Online MHA Programs That Require Professional Experience
According to the U.S. News and World Report, healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. This is due to many factors, including a rapidly aging population, advances in healthcare technology, and healthcare legislation that has allowed more people to have health insurance.
Healthcare administration professionals involve themselves in the daily oversight of operations for a hospital, clinic, long-term care facility, and types of healthcare facilities. Graduates of online master’s programs in healthcare administration (MHA) can work for government agencies, for-profit organizations, and non-profit organizations.
A bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level requirement for a role in healthcare administration, although most employers prefer a master’s degree. Not only can a master’s degree allow professionals to advance more quickly in their careers, but it can also help them transition into the field of healthcare administration from a different industry.
Most online master’s programs in healthcare administration (MHA) require the completion of 32 to 60 credits on the management and business side of healthcare. The average time to complete a program is two years, although a specific program could take longer or shorter depending on the student’s transferred credits and work experience and the program’s scope.
Many online MHA programs require between two and five years of previous work experience at the middle to senior management level. However, applicants may not be required to have experience in healthcare administration. Prospective MHA students should also expect to send letters of recommendation from their employers and college professors.
This guide explores several accredited online MHA programs that require previous work experience as well as three renowned professors who teach in these programs.
Featured Online MHA Programs That Require Professional Experience
Healthcare professionals who are seeking leadership roles in administration or to change their career path are fortunate to have numerous online MHA programs available to them. Below are five well-known and reputable schools that offer this type degree. All five require incoming MHA students to have at least two years of professional work experience.
The George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health's online MHA program (MHA@GW) was ranked in the top 20 graduate programs in healthcare administration in the U.S. by the U.S. News and World Report. Graduates of the program have obtained positions in clinical administration, healthcare planning and management, and non-clinical operations. This program requires students to complete eight online ten-week modules. Each module focuses on a different set of core skills needed for success in a healthcare administration career. Examples of coursework include community health and quantitative methods, finance and economics, information technology and decision science, law and regulation, and leadership and ethics. Outside of the rigorous coursework, students must complete four immersion experiences and an applied research project. For admission, students must have at least two years of experience in healthcare or three years in any other sector. They must also submit official transcripts from an accredited bachelor’s program, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and a professional resume. They are not required to complete the GRE or GMAT for admission. However, applicants need to participate in a live interview with an admissions manager via web camera. The MHA program starts in January, April, July, and October.
- Location: Washington, District of Columbia
- Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health
- Format: Online with four on-campus immersions and at healthcare facilities in the U.S. and abroad
- Tuition: $1,655 per credit
- Program length: 50 credits; two to four years
The University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education offers a one-of-a-kind online executive master of health administration (EMHA), which comprises 11 courses and is open to healthcare professionals with at least three years of experience.
This program requires a capstone course to build strategic management skills as well as instruction in financial management for healthcare managers; healthcare organizational behavior and human resource management; epidemiology and health planning; leadership for healthcare executives; and healthcare ethics and law, among other foundational topics.
This 44-credit program is CAHME-accredited and designed for managers, clinicians, and mid-career professionals seeking to build more skills in the industry.
- Location: Various cities in Florida
- Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Format: Fully online
- Tuition: $773 per credit
- Program length: Two years
This Ohio University program requires students take 12 three-credit courses. All students begin the program with an introduction to the healthcare delivery system in the U.S. and progress through other classes such as information systems for health services, research methods for health services, health policy, healthcare financing, and healthcare law. It prepares students for numerous exciting roles in healthcare administration such as analyst, director, nurse manager, and CEO.
Admissions requirements for this program include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, two years of recent full-time work experience in a healthcare system within the U.S., and excellent English writing skills. Some students may need to submit scores for IELTS or TOEFL.
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Format: Online
- Tuition: $673 per credit
- Program length: 36 credits; two years
As a participant in the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Higher Education Network (ACHE), Queens University of Charlotte focuses on five core competencies in its online MHA program: business expertise, communication, healthcare knowledge, leadership, and professionalism. The college designed its curriculum to meet today’s most pressing healthcare needs and provides students with practical knowledge and skills that they can apply to their current as well as future roles in healthcare. Courses in this 36-credit program focus on the school's "learn it today, use it today" mentality and include health services organization and delivery, organizational behavior in healthcare organizations, financial management, management and human resources of healthcare organizations, and quality improvements in healthcare organizations. Admission requirements include having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a 3.0 or better grade point average, two letters of recommendation, at least two years of work experience in a healthcare organization, official transcripts, professional resume, and a career statement.
- Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- Format: Online
- Tuition: $720 per credit
- Program length: 36 credits; two years or more
The University of Scranton was the first to gain full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) for its online MHA program. This accreditation is considered the gold standard in the healthcare administration industry. The goal of this online MHA is to provide students with strong skills in communication, analysis and critical thinking, ethics, and leadership. It requires students to complete a healthcare administration practicum towards the end of the curriculum, which includes 150 hours of fieldwork and counts for three credits. The core competencies that students can expect to study at the University of Scranton include ethics, financial management, health systems, law, operations, organization, and quality control. Students will take 12 credits of foundational courses in organization and administration, financial management, statistics and research methods, and services and systems. They also take 32 credits of core courses in human resources management and healthcare policy. A three-credit elective and the practicum round out the degree. Admission requirements include transfer credits, a satisfactory academic record, three letters of recommendation, a professional resume, a letter of intent, three years of supervisory experience in the healthcare field, and a background check.
- Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania
- Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
- Format: Online
- Tuition: $940 per credit
- Program length: 47 credits over two and a half years
Professors to Know in Online MHA Programs
RuthAnn Althaus - Ohio University
Dr. Althaus is a professor and coordinator of Ohio University's health administration programs. She has several educational credentials, including a master's in business administration (MBA) from Illinois Benedictine College, a master’s in public health from the University of Illinois Medical Center, and a doctorate in health education from Ohio State University. In 2006, the North American Case Research Association honored Dr. Althaus with a Gold Best Case Award. In addition to her roles at Ohio University, Dr. Althaus is a certified health education specialist. She has multiple areas of research interest, including comparative health systems, ethical issues in healthcare administration, international business education, U.S. health system financing, and the role of multinational business on socioeconomic progress in developing countries.
Dana Goldman - University of Southern California
Dr. Goldman is a distinguished professor at USC's Sol Price School of Public Policy. He is also the founding director and chair of the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. At USC, he teaches public policy, pharmacy, and economics and his research interests include delayed aging, healthcare reform, health economics and finance, pharmaceutical innovation and regulation, precision medicine, and preventive healthcare. Dr. Goldman holds several additional roles, including serving as a health policy advisor for the Congressional Budget Office and an active member of the MacArthur Foundation's research network on an aging society. He is also the founding editor of the Forum for Health Economics and Policy and an editorial member of the American Journal of Managed Care. Dr. Goldman earned his doctorate in economics from Stanford University.
Maureen Walsh Koricke - Queens University of Charlotte
Dr. Maureen Walsh Koricke is director of Queens University's MHA programs. She is also an assistant professor of health administration. Dr. Walsh Koricke currently works as a healthcare consultant as well. Her research interests include quality improvement in healthcare, patient safety, and curriculum development. She currently teaches workshops on using statistical process control and other types of data to improve healthcare delivery as well as the methodology of quality improvement. Before taking on her current role, Dr. Walsh Koricke served as curriculum development coordinator for residents of the Center for Advancing Pediatric Excellence. She earned her graduate and undergraduate degrees from D’Youville College in New York and her doctoral degree in public policy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is a member of several healthcare organizations, including AcademyHealth, American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Association of University Programs for Healthcare Administration.