Top Ph.D./Doctor of Healthcare Administration Online Programs 2021

By TMHC Staff
Last Updated: February 16, 2021

Top Master's in Healthcare Administration

Healthcare professionals with a keen sense for organization, supervision, and time management may want to consider a doctor of health administration online (DHA) or Ph.D. in healthcare administration. Healthcare administrators work behind the scenes, providing support, managing costs, processing insurance claims, and hiring and onboarding new employees.

A Ph.D. in healthcare administration leads to lucrative leadership roles, including chief executive officer, hospital administrator, director of healthcare quality, and clinical utilization manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare leaders earned a median 2019 salary of $100,980 per year. However, obtaining a terminal degree, like the DHA or Ph.D., can lead to higher salaries.

Students can earn a doctorate in healthcare administration online in three to five years with full-time attendance, while part-time students may need up to 10 years to earn their degree. Concentrations can establish a competitive edge in the job market. Specialties include healthcare quality and analytics, health policy and advocacy, healthcare leadership, and general health administration.


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1. Keiser University

Keiser's Ft. Lauderdale campus offers an online doctorate in healthcare administration that supports working healthcare professionals looking to further their education.

The degree comprises 60 credits and covers delivery of healthcare to diverse and vulnerable populations, economics and business planning for advanced practice, community health promotion and disease prevention, and cultural and ethical influences on global health. As the degree comes to a close, each enrollee must submit a full dissertation on a unique topic in the field. They also take several research classes.

Admission requirements for this doctor of health administration include a master's degree from an accredited program, at least two years of managerial or professional experience in a healthcare role, two letters of recommendation, and participation in an interview with program faculty. While not fully mandated, the school encourages applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores.

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill offers an online executive doctoral program in health leadership with a focus on health policy and management. The school specifically designed this program for healthcare executives who already possess substantial professional experience and now want to expand their career options.

While enrollees engage with coursework online, they must also visit the Chapel Hill campus each semester to spend 3-4 days in an intensive residency. The degree includes 45 credits on topics, such as health policy research methods, linear regression models, and analysis of categorical data. Each learner must also complete 15 credits in a minor area of study in subjects like economics and financial management.

Prospective students must hold graduate-level degrees from accredited institutions. Each applicant must submit official transcripts from all graduate-level coursework, provide three letters of recommendation, supply GRE or GMAT scores, and participate in a telephone interview with department faculty.

3. Franklin University

Franklin offers an entirely online doctorate in healthcare administration to help degree-seekers investigate corporate and governmental policy-making while bolstering administrative leadership. Enrollees seek to improve healthcare processes, outcomes, and efficiencies. A candidate can transfer 24 credits of the required 58 credits from previous doctoral programs.

The curriculum includes four parts: research core (16 credits), major area (20 credits), dissertation requirements (10 credits), and electives (12 credits). Major coursework includes advanced health information governance; healthcare economics; and healthcare quality, process, and improvement. To ensure academic support for dissertation work, Franklin offers built-in faculty mentoring and guidance in addition to peer-to-peer revisions.

Each applicant must possess a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. Prospective students failing to meet GPA requirements must submit GRE scores for consideration.

4. Central Michigan University

CMU offers a doctorate in healthcare administration for professionals working in the field. CMU students earn 63 credits through critical topics in the healthcare industry, such as leadership, communication, and contemporary human resource issues like sexism and unionization. As a hybrid degree, enrollees complete most of the coursework online, along with six multi-day, face-to-face seminars.

Core coursework explores leadership strategies for healthcare policy, probability and statistics for the health professions, and organizational theory and behavior. After finishing coursework, seminars, and a comprehensive essay exam, a degree-seeker completes a 12-credit dissertation on a selected topic within healthcare administration.

Each applicant must possess a master's or professional degree in a related field from a regionally accredited institution. Other requirements include a resume demonstrating at least three years in the field, a career goals statement, and three professional references.

5. University of Mississippi

Designed to last three years, the doctorate in healthcare administration at Ole Miss engages health science faculty and industry leaders while providing practical experience to learners. Structured to accommodate professionals in the field, this hybrid program couples online coursework with face-to-face, on-campus sessions.

During the first two years, degree-seekers explore leadership strategies in health entities, current trends in accreditation and licensure, and fiscal responsibility and accountability. Enrollees dedicate the final two semesters of this DHA degree to formulating and completing a culminating doctoral project.

Each applicant must hold a master's degree in a related field from an accredited institution. A prospective student must submit GRE scores, supply a detailed resume, and craft an essay that includes personal history of prior healthcare experience. The school does not traditionally accept transfer credits.

6. A.T. Still University

ATSU cultivates innovative leaders in the healthcare field through its online doctorate in healthcare administration. By synthesizing practical and theoretical coursework, ATSU employs a holistic curriculum to expand career opportunities and influence meaningful change in an evolving field. This entirely online DHA program comprises 62 credits and allows learners to tailor the program to their personal and professional needs.

The core curriculum, which typically takes three years, includes courses in leadership and practice; coaching, mentoring, and interpersonal communication; and healthcare policy, law, and regulation. After finishing their required coursework, students dedicate the final year to developing and completing a degree-culminating dissertation.

Each prospective student must possess a master's degree in a related field with a minimum 2.5 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Other admission requirements include official transcripts, a current resume, and a personal essay.

Applying to a Ph.D./Doctor of Healthcare Administration Online Program

Colleges and universities set their own requirements for admission. However, prospective students should expect to submit a resume, letters of recommendations, and official transcripts.

Other requirements may include GRE or GMAT scores and final candidates may need to participate in an interview. Programs typically require applicants to hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited school and hold a 3.0 minimum GPA.

While DHA and Ph.D. programs may not require a specific degree for admission, students may need at least 30 credits in healthcare related fields. Programs may also request applicants demonstrate a certain amount of experience in management or policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do healthcare administrators work?

Healthcare administrators gain access to multiple employment opportunities. Professionals often work in hospitals, nursing homes, or group medical practices. Healthcare administrators may also find work in ambulatory care centers, medical supply companies, and rehabilitation centers. Other establishments may include mental health centers or healthcare associations.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accrediting agencies set minimum academic standards for postsecondary schools and programs. Applicants should prioritize schools that hold regional accreditation. Similarly, students earning a doctor of health administration online may want to look for programmatic accreditation from related agencies, including the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

How long does it take to earn a DHA?

Students can earn their degree in three to five years with full-time attendance. Part-time students may need seven to 10 years to earn their degree. Other factors can affect students' graduation timeline. For instance, the second half of a DHA degree requires extensive research to defend a dissertation and time requirements vary from student to student.

What does a hospital CEO do?

Hospital CEOs create and enforce policies, establish a positive organizational culture, manage daily operations, and develop strategic initiatives that help hospitals remain successful. This role requires strong leadership, communication, and collaborative skills. Hospital CEOs typically work alongside chief nursing officers, chief operating officers, and chief financial officers.

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