Top Online Bachelor's Degrees in Healthcare Administration (2020) - Affordable & Innovative Programs

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Few fields are trending more than healthcare administration right now. Jobs in the sector are growing three times faster than the national average, and the median salary for those jobs is six figures a year.

A large and aging population, an increase in the complexity of healthcare regulations, and a revolution in medical information technology are all making healthcare administrators more in demand than ever before. And the best way to start your path to becoming one is by picking up a bachelor of science in healthcare administration (BSHA).

Typically, BSHA programs include the standard general education classes of other four-year degrees. The core curriculum of the major includes extensive coverage of the healthcare administration fundamentals such as healthcare finance, healthcare marketing, healthcare policy, healthcare informatics, and healthcare human resources.

Some programs also include modules of business-minded classes that can be applied to the management of healthcare facilities. Depending on the university, it may be possible to add a further concentration, specialization, minor, or certificate in an area like healthcare informatics or long-term care. In the end, graduates leave the program with the skills necessary to lead in a wide range of capacities.

Still, it’s not all quite as straightforward as it should be. Some online programs have extensive campus visit requirements and other schools act as degree-completion programs, requiring students to have completed general education classes elsewhere. Unfortunately, certain for-profit universities will bait students in with false promises, only to come out with strict transfer policies that don’t count prior experiences and instead ask the student to pay for the same class all over again, out of pocket. And in a field as lucrative and fast-growing as healthcare administration, a slew of new BSHA programs have sprouted up and clouded the landscape.

To save you the virtual legwork, here are the ten best BSHA programs out there. Read on to get detailed profiles of each.

Methodology

What does best really mean? Here is the criteria MHAOnline used to curate the best BSHA programs:

  • Affordable Tuition – These programs each fall below the national average of $594 per credit for out-of-state tuition.
  • Personal Support – Each program offers student support services with personalized touches, guiding students from admissions to graduation.
  • Educational Integrity – There are no sub-optimal for-profit schools on this list. Instead, these schools boast award-winning, professional faculty who do their job for the right reasons.
  • Fully Online – There are no requirements for campus visits and no mandatory on-campus labs. Students only visit the physical school itself if they want to.
  • Generous Transfer Policy – A generous transfer policy not only helps students cut down tuition costs further but it also helps them graduate quicker and gain credit from what they have already accomplished, both in and out of the academic system.
  • Innovative – Finally, these universities push the envelope in their own way and have been singled out for innovative practices by people other than themselves.

Top Online BSHA Programs – Affordable & Innovative

Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU takes a modern approach to its healthcare administration program, offering 24/7 access to its course material, a streamlined application process, dedicated student support services, and a transfer-friendly environment that accepts up to 90 previously-completed credits.

In addition to general education classes, the core curriculum of the BSHA program goes over topics such as healthcare economics, healthcare marketing, healthcare delivery services, healthcare reimbursement, and principles of epidemiology. Students may choose to concentrate in either health information management or patient safety and quality. Health information management explores areas like healthcare IT infrastructure and network management, communication and technologies, and healthcare data management. The patient safety and quality concentration dives into patient safety systems and strategies, healthcare regulatory compliance, and performance improvement measures.

The program consists of 120 credits (129 with a concentration) and may be completed entirely online.

  • Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: Four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $320 per credit

Indiana Wesleyan University

Even though it’s now 100 years old, IWU is one of the fastest-growing Christian universities in the U.S. and their “Society of World Changers” is a testament to the fact that they take education to be something more than rote learning.

As part of the BSHA program, students take classes in topics such as healthcare management and leadership, ethical decision-making for administrators, healthcare principles and policies, economic analysis for healthcare administrators, and technology and information systems for healthcare. In a unique and paced structure, courses are generally taken sequentially, one at a time, for three credit-hours each. In total, the program consists of 48 credits and it may be completed either online or sometimes on-campus at regional educational centers in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio./p>

Applicants are required to have completed at least 60 transferable credit-hours from a regionally accredited university before they are eligible to begin the bachelor core program at IWU, but IWU’s transfer policy is not only generous, it extends into portfolio credit, meaning credit awarded for professional experience, and not just college classes. With several start dates offered throughout the year, there’s no need to wait for the fall semester to begin a BSHA degree.

  • Location: Marion, Indiana
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of College and Schools (NCACS),
  • Estimated Time to Completion: One to two years, as part of a degree completion program
  • Estimated Tuition: $449 per credit

City University of Seattle

The BSHA program at the City University of Seattle offers a four-year degree in a fully online format, administered by a faculty of working professionals in the healthcare administration industry, and replete with one-on-one student support. The university’s five-point mission is to be flexible, accessible, innovative, relevant, and global. And, in perhaps a side effect of that mission, CityU students complete their education at over twice the national rate.

After students finish 90 credits of general education requirements, the BSHA program unlocks upper-division classes that cover topics such as the foundations of healthcare leadership, issues and trends in healthcare administration, legal and ethical issues in healthcare administration, health informatics, healthcare finance, and healthcare politics and policy. The program consists of 180 credits and may be completed entirely online.

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: Four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $420 per credit

Western Kentucky University

In addition to being one of the top value colleges in its region, WKU’s BSHA program is also accredited by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) and the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB).

The core curriculum explores topics like health literacy for consumers, healthcare organization management, healthcare informatics, contemporary healthcare issues, healthcare economics, and international comparisons of healthcare systems.

Through five classes that deal with aging populations and the management of long-term care facilities, students also receive a long-term care administration (LTCA) certificate, which qualifies graduates to sit for the Licensed Nursing Home Administrator board exam. The program consists of 73 credits and may be completed entirely online. Applicants to the major program must have completed prerequisite courses before being accepted, either at WKU or another regionally accredited university.

A total of 120 credits are required to earn a BSHA degree at WKU and students can opt to earn additional credits through a minor degree program, undergraduate certificate, or additional elective courses combined from those two courses. WKU also offers a Joint Undergraduate Master’s Program (JUMP) which enables students to complete a BSHA and a master of arts degree in organizational leadership in an accelerated timeline.

  • Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Accreditation: Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: One to two years, as part of a degree completion program
  • Estimated Tuition: $540 per credit

University of Memphis

University of Memphis’s BS in health studies degree with a concentration in healthcare leadership brings students a fully online four-year degree that covers all the key aspects of healthcare administration.

The course material is provided in an asynchronous format—available anytime, anywhere—and the university’s staff has set up numerous measures of support to aid students from admission to graduation. After completing general education requirements, students take major courses and labs in anatomy, physiology, and nutrition. The concentration coursework totals a hefty 45 credit-hours, with classes including health communication, healthcare leadership, health policy issues, the law and ethics of healthcare, epidemiology, healthcare informatics, and healthcare financing. A senior project or internship in the field acts as a capstone.

The program consists of 120 credits and may be completed entirely online through UofM Global, or with transferable credits from another regionally accredited university. There is no timeline on transfer credits which makes this a great BSHA degree completion option for those who have college credits from a few years ago and are ready to complete a bachelor’s degree.

  • Location: Memphis, Tennessee
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: Four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $463 per credit

University of Louisville

University of Louisville’s BS in organizational leadership with a focus on healthcare leadership is a competency-based degree program that grants students and mid-career professionals the maximum amount of flexibility in their education. Based on the National Center for Healthcare Leadership’s competency model, students can work with personal advisors to study through the program at either a set pace or a flex pace.

Core classes include needs assessment in healthcare organizations, the fundamentals of healthcare human resources management, healthcare finance and accounting, healthcare information management, healthcare quality evaluation, and management of diversity in healthcare organizations. Electives include courses on healthcare presentations and group facilitation, coaching and talent management in healthcare, conflict management in healthcare organizations, and healthcare workplace and information ethics.

The program consists of 120 credits and may be completed entirely online, or in conjunction with U of L’s transfer policy. Notably, a prior learning assessment (PLA) allows students to earn up to 48 college credits, tuition-free, for both work and life experiences.

  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: One to two years, depending on previous experience
  • Estimated Tuition: $499 per credit

Saint Joseph’s College

Saint Joseph’s online four-year BSHA degree offers partnerships with over 500 healthcare institutions that allow for tuition discounts and employment opportunities.

After completing general education requirements, students begin a core curriculum that covers foundational health administration and management topics like healthcare systems, human resources, the legal and ethical aspects of healthcare, quality control, and financial management. Electives are offered in specialized healthcare topics like informatics, long-term care issues, leadership in healthcare, and emergency preparedness.

Students interested in pursuing a master’s of health administration (MHA) may apply to join a fast-track program at Saint Joseph’s, wherein some undergraduate courses may be replaced with graduate courses, speeding up time to completion of the master’s-level degree. The program consists of 128 credits and may be completed entirely online or in conjunction with previously earned college credits (up to 95).

  • Location: Standish, Maine
  • Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: Four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $367 per credit

Drexel University

Drexel University is one of the most innovative institutions and also one of the best 100 national universities in 2020, according to U.S. News & World Report. Of particular note is Drexel’s online tuition rates, which come in at 40 percent lower than their on-campus counterparts. Drexel’s academic calendar is on the quarter system which enables students to take more courses in a shorter time period compared to a semester system.

After completing general education requirements, students in the BS in health services administration program take core classes in subjects like healthcare ethics, healthcare law, healthcare human resources, healthcare marketing, leadership in health services administration, and nonprofits and healthcare. The program, which runs on the quarter system, consists of 180 credits, the equivalent of 120 semester-credits, and may be completed entirely online. In an additional cost-saving move, students can transfer up to 135 credits from a regionally accredited university.

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Estimated Time to Completion: Four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $530 per credit

Regis University

The fully online BSHA program at Regis has brushed into top 100 lists before, in part due to its small class sizes and fully online format. Notably, 95 percent of its full-time students receive significant financial aid and a transfer system accepts completed coursework from any other regionally accredited university. Regis accepts transfer credit to credential holders such as certified respiratory therapy technicians (CRTT), certified radiologic technologists (RT), certified Colorado EMT/paramedic, and registered nurses (RN). It ranks in the top 100 universities for best undergraduate teaching according to U.S. News & World Report.

After fulfilling general education requirements, the core curriculum follows with classes such as healthcare policy, the foundations of health law, healthcare informatics, health statistics and research methods, managing health services reimbursement, and assessment of quality care and patient safety. A capstone project and administrative internship round out a student’s education with hands-on and applied experience. The BSHA program consists of 120 credits taught over eight-week terms and students accepted to this program can begin their studies in January, May, or August.

  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Estimated Time to Completion: Four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $560 per credit
Rachel Drummond
Rachel Drummond
Writer

Rachel Drummond is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @oregon_yogini).

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