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Best Online Executive MHA Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Healthcare is one of the largest, most complex industries today. Regulations, job-specific compensation models, and in-depth healthcare structures require people with strong management skills to lead teams that positively impact the delivery of services and patient outcomes. If you have considered expanding your career to include leadership positions in the healthcare industry, the best executive MHA programs online featured in this article are a great resource to help you begin. Increased demand for qualified healthcare leaders and long-term career opportunities are just a few reasons why pursuing a degree at one of the best online executive MHA programs for 2021 can help you expand your professional role.


What Exactly Is the Goal of an Executive MHA Program?


The goal of Executive MHA programs is to prepare clinical and management healthcare professionals for advanced leadership roles throughout the healthcare industry. These programs implement curriculum relevant to teach leadership and business skills and develop influential leaders in healthcare.


Who Accredits Online Executive MHA Programs & Why Attending an Accredited Program Is Important?


The United States Department of Education states that the goal of accreditation is to ensure learning institutions offer high-quality content that is sufficient to prepare students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their chosen careers. Accrediting agencies define the operating standards for professional and educational institutions and programs and, after determining the status of those standards being met, make their findings known to the public. Because accredited programs and institutions must meet specific professional and academic standards, students can feel confident they will be well-prepared graduates. For this reason, it is imperative to find executive MHA programs online that are accredited.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is what many people refer to as the “gold standard” of accrediting agencies for programs related to healthcare administration, such as the best online executive MHA programs featured in this program.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)


6 Good Reasons to Enroll in Executive MHA Program


Do you love the idea of working in healthcare and would like to lead groups of people? The following are some reasons enrolling in an executive MHA online program could be just what you’re looking for.

1. You will be eligible for positions that individuals without an Executive MHA degree are not. Enrolling in and completing an Executive MHA program positions you to achieve professional goals that may not be within reach without the degree. The healthcare industry is a great place to build a career, but you may find there are limitations without the proper academic foundation. Many organizations require employees who are on a healthcare management or administrative career path to earn an Executive MHA or risk losing their jobs.
2. Income Potential is Great! Earning an Executive MHA degree can help bolster your earning potential. Salary may vary depending on the size of the organization or your previous healthcare experience. However, having the Executive MHA degree is a great way to maximize your earning potential.
3. Choice of Several Disciplines: Although an Executive MHA degree prepares individuals for healthcare leadership and administration roles, the degree does not have a simple focus on business-related issues. Individuals with an Executive MHA degree, like graduates of online executive MHA degree programs featured in this article, study healthcare policy, healthcare law, informatics, risk management, and data management, meaning you have choices regarding career paths.
4. You can make a difference in the healthcare industry. An online Executive MHA degree gives you the knowledge and skills necessary to help build a healthcare career that impacts the lives of the patients and communities you serve. Your skills will be used to guide and oversee healthcare facilities, promote efficient, cost-effective, top-quality patient care that improves patient outcomes.
5. High demand means more job security. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an average eighteen percent growth in healthcare administration jobs through 2028. One contributing factor to this expected growth is the aging of people known as the “baby boomers.” Many have healthcare needs that are significant due to chronic conditions. Additionally, active lifestyles mean many will live longer, creating the need for hospital care or long-term care facilities and people to run them.
6. Endless opportunities for professional growth and self-improvement: Working in healthcare management requires continued professional development. Because employers understand the value of well-trained administrators and leaders, many offer tuition reimbursement for administrators and leaders who participate in continued academic endeavors.


How Long Are Online Executive MHA Programs?


Online executive Master’s in Healthcare Administration programs take full-time students an average of two years to complete. Programs that offer part-time study may take a bit longer, depending on whether students maintain consecutive semester enrollment or if they need to take time off. Additionally, if there is a need to repeat a class, this could extend the time it takes to graduate.

Examples of program length of some of the best executive MHA programs online follow below.

The University of Southern California prepares executive MHA students to apply new technologies to healthcare delivery that maximize organizational performance. The program includes two elective tracks, Vulnerable Populations, and Community Health Care, to respond to the specific interest of students. Students can complete the program in as few as twenty-four months.

Florida Atlantic University is home to one of the top executive MHA online programs available. The program is specifically designed to meet the academic needs of individuals who have busy personal and professional commitments but who have a desire to grow their professional reach. The program, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, is formatted to be completed in as little as fifteen months.

Making solid choices, putting them into action, and analyzing whether they were effective is a core responsibility of people in healthcare administration positions. In just two years, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which offers one of the best executive MHA online programs, prepares students for this role.

At the University of Washington, the executive MHA program is a part-time, two-year program completed in eight quarters. The program accepts students from diverse healthcare roles, including clinical roles and administrative roles, which means students learn to practice interdisciplinary collaboration within their cohort. Learning these skills makes graduates influential leaders in healthcare administration.

Full-time students enrolled in the Executive MHA program at Weber University complete the program over two academic years or four semesters. Courses are offered in two fall and two spring semesters with no summer attendance.


How Much Do Online Executive MHA Programs Cost?


Online Executive Master’s in Healthcare programs are some of the most affordable graduate degrees in the healthcare industry, with tuition rates beginning at around $25,000. As you research which school and program are better suited for you, be sure to verify whether there is a flat rate for the program or other fees not included in the tuition cost. Examples of additional fees may consist of distance-learning fees, technology fees, and the cost of textbooks.

Below are some examples of tuition costs for some of the best online executive MHA programs in this article.

The University of Central Florida offers one of our featured executive MHA programs online. The program exposes students to information designed to give them an understanding of real-world issues affecting healthcare administration and the industry. Courses are delivered in sixteen-week terms. Students complete forty-four credit hours at a rate of $772.69, totaling. $33,998.36.

At the University of Minnesota, students in the online Executive Master of Healthcare Administration program are exposed to a rigorous academic curriculum. The program includes a focus on the management of complex, integrated health systems. To graduate from the program, students are required to complete forty-two credit hours of coursework. Tuition for residents and non-resident students alike is calculated at $1,632.00 per credit hour, making the tuition cost for the program $68,544.

The Executive Master of Health Administration program at Western Kentucky University prepares students for administrative and managerial roles in diverse healthcare settings, including acute care, short- or long-term care, managed care organizations, healthcare clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms. Tuition for the forty-two credit-hour program costs between $25,494 and $38,514. The per-credit rate is $607 for Kentucky residents and $917 for non-resident students.

The per-credit-hour tuition rate at the University of Memphis is $648.00 for in-state students and $840.00 for out-of-state students. Students must accomplish forty-five credit hours to complete the Executive Masters in Healthcare Administration program, including forty-two hours of core courses and three hours devoted to a comprehensive master's project. Total tuition ranges between $29,160 and $37,800.


Coursework


The curriculum for accredited executive MHA programs online is designed with specific learning outcomes in mind. Coursework prepares students to understand the economic, organizational, political, and legal underpinnings of health systems and their impact on healthcare. Students learn to apply finance, human resource management, effective communication, and strong ethics to lead healthcare organizations successfully.

The following are examples of some courses students enrolled in our featured online executive MHA programs will take.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students enrolled in the online Executive Master of Health Administration program complete forty-nine credit hours over the course of two years. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). It has been ranked in the top 3 by U.S. News & World Report and Modern Healthcare, making it one of the best online executive MHA programs available.

◦ Population Health and Status Assessment
◦ Organizational Development/Organizational Behavior Theory and Application
◦ Management of Human Resources and Health Professionals
◦ Market Analysis, Research, and Assessment
◦ Quality Assessment for Patient Care Improvement

Cornell University is home to one of our featured online executive Master’s in Healthcare Administration programs. The program model is designed with the needs of the working professional in mind. Courses for the program are developed by Cornell University faculty and are presented by Executives-in-Residence, who serve as mentors to students through the completion of their capstone projects.

◦ Microeconomics for Managers
◦ Business Statistics
◦ Health Marketing for Managers
◦ Leadership, Innovation, and Change Management
◦ Health Law for Managers

The University of Nevada’s executive MHA online program consists of forty credit hours, including the culminating experience of a Healthcare Administration Capstone course.

◦ Operations and Quality Management of Health Services
◦ Survey of U.S. HealthCare System: Programs, Policies, and Politics
◦ Epidemiology in Health Services Management
◦ Strategic Management of Health Services
◦ Information Systems in Health Services Management

The executive MHA program at Western Kentucky University, one of the best-accredited executive MHA programs online, welcomes applicants from various undergraduate backgrounds. Program graduates are prepared for healthcare leadership roles in group medical practices, private and public health agencies, consulting firms, medical equipment firms, hospitals, inpatient and outpatient facilities. The program curriculum requires students to complete forty-two credit hours of coursework, including the following.

◦ Public Health Administration
◦ Managerial Finance for Health Services
◦ Healthcare Jurisprudence
◦ Health Economics and Policy
◦ Biostatistics for Public Health


Admission Requirements


The best online executive MHA programs are designed for people who wish to broaden their career scope and step into leadership roles within the healthcare industry. Although admission criteria may vary from one school or program to another, most require prospective students to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited learning institution and work experience in management within a healthcare setting. Each college or university determines the admission requirements for their programs, and as such, it is necessary to verify the criteria for each school you are considering.

The following are examples of admission requirements for some of the best accredited online executive MHA programs mentioned in this article.

The Executive Master of Health Administration at the University of Southern California is available to mid-and senior-level professionals who have the potential and desire to serve as leaders in the healthcare industry. Program participants are exposed to in-depth knowledge of up-to-date theories in contemporary health management practices.

◦ Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
◦ Have five years of experience with higher levels of responsibility in healthcare or a related field
◦ Personal Statement of Purpose: This is a brief statement describing the applicant's reason for pursuing the Executive MHA, including how the degree will help transition or enhance their career and what the applicant hopes to contribute to the healthcare industry
◦ Three letters of recommendation

The University of Nevada at Las Vegas offers an Executive Master in Healthcare Administration program designed for individuals with previous work experience in administrative or management positions in healthcare. Preference is given to candidates with five years of professional work experience or healthcare professionals who possess or are currently earning a terminal degree in their practice field.

◦ Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from a regionally accredited institution, with at least a 3.0-grade point average
◦ Submit a one-to-two-page personal essay that describes why the applicant has chosen to pursue an Executive MHA degree
◦ Provide professional resume and/or curriculum vitae
◦ Contact information for at least three people who can provide professional recommendations

The University of Memphis prepares current mid-career management and clinical healthcare professionals for advanced leadership roles. The CAHME-accredited program has the following admission criteria.

◦ Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited learning institution
◦ Have a minimum of five years of relevant clinical experience or healthcare management
◦ Submit official transcripts that support a minimum 3.0-grade point average on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate coursework


5 Things to Look for When Comparing Top Online Executive MHA Programs


Going back to school and earning your master's in healthcare administration is a significant step in your professional career. As such, you will want to choose a program that is best suited for your goals, and that fits well with your current life situation. The following is a list of five things you should look for when comparing online executive MHA programs.

1. Accreditation: The most important thing a prospective student should look for in any program is whether the institution and program are accredited. Accreditation is, in simple terms, official recognition that an institution meets the standards for a particular program. By choosing from accredited executive MHA programs online, you can feel confident the instruction you are receiving from program faculty aligns with current standards.
2. Is the program competency-based? Competency-based online executive Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree programs allow students to earn credit for classes for which they can demonstrate mastery of a subject. This option acknowledges a student's previous experience and can decrease the time it takes to graduate.
3. How flexible is the program? Distance learning has created opportunities for people who wish to earn a new degree or expand their professional role to do so with less disruption to their current schedules. If you have a job or other responsibilities, look for programs that allow flexibility with deadlines or that offer play-back options for lectures.
4. Is the curriculum employer-aligned? The healthcare industry constantly changes. Executive MHA online programs should effectively address the competencies and skills relevant to trends that directly impact patients and businesses. At the same time, they should add value to the organization and create positive employee and client experiences. An employer-aligned curriculum identifies real-life challenges faced by healthcare leaders and incorporates them into the coursework, creating healthcare leaders who are resilient, well-prepared for their jobs.
5. What areas of interest/specialization are offered? Many schools that offer executive MHA education offer students a choice of disciplines such as financial management, sports health administration, human resources, or non-profit public health administration. As you research online executive MHA degree programs, consider the area that most interests you and try to find a program that offers that specialization.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 11 BEST ONLINE EXECUTIVE MHA PROGRAMS FOR 2021


1. University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA


2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC


3. University of Washington – Seattle, WA


4. University of Central Florida – Orlando, FL


5. University of Minnesota – Crookston, MN


6. Florida Atlantic University – Boca Raton, FL


7. University of Nevada-Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV


8. Cornell University – Ithaca, NY


9. Weber State University – Ogden, UT


10. University of Memphis – Memphis, TN


11. Western Kentucky University – Bowling Green, KY


View Ranking Methodology



What Kind of Career Opportunities Exist for Executive MHA Graduates?


Graduates of accredited executive MHA programs online take on roles as administrators, executives, and managers in healthcare organizations. Following are a few examples of healthcare leadership roles that some graduates may pursue and the duties they entail.

◦ Human Resources Manager: Plan, coordinate and direct the administrative duties of an organization. HR managers recruit, interview, and hire new staff, create strategic plans for employee retention and act as the link between management and employees within organizations.
◦ Hospital Administrator: Supervises assistant administrators, department heads, and managers; organizes and oversees health services and activities of employees within the hospital
◦ Information Technology Manager: Coordinates the functions of computer systems within their organization and ensure that software, networks, and computer applications are up-to-date and working efficiently
◦ Diagnostic Laboratory Supervisor: People with an executive MHA degree who work as supervisors in diagnostic laboratories work closely with lab technicians to ensure proper protocol are followed and oversee patient information


What is the Average Salary for Graduates of Executive MHA Programs?


A Master's in Healthcare Administration degree offers higher earning potential for those willing to work to earn the degree. While the entry-level salary in some settings is just over $55,000, executive MHA professionals earn an average annual salary of $77,612 overall. Executive MHA programs online offer students the opportunity to achieve the necessary skills that create an upward trajectory in income-earning potential.

Per Hour $37.31
Per Month $6,470
Per Year $77,612
(Source: Payscale.com)


What Is the Demand Like for Executive MHA Graduates?


The healthcare industry is extraordinarily complex. The network of public and private hospitals and other healthcare delivery systems remains in a constant state of growth and change. As a result, there is also an increased demand for professionals with advanced education and training to assume administrative and management positions, ensuring the delivery of excellent healthcare. Review from sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Labor indicate the continued growth of the healthcare industry, which means the demand for qualified healthcare administrators, such as graduates from executive MHA programs online, will continue.


Bottomline


Earning positions in administrative, leadership, management, or executive roles in the healthcare industry is competitive. Earning an Executive Master's in Healthcare Administration degree can increase your chances of being offered the career of your dreams. The best online executive MHA programs for 2021 featured in this article are an excellent way to help you earn the degree and begin your career as a leader in healthcare.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


Are there scholarships available for executive MHA programs online?

There are various scholarships for students of executive Masters in Healthcare Administration online programs. Colleges and universities may offer scholarship opportunities sponsored by private organizations or program alumni. Employer-sponsored scholarships, organization scholarships, and repayment programs are other options for students who may need financial assistance.

Do I need a background in the medical field to be successful in an executive MHA program online?

Having previous experience in healthcare can increase your chances of admission to programs with competitive admission processes. However, professionals from diverse backgrounds are accepted into the programs and are successful.

Do I need GRE scores to get into an online executive MHA program?

While not all distance learning executive MHA programs require applicants to submit GRE scores, admission criteria are determined by the school. If you have taken the GRE and scored well, it could benefit you in the application process to have those scores available for admission faculty to review. Please speak with an admission counselor at any school you are interested in to verify their policy on standardized test scores as a stipulation for admission.


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.