Tuition: How Much Do Online MHA Programs Cost?

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The U.S. population is both aging and increasing in size. Furthermore, as a result of the American Care Act, many more Americans have access to health insurance. With all of these changes happening at once, the healthcare industry is in need of new strategies to provide the best care and health administrators who have all the knowledge and skills required to face a constantly changing healthcare landscape.

As care needs expand and shift, the healthcare system demands a whole new force of healthcare managers willing to step up into the challenge of creating innovative methods and strategies for more efficient and effective care delivery. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020) reports that the job growth percentage for this profession is projected to be an incredible eight times the national average for all occupations (4 percent). By illustration, the demand for medical and health services managers is expected to increase 32 percent between 2019 and 2029, resulting in a projected increase of 133,200 new jobs.

In response to the growing demand for healthcare services and those who manage them, many universities, business schools, and schools of public health are making their master of healthcare administration (MHA) programs available outside of college campuses.

Asynchronous online MHA programs (where students can watch lectures at the time of their choosing) are designed for working professionals who don’t wish to relocate, nor quit their current job while leveling up their skills. Synchronous online programs (where classes occur in real-time) allow folks to attend lectures from anywhere they have access to the internet. Whether asynchronous or synchronous, online programs provide working professionals with a greater amount of flexibility when learning how to administer the complexities of healthcare systems.

Read on for MHA cost considerations, and examples of what MHA programs offer at different price points.

Considerations When Looking at the Cost of an MHA

While the above-mentioned general capabilities are built into most online MHA degrees, not all MHA degrees are built the same. Before applying, prospective students should consider several factors when looking at the price tag for an MHA program.

Number of Credits

For the most part, more expensive programs require students to complete more credits. There are exceptions to this rule, like the University of Southern California’s 36-credit executive master of health administration. At $67,068, the program is on the more expensive side of the spectrum despite having fewer required credits for graduation. That said, this program is designed for more experienced professionals with a minimum of five years of work experience, hence its title as an “executive” program. Most MHAs consist of 36 to 64 credits.

Faculty

It’s no secret that students learn best when they learn from great teachers. This is also true in MHA students. The skills and knowledge that an MHA graduate obtains rely heavily on the quality of instructors from which he or she learns. Because online programs typically boast a distinguished faculty that provides the same quality of instruction as the on-campus learning experiences, prospective students may want to look for resonance. Generally, the most prestigious schools have more experienced, accomplished, and awarded professors.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Learning

In addition to the instructors, a prospective MHA student should consider the way instruction occurs. Some programs build consistent access to instructors into their programming through synchronous learning—i.e., where students and professors are online together at the same time—or through smaller class sizes.

Asynchronous learning can allow more flexibility regarding when and how students complete the curriculum, but may also offer less consistent direct access to professors. Although not universal, more expensive programs tend to have more synchronous learning experiences and smaller professor-to-student ratios than less expensive programs.

Networking

Networking can be a driving consideration for some students. For example, an MHA student seeking career advancement within his or her company may not find networking to be as important as someone who is interested in changing careers or employers. More expensive programs may present students with more valuable peer-to-peer networking opportunities because they tend to have a higher work experience threshold for applicants.

They may also have on-campus requirements, such as in-person immersion experiences or residencies. The opportunity for face-to-face interaction with peers, professors, and industry professionals may result in deeper networking opportunities than programs that are 100 percent online.

Rankings and Institutional Recognition

Generally, there is a correlation between the cost of a program and its ranking. Higher ranked programs tend to be more expensive. Students who wish to transition careers or employers may value brand recognition and ranking more than others. Every year, U.S. News and World Report ranks the top health schools according to peer assessment surveys from deans, administrators, and faculty.

Program Accreditation

Accreditation is an avenue academic programs take to demonstrate the quality of their educational experience. Although graduating from an accredited program is not required to work in healthcare management, it does provide prospective employers with a rubric upon which to judge the quality of a candidate’s education.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) focus on accrediting healthcare management programs. There are also several business-specific accrediting bodies, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). More costly programs are more likely to have prominent, industry-specific accreditation than more affordable programs.

Opportunity Cost

When thinking about the cost of an MHA, a prospective student may want to consider factoring in opportunity cost. MHA programs, even online, may require students to reduce their work hours, leave their jobs, or use vacation time to attend on-campus immersive or residency experiences. Before deciding on a program, students should ensure the bump in pay they expect to get following graduation will outweigh the cost of attendance plus the temporary reduction in salary that may occur as a result of program participation.

Program Highlights at All Cost Levels

Online MHA programs are available at a range of costs. Keep reading to learn more about programmatic offerings at different price points. Please note that all rankings are from U.S. News & World Report.

High-Premium MHA Programs

George Washington University

The MHA@GW is one of the more costly online MHA programs available. Part of the driving force behind GW’s high cost is student access to instructors. GW sets up one-on-one discussion sessions with professors and keeps the student to instructor ratios to 15 to one.

With 80 hours of immersion work and a culminating oral presentation, MHA@GW students must dedicate a larger portion of their studies to in-person work with peers, faculty, and other healthcare leaders. In addition, prospective students must have at least two years of full-time healthcare experience.

  • Tuition: $88,250 for the full program ($1,765 per credit)
  • Number of credits: 50
  • Accreditation: CAHME
  • Program length: Two years
  • Top Ranking: #15 in co-ops/internships

Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins flexible MBA in healthcare management requires 7.5 days of immersion where students interact with their classmates, professors, alumni, and other business leaders. The school promises online coursework as rigorous as in-person coursework and offers students all the same amenities as on-campus students.

Applicants must have two years of relevant professional experience, and the school boasts a post-graduation employment and internship rate of 89 percent within six months of graduation. Sample employers include healthcare giants like Kaiser and Children’s National Health Systems.

  • Tuition: $82,350 for the full program ($1,525 per credit)
  • Number of credits: 54
  • Accreditation: AACSB International
  • Program length: 32 months
  • Top Ranking: #9 for healthcare management graduate programs, #9 overall for national universities

Moderately Priced MHA Programs

George Mason University

George Mason’s two-year online MHA in health systems management is taught by the same “industry-shaping experts” as its on-campus counterpart. The program requires students to spend one week in Washington D.C., where they have the opportunity to network with elected representatives, federal agency staff, students, professors, and advocacy organizations.

Students must also complete a capstone practicum working with a healthcare organization over several months.

  • Tuition: $42,065 for the full program ($895 per credit)
  • Number of credits: 47
  • Accreditation: CAHME, AUPHA
  • Program length: Two years
  • Top Ranking: #35 in most innovative schools

University of Scranton

The University of Scranton offers a 47-creditMHA program taught by a faculty of expert practitioners. Programming is 100 percent online and does not require any residencies or immersions. However, students are expected to complete a 150-hour internship, which may present networking opportunities. In addition, the University of Scranton requires applicants to have three years of professional work experience.

  • Tuition: $44,180 for the full program ($940 per credit)
  • Number of credits: 47
  • Accreditation: CAHME
  • Program length: 30 months
  • Top Ranking: #6 for regional universities north

Most Affordable MHA Programs

Utica College

The 36-credit MHA program at Utica College is one of the least demanding programs in terms of required credits. Students can enroll in the general track or choose one of three specializations: acute care, nursing home administration, or service organizations. Utica’s four virtual residencies, asynchronous curriculum, and 100 percent online format are designed to fit within the schedule constraints of working professionals. Utica also helps students with career planning.

  • Tuition: $24,840 for the full program ($690 per credit)
  • Number of credits: 36
  • Accreditation: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Program length: Two years
  • Top Ranking: #31 in top performers on social mobility

University of Saint Mary Online MBA in Health Care Management

Saint Mary offers one of the most affordable healthcare management programs in the country. The online master of business administration (MBA) with a focus on healthcare management can be completed in as little as one year.

Students are expected to spend 15 to 20 hours on coursework per week. Most courses are asynchronous to provide the schedule flexibility needed by working professionals. Students are welcome to visit the campus and participate in live chats and on discussion boards.

  • Tuition: $22,500 for the full program ($625 per credit)
  • Number of credits: 36
  • Accreditation: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
  • Program length: Two years
  • Top Ranking: #81 in top performers on social mobility
Becca Brewer
Becca Brewer
Writer

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by fostering healing, human wholeness, and next-world building through storytelling help, one-on-one self-awareness workshops, and customized team-alignment sessions. She offers these services at a rate of $0.00 to anyone interested (contact her at rkbrewer@gmail.com for more information). Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.