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Earn an Affordable Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration Online

Online MSN programs

Accredited online programs leading to a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) prepare graduates for advancing their careers, increasing their earning power.  An online MHA is specifically tailored for working health professionals that cannot attend campus programs or devote the time to commuting or relocating.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that jobs for medical administrators and health services managers will increase by 20 percent during the 2016 to 2026 decade, adding 72,100 positions. The median annual wage is $98,35.  It typically takes two years of full-time study to complete an MHA degree online.  It may take three to four years if students opt for master’s specializations or a joint-degree.

Most online healthcare administration master’s degree programs require 32 to 60 credits for completion.  This comprehensive guide helps students review the types of online MHA programs, school admission requirements, the importance of accreditation, and voluntary certifications.  Discover the top online MHA programs, graduation requirements, and types of available financial aid.


Top Online Master’s Programs in Healthcare Administration for 2020

Schools’ admission prerequisites, time-to-degree, accreditation, and total cost are a few key points to factor in when reviewing online master’s programs in healthcare administration. The total price of an online MHA degree can vary greatly depending on whether the institution is public or private, and whether the student pays resident tuition or out-of-state fees.  Online MHA’s program tuition for in-state students can run from as little as $6,000 at a public institution (Louisiana State University) to $27,660 at a highly-ranked private school (University of Southern California). Many schools use the SOPHAS centralized application service and some require their own application procedure.

Here are some of the top-ranked online in Master’s in Healthcare Administration programs for 2020:


Importance of CAHME Accreditations for Online MHA Programs

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is a voluntary for programs and universities. However, a CAHME regional accreditation provides assurance to employers that their programs adhere to strict professional guidelines respected by healthcare employers.  It also shows that an MHA-grad didn’t come from a substandard diploma mill.  Employers may favor the hiring of candidates who graduate from a CAHME Accredited institution.  According to the Commission, over 90 percent of graduates of accredited programs land a healthcare management job within three months following graduation.  In January 2015, CAHME announced accreditations for wholly online MHA programs.

Read more about general Accreditation here


Q&A for CAHME Accredited Online Healthcare Administration Master’s Programs

The online MHA degree is designed for working healthcare professionals who seek advancement in the administrative sector.  Specializations in the degree include financial management, human resources, program management, and patient advocacy. The following Q&A addresses master’s in healthcare administration programs and careers.

How long will it take to complete an online master’s in healthcare administration program?

It depends on the number of credit-hours and internships required for graduation, as well as if the master’s student is full-time or part-time.  Generally, most online programs take two or three years to complete.

What online courses make up the curriculum?

Online MHA course requirements vary by program. Some include on-site internships, some do not. Core coursework can include studies in:

  • Health Care Finance
  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Total Quality Management
  • Policy and Legislative Development Processes
  • Healthcare Law and Ethics
  • Medical Informatics
  • Health Services Marketing
  • Principles of Population Health in Public Health

Are there professional certifications in healthcare administration?

Certification is voluntary. A certification recognizes an MHA grad’s core knowledge in healthcare administration areas and may be required by employers.  It also demonstrates a commitment to ongoing education to maintain certification. To earn the credential, a must pass the Certified in Public Health exam, administered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). The exam is open to Public Health students or graduates from a CEPH-accredited Public Health program. The exam covers core areas in General Principles, Public Health, Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Learn more at NBPHE.  Public Health administrators may also earn a voluntary certification from the Public Health Practitioner Certification Board (PHPCB).  Other certifications are available from the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and the  American Health Information Management Association.

How much does an online master’s in healthcare administration degree cost?

Tuition and fees vary dramatically by institution.  Private colleges and universities typically charge rates at the top of the scale, while public universities can cost much less.  Most programs charge between $20,000 to $50,000.

Can a master’s student work while attending the MHA program?

It is extremely challenging to undertake an online MHA degree on a full-time basis while maintaining an outside job.  Part-time students may have an easier go of it, but the work will still be rigorous.

Are all MHA distance degree programs offered entirely online?

There are programs that run the gamut from100 percent online tohybrid programs requiring a balance of on-campus and online studies.Of course, online programs that include an internship require presence at a real-world healthcare organization. Investigate target universities to demine how much time will be needed away from home.

What are the prerequisites required for admission?

These also vary by each program.  Generally, online master’s in healthcare administration degree programs require the student to hold a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 GPA.  Many expect master’s students to have two years or more of healthcare administrative experience.  Schools may require a specific performance level on graduate exams.  Helpful undergraduate courses include studies in economics, marketing, finance, biological and clinical sciences.

Am I required to submit letters of recommendation with my application?

In nearly every case, yes. Master’s students should compile two to three recommendation letters from former professors and employers familiar with their career objectives, academic advisers and colleagues.  Letters should focus on a student’s work ethic, financial/analytical skills, leadership qualities, public health and collaborative skills. In most cases, grad students also must submit a personal statement. The essay should address a master’s student career objectives, professional experience, reasons for selecting their MHA degree program, and the progression of their interest and education toward their career.

Will the MHA faculty want to interview me?

Following the submission of a complete application and supporting materials, the university admissions committee will evaluate whether a student meets the admission requirements.  If approved, an MHA student can expect to be invited to interview with faculty.  Master’s students may be invited to discuss the program and their qualifications with current students.  For online students who cannot commute to campus, the graduate program may arrange telephone or Skype interviews.

Will I still have access to student resources in an online MHA program?

It’s important to ask potential programs which support services are available for distance students who may be logging in from all around the world.  Typically, MHA students have 24/7 access to tech support.  Conventional student services such as academic advising, career services, and financial aid may be available only at designated hours in the university’s time zone.  Grad students should ask about provisions for library access.

What is the computer/technology requirements for an online master’s in healthcare administration program?

Students’ online program’s technical support staff will discuss the best way to prepare their computer for online learning.  Some students may have to have their web browser configured to mesh properly with the university’s online course management software.  Having practical experience with email public health, streaming multimedia, discussion threads and video conferencing are a plus.


Financial Aid for Students Pursuing an Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration

MHA programs can be pricey. Fortunately, students have abundant sources of public and private financial aid to pay for their online programs:

Federal Aid.

The first step in applying for federal loans and grants is to complete the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ® ). This one-stop application service analyzes financial need and reports finding to selected online MHA programs.  Federal assistance is offered in the form of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program.  Master’s students may borrow up to $20,500 in non-subsidized loans.  Direct PLUS Loans are for students with tuition that exceeds the maximum amount on non-subsidized loans.

State Assistance.

All states have their own programs for graduate loans and grants.  The U.S. Department of Education has a search tool to find contact information for each state.


Most online MHA programs offer their own scholarships, grants and tuition waivers.  MHA students should check with each program on their list of potential schools to find out what’s available.  There are professional associations and health management organizations that offer scholarships healthcare administration graduate students. Some of these are:

Albert W. Dent Graduate Scholarship
David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship
Larry A. Mullins DHA Scholarship
Foster G. McGraw Graduate Student Scholarship
The Haynes Rice Scholarship Award
Elizabeth and Sherman Asche Memorial Scholarship
University of Phoenix Finish Strong Scholarship
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
Corris Boyd Scholars Program
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program
Florence Gaynor Scholarship Award
TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship
Michael G. Bartz Business Health Administration Memorial Scholarship/Michigan Foundation for Home Care

Careers & Salaries for Online Healthcare Administration Master’s Graduates

Graduates of an online MHA degree program are prepared to take on a wide range of professional options.  Here are some positions that fit the specializations offered in an online master’s in healthcare administration along with annual wages reported by

  • Healthcare Administrators: $98,350
  • Biostatisticians: $106,225
  • Director of Healthcare Operations: $96,111
  • Epidemiologists: $83,647
  • Directors of Environmental Health: $88,584
  • Health Information Management Managers: $69,473
  • Healthcare Policy Analysts: $67,357
  • Clinical Coordinators: $53,878
  • Healthcare Consultant: $52,989
  • Public Health Educators: $42,736

Resources for Online MHA Students

Students pursuing their master’s in healthcare administration online, or those who have recently graduated, should examine membership in a professional organization. These associations provide job boards, articles and forums in healthcare administration, and extensive networking opportunities:

National Public Health Association: 
Dedicated to supporting the research and teaching of healthcare leadership principles, the National Public Health Association promotes ethical public health and the importance of public health competency to improve humanity.

Association for Women in Public Health:
AWC has represented women in public health for more than 100 years. The organization promotes First Amendment rights, advocates for professional standards in the field and campaigns for equal pay for women. Members receive access to job boards, online publications, professional development events and travel benefits.

Social Media Association:
As social media transforms healthcare administration and marketing for both brands and consumers, the Social Media Association helps members navigate the evolution of this dynamic form of public health. Events and a regularly updated blog with social media news always give members something new to discover.

International Public Health Association:
Everything related to public health is covered in the International Public Health Association, which is an academic association for those interested in the application of all aspects of the field. The organization is a non-governmental association recognized by the United Nations.


Financial Aid for Graduate Students
U.S. Department of Education


Most Affordable Master’s in Health Administration Online Programs and Colleges

College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Plymouth State University
17 High St,Plymouth,NH 03264    
Colorado State University Global Campus
7800 E Orchard Rd #200,Greenwood Village,CO 80111
Austin Peay State University
601 College St,Clarksville,TN 37044    
$8,300 38.2%
University of Maryland University College
1616 McCormick Dr,Largo,MD 20774    
Saint Mary’s University Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights,Winona,MN 55987
Park University
8700 NW River Park Dr,Parkville,MO 64152
$8,025 9.3%
California University East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd,Hayward,CA 94542

Top Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration Schools and Programs

College Name & AddressTuition Graduation Rate
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816
Georgetown University
3700 O St NW, Washington, DC 20057
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox St, Joliet, IL 60435
Clarkson College
101 S 42nd St, Omaha, NE 68131
$348/ credit hour81.7%
Trinity University
1 Trinity Pl, San Antonio, TX 78212
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104  
$1,265 per credit hour67.4%

Accredited Online MHA Programs and Colleges

College Name & AddressTuition Graduation Rate
Plymouth State University
17 High St, Plymouth, NH 03264 
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816 
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox St, Joliet, IL 60435 
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Dr, Homewood, AL 35229 
Clarkson College
101 S 42nd St, Omaha, NE 68131 
credit hour
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104  
per credit hour
Park University
8700 NW River Park Dr, Parkville, MO 64152 

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