10 Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration [DHA Programs]

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If you are interested in assisting doctors and hospital staff to make sure they have the tools and organization they need to help patients, a doctorate in healthcare administration online may be the degree for you.

Doctorate in Healthcare Administration

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A passion for healthcare can go beyond one-to-one work with patients. Hospitals, clinics, and other health centers require staff to facilitate the ins and outs of management. If you want to help patients, but don’t have the science expertise or knowledge, a degree online in healthcare administration can help set your career in motion.

Online DHA Programs

Hospital's Operations Manager meeting with staff

Whether you desire a career in managing public health services, running a hospital, or a job at the corporate level, a doctoral degree in healthcare administration can help prepare you for this wide and ever-growing industry.

As you conduct research as part of your PhD in health administration, you may study a variety of subjects pertaining to hospital and healthcare program oversight, enforcement, and management.

Your studies may cover applied statistics in your field, advanced study of healthcare policy, and how economics and finance affect the world of patient care.

Like many doctorate programs in other fields, your Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree will likely focus on scholarship. You may have freedom to pursue research in many areas, or you may choose to focus on one facet of this growing industry, such as global health, public health, or healthcare information.

The scholarship you undertake at the doctoral level will dictate your area of expertise.

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Unlike undergraduate or even master’s level education, your online DHA program is a place for you to work on becoming uniquely qualified in your master of a specific skill or interest in Healthcare Administration.

Your research will not only affect the courses you take, but determine your specialties after you graduate and head into the job market.

You may also find that your advanced scholarship prepares you for the world of healthcare academia, helping other researchers make advancements in the world of medicine and its applications to business and finance.

A doctorate in Healthcare Administration is the highest level of education you can earn in your field. This DHA can help prepare you for the highest available administrative titles in the public and private sectors.

Doctor of Healthcare Administration Careers and Salaries

Doctor of Healthcare Administration Careers and Salaries

A DHA in Healthcare Administration can help prepare you for a variety of careers in public and private health. From hospital administration to clinic oversight and more, the Bureau of US Labor Statistics shows an average of 32% job growth projected in the medical service administration field.

Your degree can help you develop the toolkit required for administrative tasks in the healthcare field, from finance to human resources, to operations management and even executive officer.

A doctorate in Health Administration can help you specialize in many jobs related to corporate administration, but geared toward the healthcare industry.

Your studies can allow you to pursue careers that combine business and office acumen with a passion for health services and providing patients the back-end support they need from their medical facilities and practitioners.

Here are just some of the career opportunities that may be available to you once you receive your degree.

Careers Annual Median Salary
Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Manager $141,490
Financial Manager $134,180
Human Resources Manager $121,220
Medical and Health Services Manager $104,280
Operations Manager $103,650
Administrative Services Manager $98,890
Social and Community Service Manager $69,600
Medical Billing Supervisor $58,450
Medical Records and Health Information Technician $44,090

This table only shows a snapshot of the available careers in healthcare administration.

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Whether you choose to go into the public or private sector will greatly determine your initial income once you receive your Doctorate in Healthcare Administration. As you gain experience in your field and move up through the ranks of the workforce, you may be more qualified for higher-end administrative positions that offer higher pay.

Choosing an Online Doctoral Healthcare Administration Program

Doctoral Healthcare Administration student studying online

Organizing your list of important considerations for your DHA program of choice can be exhausting.

  • Are the program’s faculty leaders in their fields? Is their work mostly academic, or private sector? Does the school invite visiting faculty–if so, look for lists of previous years to get a sense of who the program wants to guest lecture for its students.
  • Research resources. What tools are at your disposal to assist in your doctoral research? Access to the online and in-print journals and publications? Inter-library loans? Are there writing and research assistants?
  • Relationship with your field. Many programs can also give you connections and experience in the world of healthcare administration. This may come in many forms, such as work study, internships, or access to prominent professional voices and leaders.
  • Diversity support. If you are a member of underrepresented identity, will you have the resources and community you need to succeed? How good are the program’s disability resources? Can you see yourself having a fair chance of success at this institution?

These are just a few of the important elements of a program to help you concentrate your research efforts to find the right school.

DHA Curriculum and Courses

Healthcare Administrator working in his office

You will take a range of focused courses over the course of your DHA program. Some common course you program may include are:

  • Applied Statistics: Much of your coursework will likely involve analysis of healthcare policy and law. Becoming an expert in applied statistics can help you make sense of the data you collect and interpret.
  • Finance Management: Finance management is a beneficial skill for administrators and can help you when learning the ins and outs of how finances are allocated in the healthcare world.
  • Healthcare Ethics: a more philosophical side of your industry, healthcare ethics involves complex philosophical interpretation and comprehension of different healthcare ideologies.
  • Healthcare Law: discuss and understand healthcare law, its policies, and its relationship in tandem with your understanding of healthcare ethics. How do the philosophies of healthcare translate in practice to how the healthcare industry operates?
  • Community and Global Health: Whether you’re going into public health or not, having expertise in global health can help you understand the infrastructure and workings of the worldwide healthcare industry
  • Health Information: Understanding the systems of health information is an important skill for careers in this field.
  • Research Methods: Not only analysis, but being able to conduct research ethically and accurately, is a beneficial skill for many healthcare careers.
  • Population Health: This course can help you learn how to discover the needs of your community and how healthcare must be set up to best benefit that community.
  • Healthcare Leadership: Part of being an effective administrator involves being an effective leader, managing teams and individuals with care and poise.
  • Healthcare Economics: The advanced economics of healthcare systems are complex and varied, and your comprehension of these systems is important for learning how to set up the finances of your healthcare business or establishment.

In addition to your courses, your DHA online program may also require a dissertation, though that is not always the case. Some universities may allow you to complete a capstone project instead.

Admissions Requirements

Doctorate in Healthcare Administration student studying in a cafe

Admissions requirements will differ depending on the school or university.

  • A previous bachelor’s degree
  • A previous master’s degree
  • Letters of recommendation from your previous professors or employers
  • GRE or GMAT scores are sometimes required, but not always

These are just a few of the typical requirements for DHA programs online.


Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Accreditation

If you are considering doing your Doctorate in Healthcare Administration at a university or college, it is important to make sure that the schools you are considering are accredited. If an institution is not accredited, your degree may not be accepted by employers or other scholars.

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To make sure your institution is accredited, you can go to the US Department of Education website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

financial aid for Doctorate in Healthcare Administration students

Financial Aid, scholarships, and other opportunities are available for you to better afford your online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration. For federal financial aid, you can go to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.

If you are current or retired military, there may be additional loans and opportunities for you. The FAFSA also provides aid options for international students alongside US residents. Scholarships may be available from your school or university. There are also private party scholarships, though some may require essays or other application requirements.

Beyond student loans and scholarships, you can also research work study programs, which may give you career experience as well as help you pay for your doctorate studies.

What Can You Do with a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration?

Healthcare Administrator talking to a doctor

You may have many options when it comes to job placement and opportunities within the field of healthcare administration.

The private sector has a need for healthcare administration skills in every area of the healthcare system, from hospital administration to administration in the areas of healthcare technology and the pharmaceutical industry.

Within your degree, you may choose to work in the public sector, assisting nonprofit organizations, and even clinics.

Academia may also open to you once you receive your doctoral degree. You may choose to continue to be up-to-date in the latest trends in healthcare administration to help train the next generations of healthcare professionals and administrators.

How Much Does an Online DHA Program Cost?

DHA program student studying on her computer

Although tuition will depend on the institution, PhD programs in healthcare administration typically cost between $500 to $900 per credit hour.

Whether you can afford the school that best suits your needs may depend on the financial aid, loans, or scholarships you receive.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration?

The time it takes for you to receive your degree will depend on your pace. While most DHA online programs have similar credit hour requirements, how many credits you take each semester will depend on what pace is right for you.

What makes a master’s in healthcare administration worth it for many students is that it typically only takes two years. With a doctorate degree, it may take you three years to complete your degree, if you are a fast learner and have the ability to focus on your education.

If you need more time, most schools will allow you to take credits at a slower pace. Some students have taken as much as seven years to earn their degree.

Are There Any Affordable DHA Programs Online?

DHA Program student studying online at home

Yes, there are affordable programs DHA programs online. If cost is an important factor in the school or university you wish to select, be sure to look for schools that have a lower per credit hour cost.

In addition, you can also seek out programs that require fewer credit hours to complete the program. For example, you may save money by going with a 54 credit hour program versus a 66 credit hour program.

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Whether your potential school has scholarships, available financial aid, and work study programs may also be a deciding factor once you’ve narrowed down your choices.

What’s the Difference Between a Doctor of Healthcare Management vs. Doctor of Healthcare Administration?

Healthcare Administrator having a meeting with hospital staff

The difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration is one of scope in your role at a healthcare facility.

A doctorate degree in healthcare management can help prepare you for:

  • Oversight of systemic initiatives
  • Long-term, overarching direction of facilities
  • The business side of healthcare

A doctorate degree in healthcare administration can help prepare you for:

  • Oversight of staff
  • Daily administrative tasks involving funding and operations
  • Maintain a changing system of regulations and health care codes, policies, and standards

The path you choose will depend largely on your goals and interests.

Is a Doctor of Healthcare Administration Worth It?

Healthcare Administrators eating together

Yes, a Doctor of Healthcare Administration is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 5% job growth in management occupations over the next 10 years.

Common healthcare administration careers in this field include healthcare assistant, healthcare support worker, administration service manager, medical and health services manager, and operations manager.

Besides salary, your work in either the public or private sector may also include supplemental benefits, such as healthcare, sick leave, holiday leave, paid vacation, or others.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

A.T Still University

AT Still University

A.T. Still University offers a Doctor of Health Administration degree through its College of Graduate Health Studies. The program helps prepare those in the healthcare field for leadership positions in the industry.

It’s a mixture of theoretical, practical, and holistic knowledge designed to teach students about advanced business strategies and innovative healthcare leadership.

A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Capella University

Capella University

Capella University offers an online Doctor of Health Administration degree in four different specializations designed to fit students’ precise needs. It’s accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has been in operation for over 25 years.

Scholarships may be available for qualified students. Students can potentially transfer up to 12 credit hours based on experience.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University

The Doctor of Health Administration at Central Michigan University is entirely online and requires 63 credits to complete. It’s designed to help healthcare professional improve their leadership, communication, policy-making, and human interaction skills.

Course topics include information technology, healthcare economic realities, ethics, and change management.

Central Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Franklin University

Franklin University

Students earning Doctor of Healthcare Administration degrees from Franklin University can transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credits and help fast-track their program completion. They can take their classes online and have customized programs to suit their educational needs.

The program is designed to help students learn how to take on more central leadership roles within their organizations.

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

The Organizational Leadership Doctorate in health care administration program at Grand Canyon University helps prepare the next generation of healthcare leaders and innovators.

It is designed to help students develop a better understanding of healthcare leadership, the ethics of healthcare, how to design and implement effective policies, and how to build an inclusive, diverse workforce.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University offers an online Doctor of Business Administration in healthcare management to students hoping to move into upper-level management positions in the healthcare field. The program is designed to allow students to receive high-quality education on their own schedules with flexible classes.

Students can take advanced classes in the fields of quality control, human resources development, and management.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Medical University of South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina

For most students at the Medical University of South Carolina, it takes a little less than three years to earn their Doctor of Health Administration. In the program, students are expected to learn about the humanistic, cultural and ethical sides of healthcare management. The degree aims to prepare students for management or teaching positions within the healthcare industry.

The Medical University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University

The Doctor of Health Administration program at Northcentral University can be completed online without taking the GRE or GMAT for admission. The program is built for working professionals who can’t pause their careers just to continue their education.

Courses are designed to teach students about assessing community needs, building relationships, collaboration, and data analysis.

Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix 54 credit hour Doctor of Health Administration program is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It’s aimed at producing program directors, nursing directors, clinical directors, and health information management directors after graduation.

Courses include healthcare policy and regulation, healthcare economics, administration of healthcare systems, risk management, and healthcare economics.

The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden University

Walden University allows students in the Doctor of Healthcare Administration program to transfer up to 35 previously earned college credits towards their degrees.

The goal of the program is to give students the tools needed to effectively use communication and public relations knowledge, execute practice-based research, and utilize data-driven approaches in decision making and policy-making.

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Healthcare Administration Doctorate Online

Healthcare Administration Doctorate student studying online

You may have ahead of you is a career that can sustain your livelihood and provide you with a sense of fulfillment as you work in the healthcare industry. Providing doctors and medical staff with the administrative services necessary to get them the necessary tools they need is a necessary part of patient care.

You may have many opportunities within this field to explore your own interests, all while having a steady income and benefits in a stable job market. You can start your educational journey today by exploring accredited universities for your Doctorate in Healthcare Administration online program.

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James O'Leary
James O'Leary
James has a bachelor's degree in English from Northern Arizona University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College (2021). An aspiring teacher, James is passionate about all things education. A poet and editor, you can find James's poetry and other creative work in journals and magazines around the internet.