25 Best Online PhD in Healthcare Management [2021 Doctorate Guide]

Quality, affordable healthcare is a hot topic these days, and not only can an online PhD in Healthcare Management make you part of the conversation, but it may give you the education and tools you need to become part of the solution.

Online PhD in Healthcare Management

A doctoral degree can help you stand out from other applicants for a variety of jobs in healthcare leadership.

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It may show employers that you understand the wide variety of skills—from business and communication to human resources and research—that a healthcare manager needs today.

Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs

Health Information Manager meeting with doctors

A doctorate in healthcare management is ideal for working professionals who want to advance their careers. Online programs are more flexible, and professors often understand the demands on your life.

Like all doctoral programs, those in healthcare management emphasize original research and are popular with students who wish to teach, write, or use research to enhance their leadership abilities, whether in medical, academic, clinical, nonprofit, or corporate settings.

Your studies will include classes in business management from a healthcare perspective. Your courses will normally combine a core of basic classes with those in a specialty that matches your particular interest. Basic courses will include management theory and ethics, strategic thinking and organizing, and research methods and design.

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If your career goal is in healthcare administration, you will also study leadership, interpersonal skills, and business administration, which generally includes finance and healthcare management.

Doctorate degrees in healthcare management are flexible and valuable. Career opportunities in hospitals, clinical settings, specialty healthcare facilities, academia, and industry are all possible. A research career may even lead to teaching or investigating ongoing, current problems.

Healthcare Management Careers & Salaries

Healthcare Management Careers & Salaries

There are almost limitless possibilities for careers in healthcare administration. The ever-expanding field and America’s aging “baby boomer” population have greatly increased the demand for qualified healthcare leaders. Hospital administrators, for example, supervise every aspect of their institutions.

While jobs in hospital administration are among the most popular for those with a PhD in Healthcare Management, they are, by far, not the only career paths available. For example, you may oversee an organization’s health information, which includes all patient records and their privacy requirements.

Other healthcare facilities, such as nursing homes, dialysis centers, and rehabilitation centers, need qualified administrators as well. The following information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics will give you an idea of some possible careers and salaries:

Careers Annual Median Salary
Chief Executive in Healthcare $160,950
Government Healthcare Administrator $116,380
Hospital Director $112,870
Laboratory/Testing Facility Manager $105,840
Health Services Manager $104,280
Outpatient Care Manager $100,690
Public Health Professor $99,090
Nursing Service Director $89,880
Medical Records Administrator $82,640
Healthcare Operations Specialist $62,330

Another career option includes being a manager in clinical settings. As a manager you would assure that reports are written according to professional standards, budgets are created and followed, and policies reflect both patient and institutional needs.

You would also make sure that the staff is properly trained and all healthcare laws, policies, and protocols are followed.

Salaries for healthcare managers with doctoral degrees will widely vary depending on several factors, including your years of experience, the size of the healthcare facility where you work, the number of physicians and other staff you supervise, and the state where you are working.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for healthcare administrators in the United States is $104,280. There are also opportunities in industries such as medical or pharmaceutical manufacturing that can pay well. These statistics alone explain why online degrees in healthcare are a popular choice among college students.

As you can see, an online healthcare management degree can open many career paths, so think about which career opportunities interest you most, and do a bit of additional research to narrow it down. The classes you take may even lead you toward an unexpected path.

PhD in Healthcare Management Curriculum and Courses

Healthcare Manager meeting with his staff

A doctoral program in healthcare management will likely include basics in business, administration, and specialty areas, all culminating in a dissertation. Some will require time spent on campus while others will require seminars and practicums that can be tailored to overlap with your current work.

Courses may include:

  • Research Design and Data Analysis: Prior to starting dissertation research, students must learn qualitative and quantitative research and data collection methods.
  • Healthcare Leadership: This course studies current leadership strategies and research to familiarize you with existing systems.
  • Healthcare Law and Policy: This course covers state, national, and possibly local government laws and policies that must be understood.
  • Strategic Planning: All healthcare leaders are responsible for learning about existing structures and policies so they can implement positive institutional change.
  • Communications Skills: This course teaches how to communicate with populations with whom you will interact, from funders to physicians and support staff.
  • Organizational Theories: You would study organizational behaviors and attributes of different management styles in this course.
  • Epidemiology: This course covers current research and practices in how disease is spread and controlled in various populations and environments.
  • Public Health: Here you would learn the healthcare behaviors of groups within populations, especially those that are currently underserved.
  • Healthcare Financing: The complex healthcare market offers numerous ways to pay for treatment, so this course focuses on what institutions can do to create affordable options.
  • Dissertation: This course prepares you for the capstone degree requirement and covers how to develop a proposal, select research methodology, and defend findings to a faculty panel.

With the completion of core courses, such as those listed here, you would then normally work with an advisor to plan to take additional courses that focus more on your individual, academic goals.

Admissions Requirements

PhD in Healthcare Management student studying online

Admissions requirements will differ from institution to institution, but most require that you have:

  • Master’s degree. A graduate degree in a health-related field and a resume that demonstrates familiarity with management
  • Work Experience & Recommendations. Professional experience in a healthcare environment ranging from three to six years along with letters of recommendation
  • GPA & Transcripts. Transcripts of all courses taken and a minimum GPA that is generally around 3.0
  • Exams Scores. GRE or GMAT scores, if required, should be submitted with the application and should show high scores in science, math, and critical thinking sections

Be sure to read all application requirements carefully, and pay close attention to deadlines.

Accreditation

PhD in Healthcare Management Accreditation

In your search for a quality doctoral program in healthcare management, it is vital that you narrow your search to accredited institutions that are among those recognized by the Council on Higher Education Administration.

An institution that is accredited has received recognition for meeting national quality standards in areas such as faculty, curriculum, facilities, and student services. Employers will usually require job applicants to be graduates from an accredited institution.

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In addition, eligibility for financial aid is usually dependent on attending an accredited institution that has met all the standards for quality education.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

PhD in Healthcare Management Financial Aid

Tuition for graduate school can put a strain on any budget, but Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) exists to help students pay for higher education. Their website is user friendly and is a great place to begin your search for funds to help pay for your doctoral program.

Universities know how complex and important your search for funds will be. A good first step in your search is to contact the financial aid offices at the universities you are considering. They are trained to locate public, private, or employer scholarships that can offset high tuition cost.

You can also look into organizations in the health field or in your own community that may offer help with tuition.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Healthcare Management?

Healthcare Administrator meeting with one of his staff

Jobs in healthcare management are in great demand, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the average job growth in healthcare will be 15% for the next ten years.

Your doctoral degree may be the key to professional fulfillment in a field you already love. Career opportunities abound and may include leadership roles in hospitals, clinical settings, corporations, and academia.

Most of these positions allow you to continue your research into areas of interest while also giving you a chance to implement your research findings to bring about positive change.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Healthcare Management Online?

Doctorate in Healthcare Management studying at home

The length of time it will take you to receive your PhD in Healthcare Management will depend on the number of units required for your specific program and the number of units you take each semester.

Generally, universities require between 50-80 classroom units. So, for example, if you take 8 units per semester, and your program requires 65 units, it will take you about 8 semesters to complete.

Taking courses year-round, including summer school, will let you finish in about 3 to 5 years. After the class curriculum is complete, a dissertation will be required. Completing your research, writing, and thesis defense normally takes from 2 to 6 years.

What is the Difference Between Healthcare Management vs. Healthcare Administration?

Healthcare Manager meeting with staff

Healthcare management is a holistic discipline that is concerned with the needs and quality of an entire medical or clinical organization.

Healthcare administration, on the other hand, focuses more on the day-to-day operations of these institutions or their individual departments. Healthcare managers are concerned with policies and procedures while healthcare administrators take care of specific units within larger organizations.

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They may be called directors or managers and may work in clinics, medical offices, or specialty medical organizations. Both roles need to be familiar with medical terminology, procedures, and medical environments. Requirements for each will depend on specific job requirements.

Is a PhD in Healthcare Management Worth It?

Healthcare Managers meeting in a conference

Yes, a PhD in Healthcare Management is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs are set to grow at 15% over the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Common careers in this field include leadership positions in hospitals, clinics, academia, or industries related to medical care. Caring for our nation’s aging population will require research-based solutions. Needed developments in technology must also be integrated into the healthcare system. Opportunities abound!

Universities Offering Online PhD in Healthcare Management 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 campus

AT Still University’s Doctor of Healthcare Management is an online PhD program accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

This degree prepares its students to become leaders in the healthcare field, pairing advanced business knowledge with contemporary health policy. This interdisciplinary program is taught by a diverse, experienced faculty.

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

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University’s Doctorate in Behavioral Health Management focuses on career development and healthcare policy knowledge. Business entrepreneurship is emphasized alongside concentrations in the field of health care, such as community health and sustainability. A dedicated, full-time faculty teach courses in this online degree program.

Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Capella University

Capella University campus

Capella University’s Doctor of Health Administration is an online program accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and recognized by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership. Graduates obtain the highest degree in healthcare education, becoming experts on contemporary healthcare issues in a range of concentration topics.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University campus

Central Michigan University presents an online PhD in Health Administration. This 63 credit hour degree program emphasizes up-to-date policy alongside interpersonal leadership.

Graduates’ knowledge furthers their career development into ethical administrators dedicated to patient care. The program is capped by a dissertation to round out the degree.

CMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University campus

Colorado Technical University’s Doctorate in Management with a concentration in Healthcare Management and Leadership is an online program that includes a residency.

With completion in 3 years, ending in a dissertation, CTU’s program gives healthcare professionals the leadership training, knowledge, and experience they need to take the next step in their careers.

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Drexel University

Drexel University campus

At Drexel University, students who enroll in the Doctor of Health Science receive the quality instruction necessary for a variety of healthcare careers. Academic research is conducted alongside learning and hands-on care in the community to round out this higher education online instruction in management, administration, and health service.

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Franklin University

Franklin University campus

Franklin University’s Doctor of Healthcare Administration is a leader in training the next generation of healthcare professionals.

With a focus on career development and leadership, Franklin graduates influence and expand the healthcare field to better patient care. Contemporary policy, healthcare ethics, and community support are all topics covered in this degree program.

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Healthcare Administration provides students with the skills and knowledge to manage and organize healthcare teams and facilities.

With a strong curriculum taught by industry professionals, students conduct qualitative research ending in a dissertation to complete their online degree.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University campus

Indiana Wesleyan University’s Doctor of Business Administration offers a specialization in Healthcare Administration that prepares students for educational and professional development. Students gain organizational, management, and leadership skills to head a healthcare business or nonprofit. This 3 year degree program is flexible and fully online.

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

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University campus

Johns Hopkins University offers a PhD in Health Policy and Management that helps provide students with the knowledge and skills to become the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Leadership skills are taught alongside contemporary ethics and policy to prepare students for their future career goals. This online program includes practicum and dissertation components.

The Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Keiser University

Keiser University campus

Keiser University’s online Doctor in Health Science gives current healthcare professionals the education and tools they need to further their career aspirations.

Students are presented with a rigorous curriculum to prepare them for leadership in the modern healthcare field. The program’s courses cover topics such as cost effective care, diversity, accessibility, and leadership.

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

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

At Liberty University, the Doctor of Business Management in Healthcare Management is an online degree program whose graduates go on to top-level positions in nonprofit and healthcare businesses alike.

This 60 credit hour, 3 year program includes research, career development, and a flexible schedule to suit students’ busy lives. A tuition discount is available for former military personnel.

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

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences campus

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a Doctor of Health Sciences in a part-time, online format that is flexible for students’ busy lives. This 54 credit hour program covers contemporary healthcare issues alongside academic study, leadership training, and a capstone project to round out the degree.

MCPHS University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Medical University of South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina campus

The Medical University of South Carolina’s Doctor of Health Administration is a 3 year online course that’s training the next generation of healthcare leaders.

With a small cohort size, students are guaranteed face time with industry professional faculty to ensure their academic and industry success. Several curriculum tracks are offered for students to personalize their degree.

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

Nebraska Methodist College

Nebraska Methodist College campus

Nebraska Methodist College’s Doctorate in Education and Leadership in Healthcare is an online program focused on career development and student success. With flexible class schedules and a degree available in just 2 years, this program gives students knowledge and experience in the healthcare topics they need to excel.

Nebraska Methodist College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

Northcentral University’s Doctor of Health Administration is an advanced, up-to-date program that trains graduates for career success. Students learn community care, organizational structures, and policy ethics to ensure quality patient care from the administration level. This 60 credit hour program has a new start date every Monday.

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

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University campus

Nova Southeastern University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Health Science is a program for healthcare administrators and practitioners alike to advance their academic knowledge.

Students study contemporary healthcare ethics, policy, and research design to contribute to academic literature, enhancing the theories of patient care. This online degree includes a dissertation.

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

Regent University

Regent University campus

Regent University’s Doctor of Strategic Leadership in Healthcare Leadership is a 51 credit hour program that includes 2 residency components. As the first online doctorate of strategic leadership, Regent offers flexible scheduling and provides the tools and knowledge for career advancement.

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

Trident University

Trident University campus

Trident University’s online Doctor of Health Administration provides current healthcare professionals with experience and knowledge to further their career goals.

Policy, political and social trends, and technological advancements are all covered in this program’s curriculum, ensuring an up-to-date education that prepares students for their future careers as healthcare leaders.

Trident University is accredited by WASCUC—Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior Colleges and University Commission.

University of Alabama – Birmingham

University of Alabama Birmingham campus

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Executive Doctor of Science in Healthcare Leadership trains healthcare professionals to secure future positions in senior leadership.

Management skills are taught alongside community care, policy changes, and technology advancement so students have a contemporary understanding of healthcare administration and leadership. This 3 year program includes a 1 year dissertation.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Denver

University of Denver campus

At the University of Denver, students of the Doctor in Healthcare Management program receive an up-to-date education in the policy, leadership, and organizational training that prepares healthcare administrators to best provide patient care. This program provides flexible scheduling with evening or online classes.

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

University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi campus

The University of Mississippi’s Doctor of Health Administration is an online degree program with a varied curriculum.

Topics of epidemiology, policy, and administration ensure students are prepared for their future careers in leadership of nonprofit or healthcare business organizations. A dissertation and dissertation defense cap off the degree.

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

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill campus

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill offers an Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership for current healthcare professionals to take the next step in their career goals.

Whether in the private or public sector, at the local, national or even international levels, UNC’s online degree program gives students the leadership capabilities and knowledge they need for success. This 3 year program includes a dissertation.

UNC-Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix campus1

The University of Phoenix’s online, 54 credit hour Doctor of Health Administration is taught by experienced industry professionals. Students take classes with flexible scheduling to master contemporary healthcare policy, leadership skills, and administration management. This degree program finishes with a dissertation.

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

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University’s online Doctor of Healthcare Administration trains the next generation of healthcare professionals. With a focus on student career development, this program offers two tracks for students to personalize their academic goals. A tuition reduction is available for current military service members and their spouses.

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Healthcare Management Doctorate Online

Healthcare Management Doctorate student studying on her laptop

The next step for those working in medical professions who already hold masters degrees in health-related fields is an online doctorate in healthcare management. This degree from an accredited institution can lead to esteemed positions that are not available to others.

Whether you see your future in research, healthcare administration, academia, industry, or government, this degree sets you apart. It proves you have the education and skills that organizations need.

Employers recognize the value of online doctoral programs from accredited institutions, and universities understand the unique needs of online students, working with them to ensure success. Why not start your journey today?

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Maureen Rubin
WRITTEN BY
Maureen Rubin
Maureen has a Juris Doctor, Master's in Public Relations, and a Bachelor's in Journalism. She is an Emeritus Professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge and enjoyed a career working in public information at nonprofits, and in Congress & the White House. She welcomes an opportunity to share educational or uplifting information with readers.