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Best Online Master’s in Healthcare Management

Date Updated: October 28, 2020

Master's in healthcare management programs prepare students to apply business skills and leadership strategies within healthcare settings. Healthcare managers and administrators work in a variety of healthcare-centered environments, including hospitals, medical supply companies, and insurance providers. A master's in healthcare management provides the qualifications and credentials needed to take on executive and leadership-based roles.

These programs allow students interested in both healthcare and business to apply skills from both areas and work within medical and healthcare settings in management positions. Students develop strong skills in communication and effective leadership, geared specifically toward managing the healthcare field.

Fortunately for prospective students, jobs in medical and health services management continue to grow rapidly, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 32% growth between 2019 and 2029. Earning a healthcare management master's offers a pathway to a career in this lucrative industry, and earning your degree online provides the flexibility to complete it without disrupting your life.

This guide features a ranking of the best master's in healthcare management online programs, plus helpful information on what to expect from these programs.

The 10 Best Online Healthcare Management Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management Richardson, Texas
2 University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Birmingham, Alabama
3 University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business Vermillion, South Dakota
4 Florida Atlantic University College of Business Boca Raton, Florida
5 Southeast Missouri State University Harrison College of Business Cape Girardeau, Missouri
6 Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business Dayton, Ohio
7 University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Management Amherst, Massachusetts
8 Quinnipiac University School of Business Hamden, Connecticut
9 Creighton University Heider College of Business Omaha, Nebraska
10 Marist College School of Management Poughkeepsie, New York

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What Is Healthcare Management?

Healthcare management professionals often work as doctors, nurses, and other clinical providers as well. Some of the earliest healthcare managers held the title of "superintendent" — these were often nurses and other clinical caregivers who handled administrative duties.

Eventually, the field gained traction and importance, with more and more hospitals opening across the United States requiring trained professionals to help manage day-to-day operations. In 1900, Columbia Teachers College began offering a program in health economics, and after that, the first official program in hospital administration opened at Marquette University.

Today, healthcare managers and administrators serve in a variety of roles and capacities across many healthcare settings. Some manage entire hospitals, some oversee the operations of specific departments, some manage nursing facilities, and some even work in the insurance industry. They create and implement care standards, develop and enact policy, and ensure their facilities meet standards and comply with regulations.

These professionals may partner with other healthcare organizations or businesses, including medical supply manufacturers and insurance providers, to provide high-quality care to patients and clients. Healthcare managers must possess practical skills in business, economics, communication, and even finance in order to manage entire healthcare systems.

More than 422,000 healthcare service managers currently work in the United States, and the BLS projects that the field will continue growing at a much faster-than-average rate in the coming years. This makes now an ideal time to earn a healthcare management master's degree and enter an expanding, in-demand industry.

Why Get a Healthcare Management Master's?

Earning a master's in healthcare management can give graduates an advantage in a variety of key areas. Graduate degrees, generally, tend to lead to higher pay potential. According to data from PayScale, those with a master's in healthcare management earn substantially more on average than those with a bachelor's in the same field.

A graduate degree in healthcare management provides the skills needed for more advanced roles, like those in leadership and executive positions. The benefits listed below offer just a sample of the potential advantages to earning a healthcare management master's degree.

  • Learning Critical Skills: A master's in healthcare management builds on skills across a variety of subject fields, including business, accounting, finance, and organizational leadership. These skills apply both within and outside of the healthcare field, offering graduates the opportunity to pursue roles in a variety of industries.
  • Gaining Experience: Some healthcare management programs allow students to pursue internships and other hands-on experiences in the field. These opportunities provide valuable, practical skills to bolster a resume and further appeal to employers.
  • Upward Mobility: Those already working in the field with a bachelor's degree may opt to earn a master's to pursue more advanced positions. The master's in healthcare management provides the credentials graduates need for these roles, including jobs as executives and top leaders in healthcare settings.

Ranking the Top 10 Online Master's Degrees in Healthcare Management

Researching and finding the best online healthcare management master's for you may seem overwhelming. To help prospective students in this process, we created a ranking system to identify the best online programs in this field. This resource provides a great place to start when weighing your considerations and selecting the program to best fit your needs and goals. Our ranking features only fully accredited programs. Learn more about our methodology below.

Our Methodology

A variety of factors could go into ranking programs, as each major, degree level, and school offers its own unique characteristics. We weighed key factors like accreditation, overall cost, and prestige to determine the 10 best programs in healthcare management. Our ranking methodology employs the following metrics:

  • Accreditation: 25%
  • Affordability: 25%
  • Regional College Prestige: 25%
  • Online Prestige: 25%

1. University of Texas at Dallas

Public university in Richardson, TX, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in the early 1960s, the University of Texas at Dallas now enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students across 142 unique academic programs.

Professional MBA in Healthcare

UT Dallas' professional MBA in healthcare prepares students for leadership positions in healthcare settings. The majority of coursework emphasizes healthcare, and many students complete the program in around 21 months. Students take courses in topics like the American healthcare system, healthcare economics, and organizational behavior.

Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership and Management

The 36-credit hour MS in healthcare leadership and management at UT Dallas takes between 18 and 24 months to complete. Students complete 15 credits of core courses in business, plus 12 credits of core courses in healthcare. Learners can opt to complete internships in the area, and additional certificates.

Applying to UT Dallas

  • – Submit copies of official undergraduate transcripts.
  • – Submit official scores from the GMAT or GRE, taken within the last five years.
  • – Submit a letter of recommendation
  • – Submit a professional essay and resume.

2. (Tied) University of Alabama at Birmingham

Public university in Birmingham, Alabama, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Alabama at Birmingham enrolls more than 22,000 students in 165 undergraduate and graduate programs. In the 2018-2019 academic year, UAB conferred more than 5,500 degrees. UAB's mission emphasizes respect, integrity, diversity and inclusiveness, and collaboration among students.

MBA in Health Services

UAB offers an online MBA comprising 36 credit hours. Students pursuing a concentration in health services take an additional course, ultimately completing 39 credits. As an MBA, the program emphasizes core courses and electives in business. Students take required courses in topics like accounting and finance, cost analysis, strategic management, information technology, and supply chain management.

Students can choose from two additional courses in health services to complete the degree requirements. Students typically complete the program in three years.

Applying to UAB

  • – Submit GMAT scores (currently waived through 2021)
  • – Submit an application with three letters of reference
  • – Submit a statement of purpose.
  • – Submit a current resume.
  • – Submit official copies of college transcripts.

3. (Tied) University of South Dakota

Public university in Vermillion, SD, accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

With a picturesque campus along the Missouri River, the University of South Dakota offers 280 academic programs, including more than 50 available entirely online. USD serves a student body of 9,920 and offers an abundant 120 student organizations and clubs.

Master of Business Administration – Health Services Administration Specialization

USD offers a renowned, fully online MBA program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students may pursue one of many available specializations, including one in health services administration. The program requires 39 credit hours, including foundational courses in business and specialization courses in topics like contemporary issues in health services administration, managing health services resources, and long-term care administration.

Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis track. Students can also pursue an optional internship during the program.

Applying to USD

  • – Complete a graduate school application.
  • – Submit official undergraduate transcripts.
  • – Submit a statement of purpose and a resume.
  • – Submit official GMAT scores.
  • – Submit three letters of recommendation.

4. Florida Atlantic University

Public university in Boca Raton, FL, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Since opening in 1964, Florida Atlantic University has grown to enroll a student body of more than 30,000 across six unique campuses and online. FAU offers more than 170 academic programs, and hosts 19 NCAA Division I athletic teams.

Executive Master of Health Administration

FAU offers a fully online master's in health administration, which students can complete in just 15 months. Students take on the program as a cohort online, allowing them to maintain their jobs and outside commitments.

The FAU College of Business holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Its executive master of health administration program emphasizes core courses in topics like healthcare finance, research methods for healthcare management, and health policy and law. All students take a one-credit "leadership bootcamp" in their first semester, and they have the opportunity to study abroad.

Applying to FAU

  • – Submit a graduate application and official undergraduate transcripts.
  • – Submit a current resume.
  • – Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • – Submit official GRE or GMAT scores.
  • – Some applicants may be asked for an interview.

5. Southeast Missouri State University

Public university in Cape Girardeau, MO, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Southeast Missouri State University enrolls nearly 12,000 students in more than 200 academic programs. SEMO offers more than 1,550 courses each semester, including over 350 online classes. Situated on the Mississippi River, SEMO boasts a historic campus less than two hours outside St. Louis.

MBA in Health Administration

SEMO's online MBA offers a specialization in health administration requiring 33 credit hours. Students explore topics in healthcare economics, marketing for health services organizations, health administration policy, and healthcare quality. The program culminates in an applied research project based in healthcare administration.

MS in Healthcare Management

Alternatively, students may pursue the MS in healthcare management. This program requires 30 credit hours, with courses in areas like healthcare informatics, healthcare database systems, and healthcare budgeting and reimbursement. Students can participate in an internship. An accelerated option is available for some eligible undergraduates in business.

Applying to SEMO

  • – Submit official GRE or GMAT scores.
  • – Submit official undergraduate transcripts.
  • – Submit a graduate school application.

6. Wright State University

Public university in Dayton, OH, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, enrolls more than 12,000 students in 276 academic programs. Home of the Rowdy Raider mascot, WSU also offers a growing number of fully online undergraduate and graduate programs.

MBA – Healthcare Management Concentration

Wright State awards an online MBA with a concentration option in healthcare management. The program requires 33 credits, including a variety of foundation and core courses in business, and elective courses within healthcare management. Students in this concentration take three required courses in health resource management and policy, strategic leadership in healthcare organizations, and financial management of healthcare organizations.

Students may also pursue dual degrees in areas like nursing and economics. No thesis or capstone is required.

Applying to Wright State

  • – Complete and submit a graduate school application.
  • – Submit all official transcripts with proof of undergraduate degree.
  • – Submit official GMAT scores.
  • – Students may apply for admission in any semester.

7. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Public university in Amherst, MA, accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education

Situated just 90 miles from Boston, the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosts a student body of 31,350 students. UMass Amherst offers 240 academic programs and boasts the largest library at a state-supported institution in Massachusetts.

MBA with a Focus in Healthcare Administration

UMass Amherst offers a fully online MBA with an optional focus in healthcare administration. The MBA program requires 45 credits, including a minimum of six credits in the focus area. Students in the healthcare administration focus can choose from courses in areas like health economics, healthcare data analytics, and ethical issues in public health. Students can opt to complete all requirements entirely online or in a hybrid format, with some in-person courses at one of the school's satellite campuses.

Applying to UMass Amherst

  • – Submit an online application.
  • – Write and submit a personal statement and a resume or CV.
  • – Submit official undergraduate transcripts.
  • – Submit two letters of recommendation
  • – Submit official GMAT or GRE scores.

8. Quinnipiac University

Private university in Hamden, CT, accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education

Since opening in 1929, Quinnipiac University has grown to enroll more than 10,000 students across three campuses and online. The private university offers 55 undergraduate and 34 graduate degrees, in addition to a variety of majors and dual-degree options.

Professional MBA

Quinnipiac offers an online MBA, which many students complete in two years. The 33-credit hour program allows students to take elective courses tailored to their interests and career goals, including courses in healthcare management. These course options include quality management in healthcare facilities, healthcare compliance law, and foundations of healthcare management.

No thesis or capstone is required. All students take foundational courses in areas like management and leadership, finance analysis, and strategic thinking.

Applying to Quinnipiac

  • – Submit an application form.
  • – Submit three professional letters of recommendation.
  • – Submit a current resume or CV.
  • – Write and submit a personal statement.
  • – Submit official GMAT or GRE scores.
  • – Submit official transcripts.
  • – Submit proof of three years of work experience.

9. Creighton University

Private university in Omaha, NE, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

A private university in the Jesuit tradition, Creighton University emphasizes Catholic values to its more than 8,800 students. The university offers 140 academic programs, including on-campus, online, hybrid, and accelerated options, to accommodate all types of learners.

Executive Healthcare MBA

Creighton offers an executive healthcare MBA in a hybrid format, mixing online courses and in-person residency. The 45-credit hour program takes around 18 months to complete, featuring four four-day, on-campus residencies in addition to online coursework. Students explore topics in strategy for healthcare organizations, healthcare marketing, health policy and economics, and legal and ethical considerations in healthcare management.

The program culminates in a capstone course and a six-credit independent study project.

Applying to Creighton

  • – Submit official undergraduate transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • – Submit a resume detailing at least five years of work experience.
  • – Submit a statement of purpose.
  • – Submit three letters of recommendation.

10. (Tied) Marist College

Private college in Poughkeepsie, NY, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Situated on a scenic campus along the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, Marist College enrolls more than 6,600 students across over 60 academic programs. Marist also boasts an international campus in Florence, Italy, with both campuses emphasizing the liberal arts.

Healthcare Administration MBA

Marist offers an online MBA program with an emphasis in healthcare administration. This program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The degree comprises 36 credit hours, including 27 credits within the MBA core and nine credits within the healthcare administration focus. Students complete courses in eight-week "rounds," fully online.

The program culminates in a capstone course in strategic management. Healthcare administration students take additional elective courses in topics like healthcare policies, legal and ethical issues in healthcare, and critical issues in healthcare.

Each student receives a personalized curriculum guide, geared toward their career path and concentration.

Applying to Marist

  • – Submit official transcripts.
  • – Submit a resume, or other written description of work experience.
  • – Submit official scores from the GMAT or GRE.
  • – Submit two reference forms.
  • – Complete and submit responses to essay questions.

What to Expect From Healthcare Management Master's Programs

All healthcare management programs differ slightly in specific offerings, requirements, and program length. However, many programs take 1-2 years to complete. Enrolling part time rather than full time can increase program length, and many programs allow students to take summer courses to shorten this time frame.

Typically, healthcare management programs require 30-45 credit hours. Different degree types may entail different credit requirements and emphasize different core courses; for example, the MA often emphasizes business, and the MS may take a more clinical, hands-on approach to healthcare management skills. Each program varies.

Online learning in healthcare management programs may take place asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at any time. Some programs allow online learners to take an accelerated approach, completing more courses per semester to finish more quickly.

Healthcare management graduate programs sometimes require standardized test scores, such as the GMAT or GRE, for admission. Applicants may also need to write a statement of purpose and submit letters of recommendation.

Healthcare Management Degree Options

Different schools may offer different healthcare management degree options, each geared toward a specific kind of student and career. Healthcare management encompasses a unique variety of skills and competencies and fits well into a variety of degree types.

  • MA in Healthcare Management: MA programs take a broad, foundational approach to healthcare management. These programs often incorporate a wider variety of skills and knowledge in different areas. An MA in healthcare management prepares graduates to enter the job field ready to apply their knowledge to problem-solving and leadership roles.
  • MS in Healthcare Management: MS programs often take a more clinical, scientific approach to learning. Students in these programs may conduct more research or pursue other practice-based experiences. These programs tend to suit students who might seek further education later on.
  • MBA in Healthcare Management: Some MBA programs offer concentrations or specialization in healthcare management. These degrees include core courses in business and management, with those skills remaining in the forefront of study. These programs may look specifically for applicants with an existing background in business.

Degrees in healthcare management are similar to those in healthcare administration, and sometimes the names exist interchangeably.

Popular Healthcare Management Courses

Healthcare management master's programs offer different types of courses, and course offerings vary from school to school. Typically, these programs consist of core courses centered around the degree type (MA, MS, MBA), elective courses or courses within available concentrations, and some form of culminating course or project, like a capstone or thesis. The courses listed below offer some examples of typical courses offered in healthcare management programs.

  • Accounting: This course provides a foundational exploration of accounting basics, specifically geared toward the skills and knowledge necessary for managers in healthcare settings. Students gain a fundamental working knowledge of key concepts and practical applications.
  • Operations Management: Students explore fundamentals in decision-making models and organizational management, including topics in theory, planning, inventory management, and project management. The course emphasizes skills in production and planning, based in decision-making.
  • Economics: This course examines key concepts in economics and their practical applications within healthcare settings. Students explore fundamentals in micro and macroeconomics, including theory surrounding consumer behavior, income and employment, and pricing methodology.
  • Health Policy and Law: Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the laws and policies directly affecting professionals in healthcare, including malpractice, liability, patient care, and work-related compensation. The course also explores methods for creating and implementing workplace policy.
  • Capstone/Thesis: Capstone courses may cover a variety of topics or entail working closely with a professor on a specific research project. Some programs allow students to choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks. Thesis projects generally occur independently.

What Jobs Can a Healthcare Management Degree Get You?

Earning a master's in healthcare management opens doors to more advanced career roles and higher salary potential across the spectrum of industries and sectors that employ these graduates. Data shows those with a master's in healthcare management earn significantly more than those with a bachelor's in the same major; this likely stems from the more senior positions available to professionals with a graduate degree.

Although a bachelor's serves as the minimum requirement for some medical and health service management positions, many employers prefer candidates with the knowledge and experience a master's degree provides. Healthcare management master's programs prepare students for careers in a variety of industries, including traditional healthcare settings and healthcare-adjacent businesses and organizations.

Armed with valuable skills in finance, management, leadership, and organizational development, graduates of healthcare management master's programs make ideal candidates for all kinds of business and management-centered roles, including those highlighted below.


Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and health services managers, sometimes called healthcare administrators, direct and oversee healthcare facilities and medical providers. These managers may work in specific departments or oversee entire facilities and teams. They aim to provide efficient, effective, high-quality care. They often represent their organizations or facilities to boards and the outside community.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's, master's preferred
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +32%
  • Median Annual Salary: $100,980

Executives

Executives in the medical and healthcare sectors head up entire facilities and organizations. These may include entire healthcare systems, insurance companies, medical supply companies, and nursing facilities. Top executives serve in leadership roles, generally overseeing entire companies and ensuring things run efficiently and effectively.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's, master's preferred
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $104,690

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers in healthcare settings make sure all employees are treated and compensated fairly, in comfortable and safe working conditions. They often serve on hiring committees to recruit and hire new staff. They sometimes take on administrative roles, handling conflict within their organizations and working alongside top leadership.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's, master's sometimes preferred
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $116,720

Selecting Your Master's in Healthcare Management Program

Picking the best healthcare management program for you takes careful consideration of a variety of key factors. Our rankings feature fully accredited schools, a crucial aspect of selecting a program, but each student informs their selection with their unique requirements, needs, and interest. See below for examples of factors to consider while researching programs.

  • Cost and Financial Aid: Graduate programs often cost more per credit hour than undergraduate programs, making earning a master's degree a costly endeavor. Fortunately, many schools offer financial aid options to offset these costs. Weigh your budget against tuition costs and available aid like grants, scholarships, and loans. Remember: loans require repayment, sometimes with steep interest rates.
  • Concentrations/Specializations: Some healthcare management programs exist as concentration options within MBA, MA, or MS tracks. Others stand alone, and may also offer additional concentration options within healthcare management. These may include healthcare policy, finance, or leadership. Consider whether pursuing a secondary concentration serves as an important part of your wish list.
  • Program Length: Consider how long you want to spend earning your degree, particularly if you plan to remain in your current career as you take courses. If your goal is to enter the job market as quickly as possible, you might look for accelerated programs or enroll full time.

Why Should You Get Your Master's in Healthcare Management Online?

In 2018, nearly 7 million students enrolled in at least one online course at a postsecondary institution. That year, 16.6% of postsecondary students pursued their courses entirely online. This rise in online learning comes as no surprise, as more universities offer comprehensive online learning options, including those in healthcare management.

Online programs offer working adults the flexibility to remain in their careers and tend to ongoing family obligations while earning their degree. Students in healthcare management master's programs may especially excel in online learning, as these students often maintain a high level of drive and commitment to time management and organization, skills critical to success in distance education.

However, online learning may not suit every student. Distance education requires discipline and the ability to work outside of traditional classroom settings. Online learners in healthcare management must make time for their coursework and complete work by assigned deadlines.

Graduate courses require more attention and work than undergraduate classes; students in online healthcare management master's programs should plan to spend roughly 12 hours a week on each three-credit course they enroll in. This averages out to around two hours per day, per course. Prospective online learners should consider this commitment prior to enrolling.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a master's in healthcare management worth it?

Yes Earning a healthcare management master's opens doors to career advancement and higher salary potential. Healthcare managers who hold a master's earn more on average than those with a bachelor's.

What can I do with a master's in healthcare management?

A master's in healthcare management provides the skills and credentials to excel in a variety of careers. Many graduates go on to pursue careers as medical and health services managers, hospital administrators, and top executives.

What kind of healthcare management degrees are there?

Schools offer healthcare management programs within MA, MS, and MBA degrees. Each degree tailors towards a specific kind of student with specific career goals. For instance, MBA degrees in healthcare management emphasize a business administration core, and MS in healthcare management programs often emphasize research and practice-based learning.

What does a healthcare manager do?

Depending on where they work, healthcare managers may oversee entire facilities, departments, or teams. They ensure operations work efficiently, that all policies and laws are followed, and handle the day-to-day management duties.

Are healthcare managers in demand?

The BLS projects a 32% growth for jobs for medical and healthcare services managers by 2029, making healthcare management an incredible in-demand occupation. Other common careers, like human resource management, are also growing faster than the national average.

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