of behavioral health. The program’s curriculum focuses on the areas of quality and performance measurement, integrated behavioral health programs, and business entrepreneurship.
Did You Know?
After decades of investment in research, Arizona State University is one of the newest members of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It joined 5 other universities to become part of the AAU in the middle of 2023.
California Intercontinental University
California Intercontinental University is a private, for-profit university based in the city of Irvine, California. It was first established in 1996 and was incorporated in California in 2003, along with approval to grant degrees as a university.
It offers distance learning programs only, ranging from undergraduate to doctorate levels, as well as associate degrees and certificates. The university currently has a population of less than 1,000.
- California Intercontinental University offers a Doctorate of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and Leadership, which is designed to develop capable leaders for the healthcare industry as well as academia.
- This DBA program is structured in a way that develops students’ skills in two areas: decision-making, and applied research.
- The program contains a total of 60 credit hours. This breaks down to 30 credits of business core courses, 15 credits of healthcare management and leadership specialization courses, a Comprehensive Competency Assessment, and the last 15 credits go toward the Dissertation.
- The focus on research methods and skills is augmented by the program’s focus on developing writing and communication and critical thinking skills while emphasizing ethical practice and an entrepreneurial mindset.
Since this is primarily a Doctorate in Business Administration, the program provides ample coverage of key business and management skills crucial in overseeing healthcare organizations.
Did You Know?
California Intercontinental University is an accredited institution that holds a number of relevant credentials, including those awarded by the DEAC-Distance Education Accrediting Commission and the CHEA-Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
In addition, CIU is also a Candidate for Accreditation by the ACBSP, which focuses on business education.
Career Paths for Graduates of Doctorate in Health Management Programs
When it comes to doctor of health management programs, the unique structure and design of particular programs partly affects the immediate career that graduates can enter into, i.e. academic (teaching & research roles), or administrative (health services managers). Here are some of these careers:
Health Care Administrators
Healthcare administrators, or healthcare managers oversee the various day-to-day tasks of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These can range from overseeing human and financial resources needs to ensuring compliance with various regulations, monitoring budgets, and other administrative tasks.
Pharmaceutical Product Managers
These professionals work primarily for pharmaceutical companies, overseeing one or more product lines. Their tasks are also varied, ranging from overseeing and coordinating product development, conducting market research, and most importantly, ensuring regulatory compliance.
Many graduates of health management doctorate programs go on to take up teaching roles in higher education institutions. Doctorate programs that are designed as PhDs in particular are orientated toward this role. Many educators also perform health research roles, which often feed into forming the basis for various healthcare reform measures, including population health and affordable healthcare.
Nonprofit Organization Directors
There are a large number of nonprofit organizations that provide various basic and specialized health services to various communities & sectors (that are often marginalized), and can either be working on the local, national, or international scales.
Top Professional Organizations for Doctorate in Healthcare Management Graduates
To prepare students for the challenges to come in the ever-changing world of the healthcare industry, it is important that they stay up to date with the latest developments. This can be done by joining some professional organizations in the field.
There are numerous organizations that cater to healthcare professionals’ need for leading information. Many of them also offer other perks like educational discounts with partner institutions. Some of these include:
Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
Dedicated to administrative excellence in healthcare, this non-profit association provides healthcare administrative professionals with tailored and relevant education and tools needed to enhance their skills. Every year, they can take advantage of at least six free webinars per year.
Some of the administrative topics covered include office technology, time and organization management, and other timely healthcare-related topics. There are also available tuition discounts with educational institutions to help professionals advance their education.
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
This organization offers expert insights and information from revenue cycle professionals. It is considered the premiere professional organization in healthcare administrative management. Members of this organization can find education, advocacy, and information in various areas of healthcare management, including reimbursement and registration, patient relations, data management, and medical records.
AAHAM is also responsible for representing the interests of healthcare administrative management professionals by conducting a comprehensive program of legislative and regulatory monitoring.
Healthcare Administrators Association
Established in 1980, this California-based non-profit organization served as a legislative and regulatory advisory group to third-party administrators. It is known as the country’s prominent nonprofit membership trade association, lending support to its members through education, networking, resources, and advocacy.
Each year, two conferences are held to gather all the members and tackle issues that are affecting the industry. This is aimed to educate the members while sharing ideas that will move the organizations and the whole industry forward.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Doctor of Healthcare Management worth it?
The success of healthcare systems and the healthcare industry as a whole relies largely on leaders, thought leaders, change agents, and entrepreneurs, who continually strive to improve the industry’s various aspects to get optimum returns and patient outcomes.
A relevant terminal degree, i.e. a doctorate, as well as completing an executive doctoral program, can serve as a good preparation for individuals wanting to take this demanding but rewarding career path.
Professional development is a must, too, to keep up with industry trends.
What does a Doctor in Health Management encompass?
Healthcare professionals who want to build their leadership skills in the health industry can turn to a doctorate degree in health management to boost their professional credentials and earning potential. Graduate students will be able to gain specialized knowledge and skills needed for strategic leadership in the human resources and organizational development arena.
Graduate students will learn how to enhance treatment options and direct policies and procedures for healthcare organizations. While they may not be directly involved with implementing health solutions and improved patient care, healthcare professionals who earned a doctor of health management program are trained to look at the bigger picture which allows them to offer services that are highly beneficial to patients and empowering to the staff. It is also part of their training to manage the budget that enables maximum efficiency and quality in a healthcare facility.
Some of the common courses in this terminal degree include Applied Research Projects in Healthcare, Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis, Healthcare Quality Management, Project and Resource Management in Integrated Systems, and Data-Driven Decision Making, among others.
How do these doctorate in Healthcare Administration degree programs differ in design?
Some doctorate in health management programs are structured as doctor of philosophy degrees. Like other PhD programs, these are orientated primarily toward scholarly work focused on one or more aspects of the industry, and toward roles within teaching and academia.
Other degree program types (doctor of business administration, doctor of management, etc.) can be roughly grouped together into professional doctorates, and are primarily orientated toward preparing students for taking on executive, management, and other leadership roles in the industry, i.e. they have a heavier focus on advanced professional practice rather than health science research.
All these programs, however, will contain comprehensive coverage of these key content areas regardless of their focus.
What are the common requirements for admission into doctoral programs in Healthcare Management?
A Master’s in Healthcare Administration, Public Health, or other related graduate degrees, including in a business-related field, is recommended for interested students. A medical university or college offering Healthcare Management online programs requires applicants to meet the minimum GPA. While it is not always required, experience in conducting research is viewed favorably when it comes to successful applications.
How long does it take to complete a Doctor of Healthcare Management program?
Most doctor of health management online programs take three years to complete. Some business schools, however, allow students up to eight years to earn their degree. With flexible online learning formats and multiple start dates, students have the freedom to customize their schedules, which can help them finish the degree as soon as they can. This can further be supported by a generous transfer credits policy.
Do Doctors of Health Management enjoy abundant work prospects?
The Labor Statistics Department says medical and health services managers have a median annual salary of $104,830. It is also projected that these professions guarantee actual job growth at 28%. If your career goals involve a passion for planning, directing, and coordinating various business activities of healthcare organizations and providers, then a doctorate in healthcare management program is an ideal choice.
- Doctor of Healthcare Management Degree programs are primarily focused on preparing students for the pursuit of leadership roles throughout various fields in the healthcare industry. This is typically achieved by addressing two key areas: management/strategic leadership-related skills, and research & communication skills.
- Doctor of Health Management degrees are rare than other related terminal degree programs, and they are also varied in their structure, with some offered as Ph.D. degrees, and others as specialized/professional doctorates such as a Doctor of Management or a Doctor of Business Administration.
- Doctor of Health Management programs are highly specialized terminal degrees regardless of their design/structure, hence students are typically required to at least have the relevant Master’s degrees in the field of health, human services, or management, on top of other requirements.