10 Most Affordable Doctorates in Healthcare Management Online Programs in 2021

10 Most Affordable Doctorates in Healthcare Management Online Programs in 2021

An online Ph.D. or doctorate in healthcare management is a great alternative for graduate professionals who want to finish their education with a terminal degree. The field of healthcare management is expected to grow by about 32% through 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — much higher than the national average — which means the demand for professionals in this field will not be slowing down anytime soon. 

While obtaining your doctorate healthcare management degree can be expensive, graduates with doctorates in healthcare management can typically land positions that offer a quick return on investment, especially if they choose an affordable online Ph.D. degree program. 

After graduation, you can typically use this degree to pursue jobs like medical and health services manager, a position which had a 2020 median wage of about $104,280, according to BLS. Top executives, including those employed in the healthcare field, earned a median annual salary of about $107,680 as of 2020. Both are logical career paths for someone with a doctorate in healthcare management, and you can pursue many other lucrative paths for employment after earning this degree. 

Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

Most Affordable Doctorates in Healthcare Management Online Programs in 2021

  • California Intercontinental University

    Irvine, CA



    California Intercontinental University confers the DBAHCML for students interested in academia as a potential career. This is a research-based degree that uses applied research to help teach advanced concepts in healthcare management and leadership. Combining soft and hard skills with psychology and business, this degree demonstrates the different disciplines at play within the field. As a hybrid degree, students will be able to complete most of the 60 credit hours of coursework online; however, there is a study residency required for graduation. The program can generally be completed in two years; five years is the maximum time allowed for completion. Sample courses include Strategies for Healthcare Leadership, E-Commerce Models and Applications, and Organizational Change and Development in Management Systems.

    • Graduation rate: NA
    • Program length: 2+ years
    • Admissions requirements: Master’s degree
    • Credit Requirements: 60 credits 
    • Program Website
  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Springs, CO



    Colorado Technical University confers an interesting degree related to the Healthcare Management Ph.D. online of other schools. This school offers the Doctor of Management with a concentration in Healthcare Management and Leadership, a degree designed to prepare students for the evolving way that management plays a role in medical facilities. Students will learn the necessary skills to become effective managers, do research, and engage in concepts in real-world scenarios. This degree requires 96 credit hours of work and includes a dissertation and research. Sample courses include Health Policy and Regulations, Informatics in Healthcare, and Continuous Improvement for Systems in Healthcare.

    • Graduation rate: 26%
    • Program length: 4 years
    • Admissions requirements: NA 
    • Credit Requirements: 100 credits 
    • Program Website
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

    Indianapolis, IN



    The DrPH in Global Health Leadership is a new kind of healthcare management doctorate online degree. It was created by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis specifically for help students begin their career in the public health administration space. This is a hybrid cohort degree, meaning that students are put into groups and move through the degree together. This cohort is also required to meet face-to-face three times for the first two years of the degree. The program was built for professionals who already work in the industry and are ready to move into more senior leadership roles. The school requires that each student complete 45 credit hours of coursework that includes dissertation work. Sample courses from this degree include Global Health Policy Analysis and Advocacy, A Population Perspective for Global Health, and Leadership Challenges in Global Health Informatics.

    • Graduation rate: 50%
    • Program length: 3+ years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree
    • Credit Requirements: 90 credits
    • Program Website
  • Northcentral University

    San Diego, CA



    Northcentral University offers a DBA in Health Care Administration, a degree that is in high demand from hospitals, clinics, and healthcare systems. It is a professional degree meant to create professionals who can research and implement new technologies and systems to create a faster and more efficient healthcare system. Students will also gain knowledge about administration conflicts and solutions, all while completing the requirements for the degree at home. This program requires 54 credit hours of coursework, research, and a dissertation. Most students complete the degree in four years. Sample courses include Ethics in Business, Health Care Strategic Management, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care Research Management.

    • Graduation rate: NA
    • Program length: 44 months
    • Admissions requirements: Master’s degree and 3-5 years of work experience
    • Credit Requirements: 60 credits
    • Program Website
  • Texas Woman's University

    Denton, TX



    An incredible online Ph.D. in Healthcare Management option for ambitious professionals is the Ph.D in Health Studies at Texas Woman's University. This is a cohort-based, research-focused hybrid program that will develop professionals who can work as professors, postdoctoral fellows, or consultants within the healthcare administration field. Students will find that the only residency requirement is one course, which is delivered during the summer in a workshop format. The entire degree is made up of 96 credit hours of coursework, of which 39 can be accounted for with a master's degree. The program also offers three concentrations: population health, environmental health, and higher education. Sample courses include Social Epidemiology, Strategies in Health Education Delivery, and History of health and Medicine.

    • Graduation rate: 43%
    • Program length: 3+ years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree and 3.0 GPA
    • Credit Requirements: 96-98 credits
    • Program Website
  • Trident University

    Cypress, CA



    Trident University confers an online doctorate in healthcare management entirely online. Under the umbrella term "health sciences," this degree confers two concentrations: Global Health and Health Policy and Administration. These concentrations will help further specialize a student in the career path of their choice. This is a professional degree that will lead to leadership positions in a variety of different employment environments, enabling a student to choose what form of health care they can affect with their knowledge and training. The degree requires 44 credit hours of coursework, including five research courses, a dissertation, a qualifying exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Current Issues in Health Administration, Health Care Law, and Regulation and Ethics.

    • Graduation rate: NA
    • Program length: 2+ years
    • Admissions requirements: 3.0 GPA
    • Credit Requirements: 36-52 credits
    • Program Website
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Birmingham, AL



    There is an interesting online Ph.D in Healthcare Management available through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This is a professional cohort degree aimed at mid-to-senior level executives who are interested in moving into the highest levels of management within the field. The degree can be completed in three years with full-time study. As a hybrid program, there is a residency requirement of three eight-day visits for two years; it also requires one international trip that is done with the cohort. The third year is dedicated completely to a student's dissertation, including three one-week visits to campus, which is a requirement for graduation. Each student will complete 72 credit hours and will be among the brightest and most accomplished professionals once they earn the degree.

    • Graduation rate: 63%
    • Program length: 3-6 years
    • Admissions requirements: Prior research experience
    • Credit Requirements: 75-81 credits
    • Program Website
  • University of Mississippi

    Oxford, MS



    One of the best online doctoral degrees available to professionals is the part-time Doctor of Health Administration that is conferred by the University of Mississippi. Created for students who work full-time and need a flexible degree plan, the DHA works on the assumption that students will take three courses each term. When completed this way, students will complete 60 credit hours of coursework, research, and a dissertation is just three years. With a variety of courses available, students will be prepared to take on any issue that may affect the healthcare industry in the coming years. Sample courses include Communications in Health Organizations, Strategic Change Management, and Organizational Behavior for Health Professions.

    • Graduation rate: 66%
    • Program length: 3 years
    • Admissions requirements: Master’s degree and at least 3.0 GPA
    • Credit Requirements: 54-60 credits
    • Program Website
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Chapel Hill, NC



    Students interested in a healthcare management online Ph.D. that focuses on the global scale will be interested in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's DrPH program. This hybrid program delivers most of the coursework online with intensives held once a semester for three days for the first two years of the degree. The degree was designed for professionals who work internationally on public health and are passionate about becoming leaders in the same field they already work in; nonprofit applicants are desired in this highly competitive program. This degree has a minimum of 45 credit hours of coursework as well as a dissertation and a research project. Sample courses include Linear Regression Models, Developing Proposals for Health Services and Policy Research, and Advanced Methodology in Health Policy and Management.

    • Graduation rate: 91%
    • Program length: 4 years
    • Admissions requirements: 3.0 GPA and at least 5 years of experience in health field
    • Credit Requirements: 48 credits 
    • Program Website
  • University of South Florida

    Tampa, FL



    A cheap online healthcare management Ph.D option for students is the Doctor of Public Health, which is conferred by the University of South Florida. This is a hybrid program that requires some length of residency on campus, which is usually fulfilled by workshops offered by the school's DPH Institute. Students will find a variety of electives and focus areas, including Epidemiology, Public Health, and Health Administration. Most courses are delivered online; research can also be done through distance learning. Students must also complete a qualifying exam and a doctoral project, which includes research and a dissertation. Sample courses include Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, The Public Health Laboratory System, and Computer Applications for Public Health Research.

    • Graduation rate: 75%
    • Program length: 2 years
    • Admissions requirements: 3.00 GPA and two years of work experience
    • Credit Requirements: 43 credits 
    • Program Website
  • Our Methodology, Explained

    Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 20%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 40%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 15%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%
    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

Answering your questions about Online Doctorate programs in Healthcare Management

  • How long does it take to get a doctorate in health administration?

    How long it takes you to get a doctorate in health administration will depend on the program you choose and whether you’re going to school full time or part time. Most Ph.D. programs craft their curriculum so that it will only take you two to four years to graduate, though that isn’t the case for all programs.

  • Is there a Ph.D. in healthcare administration?

    Yes, you can get a Ph.D. in healthcare administration. Business is an important aspect of how the healthcare industry runs, which means there are many universities and colleges that offer graduate programs in healthcare administration. You can even specialize in a specific field, such as health policy, education, or operations, while earning your doctoral degree in this field.

  • Can you get a doctorate in healthcare management online?

    Yes, you can get a Ph.D. in healthcare administration. Business is an important aspect of how the healthcare industry runs, which means there are many universities and colleges that offer graduate programs in healthcare administration. You can even specialize in a specific field, such as health policy, education, or operations, while earning your doctoral degree in this field.

  • What can you do with a D.H.Sc. degree?

    A D.H.Sc., or doctorate of health science degree, can open doors to some of the highest and well-paid positions in the healthcare industry. With a doctorate of health science degree, you can pursue jobs in healthcare policy, research, public health, or run healthcare organizations and companies.

  • How much can you make with a doctorate in health administration?

    After you graduate with a doctorate in health administration, you may be able to make six figures for your annual salary, though it will depend on the position or career track that you pursue. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers made a median wage of about $104,280 as of 2020. That field also has a projected job growth rate of 32% through 2029.

  • What does DBA stand for?

    DBA stands for doctor of business administration. This degree is similar to an MBA. However, a DBA is a more specialized degree that focuses on researching issues and providing solutions. With a DBA, you’ll learn primarily about research and problem-solving.

Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Program Overview

After earning your doctorate in healthcare management, you’ll be an expert in business as it pertains to the healthcare industry. With this degree, you can pursue job opportunities in management or research in a wide range of healthcare and healthcare-adjacent fields.

In general, earning a DBA in healthcare management online takes between two and four years to complete, though the time it will take you will depend on what you choose to specialize in, whether you’re attending class full-time or part-time, and other factors, like program requirements. You can expect to take courses in human resources, law, and finance. You’ll typically need to earn between 40-60 credit hours to graduate, and will likely need to meet other requirements, including a dissertation, to be awarded your Ph.D.

Career and Salary Outlook 

As a healthcare administrator, you can opt to pursue professional roles, like medical and health services manager or top executive. According to BLS, the median salary for medical or health services managers was about $104,28 per year as of 2020. Top executives, on the other hand, earned about $107,680 per year on average in 2020.  

Another lucrative career path you may choose to pursue is that of a financial manager. As of 2020, the annual median salary was about $134,180 per year in this field. 

What is the ROI for a doctorate in health administration?

The return on investment you earn after being awarded a doctorate in healthcare administration will vary depending on your career path, salary, the cost of tuition you paid for your program, and other unique factors. If you pay more for your degree, you will need to earn more in order to have a higher ROI. If you choose one of the more affordable doctorate in healthcare management programs, you may find you have a higher ROI after graduation.

That said, it’s important to note that careers in health administration are fairly lucrative. Medical and health services managers earned a median wage of about $104,280 per year as of 2020, and a six figure salary can make it easier to pay off your debt. With several career path options earning a median six-figure salary, this degree path may have one of the better ROIs for graduates. But again, that will depend heavily on what you do with your degree after graduation.

Common Courses

    You’ll take a wide range of management courses when enrolled in a doctorate of healthcare management program. The classes you take will depend on your specialization or concentration, but in general, you can expect to the following courses in this type of program:

  • Finance for healthcare

    Finance for healthcare combines business skills with insight into the healthcare industry. Finance classes that focus on healthcare typically teach you how to manage budgeting, revenue, financial performance, and accounting, as well as how these apply to a healthcare organization.

  • Healthcare law

    Law and legal policies play a big role in the healthcare industry, from issues like HIPPA to malpractice lawsuits. As a healthcare manager, you’ll need to know the ins-and-outs of healthcare regulations and how those apply to patients. Most healthcare law courses cover topics like patient confidentiality, ethics, and liability.

  • Human resources for healthcare

    One of the duties of managing a healthcare organization or facility is managing people. As an administrator, you’ll need to understand human resource policies to ensure that the healthcare organization is managing employees in a legal manner. In this course, you’ll typically learn about how to create and follow employee policies, employee recruitment, and how to work with unions.

Admission Requirements for Healthcare Administration Doctorate Programs

While the healthcare administration doctorate program admission requirements vary from program to program, there are a few common requirements you’ll have to meet for enrollment into any program. 

For starters, most programs in this field will require that you have at least a master’s degree in a related field with a 2.5 to 3.0 GPA during prior studies. Some healthcare administration doctorate programs will also require that you have experience working as a healthcare professional in some capacity. 

You will also typically need to include a resume, letters of recommendation, and transcripts from your previous degree programs with your admissions packet, as well as your official GRE or GMAT scores.


A Ph.D. in healthcare management will open up doors for your career, and a concentration in this field can help take you one step closer to shaping the career you want. Options for specializing in this field include:

Health policy

A concentration in health policy allows you to combine your experience in the healthcare field with the field of business. This degree path typically opens opportunities on the front lines of shaping healthcare policy and practices. Career pathways include working for public health agencies, consulting firms, or healthcare facilities, like hospitals.


A doctorate degree in healthcare management with a concentration in education will train you to teach other healthcare workers new practices. By specializing in education while earning your Ph.D. in healthcare management, you will learn how to develop curricula for professionals who are seeking to expand their careers through continuing education.

It takes a lot more than doctors and nurses to run a medical institution. You also need to understand business tools, management, and strategies in order to run a successful organization. A concentration in operations combines business skills like finance, marketing, and managing employees with healthcare expertise to help you successfully run healthcare facilities.

Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs

The recognition of being a Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, or CAHME, accredited program graduate is incredibly important, especially if a student wishes to become an administrator or manager in the healthcare field. This is doubly true at the doctoral level, which can be difficult to find.

But why is accreditation important? To begin with, it guarantees a student will earn an exceptional education at the school. Accreditation requires that a program adheres to the accrediting body’s core areas of competency, meaning that the program sets the standard for a high level of comprehension in education. 
As important as the first point is, the second is vital: the accreditation stands out on any CV. Most healthcare companies are searching for students who have successfully earned a degree from CAHME because the body sets the standard for exceptional professionalism. In fact, students who have earned a degree with this accreditation are often preferred by employers.

Online programs with this accreditation can be hard to come by, as the body has only recently begun accepting online degrees. However, it is possible to find this accreditation online. Generally speaking, hybrid programs are more likely to carry the accreditation than 100 percent online degrees, so students should research carefully before choosing any school.

Certifications and Licensure for Healthcare Administration Doctorate Majors

There are several options for certifications and licensure within this field, including:

Graduation Cap

Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)

The Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) is a certification process that tests applicants on important professional standards within the healthcare field, including patient safety, data management, organizational leadership, and improvement on processes and performance. This certification is offered by the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Graduation Cap

Certified Revenue Cycle Executive and Cycle Professional

Issued by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM), the Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE) and Cycle Professional (CRCP) is a certification designed for top executives who manage revenue for healthcare organizations or companies. Those who apply will be tested on billing, revenue management, patient accounts, and collections.

Graduation Cap


The Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS) exam certifies healthcare management professionals in information and technology systems within the healthcare field. To take this certification, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience with IT. If you pass, you will need to be recertified every three years.

Why Should I Get An Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration? 

There are a number of reasons you may want to pursue an online doctorate degree in healthcare administration. These include:

Advancement to your career

By obtaining your doctorate in healthcare management, your resume will stand out to employers. With this degree, you could also expand the types of positions you are qualified to apply for.

A Ph.D. in healthcare management will demonstrate to potential employers that you are an expert in your field, as a doctorate program provides you opportunities to research and practice in your field.

Contributions to your field

When studying healthcare management at the doctorate level, you will have opportunities to contribute to your field that you wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise. By delving into research and applying that research in a practical way to your industry, you may be able to offer healthcare organizations and companies insight into new and useful policies and practices.

Maximizing your earnings
The higher your level of education, the higher the chances are that you can earn more money. Obtaining your doctorate degree in healthcare management can help to justify a raise at your current job or the opportunity to apply for a new position with a higher pay.
Specializing in your field

Earning a doctoral degree in healthcare management will typically allow you to specialize in a specific area of healthcare management. By doing this, you can delve into the subject matter and career paths that are interesting to you and may provide you more leverage to shape your career in a way that suits your goals and needs.

Scholarships for Healthcare Administration Doctorate Students

Richard P. Covert, Ph.D., LFHIMSS Scholarship for Management Systems 

Who can apply: Any student pursuing a healthcare management systems graduate program or similar may apply for this $5,000 scholarship. In addition to the scholarship, students may also receive a trip to the HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and a resume.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 28

Steve Lieber Innovator Scholarship

Who can apply: To qualify for this scholarship, you must be in an undergraduate or graduate program in health information or management systems. To apply, you’ll need to submit two letters of recommendation as well as a 1,000-word essay discussing how you meet the scholarship criteria.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: Varies

National Association of Health Services Executives Scholarships

Who can apply: The National Association of Health Services Executives awards three different scholarships to graduate students who are working toward becoming leaders in health management: the Haynes Rice Award, the Florence Gaynor Award, and the Ellis Bonner Award. Applicants must be African American graduate students attending an accredited college or university, have a 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate a financial need. 

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May 31

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Amanda Push


Amanda Push is a contributing writer who covers higher education, online graduate programs, college planning, and more for Grad School Hub. Her writing has also appeared in The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, and MyMove.

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Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht is an editor for Grad School Hub. A proud University of Houston alum (go Cougs!), she previously served as an education reporter at Kearney Hub, and an editor at the Dallas Observer and Houston Press. Her writing has appeared in Affordable Colleges Online, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and elsewhere.

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