Top 5 Online MBA Programs in Healthcare Administration 2021
| OnlineMBA.com Staff
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A master of business administration (MBA) in healthcare administration is a graduate-level business degree with a concentration in healthcare management. Programs in this field deliver foundational skills in management and leadership, plus specialized knowledge in healthcare finance and biostatistics.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 32% growth in employment for medical and health service managers from 2019-2029, much faster than the average projected growth rate for all occupations. With demand for healthcare managers on the rise, graduates with online healthcare administration MBAs often secure lucrative positions shortly after graduation.
Our rankings explore the best online MBAs in healthcare administration. This page also covers degree options in healthcare management, the benefits of an online MBA in healthcare administration, and job prospects for graduates in the field. We also consider the costs of pursuing an online healthcare administration MBA.
What Is Healthcare Administration?
The field of healthcare management arose in early 20th-century America, as rapid growth in hospitals nationwide created a need for workers with expertise in patient record-keeping, hospital accreditation, and hospital finances. Initially, experienced business professionals filled these roles. The University of Chicago opened the nation’s first healthcare management program in 1934, introducing the academic discipline of healthcare administration.
Like today’s healthcare managers, hospital administrators of the early 20th century oversaw facilities’ compliance with hospital accreditation standards. Initially comprising a single page of requirements, these standards have since developed into the Joint Commission’s rigorous performance policies.
Today, graduates from MBA programs in health service management often work in managerial and leadership positions for hospitals, long-term care facilities, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.
Today, graduates from MBA programs in health service management often work in managerial and leadership positions for hospitals, long-term care facilities, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. Careers available to MBAs in healthcare administration include occupations like health information director, medical insurance underwriter, and healthcare compliance officer.
MBA programs in healthcare administration attract experienced healthcare specialists looking to advance professionally, along with budding business managers interested in the ethics of care, biotechnology, and healthcare innovation.
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Why Get a Healthcare Administration MBA?
Earning an online MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration can give graduates an edge over job candidates with general MBAs. Other advantages of earning an online healthcare administration MBA include:
Strong Job Prospects
The BLS projects consistent growth for managerial and leadership positions in the healthcare industry from 2019-2029. With an online MBA in healthcare administration, graduates can anticipate strong job prospects.
An online healthcare administration MBA can pave the way for a highly profitable business career. For example, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $100,980 for health information directors as of 2019.
Opportunities to Influence the Standards of Healthcare
Healthcare managers oversee healthcare organizations’ compliance with accreditation and licensure standards and implement improvements. These professionals can become long-lasting agents of positive change in the industry.
What to Expect From an Online MBA in Healthcare Administration
Earning an online MBA in healthcare administration usually requires 60 credits, which takes around two years of full-time study. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that enable learners to finish in one year. Part-time programs allow students to spread out the course load over 3-4 years.
A typical online healthcare administration MBA program requires core courses in business management, electives in healthcare administration, and a thesis or capstone seminar. Common core business classes include biostatistics, operations management, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Popular healthcare administration electives include healthcare reform, U.S. medical insurance, and healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.
The MBA Admission Process
While most online MBAs in healthcare administration admit applicants with bachelor’s degrees from accredited institutions, some programs require professional experience in business administration.
Applicants typically submit materials such as a CV or resume, personal essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GMAT or GRE scores.
Some programs require a minimum 3.0 GPA, but most do not set specific minimum GMAT or GRE scores. Schools may waive standardized test scores for distance learners. Entrance exam scores in the 90th percentile, a GPA of at least 3.5, and prior work experience in healthcare can increase admission chances.
Common alternatives to an MBA in healthcare management include a master of health administration (MHA), master of public administration (MPA), and master of science (MS) in health administration. These degrees overlap in course content but differ in program length, credit load, career goals, and course requirements.
An MHA takes around one year to complete for full-time learners and requires 30-36 credits. MHA programs require fewer business courses than an MBA. This degree qualifies graduates for entry-level managerial positions in healthcare, insurance, or pharmaceuticals.
Students usually complete this 30-36 credits professional degree in one year of full-time study. A standard MPA curriculum encompasses more courses in public healthcare administration than typical MHA, MBA, and MS programs. Graduates with MPAs pursue careers as government, community, and nonprofit healthcare managers.
Full-time students can complete this 24-48 credit degree in 1-2 years. A typical MS curriculum includes more STEM courses than most MHA, MPA, and MBA programs. Graduates with MS in healthcare administration degrees qualify for many of the same positions as MBAs with this focus.
Comparing Healthcare Administration and General MBAs
Prospective students may wonder whether to pursue a general MBA or an MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration. The two degrees share similarities in length and credit requirements, both qualifying learners for general managerial and leadership posts.
MBA programs in healthcare management deliver a more in-depth understanding of leadership in healthcare, medical insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. A specialized MBA suits learners who aspire to managerial positions in these industries.
Comparing Healthcare Administration MBAs to General MBA Programs
MBA in Healthcare Administration
Two years full time
Two years full time
Healthcare law and ethics, healthcare leadership, biostatistics and epidemiology, healthcare finance
An online MBA in healthcare administration usually requires coursework in biostatistics, financial reporting, and healthcare management. Popular concentration courses include healthcare strategy, global health, and healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.
Most online healthcare administration MBA programs culminate in a capstone or thesis seminar. Students apply their newfound business prowess to real-world business challenges.
Common courses include:
Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Students develop an advanced understanding of the statistical concepts and methods in healthcare administration. Topics include data collection, analysis, reporting, and presentation; descriptive and inferential statistics; and epidemiological theory.
Coursework explores strategic planning, managerial problem-solving, and organizational change. Enrollees learn to apply theory and best practices to the demanding environments of healthcare facilities.
Healthcare Policy and Reform
This course provides an overview of the national health crisis and leading proposals for healthcare reform. Through simulations, learners gain practical knowledge of how to identify and fulfill healthcare needs, cut patient costs, and increase quality of care.
Through an analysis of case studies, enrollees learn how healthcare managers have used financial data to make difficult decisions.
Students research suitable topics within healthcare administration under the supervision of faculty members. The seminar culminates in a research project.
How Much Will an MBA in Healthcare Administration Cost?
Tuition for online MBAs in healthcare administration varies among programs. Private schools tend to be more expensive than public institutions. Public universities commonly charge an additional $10,000-$20,000 for out-of-state residents, bringing the cost of tuition at public institutions in line with the tuition expense at private schools.
Most schools charge less for their distance learning programs, however. Public schools commonly charge in-state tuition for their remote learning programs, regardless of student residency. Private schools also tend to offer their online degrees at a flat, discounted rate.
Students should factor in the costs of required technology and course materials, travel expenses associated with potential campus visits, and the loss of work income. Scholarships, loans, grants, and fellowships can help finance the degree. The links below provide more information about these financial options.
An online healthcare administration MBA offers a stepping stone to lucrative managerial or executive leadership roles in the healthcare, insurance, or pharmaceutical industries. According to the BLS, the median pay for medical and health service managers exceeded six figures as of 2019.
Common careers include:
Healthcare managers direct the business activities of healthcare providers. Typical responsibilities include overseeing healthcare provider records and finances, improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare services, and developing goals and objectives in collaboration with medical staff and top executives.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Job Outlook (2019-29):+32% Median Annual Salary:$100,980
Hospital Facilities Manager
Hospital facilities managers oversee hospital buildings, equipment, and supplies. Typical job duties include overseeing the maintenance and replacement of equipment, representing the facilities at stakeholder and board meetings, and ensuring compliance with healthcare, environmental, and security regulations.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Job Outlook (2019-29):+6% Median Annual Salary:$96,940
Medical Insurance Underwriter
These professionals make decisions about medical insurance applications. Underwriters screen applicants for eligibility, calculate the risk of insuring potential clients, and determine reasonable premiums.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Job Outlook (2019-29):-6% Median Annual Salary:$70,020
Nursing Home Administrator
Nursing home administrators manage the staff, admissions, and finances of nursing homes. Typical responsibilities include evaluating and improving the quality of eldercare, researching and implementing new approaches to care, and overseeing the recruitment and training of staff members.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Average Annual Salary:$91,510
Selecting Your Healthcare Administration MBA Program
Our rankings can help students narrow down their available school options to a more manageable size. Prospective enrollees should consider the factors that align most with their goals and perform their own research, as well, such as affordability. Students who graduate with substantial amounts of debt may never see a return on investment.
An MBA can be a valuable credential, but only if earned at a regionally accredited university
Prospective MBA students should also consider the success of a school’s alumni. While the success of a single graduate does not provide insight into program quality, the overall accomplishments of a program’s alumni point to the school’s reputation.
The availability of networking opportunities for distance learners also plays an important role. Networking events offer crucial connections to gaining references, internships, and job offers.
Why You Should Get Your MBA in Healthcare Administration Online
Prospective students considering online MBAs in healthcare administration may wonder whether employers hold the same view of online degrees as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. With distance learning on the rise, employers increasingly regard online and on-campus MBAs from the same prestigious business school as equally valuable.
Transcripts do not reveal whether the student obtained their MBA online or on campus. So unless the subject comes up at an interview, employers cannot discern the specific degree format.
When searching for online programs, prospective students should prioritize online program formats that match their learning style. Individuals who learn best in a classroom setting with peer discussions should prioritize synchronous online programs. These immersive learning experiences simulate on-campus experiences.
Aspiring MBA enrollees who prefer to study at their own pace may want to consider asynchronous online programs. Degree-seekers can access course materials and complete assignments and discussion boards at their convenience. Keep in mind, however, that an asynchronous format requires significant self-determination to stay on pace with course deadlines.
Five Best Online MBA in Healthcare Administration Program Rankings for 2021
Ambitious business professionals can pursue leadership and management positions in healthcare by earning an MBA in healthcare administration. Many online programs offer the education needed to advance careers. The best of these programs hold accreditation from independent agencies.
All of the schools on our 2021 ranked list hold national, regional, and/or industry-specific accreditation with at least one of the agencies listed below:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Higher Learning Commision (HLC)
New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Network of International Business Schools (NIBS)
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
FIU offers a fast-track MBA in healthcare administration that allows motivated professionals to earn a degree in just 18 months. This program offers specialized training in health systems financing, legal issues for providers, federal and global health policy processes, and effective decision-making for healthcare managers.
The online healthcare administration MBA at FIU allows enrollees to take part in an optional global travel program and earn an advanced certificate in global healthcare administration. Additionally, graduates benefit from an alumni network of more than 300 healthcare professionals.
Applying to FIU
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of coursework and have two years of professional work experience. Prospective students complete an online application and submit official transcripts, a current resume, a statement of purpose, and two professional letters of recommendation. GMAT and GRE scores are optional but may be requested from some applicants.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB, CAHME Tuition: $59,892/program Required Credits: 42 credits Program Length: 18 months Delivery Format: Online with some in-person requirements
OU's online MBA with a concentration in healthcare offers business professionals current insight on business concepts in today's healthcare administration. Enrollees benefit from concentrated coursework in healthcare law, finance, and organization. Fortune also ranked OU's program third for best MBA value.
Degree-seekers also benefit from an on-campus residency through OU's leadership development program. This learning opportunity aims to provide a bridge between classroom learning and industry applications. The program takes place over two days, and OU offers the event several times throughout the year to fit student schedules.
Applying to OU
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. Prospective students complete an online application and provide official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a professional statement.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC, AACSB Tuition: $1,028/credit hour (in state); $1,047/credit hour (out of state) Required Credits: 35 credits Program Length: 2 years minimum Delivery Format: Online with some in-person requirements
FAU's online MBA offers the same curriculum and professors as its campus-based programs. This degree does not require residencies, so virtual learners can complete the coursework from anywhere.
U.S. News & World Report ranks FAU's online MBA program among the best programs in the nation, while Bloomberg BusinessWeek includes FAU on their best MBAs in the world list. FAU graduates may also get more value for their investment, since FAU's MBA programs were also recently ranked No. 1 in Florida and No. 5 in the United States for return on investment.
Applying to FAU
Prospective FAU students must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 undergraduate credits. Candidates should also demonstrate four years of professional work experience. Candidates complete an online application and provide official transcripts, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB Tuition: $800/credit hour Required Credits: 40-46 credits Program Length: 16-23 months Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
UTRGV's MBA with a specialization in healthcare administration provides students with a business administration foundation and specialized studies in relevant issues like healthcare accounting, financial management, and marketing. Graduates can undertake managerial positions in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and government healthcare agencies.
UTRGV's healthcare MBA offers courses including healthcare finance, health computer information systems, competing through service, and healthcare accounting. In addition to the elective studies, UTRGV also offers a healthcare administration and leadership certificate to help healthcare managers develop skills in complex healthcare delivery systems.
Applying to UTRGV
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field from a regionally accredited institution. Candidates should complete an online application and provide official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants send GMAT scores (minimum 400) or GRE scores (minimum 146 verbal and 146 quantitative). Prospective students must also answer five short-answer questions.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB Tuition: $472/credit hour Required Credits: 36 credits Program Length: 12 months Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
SEMO's MBA in health administration prepares degree-seekers for management opportunities in local, regional, and national healthcare operations. Courses in healthcare economics, strategic marketing, and organizational behavior in practice help professionals learn to run a team, improve workflows, and manage budgets.
This program is housed in SEMO's Harrison College of Business and Computing, which boasts an impressive success rate of 92% of graduates employed or enrolled in grad school just one year after graduation. The college offers enrollees jobs and internships with nearly 550 corporate partnerships.
Applying to SEMO
Prospective SEMO students typically demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA on undergraduate coursework, provide GRE scores of at least 147 for verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning and 3.5 or higher in analytical writing, and earn a passing grade in all prerequisite courses.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC, AACSB, and NIBS Tuition: $374/credit hour Required Credits: 33 credits Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with an MBA in healthcare administration?
An MBA in healthcare administration qualifies graduates for managerial and leadership posts in the healthcare, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. Career options include healthcare manager, nursing home director, healthcare compliance officer, and healthcare financial director.
Is an MBA in healthcare administration worth it?
Yes. Even when factoring in all the costs of completing the degree, MBAs in healthcare administration still tend to see a return on investment within a few years of finding employment.
How much does an MBA in healthcare administration cost?
Tuition for an MBA in healthcare administration at a top-tier school can cost $20,000-$150,000 in total, depending on prestige, school type (public vs. private), and program type (on-campus vs. online). However, most schools offer their online MBAs at a discounted rate.
Do employers care if your MBA is online?
No. If you earn an MBA from a reputable school, employers do not mind whether the degree comes from an in-person or online program.
Is it better to get an MBA or an MHA?
An MBA tends to qualify graduates for higher positions in the field than an MHA. However, an MBA can be much more expensive than an MHA, as the former tends to take twice as long to complete.