Best Online Master’s in Healthcare Management & Administration

ASO Staff Writers
Updated November 15, 2023
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid projects U.S. spending on healthcare will increase to $5.7 trillion by 2026. While that may be bad news for the overall health of the country, it’s good news for healthcare professionals. An online master’s in healthcare management and administration can prepare you for a leadership role in this exploding industry.

Find out which colleges and universities offer the best online MHA programs and what careers this versatile degree can lead to.

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The Best Online Master’s in Healthcare Management & Administration Programs

To develop this year’s rankings of the best online master’s in public health, we analyzed publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, as well as information from each ranked institution’s academic programs. The Council on Education for Public Health accredits the graduate programs in public health found on this list, ensuring students receive a quality academic experience.

Park University
LocationParkville, MO

Offered through Park University’s School of Business, the online Master in Healthcare Administration degree prepares students for leadership careers within the healthcare field. The program features concentration options in areas such as finance, business, human resources, accounting and management to equip students with the tools necessary for employment in their desired sector. Students complete a minimum of 36 credits, which includes a capstone project in marketing and management. While the majority of courses can be completed online, some are a combination of online and face-to-face and require attendance at the Kansas City, MO campus.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine
LocationStandish, ME

Accredited by the NAB, the online Master of Health Administration degree program operates on a 12-week course cycle, offering prospective students four program start dates per year. The program was formatted to be adjustable, fitting into the busy demands and lifestyles of working adult students. The online courses require independent study and also synchronicity and participation in live video classes. To complete the degree within two years, students are recommended to enroll every semester and take two classes each time. For students with undergraduate experience in health administration, the MHA fast-track program allows transferring credits be applied to the master program.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
LocationChapel Hill, NC

The Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first offered degrees in 1940. It currently enrolls 1,545 students. The two-year Master of Healthcare Administration is focused on the development of “decision-making capabilities and leadership skills” and is offered entirely online with campus residencies required for a number of days in the fall, winter and summer. Admission requirements include completion of a bachelor degree and acceptable scores from GRE or GMAT (foreign student language) tests. To graduate, students must 49 graduate credit hours, a Capstone project in business-plan development, and required practicum, fieldwork and internships.

Saint Joseph's University
LocationPhiladelphia, PA

Founded as a Jesuit, Catholic university in 1851, Saint Joseph's University currently serves 3,038 graduate students. Its proximity to Philadelphia, America’s fifth-largest city, affords students access to career opportunities and institutional networking. The MS in Health Administration program is offered online or on campus, and it is comprised of 45-credit options in health informatics, organizational development and leadership, or health care ethics. Students who are not pursuing a concentration can complete 36 credits in general core studies for their degree. Applicants must have completed up to 2 years of related healthcare experience and hold a bachelor degree.

Loyola University Chicago
LocationChicago, IL

Loyola University of Chicago was established as a private Catholic research university in 1870 and today serves more than 15,000 students. The management programs at Loyola are offered through the Quinlan School of Business. The school’s MBA in Healthcare Management (MBA-HCM) degree is an interdisciplinary program combining faculties hailing from medicine and law. Students enter in a cohort group and can complete the degree in two years. Curriculum is comprised of 17 courses for a total of 51 credits with a focus in business fundamentals, healthcare management fundamentals, advanced healthcare leadership, and advanced healthcare management.

University of Mississippi
LocationUniversity, MS

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was founded in 1848. It currently is home to 24,000 students who pursue degrees within Ole Miss’ 15 academic divisions and the UM Medical Center. The university offers the 48-credit Master of Healthcare Administration degree in conjunction with the School of Health Related Professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the business division of the University of Mississippi. Coursework can be completed online; however students are required to complete an internship at a university-approved health care facility in the final semester during the summer.

University of Illinois at Chicago
LocationChicago, IL

The merger of several Chicago-based health colleges created what was to become the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1859. Dubbed “Harvard on the Rocks”, UIC held campuses on Chicago’s Navy Pier before moving its own campus in 1964. The School of Public Health offers the current two-year Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree program in conjunction with the UIC College of Business Administration. The 60-hour program culminates in a thesis and the preceptorship of a student portfolio. Students can opt to complete additional courses in lieu of completing a thesis to graduate.

Wilmington University
LocationNew Castle, DE

Wilmington University is a private institution founded in 1968 to serve an initial enrollment of 194 students. Today it offers degree programs to 18,000 students, more than 8,000 of them at the master’s degree level. Classes are offered online in 15-week, 7-week, and weekend formats, with blended courses that incorporate campus face-time with educators. The master of science in management degree with a concentration in health care administration focuses on developing advanced decision-making and problem-solving skills. It is comprised of a business management core and one of eight concentrations (36 credit hours) along with six credits of elective courses.

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
LocationIndianapolis, IN

The Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis is offered by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. The degree program focuses on the development of business skills germane to health care environment. Students integrate learning with practical experience, undertaking 3-credit internships and project work for healthcare organizations. The school’s mentor program matches graduate students with area healthcare executives. The 51-credit program is made up of 42 credits in core studies and six credits of electives in health administration. Applicants must hold a bachelor degree and have completed undergraduate prerequisites in accounting microeconomics, and statistics.

University of South Carolina-Columbia
LocationColumbia, SC

The University of South Carolina-Columbia Arnold School of Public Health was founded in 1975. Today it offers more than 45 degree and certificate options, including the interdisciplinary Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree. The 58-hour curriculum suits professionals seeking healthcare management and delivery roles in hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory care settings, consulting firms, insurance businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Classes are offered in formats designed for full-time students and for part-time working professionals. Three hours undertaken in a management residency are required for graduation. Graduate students in the Columbia area may be queried for compensated graduate assistantships to support their learning.

What to Know About Online MHA Coursework

Online master’s in healthcare management and administration (MHA) programs combine academic coursework with technical skill development to prepare students for leadership positions throughout the healthcare industry. It is a multi-disciplinary program of study that covers specialized areas such organizational and project management, finance and human resources, marketing and strategic planning development. In most cases, the curriculum and faculty members are the same in online and campus-based MHA programs – only the delivery of instruction differs.

As you complete your degree, you should graduate with the following skills and abilities:

What’s the Difference Between an MHA and an MBA in Healthcare Management & Administration?

Healthcare has seen significant changes in the past twenty years due to advancements in technology, privatization and shifts in overall healthcare service delivery. A master’s degree has become a valuable tool for individuals – both with and without a background in healthcare – to advance in their careers. As a healthcare professional, two common master’s degrees are the MHA and MBA. While both blend the study of health and business, each curriculum diverges for specific audiences.

The MHA is designed for individuals with a background in healthcare – such as nurses, doctors and other health professionals. The MHA emphasizes healthcare across its curriculum, from the delivery of healthcare services to facility administration. Coursework views business practices within the context of the healthcare system, helping students develop knowledge in health facility marketing, finance and staff management and health care policies. This education is 100% focused on training students to become administrative leaders across healthcare industry settings, from hospitals to managed care organizations.

The MBA is an option both for those with experience in healthcare and for business professionals with a desire to work within the field. The MBA with a healthcare emphasis has a curriculum with core classes that are business-centric, covering topics such as economics, project management and cost accounting. Unlike the immersive curriculum of the MHA, the MBA typically only includes a few healthcare-related classes that augment business studies. Class topics may cover subjects such as healthcare business models, healthcare reform and insurance regulations and healthcare organizational management.

What Common Courses are Offered in a Master’s in Healthcare Management & Administration Program?

Below is a list of common classes students may take during their graduate education in healthcare administration. Although coursework will vary by specialization and specific institution, there are common themes between all healthcare administrative master’s programs.

Management and Organizational Behavior

This course provides students with an understanding of organizational behavior in terms of human resource management. Instruction emphasizes decision-making in group settings, creating dynamic work climates, individual behavior issues (e.g. motivation), conflict resolution, employee-employer relationships, and more.

Health Service Research Methods

The focus of this course is health services literature and research, with students studying how to design research experiments, analyze data, conduct evaluations, and report results. Through these practices, students become familiar with creating relevant management research proposals.

Healthcare Finance

This class concentrates on finance in the healthcare industry, specifically financial theory and concepts within healthcare organizations. Topics include capital investments, long-term financing, and operating fiscally responsible health services delivery systems and organizations.

Healthcare Delivery Systems

In this class, the history of healthcare delivery in the United States is studied in comparison to the healthcare systems in other countries. Students learn how health services and professions have evolved, with an interest in how advancements in medical technology impact patient care domestically and abroad.

Health Economics

Through this class, students learn about the economics of the healthcare system and its component parts, such as the demand for healthcare services, managed care, the health insurance market, physician’s services, cost of pharmaceuticals, government policies and healthcare reform, Medicare and Medicaid, long-term and hospital care, and more.

Health Policy and Management

Students in this class become familiar with healthcare legislation and policy and how both elements can influence organizational management in terms of finance, resources, and service performance. Students develop skills in health policy research, financial literacy, and programmatic evaluation.

What Specializations are Available in a Master’s in Healthcare Management & Administration Program?

Due to the specialized nature of MHA instruction, you should consider your professional area of practice (e.g. finance, human resources, executive management) to ensure the online MHA curriculum aligns with your academic needs and career goals. Below is a list of common academic concentrations available in MHA programs.


This specialization covers the fundamental concepts in risk assessment, market analysis, healthcare economics and reporting, preparing students for financial management careers throughout the healthcare system.

Healthcare Informatics

Designed for provide healthcare professionals with a broader understanding of collecting, processing and securing patient data and healthcare information.

Healthcare Operations

Healthcare administrators study cost-effective management practices and develop evidence-based decision making and strategic planning skills.

Health Policy

In this specialization, students develop program evaluation and policy analysis skills, allowing them to conduct cost-benefit analyses, assess healthcare initiatives and make strategic changes to policy formation and implementation.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Depending on the specific online MHA program, you might have a culminating learning experience that could include a capstone or in-person practicum. The capstone is the final project for an MHA degree. The project allows you to synthesize what you learned through your classes and develop an original research project that addresses an issue or problem within an area of healthcare administration (e.g. equity in healthcare access, nursing staffing shortages, etc.). Some programs may require you to complete an in-person consulting project in your local area. Through the practicum, you gain hands-on experience working in a healthcare setting (e.g. hospital, clinic) and build skills in administration and service management.

How Can I Choose a Quality Healthcare Management & Administration Master’s Program?

Healthcare management and administration is a popular degree program with hundreds of graduate programs throughout the country. Before you select a school, you should review the quality of the academic instruction, curriculum, faculty and career preparation. One way to gauge an online MHA’s quality is to check its accreditation standing. Like the university itself, individual academic programs can be accredited as well. For healthcare and administration, the central accrediting agency is the Commission on Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). CAHME evaluates the teaching and learning processes to ensure you receive an educational experience that meets industry standards and prepares you for leadership careers.

Beyond accreditation, be sure to check if the program requires residency requirements. Most online MHA programs are delivered fully online, but some may have on-campus visits where you participate in professional development courses or instructional sessions. Having to travel for an online program can be a major investment in money and time.

Career Opportunities with a Master’s in Healthcare Management & Administration

Earning an MHA degree can open the door to administrative and management careers in your existing health specialty (e.g. nursing, health informatics), as well as pave the way to employment avenues in disciplines across healthcare (e.g. community health, public policy). With skills in organizational management, finance and healthcare service delivery, you can find positions in hospitals, managed health organizations, insurance companies, medical technology and more. Below is a list of potential career options in healthcare administration to consider.

Health Services Manager

Health services managers direct and manage a range of healthcare organizations, ranging from departments to entire physician practices.

Median Salary: $98,350 per year
Currently Employed: 352,200
Expected Job Growth (2016-2026): +20%

Management Analyst

Healthcare analysts conduct research into patient data and health information and develop analytical reports that are used to make service delivery improvements or operational changes.

Median Salary: $82,450 per year*
Currently Employed: 806,400*
Expected Job Growth (2016-2026): +14%*

Healthcare Program Director

Healthcare program directors oversee specific health service practices (e.g. community health clinics), managing staff, budgeting and finances, operations and adherence to local and state regulations.

Median Salary: $80,435 per year
Currently Employed: N/A
Expected Job Growth (2016-2026): N/A

Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants are privately employed business analysts that conduct observations and audits of health-focused organizations and assist in making organizational improvements to health service delivery.

Median Salary: $76,126 per year
Currently Employed: N/A
Expected Job Growth (2016-2026): N/A

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale, 2018

What’s the Expected Job Outlook for Healthcare Management & Administration Careers?

Healthcare is one of the country’s largest industries – employing more than 18 million people nationwide – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With an aging population (20 percent will be older than 65 by 2020) and technology changing how healthcare services are delivered, there is increasing demand for improved healthcare management to ensure clinical care standards are met. Healthcare administrators are at the forefront of that management and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 20 percent national growth between 2016 and 2026.

Professional Organizations for Healthcare Management & Administration Careers

A second avenue for career development is joining a professional organization in healthcare administration and healthcare management. These organizations offer student memberships that provide access to networking events, job listings and peer-reviewed journals, as well as professional development training and scholarships and grants for graduate education.

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)The AAHAM is a professional organization in healthcare administrative management that hosts networking events nationally and provides multiple certification programs.

Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP)The AHCAP is a membership-based organization in healthcare administration that provides access to six free webinars yearly, an annual conference and tuition discounts with higher education partners.

Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA)The HCAA is a nonprofit trade association that supports healthcare management professionals by hosting conferences, providing online training resources, and offering certification programs.

Medical Group Management Association (MBMA)The MGMA is a national association for medical practice professionals that offers networking opportunities and a board certification program.

Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)PAHCOM is an association for healthcare office management professionals that operates multiple healthcare management certification programs.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Healthcare Management & Administration

Whether you want to become a nursing program director or launch a start-up in home care delivery, an MHA is a major step towards accomplishing that goal. Financing that dream should not be a barrier to success. Here are some outside funding opportunities to explore as you get started on your educational path.

University Scholarships Programs

Departments may offer merit-based scholarships to program applicants. Hofstra University provides internal scholarships to students when they apply.

Private Scholarships

Private foundations and individuals may have scholarship funding for students. For example, the Foster G. McGaw Graduate Scholarship is for MHA students in their final year of study.

Healthcare Associations

Many healthcare professional organizations offer scholarships to members. For example, the Medical Group Management Association offers multiple scholarship programs for students in healthcare administration and the American Health Information Management Association Foundation offers a range of scholarships for students pursing a graduate degree.

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