Online Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration Programs 2021

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An evolving healthcare environment requires responsive leaders who can ensure the highest level of patient care. A healthcare administration Ph.D. develops teachers, writers, and researchers. They use their original research to address challenges in key areas such as healthcare operations, delivery, and management. Those who pursue a doctor of health administration (DHA) apply their knowledge and research to optimize healthcare processes and products.

Earning a Ph.D. requires a significant amount of time and money. The healthcare field offers commensurate return on this investment. With just a bachelor’s degree and less than five years of experience, medical and health services managers can earn median annual salaries of $104,280, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This guide provides more information about coursework, career options, and scholarship opportunities for students in doctoral healthcare administration programs.

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Ph.D. Graduate Students Frequently Asked Questions


  • What can I do with a Ph.D. in healthcare administration?

    A Ph.D. in healthcare administration prepares researchers, clinical managers, and college faculty. The holder can also use the credential to establish a consultancy focused on healthcare operations and management.


  • How long does it take to get a Ph.D. in healthcare administration?

    Students spend between 4-7 years completing a healthcare administration Ph.D. This includes time spent conducting research and preparing a dissertation.


  • Is a DHA a doctor?

    Those who pursue a doctor of health administration learn to apply knowledge and research to advance the field in their roles as administrators and leaders.


  • What are the highest paying healthcare administration jobs?

    C-suite administrators make the highest pay in healthcare administration, with chief executive officers at the pinnacle. Administrators of nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities often do well financially and enjoy good job prospects.


Why Get a Degree in Healthcare Administration?



Those who pursue a doctoral degree in healthcare administration include healthcare providers and administrators with significant work experience. The degree facilitates career advancement and the opportunity to specialize in an area including healthcare finance, law and policy, or hospital management.

Some degree-seekers pursue a healthcare administration Ph.D. explicitly to assume roles in academia. The degree provides learners on both the administrative and academic tracks with the research skills, scholarship, and hands-on experience expected of top experts.

An online degree allows working professionals to pursue advanced education without sacrificing their careers. However, Ph.D. students can expect to devote much of their time to research initiatives and dissertation development. The hours required often equal that of a full-time job.

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How Much Does a Healthcare Administration Degree Cost?

Many factors determine the cost of a healthcare administration Ph.D. Those in an on-campus program pay tuition and residential costs, including accommodation, childcare, and transportation. A fully online or hybrid doctorate provides greater learning flexibility and cost savings.

Students can expect to pay $598-$1,363 per credit, or $59,800-$94,043 total for a healthcare administration Ph.D. Degree-seekers avoid paying exorbitant out-of-state tuition rates by pursuing programs at institutions that charge flat online tuition rates, regardless of residency.

Many schools, including the nation’s best institutions, self-fund their Ph.D. programs. They award high-achieving students a fellowship that includes tuition and a living stipend. In exchange, students engage in a research assistantship with faculty or perform teaching duties. Students will need to spend a significant amount of time on campus, making this a residential or hybrid option.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



Prospective students can enter basic information in our affordability calculator to estimate net costs of a degree in healthcare administration.

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How Much Do Healthcare Administration Majors Make?

Career options vary for holders of an advanced degree in healthcare administration. Many assume C-suite administrator roles, including chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or chief information officer. The BLS notes that governmental agencies and hospitals pay medical and health services managers median salaries of $116,380 and $112,870, respectively.

Medical and health services managers with the highest education and experience earn more than $195,630. The private sector typically offers very lucrative job prospects. Overall, healthcare administrators may enjoy a BLS-projected 32% job growth in 2019-2029, eight times the 4% average for all occupations.

Those who pursue careers as academic researchers and scholars also receive pay well above the average. April 2021 PayScale data show the average professor makes $88,190 per year. Pay and benefits vary for administrators, scholars, and researchers based on location and other factors.

Courses in Healthcare Administration



A changing healthcare landscape requires experts who can cultivate knowledge and apply it to optimize the industry’s performance. Students complete 60-90 credits exploring topics including healthcare policy, healthcare finance, administrative theory, and accounting for management.

Some programs let students choose a minor such as business administration or healthcare informatics. The healthcare administration Ph.D. requires extensive research to advance the healthcare field. Programs generally culminate in a dissertation that students must defend before a committee. Below, find three other courses students may complete in healthcare administration programs, representative of a sample curriculum.

The course develops leaders well-versed in strategic planning and management for their organizations. Participants learn how to conduct an assessment of the organization, competitors, and the healthcare environment. Learners explore the roles of healthcare managers, clinicians, and governing boards in the organization’s long-term strategic management.

The class develops astute financial managers who can assume leadership roles within nonprofit and governmental organizations. Enrollees build competencies such as budgeting, accounting, business planning, and resource management. Students develop a business plan that includes strategic imperatives and long-term financial projections.

Ph.D. students complete a series of courses building their research proficiency. Enrollees explore qualitative methods and research design in healthcare research. Degree-seekers complete a seminar on dissertation development and the research process, including research questions, research design methods, and data collection and analysis.

Certifications and Licensure for Healthcare Administration



Certifications verify workers’ professional competencies. Various organizations offer healthcare administration certifications demonstrate proficiencies in areas including management, finance, and informatics. The following lists three coveted healthcare administration certifications.

Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives


ACHE offers the FACHE to recognize leaders in healthcare management. Candidates need ACHE membership, a master’s degree, and a minimum of five years of healthcare management experience. They submit an application, pay a fee, and pass an exam for fellowship.

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Certified Healthcare Financial Professional


The Healthcare Financial Management Association offers CHFP to members such as financial professionals and clinical and nonclinical leaders. Candidates, including student members, complete two modules focused on topics including healthcare finance, risk mitigation, and managing financial resources.

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Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society offers the CPHIMS credential to healthcare informatics managers. Graduate degree-holding candidates qualify with at least two years of experience in a healthcare setting. They submit an application and pass a 115-question multiple-choice exam.

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Scholarships for Healthcare Administration



Scholarships help students afford their healthcare administration Ph.D. The funding organizations establish eligibility criteria that often include financial need and academic performance. See two such scholarships listed below.


  • American College of Medical Practice Executives Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Medical Group Management Association administers this scholarship program for members pursuing a degree in healthcare administration, business administration, or related areas. Applicants submit transcripts and a resume.

    Amount: $2,500-$5,000

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  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: AAHAM awards this scholarship for members and dependents to pursue their education in healthcare or a related field. Applicants submit evidence of college enrollment and financial need.

    Amount: $1,000-$2,500 per year

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Online Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration Programs 2021



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