If you want to take part in guiding the healthcare industry through ever-growing challenges and ensuring that patients receive the best possible care, a Doctor of Health Administration may be a strategic path forward.
This terminal degree program allows healthcare professionals to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead effectively in this exciting field.
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By pursuing a doctoral degree in healthcare, you can learn about the most critical issues facing today’s healthcare organizations.
Online Doctor of Health Administration Programs
A Doctor of Health Administration can benefit healthcare professionals who want to broaden the scope of their knowledge and take on new challenges at work. Much like on-campus or online healthcare innovation certificate programs, these doctoral degree programs build on your previous experience in the industry to help you advance your professional qualifications to lead at the forefront of progress and change.
Prospective DHA students from other areas of healthcare can find opportunities to shift their career trajectories while completing their doctoral degrees. Earning a DHA is a strategic way to become better qualified for administrative positions in healthcare facilities.
Most DHA programs online involve in-depth study of topics that are crucial to effectively running a healthcare organization. The subjects you can expect to study in your online degree for healthcare administration include:
- Global health
- Regulations and compliance
- Mediation and negotiation
- Financial management
- Health informatics
- Professional communication
In addition to a series of required courses, doctoral degrees in healthcare also involve a capstone project or dissertation. Both of these tasks involve research, but a dissertation tends to be more theoretical and often takes longer.
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After earning a DHA degree, you may be well-positioned to pursue leadership positions at a number of different kinds of facilities. The types of organizations that look for DHA graduates include:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Insurance agencies
- Research labs
- Long-term care facilities
- Private practices
- Community clinics
- Government agencies
Some graduates of DHA programs go on to become executive directors of medical facilities, independent health care consultants, and human resources managers. The curriculum of a DHA degree is tailored to help you prepare to face the difficulties that arise in these environments.
Other DHA graduates opt to focus on teaching and research. Some become professors who educate the next generation of healthcare leaders or research directors who help determine the future of the field.
Health Administration Careers & Salaries
Much like online masters in healthcare innovation programs, DHA online programs provide an advanced foundation for health care professionals who want to further their careers.
After graduating with a Doctor of Health Administration, you may be well-qualified for leadership positions at a wide range of healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, or care facilities. Many careers in healthcare administration pay above-average salaries and offer opportunities for continued growth. Some DHA holders go on to become executive directors of hospitals or administrators for private practices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some potential career paths related to health administration.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$127,530|
|Human Resources Managers||$126,230|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,130|
|Postsecondary Health Specialties Teachers||$102,720|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$101,340|
|Administrative Services and Facilities Managers||$99,290|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$74,000|
The field of healthcare is experiencing strong growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for healthcare professions over the next ten years is 13%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
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Healthcare leadership occupations are growing at an even faster rate than the field as a whole. Medical and health services managers, for example, have a projected growth rate of 28%.
Doctor of Healthcare Administration Curriculum & Courses
The curriculum of an online DHA program is designed to help you address the most pressing issues facing modern healthcare organizations. While the specific required coursework differs between programs, these are some of the courses you may come across in your studies:
- Applied Statistics: In this course, you’ll learn about statistical methods that are central to effective quantitative research.
- Research Methods and Design: Students explore the predominate research methods in the field of healthcare.
- Patient-Centered Care and Healthcare Integration: The focus of this course is how organizations can prioritize ethical, high-quality patient care.
- Community and Global Health: This class focuses on epidemiology and its effects on healthcare decision-making.
- Healthcare Regulations and Policy: In this class, you’ll learn about healthcare policies, including the policy-making process and reform efforts.
- Economics and Finance in Healthcare: Students in this course explore finance and resource management, including creating and evaluating financial plans.
- Advanced Concepts in Healthcare Leadership: This course centers on change initiatives and leadership theories related to subjects like problem-solving, conflict resolution, and inclusion.
- Strategic Management and System Thinking: In this class, you’ll learn strategic management theories, with a focus on efficiently using resources and addressing organizational and community challenges.
- Workplace Ethics and Professionalism: This course focuses on ethical leadership practices in the workplace, including appropriate management and supervisory techniques.
- Medical Practice Management: In this course, you’ll learn management strategies that are essential to the operation of a successful medical practice.
Most programs also involve a dissertation or doctoral project, and some may also include a residency requirement.
Most DHA programs require you to have a master’s degree in a health-related field. Other common admissions criteria include:
- Transcripts. You’ll submit official transcripts from your previous graduate programs.
- Test scores. Some programs require you to submit GRE or GMAT scores, but a growing number do not.
- Letters of recommendation. You can ask previous instructors and colleagues to describe your strengths and abilities.
- Resume. You’ll document your professional experience and accomplishments.
- Essay. A statement of purpose lets you describe your goals and interest in the program.
You’ll likely submit a fee with your application as well.
Online DHA Programs Accreditation
When you research online DHA programs, it’s strategic to look for ones that have achieved accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school has met a high bar of academic excellence.
Regional accreditation is especially beneficial because the standards imposed by regional accrediting organizations are so strict. If you need to enroll at a different college or university in the future, credits from regionally accredited programs are generally easier to transfer.
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In most cases, employers also look more favorably on regionally accredited degrees because they are more likely to follow modern best practices.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Completing a DHA program requires a financial investment, but aid programs can typically help offset the upfront cost. If you are looking for ways to pay for your degree, you can begin by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether you qualify for federal aid.
You can also investigate whether your state offers any grant programs. If you already work in the healthcare industry, your employer may be willing to provide tuition assistance or reimbursement. Your supervisor or HR department should be able to provide guidance.
In addition, there are many scholarship programs designed for students in the field of healthcare. You can research scholarships tailored to your studies or specific circumstances. The financial aid office at your prospective school may be able to help if you are struggling to locate sources of aid.
What Is a DHA Degree?
A Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) degree is designed for acting healthcare professionals who want to expand their knowledge and leadership skills.
The curriculum of a DHA program centers on core issues related to successfully operating a healthcare organization. Healthcare regulations, ethics, human resources, and budgeting are all subjects that students explore while earning a DHA degree. Knowledge in these areas prepares them to act as administrators in a variety of medical facilities.
A DHA is an applied or practical doctorate, which means that students can develop the skills necessary to resolve and overcome challenges related to managing a healthcare organization.
What Can You Do with an Online Doctor of Health Administration?
Graduating with a Doctor of Health Administration degree serves as advanced preparation for many careers in healthcare leadership. After completing the program, you may be well-qualified for positions with hospitals, care facilities, private practices, and clinics.
A DHA is strong preparation for a position as a medical and health services manager, top executive, or human resources manager. Some DHA graduates also go on to become postsecondary teachers or researchers. Many careers for DHA degree holders have salaries that are well above average. Health services managers and health specialties postsecondary teachers both earn annual median salaries above six figures.
How Long Does It Take to Get a DHA Degree Online?
Earning an online DHA is an intensive process that requires a significant investment of time. Most programs require students to complete between 54 and 63 credit hours. A student attending full-time could likely finish within 3 years if there was no dissertation requirement.
Students who attend part-time or who have to complete a dissertation may need a longer period to graduate. Dissertation work is typically self-paced, and many programs institute a 7 or 8 year time limit for completion. Overall, with these factors in mind, a doctorate generally takes between 3 and 5 years to complete.
Is a DHA a Doctor?
DHAs can be called doctors because they are experts in their field, but they are different from MDs, or medical doctors. MDs diagnose and treat medical conditions, and they have extensive training in human anatomy and physiology, disease pathology, and pharmacology, among other subjects.
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Graduates of DHA programs study subjects like healthcare regulations, policies, and administration. DHAs are not licensed to practice medicine and cannot offer direct patient care. Instead, they oversee the overall operations of a healthcare facility. The goal of becoming an MD is to work as a medical care provider, while the focus of a DHA is becoming a healthcare leader or administrator.
What’s the Difference Between a DHA vs. PhD in Healthcare Administration?
A Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Healthcare Administration are both terminal degrees in the same area, but they differ in important ways.
|Doctor of Healthcare Administration||PhD in Healthcare Administration|
Healthcare professionals who aspire to work in advanced leadership roles that directly influence operations on a day-to-day basis tend to pursue DHAs rather than PhDs.
Is a Doctorate in Health Administration Worth It?
Yes, a doctorate in health administration is worth it for many professionals. A DHA can help create a pathway toward a personally and professionally rewarding career in healthcare.
A DHA may also help you access opportunities with a wide range of employers. Healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical businesses all hire healthcare professionals with expertise in administration and leadership.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in healthcare and management are projected to grow greatly over the next ten years. For example, the projected growth rate for medical and health services managers is 28%, which is much faster than average.
Universities Offering Online Doctor of Health 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 offers a Doctor of Health Administration that can be earned online. The program requires the completion 62 credit hours, including fourteen core courses and a dissertation. Potential courses include Leadership and Practice, Population Health, and Quality Improvement and Performance Excellence. Students can usually finish the program in 3 years.
A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Arizona State University offers an online program for a Doctor of Behavioral Health with a concentration in Management. The curriculum consists of 18 courses. Each course is 7.5 weeks long. Courses include both synchronous and asynchronous components, and students must also complete a 240 hour internship.
ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Belhaven University offers a Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Health Administration. The program includes online coursework, face-to-face residencies, and a dissertation. Courses are 7 weeks long and taught from a Christian worldview. Class sizes are small to make it easier to build relationships with teachers and classmates.
Belhaven University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Capella University’s DHA in Health Administration is available online. The program requires nine core courses, such as Innovative Business Practices in Health Care, Health Care Policy Processes, and Regulatory Compliance for Health Care Leaders. Students must also take two electives, participate in virtual residences, and complete a capstone research project.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Central Michigan University’s online Doctor of Health Administration program allows students to enroll part-time or full-time. It usually takes 3 or 5 years to complete, depending on which option is chosen. The program requires the completion of 63 credit hours and a dissertation. While the program is mostly online, students are required to come to campus for six face-to-face seminars.
CMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Franklin University offers a Doctor of Health Administration that can be earned 100% online. The program requires the completion of 58 credit hours, including a dissertation, and can potentially be finished in 3 years. A variety of elective options are available, so students can customize their program of study.
Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Grand Canyon University offers a DHA in Operational Leadership—Qualitative Research that can be earned online. Each class is just 8 weeks long. The program requires the completion of 60 credits and a dissertation. Potential courses include The Literature Landscape: Health Administration, Policy and Regulation in Healthcare, and Strategic Healthcare Management and Leadership.
Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Indiana Wesleyan University offers an online program for a Doctor of Business Administration with a Healthcare Administration Specialization. The program usually takes 3 years to complete and requires one weekend residency each year. The curriculum focuses on real-world problem-solving and does not require a dissertation.
Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University offers a Doctorate in Health Administration. Classes use a fully online format with no set login times. Each class is 8 weeks long. The program requires the completion of 60 credit hours and can potentially be finished in 3 years. Professors have real-world experience and teach practical knowledge that can be used on the job.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a DHA in an online, part-time format. Students can begin in the fall or spring semester. The program requires the completion of 54 credit hours, including an Evidence-Based Healthcare Project as a capstone. Potential courses include Patient-Centered Care and Healthcare Integration, Health Policy and Reform, and Transformative Leadership.
MCPHS is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The Medical University of South Carolina’s Doctor of Health Administration program uses a cohort model. The average cohort is made up of 26 students. The program can typically be completed in 3 years. It is mostly online and asynchronous, but there is one required campus visit each semester.
The Medical University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Morehouse School of Medicine offers an online program for a Doctor of Health Administration. It requires the completion of 55 credit hours and can potentially be completed in 3 years. Each course is 8 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete a capstone application experience instead of a traditional doctoral dissertation.
Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Nova Southeastern University offers a Doctor of Health Science. Concentrations are available in Telehealth, Global Health, and Education in Health Care. The program is mostly online but does require a weeklong summer seminar that must be attended twice during the time as a doctoral student.
Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Oklahoma State University offers an online program for a Doctor of Health Care Administration. Most courses are completely asynchronous. The program requires the completion of 62 credit hours but does not require a dissertation. Potential courses include Dynamics of Health Care Markets, Healthcare Public Policy, and Advanced Clinical Operations Management.
Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Radford University’s Doctor of Health Sciences program is available 100% online. Twelve students are accepted to begin in the fall of each year, and students typically graduate within 3 years. Online students are welcome to come to campus to meet instructors in person, but there are no required residencies.
Radford University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Trident University International offers its Doctor of Health Administration in a 100% online format that is designed to be convenient for working professionals. Students can choose between plans that are 3, 4, or 5 years long, depending on the course load they want to take each semester. Online students at Trident can receive individualized support.
Trident University International is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Mississippi offers a Doctor of Health Administration. This part-time program designed for non-traditional students is mostly online but includes a few face-to-face sessions on campus. To graduate, students must complete a doctoral research project. Potential courses in the program include Foundations of Health Policy, Epidemiology, and Leadership Strategies in Health Entities.
The University of Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Phoenix offers an online program for a Doctor of Health Administration that typically takes about 42 months to complete. Students in the program typically take one 8 week course at a time, for a total of five courses each year. While the program does not have any on-campus requirements, it does require attendance at an online symposium.
The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of the Southwest offers a fully online program for a Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Healthcare Administration. Potential courses include Foundations in Action-Research for the Scholar-Practitioner and Multicultural Leadership in Global Organizations. To graduate, students must complete a dissertation.
The University of the Southwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Walden University offers an online program for a Doctor of Healthcare Administration. There are two different tracks offered, one for those with an MHA and one for those with a master’s other than an MHA. In addition to coursework, students must complete a capstone research project and attend two residencies.
Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Doctor of Health Administration Online
Earning your DHA credentials can help you work toward becoming a leading voice in healthcare administration. If you are a healthcare professional who wants to advance your career, graduating with a DHA is a strategic and potentially lucrative next step.
DHA programs train future healthcare leaders in critical areas like regulations, economic management, and human resources. Healthcare careers are in high demand, and employers are always looking for professionals with expertise in leadership and administration.
You can begin your journey toward a Doctor of Health Administration by researching online DHA programs from accredited schools today.