Exploring the Best Online Healthcare MBA Programs

Advance to the next level in your healthcare career with an online healthcare MBA degree. Discover what this degree is all about, including how to find the right programs to meet your professional needs.

Healthcare is one of the most important career fields in our world today. People of all walks of life depend on healthcare professionals for advice and expertise, which requires additional knowledge and skills to meet their needs. An online healthcare MBA can help you enhance your management and leadership skills with an eye toward healthcare executive positions. With the demand for medical services rising and showing no signs of slowing down, healthcare facilities need highly-trained leaders to oversee the daily and long-term operations in a quest to maximize profitability, efficiency, and most importantly, patient care.

How will online healthcare MBA programs give you an edge in that competitive world? In this guide, we’ll answer that question, introduce you to today’s top programs, and give an overview of what you can expect in this highly competitive graduate program. Read on to find out how the healthcare MBA online degree can help you reach your professional aspirations.

B-School Spotlights: Best MBA Healthcare Management Online Programs in 2021

The need for more executives, leaders, and managers in healthcare is growing. To supply these positions, many schools have established MBA healthcare management online programs that are affordable, convenient, and can help train future healthcare leaders. But choosing the right program isn’t always easy. To help in your search for the best online healthcare MBA program, we’ve found three top-rated schools representing some of the best features available in an MBA healthcare online program. These are just three schools from a larger ranked list of online healthcare MBA degree programs coming out later in 2021.

University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Located in the southeastern part of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s online MBA Program is the only one that has AACSB accreditation. Students can choose to complete the general MBA curriculum or focus on a concentration, like business analytics, finance, or healthcare administration. Realizing that many students will want to work full-time, the University of Chattanooga’s online healthcare MBA offers several convenient features. These include four start dates, part-time and full-time tracks, and 100% online delivery. This latter feature means students can earn their MBA degree without ever visiting campus.

The curriculum consists of three primary components. Students must complete the core classes in topics like organizational theory and behavior, economics, and finance. Then there are the elective classes. This is where students will take coursework relevant to their chosen area of concentration, like healthcare management. Finally, there is the capstone course. With the help of a computer-simulated environment, students will apply what they learned through their MBA studies to operate a business, including making key business decisions and findings ways to boost profitability.

Portland State University

Portland State University’s online Healthcare MBA program has been accredited by the AACSB. It offers a unique academic experience focused on the business aspects of providing healthcare services to patients and a community. Portland State University prides itself on creating a curriculum that focuses on five areas:

  • Finance, marketing, and strategy
  • Operations and quality management
  • Leadership and management
  • Understanding the healthcare industry
  • Capstone and application projects

To make the most of peer learning, students will complete the MBA program as a cohort. Only 80% of the healthcare MBA program is offered online. The curriculum can only be completed on a part-time basis. As a result, students will complete their classwork over 21 months. The remaining 20% of the curriculum will be completed in-person during events that occur twice a year. The program will end with a capstone project, where students will take on a business challenge from a real healthcare organization.

Florida International University

At Florida International University’s Alvah H. Chapman Jr. Graduate School of Business, students can enroll in the AACSB-accredited online MBA in Healthcare program to open their professional healthcare possibilities. The program requires 42 credits, which can be completed in 18 months. Most of the curriculum can be completed online. However, students need to attend three residencies. They will network with their classmates, faculty, and industry professionals and earn their Lean Six Sigma yellow and green belt certifications.

Another key feature of Florida International’s online MBA program is the global travel program. This optional opportunity provides an international view of the healthcare industry. Students must attend two trip sessions, complete assigned readings, and submit a final paper or health policy analysis in addition to traveling abroad. By completing the global travel program, students will also earn the Advanced Certificate in Global Healthcare Administration.

What to Expect from an Online MBA in Healthcare Program

In a typical online healthcare MBA program, the curriculum will consist of two main types of courses. There are core classes that all MBA students will take, covering topics like business strategy and leadership skills. Then there are the healthcare management classes. These will focus on concepts such as healthcare economics and the financial management of healthcare organizations. With this information, students will better grasp the interactions among major players in the healthcare industry, like insurance companies, suppliers, the federal government, and patients.

Most programs will not require a capstone or thesis, though some will want to see a capstone project that results in a real-world issue. Electives can be handled differently from one school to another as well. At some schools, the specialization in healthcare management is obtained through electives. At other schools, students can take electives in addition to their core and concentration classes.

The learning experience in an online MBA healthcare administration program will work like most other distance learning programs. This means using course management software to manage assignments and live or recorded lectures and group discussions, both in real-time and with time-delayed responses, based on the class schedule. Because so many students will be working full-time while in school, most curriculums are asynchronous. This allows students to “attend” class at a time that’s most convenient for them, such as at night or on the weekends.

Common Courses

  • Marketing Management

    This class will address marketing challenges and management strategies for maintaining a productive teamwork environment to most effectively design and carry out a marketing plan. Various marketing campaigns that have successfully improved a company’s sales will be reviewed.

  • Strategic Human Resource Management

    Personnel management is a critical component of any healthcare organization. This class will identify various cultural, social, political, legal, and personality factors that affect the workforce and how human resource managers can overcome these challenges. Much of the curriculum will consist of group exercises where students debate approaches to solving common human resource challenges faced by a healthcare facility.

  • Healthcare Management

    This class outlines the multiple organizational forms that can make up a healthcare organization. Students will learn about the benefits and challenges of various management structures and how they affect a medical care provider’s overall performance. Employee retention, profitability, worker communication, and patient care will also be examined, including how they interact within a healthcare organization.

  • Healthcare Informatics

    The ubiquity of affordable technology has dramatically increased the digitization of patient and medical records. This class will examine the history of this development, how current informatics systems work, and future challenges hospitals and other users of health informatics systems will face. Other topics addressed include the collection, storage, protection, and analysis of medical data.

  • Healthcare Marketing

    This course focuses on the role management plays in marketing for a healthcare organization. Instruction looks at how a healthcare organization prices its services and conducts consumer research, and implements marketing plans. This class will also discuss consumer behavior in the healthcare industry and tools to forecast patient demand for medical services.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Healthcare

Online healthcare MBA programs are designed for individuals who need to increase their understanding of how healthcare organizations operate. Whether it’s overseeing the computer infrastructure in a hospital system or training new hires for a new clinic, the online healthcare MBA will prepare individuals for both of these roles and almost anything in between. Given how the need for healthcare services is expected to continue massive growth in the United States, the demand for healthcare leaders will continue to rise. Below are some of the positions MBA healthcare students can expect to encounter after they graduate.

Healthcare Human Resources Manager

Healthcare human resource managers handle the recruitment, training, retention, and disciplining of the healthcare facility workers. The core of what they do revolves around understanding and working with people in the healthcare industry. Online healthcare MBA programs prepare graduates to manage these healthcare workers and understand their roles within their organization.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$68,300 $116,720 $205,720

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Healthcare Chief Executive

The healthcare chief executive manages the overall direction of a healthcare organization. While experience in the industry is a key asset for this job, earning an MBA in healthcare management, an online degree can set the stage for a mid-level healthcare executive looking to gain the skills necessary to step up to the next level of healthcare management and administration. These skills may include analyzing both clinical and financial data to improve patient care and the profitability of a healthcare provider.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$62,290 $184,460 $208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Healthcare Services Manager

Healthcare services managers do exactly what their job titles indicate: they manage a medical facility’s healthcare services. Their job duties can include creating work schedules, managing medical personnel, and overseeing an organization’s financial operations. The online MBA healthcare degree can give graduates a significant step up over peers with only a bachelor’s degree. The healthcare MBA’s curriculum teaches a variety of business-oriented topics and healthcare management and policy subjects that aren’t available at the bachelor’s level.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$58,820 $100,980 $189,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Health Information Systems Manager

A health information systems manager administers and oversees the computer technology systems in a healthcare organization, including creating and protecting the databases and other information systems that contain patient data and health or medical records. Ideally, they will have an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field and then earn an MBA in healthcare degree to gain a complete understanding of how information systems fit into the overall operations of a healthcare services provider.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$87,480 $146,360 $208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Healthcare Compensation and Benefits Manager

Often found in human resources departments, healthcare compensation and benefits managers oversee the employer’s compensation and benefits. Their duties can include informing employees of their benefits, choosing benefit packages, and overseeing the implementation of new or different compensation or benefits. A healthcare MBA degree can help by providing the business and leadership skills necessary to take an active role in the compensation and benefits department within the healthcare administration context.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$69,870 $122,270 $208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBA Degrees in Healthcare

An MBA healthcare management online degree can open doors to your next promotion or position in the healthcare or business field. But how will you pay for it? Most students will need some financial assistance to cover their education costs. There are a number of financial aid options available to MBA students, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, student loans, and employer tuition assistance benefits. To learn more about each type and whether you might be eligible to receive them, check out our financial aid page.

How Much Your Online MBA in Healthcare Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Fitchburg State University

30

$417

$12,510

Youngstown State University

30

$450

$13,500

University of Northern Colorado

36

$597

$21,492

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Healthcare MBA Programs

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in healthcare?

Each school varies in qualities they look for in their applicant pool. But most admissions offices will ask for the following:

  • Completed online application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts evidencing completion of an accredited bachelor’s degree program
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Letter(s) of recommendation

Some programs will also require students have two or more years of healthcare or business experience, a statement of intent, a minimum undergraduate GPA, or submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Are there quality online healthcare MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

Many schools offering an online MBA will typically make the GMAT optional or ask for a GMAT score only if certain other academic credentials lack. There are a few schools that do not require the GMAT. The University of Northern Colorado and the University of Scranton are two such schools.

How long will it take to finish my MBA in healthcare online?

Most online healthcare MBA programs will consist of 30 to 36 credits. This means full-time students can earn their master’s degree in as little as one year. However, because many MBA students plan on working while taking classes, they will attend on a part-time basis. This means students may take two years to graduate. In almost every program, students can take advantage of this flexibility. One such school is Eastern University, which allows students to complete the necessary 36 credits in 12 to 24 months.

Can I earn my MBA in healthcare 100% online or do I need to go to campus?

In most online healthcare MBA programs, students can complete 100% of the coursework through distance learning, with no in-person requirements. Yet, due to the advantages inherent with face-to-face interactions, both from learning and networking perspectives, some programs will offer “residencies.” These are on-campus events of several days that include live lectures or workshops and the opportunity to interact with their classmates, professors, and other industry leaders.

What’s the difference between an MBA in healthcare and a master’s in healthcare?

Both the online healthcare MBA and the master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) prepare graduates to take on management and leadership roles within a healthcare organization. But there are major differences that can make one degree a better option.

The MBA in healthcare places a greater focus on business classes and topics, like finance, accounting, and marketing. In contrast, the MHA emphasizes healthcare concepts and theories, such as healthcare policy, human resource management, and healthcare regulations.

The MHA is more suited for someone working for a hospital or other medical services provider. However, an MBA in healthcare can prepare graduates to work in any business environment related to the healthcare industry. This doesn’t mean an MBA is required to work as a pharmaceutical executive while an MHA is necessary to become a hospital administrator; the curriculums of each program are usually better suited for those respective roles.

If an online master’s in healthcare administration sounds like the better choice for you, check out our complete guide to the best online MHA programs.