Online Health Services Degree Programs

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With strong organizational skills and a desire to help people, it’s possible to work in the upper echelons of healthcare as a manager, administrator or executive. Online health service degree programs prepare individuals for successful careers in private medical practices, clinics and other healthcare facilities. This guide provides an overview of available degree programs and the steps involved in securing a job in this growing field.

Best Online Health Services Programs 2018-2019

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Before enrolling in a health sciences degree program, prospective students must first consider all of the options available to them. Whether their interests lie in nutrition, healthcare management, or another area within this field, it’s important for prospective students to find a school that offers their desired concentration and level of study. Taking into consideration factors like cost of enrollment, class size and program count, we have listed the top health sciences degrees and programs that are offered both online and on-campus to help students find the right school. Check out the top options for the 2018-2019 school year below.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida$4,47843%50%73%8Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Cox College Springfield, Missouri$9,60014%59%100%2Yes No Yes School website
3 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah$18,02179%-100%9Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, Idaho$3,92033%96%53%7No Yes Yes School website
5 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama$8,04077%58%59%3Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Minot State University Minot, North Dakota$5,19270%60%42%2Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Weber State University Ogden, Utah$4,61158%-50%12Yes Yes Yes School website
8 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point, Wisconsin$6,69815%81%62%8Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Towson University Towson, Maryland$6,56047%74%70%4Yes Yes Yes School website
10 University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, Minnesota$10,18085%68%48%3Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, Texas$5,21664%74%50%4Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Baptist College of Health Sciences Memphis, Tennessee$9,86483%54%51%2Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, Tennessee$20,520100%50%40%4Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Winona State University Winona, Minnesota$7,10347%60%59%3Yes Yes Yes School website
15 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, Ohio$9,32258%76%72%12Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona$8,69882%78%54%6No Yes Yes School website
17 Florida International University Miami, Florida$4,72144%50%60%5No Yes Yes School website
18 University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri$8,28664%75%71%6No Yes Yes School website
19 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$6,84062%-32%5Yes No Yes School website
20 Park University Parkville, Missouri$11,73049%85%27%5Yes Yes Yes School website
21 University of North Georgia Dahlonega, Georgia$3,6489%75%55%2Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, North Carolina$3,89368%41%59%4Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Clarion University Clarion, Pennsylvania$7,23841%94%51%8Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, Missouri$5,97977%83%55%2No Yes Yes School website
25 National University La Jolla, California$13,0164%-50%15Yes Yes Yes School website
26 University of Mississippi University, Mississippi$7,64465%78%64%11No Yes Yes School website
27 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, Colorado$6,62446%93%50%6Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Youngstown State University Youngstown, Ohio$7,84762%67%38%8Yes Yes Yes School website
29 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida$4,47729%46%88%2No Yes Yes School website
30 Missouri Southern State University Joplin, Missouri$5,31169%94%39%4Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Missouri State University Springfield, Missouri$6,15054%84%57%8No Yes Yes School website
32 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky$9,00061%91%40%9Yes Yes Yes School website
33 University of Maine at Fort Kent Fort Kent, Maine$6,60068%81%48%2Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Boise State University Boise, Idaho$4,87241%82%44%6Yes Yes Yes School website
35 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin$6,29828%73%53%5Yes No Yes School website
36 Tarleton State University Stephenville, Texas$3,90050%50%47%5Yes Yes Yes School website
37 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse, Wisconsin$7,58524%74%69%3No Yes Yes School website
38 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Bowling Green, Ohio$9,09669%76%56%2Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia$6,33065%85%55%11Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana$5,18049%62%40%11Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota$6,98461%83%43%3Yes Yes Yes School website
42 University of North Florida Jacksonville, Florida$3,85346%65%59%2No Yes Yes School website
43 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, Massachusetts$14,59065%60%77%2Yes Yes Yes School website
44 University of Wisconsin-Superior Superior, Wisconsin$6,53527%76%46%3Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Northeastern State University Tahlequah, Oklahoma$5,08557%94%34%4Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Mississippi University for Women Columbus, Mississippi$5,96584%99%43%4No Yes Yes School website
47 Northwood University Midland, Michigan$23,86093%67%57%3Yes Yes Yes School website
48 The University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida$3,73564%41%55%6No Yes Yes School website
49 St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn, New York$24,50095%67%69%5Yes No Yes School website
50 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota$21,25097%57%49%10Yes Yes Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, Kansas$2,68866%33%27Yes Yes Yes School website
2 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri$3,60020%22%28Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Western Texas College Snyder, Texas$2,08844%43%4Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota$4,8247%34%41Yes Yes Yes School website
5 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, Mississippi$2,40062%41%3Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, Mississippi$2,80042%28%6Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Albany Technical College Albany, Georgia$2,1406%39%3Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, Iowa$3,96031%35%12Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, Minnesota$4,76833%64%18Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen, Arkansas$2,44521%37%3Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, Minnesota$4,900-37%18Yes No Yes School website
12 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, Wyoming$2,13642%22%9Yes No Yes School website
13 Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield, Missouri$3,5644%24%7Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Craven Community College New Bern, North Carolina$1,82415%14%6Yes No Yes School website
15 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, Washington$3,32830%32%6Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota$4,8745%22%21Yes No Yes School website
17 Camden County College Blackwood, New Jersey$3,3302%15%8Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Wallace State Community College Hanceville, Alabama$3,51023%35%16Yes Yes Yes School website
19 GateWay Community College Phoenix, Arizona$2,06427%14%5Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, Maine$2,76034%35%9Yes No Yes School website
21 Northeast Texas Community College Mount Pleasant, Texas$3,00016%16%6Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, North Carolina$2,1284%13%6Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Great Falls College Montana State University Great Falls, Montana$2,4965%15%23Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio$3,8087%15%19Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, Wisconsin$3,911-35%15Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, Wisconsin$4,00221%51%13Yes Yes Yes School website
27 South Central College North Mankato, Minnesota$4,78816%26%8Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio$3,56719%12%9Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Century College White Bear Lake, Minnesota$4,770-13%7Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Northeastern Junior College Sterling, Colorado$4,10747%31%8Yes No Yes School website
31 Stark State College North Canton, Ohio$2,79619%7%2Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, Iowa$4,71037%56%6Yes No Yes School website
33 Rowan College at Burlington County Pemberton, New Jersey$3,4807%22%6Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Marion Technical College Marion, Ohio$4,08024%10%2Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, North Carolina$2,4322%12%8Yes Yes Yes School website
36 North Central State College Mansfield, Ohio$3,01612%16%3Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Davidson County Community College Thomasville, North Carolina$2,08114%30%2Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Ridgewater College Willmar, Minnesota$4,791-41%2Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, North Carolina$2,4322%16%9Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay, Wisconsin$3,91116%42%6Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, Wisconsin$3,9106%58%3Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Minneapolis Community and Technical College Minneapolis, Minnesota$4,611-14%2Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Spokane Community College Spokane, Washington$2,68812%24%3Yes Yes Yes School website
44 Eastern Iowa Community College Davenport, Iowa$4,76821%29%6Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Hibbing Community College Hibbing, Minnesota$4,68111%30%2Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Beaufort County Community College Washington, North Carolina$2,43229%11%6Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, Wisconsin$3,96512%46%3Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Herkimer College Herkimer, New York$4,2707%36%6Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Kirtland Community College Roscommon, Michigan$4,74044%21%6Yes Yes Yes School website
50 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, Wisconsin$4,17117%59%3Yes Yes Yes School website

Health Services Administrator: Milestone Map

Those interested in making a career in health services administration can start as early as high school by taking relevant courses and volunteering in healthcare environments. Those who pursue a degree in a medical field, such as by becoming a registered nurse, may be able to transition to health services administration fairly easily. Here is an example career path of a health administrator professional:

High School

Exceled in information technology; volunteered at local hospital.

Online Bachelor’s Degree

Completed four-year bachelor’s degree in health administration.

Work Experience

Worked as night manager at 24-hour urgent care clinic.

Online Master’s Degree

Completed online master’s while continuing to work at clinic.

Management
Role

Took a job at regional hospital system managing outreach to rural populations.

Promotion

Got promoted to executive role coordinating all outpatient programs between hospitals.

Completing Your Health Services Degree Online

Whether they work as an administrative professional in an office or as a floor nurse in a hospital, working people often need a flexible educational schedule to accommodate their jobs. Online programs in health services make it much easier for working professionals or busy parents to achieve their educational goals. Since these degrees generally require little if any labs or fieldwork, students can usually complete their degrees entirely online, working at their own pace as long as they meet assignment deadlines.

The online degree program is typically comprised of online lectures and presentations, as well as a virtual dashboard where students can interact with instructors and other students. Participating in online discussion forums and submitting assignments through a dedicated portal are common elements of an online degree program, so students need to be comfortable communicating online, downloading materials for various projects, and conducting independent research on the Web.

Online Health Services Degrees by Level

Depending on the degree level, students should expect to spend at least two years, and up to seven, obtaining their education in healthcare services. Once all required courses are complete, some schools may assist with job placement opportunities and provide other resources to students.

  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate

A graduate degree in health services administration gives students the skills to conduct research and interpret data related to health policies. They learn how to make policy decisions that affect clinical care, and will work with advisers and mentors to complete a thesis. In most cases, students need to submit a thesis proposal by the end of the first year of the program. Advanced courses center on the economic and political environments of healthcare, healthcare policies, and research studies.

Individuals who are interested in a leadership role in the field of healthcare administration, or who want to engage in scientific research, can complete a doctoral program that focuses on an area such as community health, healthcare administration, or public health policy. Programs typically include foundational courses, core courses in research, specialization courses and electives, and a dissertation; completing a master’s degree first can shorten the time needed to obtain a PhD.

Learning Outcomes for Health Services Students

Online degree programs in health services administration usually include courses in general education and business—such as sociology, natural science and financial management—to give students a strong foundation for the specialized courses that follow. More advanced courses give graduates a strong grasp of current healthcare policies, decision-making processes, healthcare organizational structures, and healthcare management processes. Examples of courses available in various online healthcare administration degree programs include:

Healthcare Policies

An analysis of public healthcare policies that govern various organizations and institutions across the country. Students examine various policies in detail and evaluate their impact on how healthcare services are delivered.

Healthcare Marketing

A look at identifying target markets, developing healthcare marketing plans, and implementing marketing strategies across healthcare organizations. Students learn the key principles, strategies and methods for marketing healthcare services.

Data Analysis in Healthcare

Covers research methods and data analysis processes used in the healthcare field. Focuses on the skills necessary to formulate research hypotheses, review data critically, and conduct high-level research.

Leadership in Healthcare

Because many healthcare administrators and managers lead teams, this course trains students in the key principles of leadership in a healthcare organization.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare Management

This course outlines common issues encountered in various healthcare settings, both public and private, and explores effective ways to solve problems legally and without compromising ethical standards.

Online Programs Must-Have Checklist

Schools across the country offer accredited online health services degree programs; the student’s first task is to select one that is aligned with their educational, career and personal goals. Following are some things to consider when choosing an online health services program:

  • Decide which type of degree and level of education suits your career and personal goals. Undergraduate health sciences degrees allow graduates access to entry-level and mid-level jobs, while graduate-level students are prepared for leadership roles, teaching, and research-oriented positions.
  • Confirm that both the school and the program under consideration meet accreditation standards
  • Make sure you meet all academic requirements
  • Determine whether the school offers job-placement assistance programs, internships, or fellowship opportunities. Education and training can go a long way, but nothing compares to real-life work experience in health services.
  • Learn about support services available to online students, such as tech support, career services, and access to campus libraries or research facilities
  • Check financial aid and grant options available to online learners
  • Evaluate tuition costs and payment deadlines, including any travel costs for in-person requirements

Online Health Services Degree Program Accreditation

Accreditation is a vital factor in selecting a program, as it holds schools and individual programs to high standards and ensures a quality education. In today’s competitive job market, employers seek out candidates who have graduated from accredited institutions, and may not even consider those who have not. Students planning to enroll in a health services administration degree program should ensure the school is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH); graduate students should also look for programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

  • Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)

    The Council on Education for Public Health accredits institutions that prepare graduates for public health practice in local, state, national and international settings. CEPH accreditation signifies that the school has maintained a high level of excellence in education and met all CEPH criteria.

  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)

    The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is committed to advancing the quality of healthcare management education by setting criteria for educational standards, assisting and advising programs to ensure continual improvement, and accrediting graduate programs that meet or exceed the criteria.

Online Program Enrollment Timeline: Health Services

After high school, the educational track to enter the field of healthcare administration can take between two and seven years, depending on the level of education the student wants to pursue. Planning ahead from one step to the step is essential for successful completion of a program. Here is a closer look at a tentative online doctorate program enrollment timeline for interested students:

Time to Complete
Step 1

Submit application for the Graduate Records Examinations (GREs) given in October.

9 to 10 months
Step 2

Take GREs. Choose programs for application submittal

8 months
Step 3

Submit requests for undergraduate transcripts to be sent to prospective programs. Request letters of recommendation from professors and other academic advisors.

7 months
Step 4

File the FAFSA application and other required documents. Sit for department interviews.

5 to 6 months

Step 5

Accept program of your choice and decline other offers.

3 to 4 months

Students interested in pursuing an education in health services administration can also take some extra steps to stand out to admissions committees. Beyond getting good grades, students can highlight their interest in the field by doing some of the following:

  • Network with peers, professors, and professionals in your area to learn more about the field and make connections that can lead to shining letters of recommendation.
  • Volunteer at a clinic or with a health-related agency such as the Red Cross or PATH over summers or semester breaks.
  • Take a standalone online class from a group such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the American Medical Association (AMA) to learn more about the field. Many classes are free.
  • Joining a student organization or club that focuses on public health demonstrates passion for the field and collaborative thinking. Taking leadership roles in such an organization is a major plus.

Health Services: Career Concentrations

Health service managers, administrators and executives are responsible for developing and executing strategies that help a healthcare organization run smoothly and achieve operational goals. They must have a comprehensive knowledge of healthcare laws and regulations, an understanding of current technologies, and strong communication and leadership skills. Most work in the offices of a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, nursing home, clinic, or a medical practice.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for medical and health services managers is expected to be much faster than average through 2024, with a projected increase of 17 percent. That translates to more than 56,000 jobs being added to the market, bringing plentiful opportunities for healthcare managers and executives. Those with advanced degrees and several years of experience may find the job forecast even brighter.

Within the field, professionals can specialize in a number of different areas or environments. For example, it’s possible to work for a government agency developing public health policy, for a major hospital focused on marketing strategies, or at a long-term care facility finding ways to deliver efficient, cost-effective care. Below are some example careers in the field.

Career Description National Median Annual Salary (2014) Minimum Education & Licensure
Medical & Health Services Manager (Government) Oversees operations of a military hospital, veteran’s hospital, or similar organization . $98,310 Bachelor’s Degree
Medical & Health Services Manager (Hospitals) Directs and coordinates medical and health services organizations and ensures compliance with laws and regulations. $99,930 Bachelor’s Degree; state licensure to work in assisted-living facilities
Medical Administrative Assistant Handles administrative tasks for a medical services administrator or executive. $32,240 High school diploma; executive secretaries may need bachelor’s degree and work experience
Social & Community Service Managers Develops programs and services, manages budgets, and reviews effectiveness of various programs. $62,740 Bachelor’s degree; some positions may require a master’s
Nursing Manager Supervises nursing staff and implements appropriate training programs. May also develop systems for patient care initiatives. $81,095.00 Associate degree; RN license and training may be required

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics PayScale.com

Next Step: Licenses & Certifications

Individuals with a health services administration degree may choose to specialize in a certain field, such as nursing home administration, which may require state licensure. In addition, completing a certification program for professional development purposes can provide individuals with additional job skills and make them more relevant in the job market. Examples of certification programs include:

Similar Online Public Health Programs

If a career as a health services administration professional sounds interesting but doesn’t feel like the perfect career path, consider other online public health programs that provide opportunities to help people and work in the health or wellness industry. Similar degree programs include:

Online Health Education Degrees:

Takes an in-depth look at theoretical and practical issues affecting the nation’s healthcare system, as well as common challenges that individuals and communities face. Graduate degrees prepare students for a career in teaching, counseling or consulting.

Online Nutrition Degrees:

Studies food from a scientific perspective and how food affects the body. Programs prepare students to serve as nutritionists who advise individual clients or communities on how to meet their nutritional needs effectively and make sound choices at every stage of life.

Online Health Science Degrees:

Comprehensive, science-based programs that focus on human biology, quantitatie methods, nutrition, neuroscience and physiology. Students are prepared for careers in medicine, public health or research.

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