Healthcare administrators ensure everything is running smoothly by overseeing the business side of the healthcare system, allowing the medical teams to focus on patient care. Those who want to take on organizational leadership positions will want to enhance their credentials by acquiring the competencies to not only manage people but also oversee a healthcare facility and address its needs.
Sometimes, they might only need to oversee a department within a healthcare provider. However, they may also be tasked to manage an entire facility. It is important that they are informed enough to help a healthcare organization adapt to the evolving healthcare systems, including changes in healthcare regulation, technology, and healthcare laws.
As healthcare executives, they are expected to plan, direct, and coordinate services in a broad range of healthcare delivery settings.
- The Best Online Master of Healthcare Management
- The Best Online Doctor of Healthcare Administration Degree Programs
- The Best Online Doctor of Public Policy/Administration Degrees
Today, many colleges and universities offer a master’s in healthcare administration programs. Some of these graduate programs are available online. Most MHA online programs are designed with working professionals in mind. It offers flexibility and convenience to those juggling their budding career and pursuing advanced healthcare management education.
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While the minimum educational attainment requirement to enter the advanced roles is only a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in healthcare administration program prepares students to take on leadership and managerial roles in the field of healthcare delivery.
These factors make each of our top online MHA programs an excellent choice:
- Delivered mostly as a blended master’s degree program wherein adult students do web-based coursework and meet in-person academic requirements,
- Features rigorous academic coursework featuring healthcare leadership, strategic planning, healthcare law, healthcare finances, and other courses relevant to the discipline, equipping students for competent executive-level Healthcare Administration practice,
- Uses a top-rated Learning Management System through which the discussions are facilitated, and the coursework is accessed by students,
- Employs the terminal degree-holding MHA professors who possess the expertise and experience in the healthcare administration field,
- Earned accreditation from academic organizations that set the quality standards for master’s degree instruction, online MHA included,
- Esteemed by healthcare associations and industry groups,
- Received approving reviews and positive feedback from students, alumni, and the MHA graduate community
Please read our Methodology page for an in-depth look at our online MHA ranking process.
Top 20 Online MHA Programs for Healthcare Professionals
University of California Los Angeles
The Master of Health Administration degree program offered by UCLA features online asynchronous coursework, together with two on-campus immersions. The program can be completed in two years.
The program is based on the latest research and real-world experience and emphasizes value-based care strategies guided by data and compassion as part of the competencies that are equipped for its students. Likewise, students are trained in utilizing data-driven decision-making, as well as business skills that support core business functions such as management, analytics, finance, and marketing.
The asynchronous coursework is complemented by weekly one-hour live sessions, where students and peers are given opportunities to meet and, more importantly, build networks and partnerships. Students are also given the option to switch between a full-time and part-time schedule to allow them to keep working full-time in their careers.
Aside from a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, admission into the program requires at least three years of professional work experience in any industry.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Master’s in Healthcare Administration. The SNHU MHA degree program is ideal for those who desire leadership roles in healthcare organizations but are otherwise not interested in clinical positions. The program contains a total of 36 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 15 months.
The program serves to provide students with in-depth knowledge of the healthcare industry. As such, its curriculum covers a variety of topics, including Law, Policy, Informatics, Finance and Economics, and Strategic Planning. The curriculum is also regularly reviewed by an advisory board composed of healthcare professionals from a wide variety of occupations in the industry.
There are no set class times for the coursework, and students have 24-hour access to the SNHU online classroom. Students can also transfer in up to 12 credits upon enrollment.
Rutgers University’s Master of Science in Healthcare Management is a part-time program that lets students continue to build on their careers full-time while pursuing a graduate degree. The 36-credit hour program is offered fully online and is designed for health professionals currently working in the industry.
The program aims to deepen health professionals’ expertise by strengthening their competencies in the field of management, leadership, strategic planning, quality assurance, finance, ethics, legal compliance, and informatics. The program is designed with a choice of four specialization areas, namely: Management and Leadership, Biomedical Informatics, Gerontology, and Behavioral Health. The program is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Admission into the program requires a minimum of a bachelor of science degree and a GPA of at least 3.0. Likewise, prospective students must also be able to show proof of at least 2 to 3 years of full-time work experience in the healthcare industry.
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville offers an MS in Health Administration that is designed for those aspiring towards healthcare executive roles or healthcare leaders with over five years of experience who are seeking to broaden their set of core competencies.
The 57-credit hour program features 100% online coursework. It aims to explore the underlying principles and influences that drive healthcare organizations, examine data-driven strategic leadership and effective management methods, analyzes external policies and environmental realities that affect decision-making processes, and more.
The program follows 8-week long terms, and students get to complete 2-3 courses at a time. Given this timeframe, it is possible to earn the graduate degree in two years, although the program is also available for part-time enrollment.
University of Maryland
The University of Maryland’s MS of Health Administration degree program prepares students to manage complex health organizations, including hospitals, insurance companies, and healthcare systems.
The program is designed as a rigorous multi-disciplinary program. It is ideal for individuals who seek leadership roles in health facilities, those who are interested in working in logistical-side roles in healthcare providers, those who want to explore the legal and ethical foundations of healthcare, or those who already engage in financial and strategic planning tasks for healthcare organizations.
University of Maryland’s MHA degree program contains a total of 46 credit hours and can be completed within two years of full-time study or three years of part-time enrollment.
Oklahoma State University
The MS in Health Care Administration offered by Oklahoma State University is ideal for those who come from a variety of academic backgrounds other than healthcare. Its curriculum is specifically designed to prepare those with little to no background in the health professions with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in leadership/executive positions in healthcare.
The program is delivered 100% online, and courses are primarily asynchronous. Oklahoma State uses Canvas as its main online learning platform. The program contains a total of 32 credit hours, with a single specialty area, that of the Health Care Administration. Likewise, there are three graduate certificates within the program that can be earned independently: Health Care Administration, Health Care Administration: Finance, and Health Care Administration: Global Health.
Wichita State University
Wichita State University offers a Master of Health Administration degree program that prepares students with the skills needed in planning for, directing, managing, and coordinating medical and health services and to adapt quickly to constant changes in health care laws, regulations, and technologies and ensure they are providing optimum healthcare quality.
The program contains a total of 42 credit hours, with 36 of these being core courses, three for electives, and a final three for the graduate practicum. All courses are completed online. The program curriculum features competency-based training in the following areas:
- Healthcare Systems and Management
- Communication & Interpersonal Relationship Management
- Management and Leadership
- Professionalism and Ethics
- Critical Thinking, Analysis, and Problem-Solving
The program culminates in a capstone program that sees students complete clinical placements that are local to the student. Admission into the program requires an undergraduate degree in health management, business, a clinical profession, or a related field.
University of Wisconsin Extended Campus
The Master of Science in Healthcare Administration offered by the University of Wisconsin prepares students for leadership roles across a multitude of healthcare settings, from urban to rural. The program can be completed entirely online, with course content accessible from any device.
The program contains a total of 37 credit hours and contains courses on a variety of crucial core content such as healthcare financial management, strategic leadership, human resources, healthcare law and policy, quality and performance improvement, and data analytics. The University of Wisconsin online MS in Healthcare Administration degree program is Higher Learning Commission-accredited. Likewise, the program is a member of the AUPHA Association of University Programs in Health Administration.
The online Master’s in Health Administration offered by Maryville University is designed to deepen students’ expertise toward becoming decisive and well-rounded organizational leaders.
The program contains around 36 credit hours in total. Students can opt for the General degree or choose one of four concentration areas, namely: Healthcare Leadership, Health Informatics and Analytics, Population Health Management, and Senior Services. The program’s coursework is designed in a way that aligns with the 10 Key Knowledge Areas determined by the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Maryville University requires students to have an understanding of basic statistics in order to better guarantee success in the program. Students who do not have previously earned credits in statistics can otherwise avail of the abbreviated online statistics course also on offer, a self-paced shortened course that students can take alongside their first MHA courses.
Regis College offers a Master of Health Administration that equips students with expertise in health care, business, and policy, letting them develop their own management styles that they can take to various healthcare settings.
The program’s coursework is delivered 100% online, and it is possible to earn the degree in a minimum of two years. The curriculum covers a wide range of crucial topics like management, communications, health informatics, and health policy, and students can complete the required field experience capstone at a site that is local to them. Those with prior healthcare experience can also waive this requirement. GRE scores are also not required.
Admission into the program requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution; however, the program accepts students from all educational and professional backgrounds. The Regis College MHA degree program is also accredited by NECHE-New England Commission on Higher Education.
Known to launch the first public health school in the country, Tulane University demonstrates its commitment to providing quality education to health professionals with one of its program offerings, Master of Health Administration. This online program focuses on equity and access to healthcare, teaching students administrative and business strategies to transform healthcare systems, improve community health, and empower communities.
Tulane University’s Health Administration master’s program is designed to address the needs of working adults by giving them flexibility as they pursue their online master’s degree. While students are provided with strong foundational knowledge, the emphasis is more on equipping them with practical experience through hands-on learning.
This degree is most suitable for mid-career healthcare professionals who want to improve healthcare for everyone. They are expected to learn different principles integral to healthcare administration, including social justice, ethics, leadership, and data analytics.
This 54-credit program features a curriculum that encompasses understanding and mastery of healthcare organizations’ leadership, healthcare economics, financial management, applied analytics, population health, human resources management, and many more. On top of the rigorous online courses, students are also required to complete a residency that will allow them to gain practical experience, develop professionalism, and practice their management skills.
Senior-level professionals working in the healthcare industry may want to consider earning a Master of Health Administration program at Purdue University. This online degree program, which is offered online, helps interested students in planning, directing, and overseeing the daily operations of hospitals, medical centers, outpatient care centers, and health organizations.
They can expect to gain knowledge and understanding of the regulatory framework and management complexities of the field. Students will also get to develop their healthcare business skills and strategic-planning abilities that are imperative to the success of organizations in an ever-changing market.
This program helps students prepare for various healthcare roles, including health services managers, quality assurance project managers, and more. Students must be able to demonstrate their leadership skills by supporting individuals and teams through mentoring in an effort to improve human capital. They are also taught to identify the main issues and challenges that healthcare organizations face when it comes to financing and delivering health services to the community.
Those who have completed or pursued graduate certificate programs at Purdue University, including Healthcare Leadership, Healthcare Operations, and Healthcare Quality Improvement, may transfer credits to the Master of Health Organization.
Walden University offers the Master of Healthcare Administration program to students looking to acquire advanced business and healthcare management skills and become the leader they want to be. This online MHA program prepares them to pursue leadership roles in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing care facilities, and other related organizations.
The online learning format allows students to choose a flexible course schedule that works around their busy work life. The program is aligned with the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) model, which means industry knowledge and practical competencies are combined to make for outstanding healthcare leadership. To get admitted into the program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Students are required to complete a total of 53 quarter credits to earn the degree, including a foundations course and core courses. They can also choose among four specializations: Population Heath, Leadership and Organizational Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Systems and Policy Specialization.
Louisiana State University
The Master of Health Administration program offered by Louisiana State University is an ideal choice for those who want to plan a critical role in the healthcare system. In this program, students will be able to gain skills that will help them prepare for professional middle and upper-management positions within various healthcare institutions.
They will cover essential topics such as healthcare systems, healthcare law, healthcare management, organizational behavior, and ethics. The online courses are available on either a full-time or part-time basis, allowing one to complete the online MHA program within 12 months. The program has accreditation from the AACSB-International or Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The online courses in the healthcare administration curriculum include Healthcare Human Resource Management, Healthcare Marketing, Healthcare Informatics, Health Policy Analysis, and Healthcare Economics, among others. Also, Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Offered in partnership with Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, the Master of Science in Healthcare Administration offered by Northwestern University focuses on the business aspect of healthcare. Students will be taught to analyze effective healthcare models and examine the innovative and excellent delivery of healthcare, all the while balancing the costs.
The curriculum covers subject areas such as strategic planning, leadership, human resources, and financial management. This MHA program aims to help prepare students to lead ethical, cost-effective healthcare transformations. They must able be able to develop and execute strategic plans to move healthcare organizations forward and achieve value-driven goals.
To successfully earn the degree, students need to complete a total of 12 courses. This includes a capstone project, which serves as the culmination of the online MHA program.
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Health Administration degree program through the College of Allied Health Sciences. It is a good choice for those who want to gain knowledge, skills, and competencies integral to the effective healthcare delivery system. This will help them become the next generation of executive health care leaders with the combined hands-on learning experience and competency-based coursework.
To complete the online MHA program, one must complete 40 semester credits, including introductory courses, core courses, and a two-part capstone course. Some of the courses included in the curriculum are Health Systems Management, Global Health Systems, Health Care Finance, Healthcare Marketplace, Evidence-Based Decision Making for Managers, and more.
This 100% online program allows students to learn from experienced, world-class faculty and apply what they learned immediately. Students are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores. They have the options to choose between two program duration, Fast-track or Extended.
The online MS in Healthcare Administration at Liberty University helps students add value to their organization through informed strategic decisions. They are taught time-tested strategies such as management techniques, financial models, and business principles.
This master’s degree offers specialization options to students who want to customize their education to their career goals. The specializations include Strategic Management, Supply Chain Management and Logistics, Public Relations, Human Resources, Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Marketing, and Finance, among others.
Credit transfers from another accredited college or university of up to 50% are allowed. It is possible for students to finish the program in as little as two years.
Drexel University offers the online Master of Healthcare Administration to help students acquire an understanding of key disciplines in the healthcare industry, including business management skills and leadership acumen. The program features a collaborative online environment with a 5-day on-campus residency.
In this program, students will be able to master evidence-based healthcare management theories and practice applications. Students are expected to learn how to manage the business side of hospitals and other health services organizations. Designed for experienced healthcare professionals, the degree can be completed in 2 to 3 years, allowing students to pick the pace that is suitable for them.
Grounded in the National Center for Healthcare Leadership’s Competency Model, the program curriculum provides students with integral skills to take on leadership roles, acquiring expertise in strategic planning, public health policy, practice management, and project coordination in the process.
Ohio University features a Master of Health Administration program that provides strategic insights for those who wish to lead healthcare organizations into the future. Students will learn how to balance the altruistic mission of health care and the business obligations it requires in order to provide affordable care that does not compromise profitability.
The program has five specializations that students can choose to focus on. This includes Healthcare Leadership, Business Analytics, Project Management, Aging Students, and Quality Improvement. Students can expect to gain hands-on experience combined with a theoretical framework integral to effective leadership.
Some of the courses in the online MHA program curriculum include Information Systems for Health Services, Human Resources, Health Law, Ethical Issues in Healthcare, Health Care Finance, and many more.
Pennsylvania State University
Aimed to help students prepare for challenging leadership positions in health care, the online Master of Healthcare Administration offered by Pennsylvania State University builds upon one’s health-related work experience by equipping them with a strong business management education. This expands their qualifications and boosts their credentials, allowing them to attain leadership roles in the healthcare industry.
During the last semester of the program, students must complete a capstone project. This course means they will be working with health care organization partners to analyze the problem and recommend appropriate solutions. Courses in this degree program include Advanced Financial Management Principles in Health Services Organizations, Introduction to Health Services Organizations and Delivery, and Health Services Organizational Behavior, among others.
In collaboration with the Department of Health Policy and Administration, Penn State’s online MHA program allows flexibility for working professionals who need to fit their education around their busy schedules.
Comparing Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Management
One healthcare industry-related degree program that seems similar to Healthcare Administration in Healthcare Management. Prospective students shopping around for suitable degrees and schools may have noticed these degrees, and some confusion may arise as a result. Let’s briefly compare the two.
- Graduates of both degrees are typically found in the same settings within the healthcare system, e.g., hospitals and clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations.
- Graduates of both degrees are also qualified to occupy teaching roles.
- Graduates of both degrees are also found in upper management/c-suite levels. Both degrees train students in similar skillsets useful in management and administration, particularly organizational leadership skills, analytical skills, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, business management skills, as well as interpersonal and communication skills.
- Healthcare Management education is concerned with the overall policy direction of organizations, while Healthcare Administration is primarily concerned with the intricacies involved in day-to-day organizations, which range from financial management to human resources concerns such as training and everything else that management-level professionals can expect to encounter.
- The tasks of Healthcare Administrators can also be seen as being guided by and building up to the overall policy direction determined at the level of Healthcare Management. As a result, the immediate tasks and goals of the two are often different.
As a whole, there are fundamental differences between the two. However, being both leadership and management-oriented degrees, they involve similar skill sets and, in real-world terms, function as complementary parts of healthcare organizations.
Common Courses in Healthcare Administration Master’s Degree programs
Universities set their own learning outcomes for their healthcare administration programs, guiding the resulting curriculum design in the process, and the included specialization areas, if any. As a result, there can be slight differences between degree programs.
Despite the differences, these programs still teach similar skillsets and tools, and while courses tend to differ in name, they still follow an overall content theme. Let’s look at some courses commonly found in these degree programs.
- Fundamentals of Public Health – This course forms part of the core courses, setting out the various principles that public health-related operations are based on.
- Organizational Behavior – This course is related to gaining a deeper understanding of the principles of human behavior that underpin the various dynamics unique to organizations. This course is also found in other management-related degree programs.
- Health Policy and/or Health Law, Ethics – Effective leadership careers in the health industry involve gaining a clear understanding of the various state and federal laws that affect the industry, as well as the various policies and standards set forth by various agencies related to the health care industry. Ethics courses may be lumped together with law or treated separately.
- Healthcare Finance – This course deals with the various principles of financial management that underpin the operations of healthcare organizations, both in terms of internal finances and with regard to clients.
- Program Design and/or Strategic Planning – Healthcare Administration involves a significant amount of planning, whether in short-term programs that are aimed at individual departments and more long-term goals. This is a crucial skill set that is often treated as an individual course.
- Human Resource Management – Human resource/human capital is perhaps one of the most important pillars of healthcare organizations (and in other industries, for that matter). Its effective implementation often determines an organization’s success.
- Health Informatics – Similar to other modern industries, today’s healthcare organizations are increasingly reliant on data-driven decision-making. This course deals with the various tools related to healthcare-related data gathering and the various ways in which data is used to implement decision-making.
- Healthcare Operations – Part of the set of fundamental courses, this details the various tasks, goals, needs, and aspects related to the day-to-day operations of healthcare organizations that future healthcare administrators, also considered as health services managers, can expect to encounter.
Skills Needed by Healthcare Professionals in Leadership Positions
As a highly in-demand occupation, healthcare professionals in the healthcare administration field must employ a variety of skills to help them remain competitive. Possessing these skills will ensure they will do their job well and succeed in their chosen career path.
The popular skills that a health administrator is expected to possess are:
A thorough understanding of business principles is required in order to help one become an effective healthcare administrator. They are tasked to make sure that the healthcare organization achieves its goals and objectives to remain competitive in the growing healthcare sector. Having good business skills also means that they know how to do strategic planning and readily adapt to changes and developments.
A health services manager is often a good leader. To be one, they must be not only good at giving orders but also make sure that employees are persuaded to make the necessary changes properly. This skill will involve decision-making and strategic planning. It is also important that they are able to build their team and motivate everyone to work towards their organization’s goals.
An important skill in any industry, communication allows health administrators to explain policies, procedures, and regulations to staff. They are expected to be excellent communicators in any medium, whether it is done through email, phone, or face-to-face. It is important that health professionals must be able to articulate their expectations with clarity and accuracy. The success of the organization lies in its hands.
Emergency scenarios are often inevitable in healthcare settings. As healthcare managers and administrators, they must know how to deal with various circumstances, whether it is a clinical issue, medical services for an emergency, or organizational conflict. They must possess a good amount of problem-solving skills, allowing them to innovate, think positively, and respond to any situation quickly and efficiently.
Much of the health administration roles have to do with teamwork and collaboration. Healthcare administration professionals must know how to engage and cooperate with different health professionals out there. This includes nurses, emergency service workers, medical professionals, and even government regulators. They must also know how to deal with patients and their families.
A variety of technical skills are often employed in many healthcare settings, especially when it comes to healthcare administration. Some of these skills include software and typing, along with a handy knowledge of electronic records systems and general computer software. They must also have experience with the safe and proper use of advanced medical equipment. Other technical skills that could be of use to healthcare administrators include data analysis, budgeting, quality assurance and control, and even legal knowledge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Master’s in Healthcare Administration worth the educational investment?
The short answer is yes. An online MHA program can open a wealth of opportunities to health professionals along with higher compensation and greater leadership responsibilities. Most healthcare organizations require applicants to hold a master’s degree to be considered for leadership roles, which means a master of healthcare administration online program is a step in the right direction for those aiming for more challenging and rewarding career paths.
Students who successfully earned this graduate program have a range of options when it comes to their career paths. They can help manage a department in a hospital or even the whole hospital itself. They may also find other choices in administrative positions in other healthcare settings, including government agencies, veterans health administration, outpatient surgical centers, and other medical facilities.
How long does an online MS in Administration program usually take?
It can largely vary between universities. Generally, a master’s degree in healthcare administration can be completed in two years if one is enrolled full-time for every academic calendar. However, there are some graduate programs that allow accelerated formats, which lets graduates take on courses at their own pace. This means they can finish it quicker than average full-time students.
In most cases, online MHA programs provide flexible learning formats to help working professionals pursue their master’s degrees while building their careers. Some online MHA programs might have rigorous curriculum and credit requirements, which can affect the length it takes for students to finish their degree.
What are the common admission requirements for an MS in Healthcare Administration?
It can differ from university to university. Typically, one will be required to have a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or a related field, including health information management, business administration, and other health sciences. There are universities that require one to submit their GRE test scores, official transcripts, resume, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. It is best for interested students to check with the university of their choice.
How much does a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration program cost?
Universities have their own cost structures, and some might charge for things that others may not. Some universities also have different in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. Also, some states can be more expensive to live in compared to others, and this also reflects in the total cost of a degree.
In order to start to get a good cost estimate, the per-credit-hour cost is taken and multiplied by the number of credit hours required in a degree. The more affordable graduate programs in the list hover at around the $300-$400 mark per credit hour, with other programs being at least around $600-700, including programs that have out-of-state tuition rates.
As a rule, though, it is best to talk directly with universities to get the most exact tuition rates. Some universities offer custom payment plans that take students’ budgets into account. They may also offer their own set of scholarships and grants, as well as special discounts that students can use to offset their costs on top of federal financial aid.
Master in Health Administration degrees prepares students for a wide range of tasks needed to effectively manage and run various healthcare institutions, including tasks that involve financial management, marketing, and human resource management.
Healthcare Administration degree programs are different from Healthcare Management degree programs. However, they tend to occupy complementary roles in the same healthcare settings, with the latter concerned with general policy direction and large-scale health policy and the former with the myriad of tasks and goals that build up toward implementing these policy directions, including day-to-day administrative tasks.
Healthcare Administration degree programs tend to be welcoming of a variety of professional and educational backgrounds. However, many universities tend to prefer or require potential students to have a certain number of years of professional experience, aside from a willingness and/or desire to seek overall quality improvement of healthcare delivery services in their forthcoming leadership roles.