By TMHA Staff
Below you will find our selection of the top online healthcare MBAs for the 2016-2017 school year.
The MBA has been one of the most popular degrees in the country for many years. And thanks to online education – and the expanded access it provides – the number of business school applicants continues to climb. In fact, for individuals with a strong interest in business, earning an MBA may even feel like a requirement, rather than an option. From networking opportunities to specialized knowledge, there is no shortage of reasons to go to business school – especially if you’re angling for a promotion into a leadership role.
That being said, you might be wondering about the advantages of getting an online MBA specifically in healthcare administration. After all, plenty of online MHA programs exist – programs with curricula devoted entirely to health and health management topics. With an MBA, on the other hand, you will almost certainly spend 50-75% of your time in classes with a general focus on management or finance.
This may sound like a huge downside of earning an MBA online, but it has an important upside, too. So what are the benefits of choosing an MBA in Healthcare Administration over a traditional MHA?
- The general curriculum provides more versatility in the job market
- The prestige associated with an MBA can make you more attractive to employers
- A high-level understanding of business may improve your ability to work with executives from many industries
- Networking opportunities can help you form connections and broaden your perspective
Of course, not all online programs offer the same advantages. But how can you tell which colleges offer the best value? After all, there are hundreds of universities nationwide that offer MBA degrees, and a large number of them also offer a specialization in healthcare.
Online MBA in Healthcare Management Ranking Methodology
For the purposes of this ranking, we only considered schools with graduate-level tuition costs below $20,000 a year. This cutoff allowed us to focus our search only on the most affordable, value-centric programs across the country.
Next, we analyzed each program’s curriculum in depth, awarding “quality points” in three categories:
- Accreditation (by either the ACBSP or IACBE)
- Professional/Experiential Training
- Course Balance
The last two categories required us to closely scrutinize each program’s curriculum. For example, we analyzed the number, type, and variety of professional and/or experiential learning opportunities available to online students. Is an internship required? Do students complete practicums or complete original research? Are there opportunities to attend seminars or complete “capstone” projects that provide real-world context for their knowledge?
At the same time, we assessed the way each program organizes its curriculum. Many online MBA programs lean heavily on business topics for the required courses, leaving students with just three or four open electives to put together a concentration. However, we see more value in being well rounded, and so we favored the programs with a more equitable balance of classes in both business and healthcare.
Lastly, we considered each school’s average annual tuition rate for graduate students – even beyond the $20,000 cut-off we implemented at the start. The lower the cost, the more points the school earned, ensuring that each and every one of the colleges on this ranking is financially accessible. In fact, the most expensive university in the top 20 costs just over $16,000 a year.
It’s also worth noting that all of these online MBAs offer at least one professional experience, be it an internship, capstone course, or seminar on current trends in the industry. In addition, 13 of the top 20 have MBA-specific accreditation from the ACBSP or the IACBE.
The final ranking includes the 20 online MBA in healthcare administration degrees that outperformed all the rest. For each school listed below, we have included their [approximate] annual cost (as reported by CN) as well as their total score. We calculated these totals by adding up all the points each program earned in the four categories mentioned above and weighting them on 100-point scale.
20. Champlain College
Online MBA with a Healthcare Administration Certificate
A small liberal arts college, Champlain fosters a close-knit community of MBA students who benefit from classes that focus on developing the whole person, such as “Self as a Values-Driven Leader.” But the school also has an expanded presence on the web, which allows distance learners to tap into its top online MBA program with a healthcare concentration. Although to be clear, this degree doesn’t provide concentrations in the traditional sense. Rather, program members can choose from various certificate options, including an HCA option that imparts skills in a number of practical and technical subjects, like information systems and project management.
Graduate Tuition: $14,202/yr
19. University of Saint Mary
Online MBA-Master of Business Administration Healthcare Management Concentration
USM provides a few different options for students working toward its accredited MBA in healthcare administration online. The three-course concentration in Health Care Management can include classes like “Communication and Relationship Building” for those who want to brush up on their human resource skills, while “Business Skills for Health Care Managers” might appeal to students with less experience on the operations end. All told, the school’s nine core MBA courses cover a lot of ground – even for those without a background in business. Coursework in marketing, accounting, finance, operations, and more make Saint Mary’s one of the most exhaustive programs on this MBA in healthcare administration online ranking.
Graduate Tuition: $10,710/yr
18. Florida Institute of Technology
Online MBA-Healthcare Management
Students working toward the accredited online healthcare MBA at the Florida Institute of Technology benefit from the school’s well-developed business school, which is home to unique initiatives like the Student Business Incubator. The incubator provides the opportunity to develop and pitch a business plan with input from professors and industry experts. And with courses in business development and marketing at their fingertips, students should be well-prepared for this challenge. FIT does not require that applicants have any previously healthcare experience, and the asynchronous class times and six start dates per year provide a lot of flexibility for distance learners from all backgrounds.
Graduate Tuition: $16,128/yr
17. Belhaven University
Online Master of Business Administration with Health Administration Concentration
Most of the schools on this online healthcare MBA ranking aim to draw applicants who already have healthcare experience. Belhaven is a notable exception, as the school has designed its degree both for current professionals and aspiring MBA graduates who think they might be interested in health administration. But while students’ backgrounds may be diverse, they share a common attraction to Belhaven’s religious affiliations. Indeed, the school’s Christian ethic is apparent throughout this affordable online MBA program with healthcare concentration. As such, students can expect to discuss “Christ-centered solutions” in classes like “Ethical Problems in Business” and to generally maintain a Biblical worldview as they study everything from finance to current trends in healthcare.
Graduate Tuition: $9,990/yr
16. Dallas Baptist University
Online M.B.A. Healthcare Management Concentration
The hands-on capstone course at Dallas Baptist University sets it apart from many of the other institutions on this list. As a culminating experience, students working toward DBU’s top online MBA in healthcare administration undertake a clinical rotation in a particular area of interest in order to gain some practical experience. But the capstone isn’t the only unusual element of DBU’s degree; its focus on managed and long-term care provides an opportunity for specialization that many other top programs lack. Of course, this emphasis may not suit those looking for the broadest possible curriculum. On the other hand, students hoping for hands-on experience and a deep dive into this hot topic of healthcare might find their dream degree at DBU.
Graduate Tuition: $15,314/yr
15. Brandman University
Online MBA, Business Administration, Health Administration
Brandman’s deep and varied core MBA requirements will delight business geeks itching to brush up on their knowledge of all things corporate. The 36-credit program offers classes in marketing, data analysis, finance, human resources, organizational dynamics, and much more. After absorbing all this knowledge, students finish off their degree with a capstone course that requires them to evaluate an existing business. In comparison to the core curriculum, the healthcare concentration is relatively compact. Nonetheless, in just five classes HCA concentrators can tackle everything from healthcare economics to quality management. As such, Brandman earns its place in the running as one of the best online healthcare MBA programs.
Graduate Tuition: $11,220/yr
14. University of Scranton
Online MBA Healthcare Management
Designed for working professionals, Scranton’s affordable online healthcare MBA maximizes flexibility through easy-to-use, asynchronous learning modules. The program also grants students up to six years to finish and has no prerequisites (aside from a minimum three years of work experience). But for those who feel that online learning is a little too distant, Scranton has a team of Student Services Coordinators on hand. These mentors provide assistance for individuals who have concerns about acclimating to university life. Although Scranton does not require any time on campus, healthcare MBA students must complete a 150-hour internship. Luckily, the school has relationships with hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Pennsylvania and even one in New Jersey.
Graduate Tuition: $11,162/yr
13. Concordia University St. Paul
Saint Paul, MN
Online Master of Business Administration-Healthcare Management
Those who think they could use a little more guidance while pursuing their affordable MBA in healthcare administration online will appreciate Concordia’s MBA Mentor and Managerial Application Portfolio. This initiative pairs each student with a mentor who helps them build a comprehensive repertoire or their managerial abilities. At the same time, these mentors help program members develop new skills to both acquire and maintain leadership positions in business. In fact, leadership is an integral focus of Concordia’s MBA, which goes beyond basic management coursework to cover advanced topics like decision-making, organizational development, and even bioethics.
Graduate Tuition: $8,550/yr
12. Our Lady of the Lake University
San Antonio, TX
Online Master of Business Administration: Healthcare Management Specialization
As a Catholic institution, Our Lady of the Lake provides a “whole-person” educational experience that aims to teach moral and social values as a part of its accredited MBA in healthcare administration online. In this spirit, the capstone course requires students to evaluate a business’s “total enterprise objectives,” including the role of societal values. OLLU also provides a lot of support to its MBA students with features like its unique MBA Prep program. This 16-week kick-off course provides enough foundational business knowledge to fulfill a broad set of prerequisites and is a great “orientation” for those new to the corporate world.
Graduate Tuition: $15,840/yr
Online MBA in Healthcare Administration
Tiffin’s degree program is much more structured than many of the others on this online healthcare MBA ranking, with a pre-built curriculum that’s ideal for those who prefer strong guidance in their course selection. But while the coursework itself is fairly static, MBA students at Tiffin will enjoy a dynamic, “small college atmosphere” that promotes flexibility through asynchronous learning and accommodations for working adults. Indeed, Tiffin sees the diversity and prior work experiences of its online student body as a significant asset, recognizing that the average MBA applicant enters with nearly a decade of work experience – and the skills and perspective that come with it.
Graduate Tuition: $12,600/yr
10. Salve Regina University
Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) Health Care Administration and Management
Students at Salve Regina are spoiled for choice, with an MBA program that provides four distinct yet compatible concentrations that they can easily mix and match. Although earning a concentration requires just three additional courses, the Health Care Administration and Management track offers twice as many – meaning HCAM students will never be short on options. This top MBA in healthcare administration online also incorporates two additional graduate-level elective courses, which distance learners can use to broaden their knowledge base. And if they decide to take just one extra elective, MBA program members can even earn a second concentration. With cybersecurity, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial tracks, pursuing an additional concentration will surely be tempting to many students.
Graduate Tuition: $8,920/yr
9. Regis University
Online MBA Health Industry Leadership
Regis is one of the only schools on this online MBA in healthcare administration ranking to draw on both its business and healthcare departments to build its degree. The Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions at Regis offers the school’s healthcare administration MBA jointly with the College of Business and Economics, and the partnership means Regis has brought the strength of an entire department (and its faculty) to the task of creating its Health Industry Leadership concentration. This track is designed for current healthcare professionals and moves at a rapid pace, but the reward is a strong foundation in both fields.
Graduate Tuition: $10,800/yr
8. Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs, NC
Online Master of Business Administration (MBA)-Healthcare Management Emphasis Elective
Unlike the other religious schools listed here, Gardner-Webb exercises separation of faith and curriculum. This means that degree seekers in its top MBA in healthcare administration online will take classes entirely focused on business and healthcare. Of course, the university still encourages graduates to “demonstrate high Christian ethical standards” in the workplace. In the meantime, MBA students enjoy a 30-hour core curriculum that incorporates plenty of essential business principles, such as Production Research and Operations Management. The healthcare concentration is no less varied and includes unique classes like “Managerial Epidemiology,” which teaches students how to make evidenced-based decisions using epidemiological data.
Graduate Tuition: $7,430/yr
7. University of St. Francis
Online MBA Concentration: Health Administration
“Fast” is the key word for USF’s accredited online MBA program with healthcare concentration. Students can finish their degree in as little as 12 months, and they don’t have to wait to complete core coursework before signing up for classes in the Health Administration track. And unlike traditional programs, which split the curriculum into just two components (core and concentration classes), this MBA divides course requirements into three equal parts. On top of standard MBA and concentration classes, USF students must choose 12 credits from “competency area.” Not unlike electives, these courses allow online learners to focus their training on an additional topic, such as international business/global economics or marketing and social media.
Graduate Tuition: $13,515/yr
6. Indiana Wesleyan University
Online MBA in Healthcare Administration
IWU is home to one of the best MBA in healthcare management online programs for those who prefer a more collaborative educational experience. The school uses a cohort group model and facilitates a weekly online meeting to create opportunities for networking and socialization. With this kind of interactive learning, the 46-credit program flies by; and indeed, many students finish in only 18 months. It’s also worth noting that IWU is an evangelical school. As such, nearly all courses integrate a “Christian worldview,” and therefore will be most suitable for students of faith.
Graduate Tuition: $9,700/yr
4. Wilmington University
New Castle, DE
Online Master of Business Administration Health Care Administration Concentration
Wilmington’s size offers a clear advantage to professionals seeking an affordable online MBA program with healthcare concentration. As a large school, the university is able to provide multiple scheduling options: a traditional semester-based format and a flexible “block” format. Wilmington also boasts an extensive course selection that includes some of the most advanced management courses on this list. MBA students in particular benefit from core classes like Quantitative Business Analysis and Global Marketing Management – both cutting-edge subjects often missing from the other MBA curricula. Plus, they can choose from ten concentrations, each of which features highly specialized yet relevant coursework. Those who choose the healthcare track will enjoy a well-rounded set of classes incorporating everything from global issues and health policy to marketing.
Graduate Tuition: $8,042/yr
4. Davenport University
Grand Rapids, MI
Online Health Care MBA
Davenport’s top online healthcare MBA features an even balance between business and healthcare courses; each field occupies 18 credits. That ratio is fairly unusual, as most schools add only a handful of healthcare classes to a business core. As a result, students at Davenport develop a deeper understanding of healthcare leadership than they might at another institution. The weighty healthcare track touches on a variety of subjects, such as “Medical Practice Management,” “Health Care Organizations,” and “Information Management in Healthcare.” Davenport is also one of the few schools on this MBA in healthcare administration online ranking to offer real-time virtual learning courses.
Graduate Tuition: $13,090/yr
3. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Mount Vernon, OH
Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Health Care Management
Mount Vernon Nazarene is a small Christian liberal arts school with roots in the Nazarene faith, and nearly a quarter of Mount Vernon Cougars hail from that sect of Christianity. Although MVNU promises to provide a “distinctly Christian education” as part of its top online MBA program with healthcare concentration, few of the required courses make explicit references to religion. Instead, the school’s Christian faculty provides a model for MBA students to learn from on their way to becoming ethical business leaders. MVNU’s cohort-based degree covers ethics, marketing, economics, finance, and more, in addition to invaluable courses like “Current Trends in Health Care.”
Graduate Tuition: $8,964/yr
2. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, FL
Online M.B.A. Healthcare Management Concentration
Saint Leo was one of the first schools in the country to offer online learning and has a long history of providing distance learning opportunities, starting with educating military students during the Vietnam War. That extensive experience has led to an impressive portfolio of online degrees, including the school’s well-regarded and affordable online healthcare MBA. Eager students can tackle all the requirements for this degree and graduate in as little as a year. But that doesn’t mean that the curriculum is easy. To get to the finish line, online learners must complete a solid foundation of business courses and a number of advanced healthcare classes in hot topics like managed care, community health, and HCOs.
Graduate Tuition: $8,730/yr
1. Pfeiffer University
While the rest of the schools on this list offer MBAs with concentrations in healthcare administration, Pfeiffer provides a unique alternative: a joint MBA/MHA degree in an intensive 54 credit-hour curriculum. It’s not for everyone, but the opportunity to earn two graduate degrees at one school will surely tempt many. And like all the best online healthcare MBAs, the dual program’s coursework provides an extremely thorough examination of both foundational and advanced topics in both fields. Pfeiffer’s unusual international study program serves as an added bonus, granting students the option to travel overseas for a comparative international health course.
Graduate Tuition: $11,520/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best MBAs in healthcare administration online.