9 Best Value Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration 2018

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By BVS Staff
December 2017

Despite the increasing need for these programs, online PhD healthcare administration programs are still relatively rare. Our editors were only able to locate 12 of these programs to form an initial pool for this ranking. To rate these programs, we gathered graduate tuition information from College Navigator as well as general program information from each school’s website. With this data collected, we applied the rating and ranking methodology listed below. You’ll notice that several of the schools in our ranking were awarded the same number of points. In these cases, we used the tuition numbers to break the tie, listing the more affordable school higher in the ranking.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition Points:

  • Under $20,000—3 points
  • Under $15,000—4 points
  • Under $10,000—5 points
  • Under $5,000—6 points

Customization Options

  • Content Customizations (e.g., Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.): 1 Point Per Customization Option
  • Format Customizations (e.g., Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.): 1 Point Per Customization Option

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

#1 –Grand Canyon University

Online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

Grand Canyon University Best Online Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
Website
Points: 6
The doctorate degree in healthcare administration online offering from Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies is a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Health Care Administration. The 60-credit hour program explores topics such as Health Care Regulation, Sustainability of Health Care Organizations, Professional Development and Leadership in Health Care, and Structures and Governance in Health Care. In addition to the online program, evening classes are also available. A formal dissertation must also be completed to meet the requirements for this online doctorate healthcare administration program.
Graduate Tuition: $9,783

#2 –Aspen University

Online Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning: Health Care Administration and Leadership


Website
Points: 5
Aspen University’s online doctorate healthcare administration offering is a Doctor of Education (EdD) program in Leadership and Learning with a specialization in Health Care Administration and Leadership. The program is centered around three distinct domains: collaborative and ethical leadership, transformational leadership, and reflective scholarship. The curriculum is comprised of 20 courses, including titles such as The Nature of Health Care Organizations and Systems, Innovation and Technology in Health Care, Financial Management in Health Care Environments, and Nursing Accreditation and Advocacy in the Profession. A comprehensive, proctored examination and a dissertation are required prior to graduation from this online PhD in healthcare administration program.
Graduate Tuition: $6,975

#3 –Walden University

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

Walden University Best Online Clinical Psychology Graduate Program
Website
Points: 5
Walden University offers a multidisciplinary online PhD in healthcare administration degree program designed to prepare healthcare leaders to enact social change in today’s dynamic healthcare environment. The program offers two tracks: one for students who hold a master’s degree in healthcare administration and one for students who have their master’s degree in a related field. Standout course titles include The United States Health Care Delivery System, Health Leadership and Systems Thinking, Trends and Issues in Executive Level Management for Healthcare Administrators, and Building a Multidisciplinary Approach to Health. A capstone and doctoral writing assessment are required for graduation from this online doctorate in healthcare administration.
Graduate Tuition: $12,844

#4 –Arizona State University

Online Doctor of Behavioral Health: Management


Website
Points: 4
Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions offers an innovative online PhD in healthcare administration that focuses on behavioral interventions rather than traditional types of treatment. The 84-credit hour program consists of 14 total classes, including courses such as Healthcare Systems: Organization, Delivery and Economics; Models of Integrated Primary Care, Behavioral Healthcare Management, and Healthcare Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues. Eighteen hours of electives and/or research, an internship, and a culminating experience make up the additional requirements for this unique doctorate degree in healthcare administration online option.
Graduate Tuition: $10,810

#5 –Central Michigan University

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)


Website
Points: 4
Central Michigan University offers a more traditional online doctorate of healthcare administration option through the school’s Global Campus. The program is comprised of six 2 ½ day seminars as well as eight modules of integrated online classes. Course titles include Leadership Strategies for Healthcare Policy and Organizations, Organizational Theory and Behavior for Health Professions, Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability for Health Entities, and Comparative Health Systems. A comprehensive exam and formal dissertation are required for completion of this doctorate degree in healthcare administration online, and international travel experiences are optional, but encouraged.
Graduate Tuition: $12,232

#6 –Capella University

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

Capella University Online Masters in Gerontology
Website
Points: 5
Capella University’s online PhD in healthcare administration offering is a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) with a General Health Administration specialization. The program is offered through the university’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences and centers around the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) Competency Model. Required courses include Innovative Business Practices in Healthcare, Evaluation and Interpretation of Data in Health Care, Global Health Policy, and Evidence-Based Leadership in Health Care. Capella’s online doctorate healthcare administration students will complete 100 hours of practicum as well as a capstone before being awarded their doctoral degree.
Graduate Tuition: $14,526

#7 –Medical University of South Carolina

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

Medical University of South Carolina
Website
Points: 4
The online doctorate healthcare administration offering from the Medical University of South Carolina is a three-year DHA Executive program. Specialty course titles include Foundations in Health Policy, Population Health Management, Management of Health Care Information, and Advanced Techniques in Applied Research. Some on-campus sessions are required during the first two years of the program. In addition, a comprehensive examination and a doctoral project are required. This project requires a minimum of 18 hours and involves the online doctorate healthcare administration student analyzing a healthcare management or policy issue.
Graduate Tuition: $18,125

#8 –University of Phoenix

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

University of Phoenix Online Masters of Gerontology
Website
Points: 3
The University of Phoenix offers an affordable doctorate degree in healthcare administration online program through its School of Advanced Studies. Students will be exposed to a variety of traditional and contemporary issues in healthcare administrations through core courses such as Policy and Regulation in Health Care, Risk Management in Complex Health Organizations, Globalization of Health Care, and Developing the Doctoral Identity. Students must complete a culminating doctoral dissertation and a residency requirement must also be fulfilled prior to graduation from this online phd healthcare administration program.
Graduate Tuition: $14,880

#9 –Franklin University

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)


Website
Points: 3
Franklin University offers a robust doctorate degree in healthcare administration online program. The university is regionally accredited, and no GMAT or GRE is required for admission. The 58-semester hour offering includes major-specific course titles such as Organizations, Community & Global Health; Healthcare Policy, Regulations & Reform; Advanced Health Information Governance, and Advanced Clinical Workflow & Applications. A comprehensive exam and a dissertation are required prior to graduation from this online PhD in healthcare administration program.
Graduate Tuition: $15,528

Career Information for Graduates of Doctorate Degree in Healthcare Administration Online Programs

Graduates of online doctorate healthcare administration programs like the ones featured in this ranking go on to serve as healthcare administrators in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Specific duties of healthcare administrators may vary depending on the employer and the work setting, but general duties may include:

  • overseeing hospital staff
  • communicating with department heads
  • leading and attending meetings with stakeholders
  • developing and improving hospital procedures
  • hiring employees
  • scheduling procedures
  • creating patient care plans

It is important to note that there is a distinction between healthcare administrators and healthcare managers. Whereas healthcare administrators handle the daily operations of a hospital or other major healthcare facility, healthcare managers deal with more overarching issues of hospital management such as financial matters and major hospital policies.

Health Care Administrators: Salary Information

The duties of a healthcare administrator are vital to the smooth operation of healthcare facilities. If these healthcare professionals don’t do their jobs properly, then patients won’t receive the quality of care they need and expect. For this reason, healthcare organizations only hire the most competent and qualified applicants to take on the roles of healthcare administrators, and they compensate them handsomely. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2016, healthcare administrators (along with healthcare managers) made a mean annual wage of $96,540. That’s over $46 per hour worked. Moreover, this figure represents the wages of all healthcare administrators, including those with just a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Graduates of online PhD in healthcare administration degree programs are among the highest paid healthcare executives.

Career Outlook for Online Doctorate Healthcare Administration Graduates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job prospects are good for qualified healthcare administrators, and they should remain so for the foreseeable future. By the year 2024, employment opportunities in this field should grow by 17%–much faster than average in comparison to management positions in other fields. This projected growth is thought to be a result of the baby boomer population aging and required more medical services. Healthcare administrators with special knowledge of healthcare information technology will have the best prospects, so doctorate healthcare administration students can better their chances of securing a coveted position by taking elective courses in this healthcare sub-field.

Work Environment/Conditions for Doctorate Degree in Healthcare Administration Online Graduates

Many online PhD in healthcare administration graduates who take positions as healthcare administrators end up working a full 40-hour work week plus overtime. They may also have to work some weekends and holidays and be on call during odd hours. In addition, most healthcare administrators will feel the emotional burden of having to make important decisions that affect the health and well-being of others.

Online Doctorate Healthcare Administration Program Requirements

Students can choose to pursue several different types of online PhD in healthcare administration in order to become qualified and employable as a healthcare administrator. The following online degree programs are featured in this ranking, for instance:

  • online doctorate in health administration (DHA) programs
  • online doctor of education in healthcare leadership (EdD) programs
  • online business administration in healthcare administration (DBA) programs

These programs may vary to some degree concerning program requirements, but typically, there are more similarities than differences.

Online PhD in Healthcare Administration: Program Prerequisites

As is the case for most postsecondary programs, the doctorate in healthcare administration online programs have some prerequisites prospective students must meet before they can enroll in the program. For example, most of these doctoral programs require that applicants already hold a master’s degree in healthcare administration or a related field. There are exceptions, of course. Those students without a master’s degree may be given the opportunity to demonstrate their competencies in lieu of a degree, for example, but this isn’t usually the case. Doctorate programs in healthcare administration typically also require that students have professional work experience in the healthcare field, preferably in managerial roles. Some of these programs also administer qualifying examinations that applicants must pass before being accepted into the online PhD in healthcare administration program.

Online Doctorate Healthcare Administration Program Curriculum: Business/Leadership Courses

The curriculum for online PhD healthcare administration programs may vary slightly regarding their content and course topics, but generally speaking, students will take a combination of business/leadership classes and specialization courses in healthcare. Some examples of business courses that online doctorate healthcare administration students may be required to take include the following.

  • Strategic Planning and Change
  • Leading Across Cultures
  • Ethics in Business
  • Progressions in Leadership Thought

Students may also explore topics in business and management such as economics, finance, human resources, operations, and more.

Doctorate Degree in Healthcare Administration Online Curriculum: Specialization Courses in Healthcare Administration
While business and leadership courses provide online PhD healthcare management students a solid foundation in administration, it is the specialty courses in healthcare that form the meat and potatoes of the doctoral curriculum, if you will. These courses teach students how to apply leadership principles to the healthcare setting. Some sample specialization courses comprising the healthcare portion of the curriculum for these online doctorate healthcare administration programs include the following.

  • Building a Culture of Community in Health Care
  • Health Care Regulation
  • Performance Management and Process Improvement in Health Care
  • Global Health Policy
  • Advanced Concepts and Applications in Health Policy and Management

Online Doctorate Healthcare Administration Dissertation

Most doctoral programs require students to complete a dissertation, and online PhD in healthcare administration programs are no exception. These complex research projects require students to analyze an issue in healthcare administration in great depth, write a lengthy paper on their findings, and in some cases, deliver an oral report defending their ideas. Doctoral degree in healthcare administration online dissertations take months or even years to successfully complete.

Frequently Asked Questions for Students Interested in Online Doctorate Healthcare Administration Programs

You’ll likely have many questions when considering whether or not an online PhD healthcare administration program is right for you. Here are a few questions that are commonly asked:

How long will it take to complete my doctorate in healthcare administration online program?

It can take as few as three years or as many as seven years to complete an online doctorate healthcare administration program. This depends on the program itself as well as whether or not you’ll be able to take classes on a part-time or full-time basis. Other factors may influence the time it takes for you to earn your degree as well.

How much does an online PhD healthcare administration degree program cost?

As is the case for any degree program, the doctorate in healthcare administration online programs can vary in terms of how much they cost. In this ranking, for instance, the programs listed range from under $6,000 a year to over $16,000 a year. No matter what online doctorate healthcare administration program you choose, though, there is financial aid available to help pay for the cost of your education.

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