Called a hidden career by some, healthcare administration is an integral part of the nation's medical system. Administrators and executives are responsible for overseeing health care facilities. They also lead the development and implementation of initiatives to improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency.
Entry-level jobs may be available to those with a bachelor's degree or other training, but the American College of Healthcare Executives says a master's degree is required for many positions within the field. Forbes named a master's degree in Healthcare Administration as the eighth best graduate degree for job seekers.
Regardless of whether you are new to the field and planning to earn an undergraduate degree or are an experienced professional seeking an advanced education, an online degree program can be a convenient way to train for a career in healthcare administration. Both undergraduate and graduate programs are available entirely online.
The following are some of the potential benefits of choosing an online degree:
- Opportunity to study at top tier schools across the country
- Ability to schedule class times around work and family events
- Chance to study part-time, depending on the school
- Reduced costs with no need to pay for room and board, commuting or child care
Our Selection Method
To help students find high quality and affordable online colleges for healthcare administration, we turned to the National Center for Education Statistics. First, we searched for affordable schools; those with undergraduate in-state tuition rates (when in-state rates are available) of lower than $15,000 per year. These tuition rates represent the average cost for all undergraduate degree programs, not just those offered online.
Next, we narrowed those schools down to our top ten by considering each institution's graduation rate. The NCES defines the graduation rate as the percentage of first-time, full-time students who earn their bachelor's degree within a six year period. According to the center, the national graduation rate in 2012 was 59 percent. Graduating on time can be an important part of keeping college affordable since every extra year spent in the classroom can mean thousands of dollars more spent on tuition.
Since many degrees in healthcare administration are offered at the graduate level, the tuition rate and graduation rate for these programs may vary. However, it is likely a school that does a good job of helping its undergraduates earn their degree on time will also do a good job of ensuring graduate students remain on course. Likewise, schools with reasonable undergraduate in-state tuition may also have affordable rates for their graduate programs.
Using the above criteria, the following are ten affordable places to get an online education in healthcare administration. This list is ordered by graduation rate (highest to lowest), and uses NCES data from the 2013 to 2014 school year. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.
Top Colleges for Healthcare Administration
#1 - National American University - Albuquerque West (Visit School Site)
- Graduation rate: 100%
- Tuition: $12,423
The Albuquerque West campus of the National American University can boast of an accomplishment few institutions can match. In 2012, it recorded a 100 percent graduation rate, meaning all its undergraduate students earned their degree on time. For healthcare administration, online students can turn to National American University for a bachelor's degree in Healthcare Management. The degree is offered through a blended format which combines online classes with some in-person requirements. Students can complete the degree at the Albuquerque West campus or one of 36 other National American University locations.
#2 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Graduation rate: 90%
- In-state tuition: $8,340
UNC at Chapel Hill claims that its Executive Master's degree in Healthcare Administration is considered one of the top healthcare leadership programs in the nation. The program is fully online except for three week-long sessions on the campus each year. Students can expect to earn their degree in two years, and courses are delivered through a mixture of recorded and live activities as well as interactive applications.
#3 - Brookline College
- Graduation rate: 47%
- Tuition: $30,000
Students hoping to enter the workplace as quickly as possible may find Brookline College is a good choice. The school offers degree programs both online and at its four Arizona and New Mexico campuses. According to Brookline, students can typically earn an associate degree in 60 weeks, a bachelor's degree in 120 weeks or a master's degree in 48 weeks. Those interested in working in medical administration can choose from online associate or bachelor's degree programs in healthcare administration or an online Master's of Nursing in health systems administration.
#4 - University of Northwestern Ohio
- Graduation rate: 62%
- Tuition: $9,565
At the University of Northwestern Ohio, students can earn undergraduate degrees and diplomas from the school's colleges of Applied Technology, Business, Occupational Professions and Health Professions. In addition, online degrees are available from the University of Northwestern Ohio's graduate school. Among other offerings, the school has an online associate degree in Medical Office Management and a Baccalaureate degree in Healthcare Administration. The university has a graduation rate of percent, and in-state tuition is for 2014.
#5 - Brigham Young University - Idaho
- Graduation rate: 60%
- Tuition: $3,850
The biggest bargain on our top colleges for healthcare administration list is Brigham Young University - Idaho. Among the university's online programs is a bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration. The fully online program is expected to prepare graduates for entry-level jobs in administration and allow them to manage smaller medical facilities.
#6 - Monroe College
- Graduation rate: 57%
- Tuition: $13,236
Founded in 1933, Monroe College offered its first distance education course in 1998. Now, students can choose Monroe Online for degree programs from five different academic areas: criminal justice, allied health professions, business, information technology and hospitality management and culinary arts. Within the allied health professions school, an online associate degree in Medical Administration and an online bachelor's degree in Health Services Administration are offered.
#7 - Virginia College - Birmingham
- Graduation rate: 57%
- Tuition: $12,250
Virginia College has 27 campuses in Southern states as well as online degree options. Students electing to study online can choose from several undergraduate and graduate programs, including an associate degree in Medical Office Administration or Management, a bachelor's degree in Health Services Management and an MBA in Healthcare.
#8 - University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Graduation rate: 54%
- In-state tuition: $7,206
Another Birmingham institution worth considering for healthcare administration programs is the University of Alabama. The school landed in the top 100 of schools ranked by U.S. News and World Report for their online bachelor's degree programs. Healthcare administration students can earn a fully online bachelor's degree in Health Care Management. Those already working in the field can earn an Executive Master's degree in Health Administration. This graduate program features a blended delivery combining online learning with on-campus requirements.
#9 - Louisiana Tech University
- Graduation rate: 49%
- In-state tuition: $7,302
The Global Campus at Louisiana Tech University offers five online master's degrees, three bachelor's degrees and an associate degree. In addition, the university has five undergraduate and graduate certificates available online. Future Healthcare Administrators may earn a bachelor's degree in Health Informatics and Information Management. Those with a bachelor's degree may find Louisiana Tech's online master's degree in Health Informatics or Business Administration enhances their undergraduate education.
#10 - Montana State University - Billings
- Graduation rate: 48%
- In-state tuition: $5,745
The final entry on our top colleges for healthcare administration list is Montana State University. The school has been offering higher education opportunities in Billings since 1927. However, students from across the country can access the university today through its online programs. For administration students, both a bachelor's and master's degree in Health Administration are available.
Whether you are ready to start on the path to a career as an administrator by earning an associate or bachelor's degree or are a seasoned professional looking at your graduate degree options, online programs in healthcare administration can be flexible, convenient and affordable. Learn more by contacting these schools about their programs or browse our Top Online Colleges Guide to learn more about schools offering these programs.
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator
- Best and Worst master's Degrees for Jobs, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efkk45ifij/no-8-best-masters-degree-for-jobs-health-care-administration/
- Getting Started, American College of Healthcare Executives, http://www.healthmanagementcareers.org/started.cfm
- Healthcare Management, National American University, http://www.national.edu/programs/undergraduate-studies/bachelors-degrees/health-care-management
- Executive Master of Healthcare Administration, UNC-Chapel Hill, http://programs.northcarolina.edu/program/university-of-north-carolina-chapel-hill-executive-master-of-healthcare-administration-master
- Online Degree and Diploma Programs, Brookline College, http://brooklinecollege.edu/college-programs/online-programs/
- Online Degrees Healthcare Administration, University of Northwestern Ohio, http://www.unoh.edu/academics/online-degrees/health-care-administration-online.shtml
- BS in Healthcare Administration, Brigham Young University - Idaho, http://byui.edu/online/degrees-and-programs/healthcare-administration
- School of Allied Health Professions, Monroe Online, http://www.monroecollege.edu/online/academics/schoolsandprograms/alliedhealthprofessions
- Health and Medical, Virginia University, http://www.vc.edu/departments/health-medical-degrees.cfm
- UAB Online, University of Alabama at Birmingham, http://www.uab.edu/online/degrees-certificates/graduate/master-degrees
- University of Alabama -- Birmingham, U.S. News and World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-alabama-at-birmingham-1052/bachelors
- Global Campus, Louisiana Tech University, http://www.latech.edu/globalcampus/index.php
- MSUB Online, Montana State University - Billings, http://www.msubillings.edu/msubonline/DegreesandPrograms.htm