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Best Online Dual DNP/MBA Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a registered nurse considering a terminal degree in nursing? Do you have a real knack for business and want to find ways to incorporate that into your nursing career? With an online DNP/MBA dual program, you can! Dual DNP/MBA programs online offer excellent opportunities for students to earn a Doctorate in Nurse Practice and a Master of Business Administration. If you have been considering pursuing a higher degree and wondered if combining nursing and business is possible, it is! The best online dual DNP/MBA programs for 2021 I will share with you in this article are great examples of how you can earn two degrees concurrently and begin living your dream as a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a Master of Business Administration degree.


What Exactly Is the Goal of a Dual DNP/MBA Program?


Dual Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration degrees, like the best online DNP/MBA dual programs featured in this article, prepare students for management positions in various healthcare settings. The programs combine business and nursing to prepare graduates who are expert leaders. The MBA portion of these programs includes topics such as decision-making, program management, quantitative analysis, negotiation, and ethical management of resources. Through doctorate nursing coursework, students are equipped to become leaders in the healthcare industry capable of transforming nursing practice, healthcare services, and improving patient outcomes.

8 Big Advantages of Online Dual DNP/MBA Programs


If you are considering enrolling in a dual Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration program online, you may have several questions. Pursuing any degree takes time and dedication. Are you are wondering about the feasibility of accomplishing a dual degree? If so, stop worrying! Here are eight significant advantages of DNP/MBA dual degrees for you!

1. Get ready to increase your income! After completing an accredited dual DNP/MBA online programs, you can expect to earn approximately $131,000 annually. As you will see later in the article, this is an average salary, which means there is potential for even higher earnings.
2. You will learn from experts in two dynamic fields. The faculty and instruction team in both DNP and MBA programs are experts in their given fields. As you pursue this dual degree, you will be exposed to a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you succeed in the program and beyond.
3. Create long-term job stability: It takes people with a strong business mind to help businesses grow and succeed. The healthcare industry is no exception. Earning a dual DNP/MBA means you will have a terminal doctorate in nursing and a master’s degree in business administration. This combination of knowledge and skills will give you the boost you need to develop a steady, long-term career.
4. You will be prepared to be a leader. Earning an MBA and a Doctor of Nursing Practice means you will have all the tools you need to become an effective leader who can manage business issues and help improve patient care and outcomes.
5. You will earn two degrees concurrently, which means less time in school. Dual degree programs, like the accredited dual DNP/MBA programs online featured in this article, allow students to earn two degrees simultaneously. While the curriculum is rigorous, the upside is you may be able to earn both degrees in much less time by studying concurrently instead of earning one degree and then the other.
6. Taking classes online means you will have more flexibility with when and where you study. Online learning has become a popular way to earn a degree without having to commit to in-person classes, making this option very appealing to people who have busy lives. Becoming a student in an online dual Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration program will allow you to accomplish your academic and professional goals, all while having more control of your schedule.
7. You can be flexible with the type of job you decide to take. Nursing and business administration are two of the best careers to have. When you combine the skills that come with degrees in both of those concentrations, you can be amenable when deciding which jobs you want to apply for and which offers to accept. Being flexible is a luxury that not all professionals have.
8. Earn your degree for less money. You can not only save time by choosing one of the dual DNP/MBA programs online, but you can also save money. Many dual degree programs allow students to receive credit from one of the program curricula toward the second degree, which can save you money in the long run.


How Long Are Online DNP/MBA Dual Programs?


Making academic plans involves more than scheduling classes. Adult learners are especially concerned with how long it will take to graduate from a program and how that time may impact their regular schedule of activities and obligations. In most cases, Dual DNP/MBA programs online typically take from two to four years to complete. However, there are a few factors that may influence how long it takes to complete a program. Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to take heavier course loads and graduate in less time. On the other hand, a student who needs to take time off from school or take a lighter course load may extend the length of time they take to graduate.

The following are examples of the approximate length of some of our featured programs.

At Wilmington University, the DNP/MBA program includes eighteen to twenty-two courses. Students can graduate in twenty to twenty-eight months.

The dual DNP/MBA online degree program offered at Bethel University makes earning a master's in business and doctorate in nursing possible in as few as three years. Students complete coursework online and participate in clinical practicum hours in their communities.

At Viterbo University in Wisconsin, students can typically complete the DNP/MBA dual program in three to four years. However, an accelerated three-year option is available, as well as extended plans of study to accommodate each student's needs.

Students can graduate from the Johns Hopkins University online dual Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration program after three years of full-time study if all program requirements have been met.

Both the DNP/MBA Executive Leadership and Clinical Leadership programs at DeSales University can be completed in two years of full-time study.


How Much Do Online DNP/MBA Dual Programs Cost?


Some of the most pressing questions prospective college students have are in reference to the cost of their chosen program. Programs like the best online DNP/MBA dual programs featured in this article can cost from $30,000 to over $200,000. A student's current degree level and the number of credits they need are the main factors that determine how much each student may spend.

As you research different programs, keep in mind that some colleges or universities list estimated costs for their programs which include tuition, fees, and supplies. Others may list anticipated expenses separately. In addition to tuition, students in online DNP/MBA dual programs should plan for costs, including books and supplies, travel to and from clinical sites, student loans (if applicable), and technology fees.

The following are examples of the cost of some of the programs featured in this article.

Tuition at Johns Hopkins University is billed at a rate of $1,863 per credit. The program curriculum requires sixty-six credits for a total tuition cost of $122,958.

Wilmington University dual degree students can expect to graduate in twenty-eight months. The program, one of the best dual DNP/MBA programs online, costs $1,941 per course. Students who choose the Nurse Leadership concentration complete twenty-two courses, paying approximately $42,702. Those who pursue the Advanced Practice DNP/MBA complete eighteen courses and pay an average tuition cost of $34,938.

Viterbo University calculates tuition on a per-credit-hour rate and adds an additional $10 per credit resource fee. The BSN to DNP/MBA requires sixty-two credits and the MSN to DNP/MBA requires a minimum of forty-nine credits for an average tuition cost of $42,630 to $53,940. In addition to coursework, students in both the dual online DNP/MBA programs complete 1,080 hours of clinical practice, which includes 240 hours dedicated to the DNP Scholarly Project.

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, students pay tuition based on their state residency status. Tennessee residents pay $562 per credit hour, and out-of-state students pay $609 per credit hour. The DNP/MBA curriculum includes thirty-six to fifty-seven credit hours of coursework. In-state students pay $20,232 to $32,034 and out-of-state students pay $21,924 to $34,713 in tuition costs.


What Is the Curriculum Like for This Dual Degree Program?


The curriculum for online dual DNP/MBA programs may have some variation from school to school. The core content, however, is quite similar, regardless of which school you attend. The consistency regarding required coursework is somewhat related to accreditation standards. Although you may not be required to take all these courses, the following are a few examples of classwork students in DNP/MBA programs take.

Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Systems: This class examines the philosophical and foundational aspects of evidence-based practice for advanced practice nurses. Students engage in critiques of evidence-based research, including validity, reliability, relevance to the practice of research designs.
Technology and Transformation of Healthcare: In this course, students learn to use information systems technology to improve and support patient care and lead the transformation of healthcare systems.
Organizational Behavior and Leadership: Offers an examination of theoretical and research foundations explaining the behavior within organizations
Economics for Managers: This class uses examples of real-world issues to demonstrate the impact of economic principles on business decisions. Agency and contract theory, pricing, and managerial behavioral economics are emphasized because of their impact on managers responsible for decision-making.


The following are examples of some of the classes including in the curriculum plans at a few of our featured programs.

Johns Hopkins University offers one of the best dual DNP/MBA programs online available. The dual degree can be accomplished by completing sixty-six credits of coursework and as few as 448 clinical practice hours. Please note, DNP students are required to have a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours. An analysis of previously earned credits and clinical hours will determine the exact number of hours each student needs.

Sample Coursework:

◦ The Firm and the Macroeconomy
◦ Advanced Nursing Health Policy
◦ Analysis and Evaluation of Individual and Population Health Data
◦ Business Leadership and Human Values
◦ Nursing Inquiry
◦ Business Law

At Union University, the dual DNP/MBA curriculum includes thirty-six credit hours of business administration classwork and thirty-eight credit hours of coursework devoted to doctoral nursing practice. Additionally, students must complete 660 post-master's clinical hours.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Business Policy and Strategic Management
◦ Human Behavior in Organizations
◦ Production Operations Management
◦ Healthcare Policy and Economics
◦ Organizational Leadership and Management
◦ Technological Transformations of Healthcare

DeSales University offers accredited online DNP/MBA dual programs with Clinical Leadership and Executive Leadership options. The DNP/MBA Clinical Leadership track includes sixty-eight credit hours, and the DNP/MBA Executive Leadership track requires sixty-three to sixty-nine credit hours. DeSales University requires all DNP students to accomplish at least 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical practice hours as recommended in the Doctoral Essentials. All DNP students complete 525 hours as part of the Leadership Residency, Scholarship Residency, and DNP capstone coursework.

DNP/MBA Executive Leadership Track Sample Courses:

◦ Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics
◦ Special Topics in Executive Leadership
◦ Translational Research
◦ Financial and Managerial Accounting
◦ Fiscal Issues in Health Systems Management
◦ Principles and Strategies for Managed Healthcare

DNP/MBA Clinical Leadership Track Sample Courses:

◦ Health Outcomes Management
◦ Health Policy and Ethics
◦ Foundations of Business: Economics Module
◦ Legal Aspects of Health Systems Management
◦ Organizational Management
◦ Evidence-Based Practice

The dual DNP/MBA online program at the University of Michigan-Flint has a rigorous curriculum including forty-five credit hours associated with MBA Foundation, Core, and Healthcare Management Courses and thirty to ninety-three credit hours dedicated to DNP coursework. The total curriculum for BSN to DNP/MBA students is 101 to 126 credit hours and fifty-one to sixty-six credit hours for MSN to DNP students.

Sample Courses:

◦ Biostatistics for Advanced Practice Healthcare
◦ Organizational Communication and Negotiation
◦ Advanced Transcultural Care



Admission Requirements


Prospective students who hope for admission into dual DNP/MBA programs online must meet program-specific admission criteria. Each school reserves the right to establish admission requirements for its programs. Although you may find some differences, general admission specifics are similar from one school to the next. A few examples of criteria applicants to these programs must meet include the following.

◦ Possess a current, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse
◦ Pass a criminal background check
◦ Pass a drug screen
◦ Submit a professional resume/curriculum vitae
◦ Provide letters of professional recommendation
◦ Prepare a Statement of Intent/Personal Goals Essay


A few examples of admission criteria at some of the featured programs are listed below.

Applicants who wish to begin in summer or fall at the Southern Illinois University must meet the priority application deadline of March 1 for the academic year for which they are applying. A School of Nursing and School of Business application must be completed. Applicants accepted into the MBA program concurrently with the DNP program may request to have the graduated statistics course for the School of Nursing waived.

Sample Admission Criteria:

◦ Complete a graduate school application and pay a $40 application fee
◦ Submit all postsecondary academic transcripts
◦ Curriculum vitae/resume
◦ Have a cumulative master’s in Nursing grade point average of 3.0 or higher

The University of Michigan-Flint boasts of expert faculty and top-rated DNP and MBA programs. By combining the two programs and enrolling in the dual DNP/MBA online program, you can earn two sought-after degrees from one of the best programs.

Sample Admission Criteria:

◦ Bachelor or Master of Science in Nursing from a regionally accredited institution
◦ Overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale
◦ One year experience working as a registered nurse
◦ BSN to DNP Applicants must have a current, unrestricted RN license to practice in the U.S.
◦ MSN to DNP applicants must have a current, unencumbered APRN license

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, applicants who are accepted into the dual DNP/MBA program complete coursework, a Translational Project, and at least 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours.

Sample Admission Criteria:

◦ Applicants must apply for admission to the Graduate School and the School of Nursing
◦ Possess a BSN from a nursing program accredited by the NLN or the CCNE
◦ Minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average from all undergraduate study
◦ Participate in an interview with program faculty

Applicants who wish to enroll in one of the online DNP/MBA dual programs at Wilmington University may choose from the DNP/MBA with a DNP-Advanced Practice Registered Nurse focus or the DNP/MBA with a DNP-Leadership focus.

Sample Admission Criteria:

◦ Submit official transcripts reflecting a BSN degree or bachelor’s degree in any discipline and an entry-level MSN from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited program
◦ Provide a professional resume or curriculum vitae
◦ Provide one letter of professional recommendation from a Doctorally prepared professional
◦ Personal Essay/Statement of Intent



6 Things to Look for When Comparing Top Dual DNP/MBA Programs


If you are considering earning dual DNP/MBA degrees, you can never ask too many questions. Knowing what to look for will help make it easier to choose the best online DNP/MBA dual program for you. Here are six essential things to look for as you compare the top programs in this category.

1. Is the program accredited? Many people do not understand the importance of accreditation when it comes to higher learning. Accreditation is an evaluation process that schools of higher learning undergo to maintain standards of educational quality. Enrolling in one of the accredited online DNP/MBA dual programs means you will have access to benefits that non-accredited programs may not offer, such as receiving federal financial aid. Additionally, employers take into consideration whether the school issuing your degree is accredited by a reliable accrediting agency. Degrees that come from questionable accreditation may be considered less than favorable.

2. What does the program cost/How will you pay for it? As previously mentioned, the price of dual DNP/MBA programs online can add up quickly. Take time to compare the cost of different programs. Plan how you will fund your education and apply for grants, loans, or scholarships as early as possible.

3. What experience does the program faculty have? Let’s face it; no one wants to pay for an education and not be taught by the best in the field. As you compare programs, be sure to check out the program faculty. If you live close enough to a school to visit the campus, you may choose to schedule an appointment to meet with program directors and instructors. You can also schedule a call with a department supervisor. Then, do your own research. The school website should have a list of program faculty that includes their credentials. If you don’t see what you are looking for, check out LinkedIn and other professional social media platforms.

4. What are the clinical requirements, and who arranges them? In alignment with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, DNP programs typically require students to achieve a minimum of 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate clinical experience. Students enrolled in online programs, like the dual DNP/MBA online programs featured in this article, are often allowed to complete the clinical component of their programs close to their hometown. You will need to find out if you are responsible for finding your own clinical sites and preceptors and what the process for having them approved is. The sooner you do that, the better, as you do not want to risk having clinicals delayed due to not being prepared.

5. Does the program require any on-campus intensives? Some online Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration dual degree programs have stipulations that require students to attend campus for brief on-campus intensives. These on-campus times may include attending a guest lecture, participating in a skills lab, or other program requirements that must be completed in person. If traveling is difficult, you should try to find one of the dual DNP/MBA programs online that is closer to where you live, or that does not require on-campus visits.

6. What is the program’s reputation? Yes! Colleges and programs have satisfaction ratings or “reputations.” As you continue your search for the best online dual DNP/MBA programs, make sure to find out how the schools that interest you measure up to others offering the same program. You should read student reviews, contact accrediting agencies, and talk to previous students. If you do not have a good feeling about a program, chances are it may not be the best one for you.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 11 BEST ONLINE DUAL DNP/MBA PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR 2021

(These DNP/MBA Dual Degree Programs are ideal for individuals who wish to graduate with skills & knowledge in both Doctor of Nursing Practice and Business Administration.)

1. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD


2. Union University - Jackson, TN


3. Bethel University - St. Paul, MN


4. DeSales University - Center Valley, PA

Programs Offered: DNP + MBA - Executive Leadership and DNP + MBA - Clinical Leadership

5. Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, IL


6. University of Michigan-Flint - Flint, MI


7. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN


8. Saint Catherine University - Saint Paul, MN


9. Belmont University - Nashville, TN


10. Viterbo University - Lacrosse, WI


11. Wilmington University - New Castle, DE


View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities Post-Completion of This Dual Degree Program


When someone hears the word “nurse,” they often get an image in their minds of someone providing clinical nursing care, possibly standing at a patient’s bedside, or giving medications. While nurses still perform clinical roles, the profession has evolved into much more. Graduates of online DNP/MBA dual programs are perfect examples of how the nurse's role has changed through the years.

Nurses who achieve a dual DNP/MBA often work in management or leadership roles. There are many opportunities, depending on one’s personal preference. Here are a few examples of places you may find employment after completing the program.

◦ Hospital Administrator
◦ Director of Nursing
◦ Nurse Executive/Chief Nursing Officer
◦ Nurse Consultant
◦ Nursing Instructor



Average DNP/MBA Salary


The average hourly wage for someone with a dual DNP/MBA is $63.31 is nearly nine times the federal minimum wage in the United States. The average LPN salary is just over $38,000. Registered nurses with a BSN average $68,000, and those with an MSN earn approximately $100,000. Graduates of MBA programs have an average annual salary of $70,000. After completing an online Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration dual degree program, the average annual salary is $131,680, $60,000 more than with a Master of Business Administration alone and $30,000 more than registered nurses with a master’s degree.

Hourly$63.31
Monthly$10,970
Annual$131,680


Job Outlook for Graduates of This Dual Degree Program


A few factors indicate a positive job outlook for graduates of online DNP/MBA dual programs. For several years, the Association of American Medical Colleges has published data that shows a physician shortage that reaches almost every medical specialty. In June 2020, the AAMC presented data that suggests the United States healthcare system will face a shortage of 54,000 to 139,000 physicians by 2022. In April 2018, the NONPF (National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties) determined all entry-level nurse practitioner education programs should transition to a DNP by 2025, making them even more qualified to fill the positions left void by the physician shortage. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an eight percent average increase in supervisory-level employment positions through 2026 and a forty-five percent increase in job opportunities for nurses with advanced practice degrees, such as the DNP through 2029. With all these factors combined, it is feasible to expect a positive career outlook for graduates of this dual degree program.


The Bottom Line


If you have been waiting for the perfect time to go back to school and earn a dual degree in DNP and business administration, this could be it! The best online dual DNP/MBA programs for 2021 featured in this article are great resources to help you begin to pursue the dream of earning graduate degrees and creating a career with endless opportunities.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


Why is it important to look for accredited dual Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration degree programs online?

The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that education programs across the U.S. are maintaining common quality standards. Simply put, accreditation makes sure a Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration student educated in one state can perform their duties with the same level of competence as a student from another state. To earn accreditation, educational institutions must meet and maintain standards, including creating an environment for continuous improvement of programs, establish criteria for professional certification and licensure, and make sure faculty are using up-to-date information and teaching techniques. Employers prefer to hire employees who are graduates of accredited programs.

Does everyone in a dual DNP/MBA online program need to have prior nursing experience?

Although each school determines the criteria for admitting students to their programs, it is typical of DNP programs to require at least one year of clinical nursing experience before enrolling. Because each school is different, it is essential to speak with admission faculty at each school that interests you to see their admission requirements and verify if you have met the necessary work requirements.

Is there any way to complete an online dual DNP/MBA program faster than the school suggests?

While there may be some ways to decrease the amount of time it takes to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Business Administration dual degree program, there are a few things to consider. First, do you want to cut your time? Having to work or tend to a family is an excellent reason for wanting to finish your degree quickly. Remember, though, this dual degree program is a combination of two graduate programs. The coursework is heavy, and you need to take the time to learn the material and hone the skills necessary to be successful. Having said that, some schools accept credit for testing, such as CLEP or DANTES exams. If you take these tests and receive credit for them, this is one option that could save you some time in the program. I strongly recommend that you carefully consider your options and speak with your academic advisor before making any final decisions.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.