Doctorate in Healthcare Administration

Consider an Online Program Currently Accepting Applicants

A Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, or DHA degree, is a terminal degree within health administration that can help prepare professionals to become leaders in the healthcare industry, healthcare research and healthcare policy. Generally speaking, the DHA degree is for established professionals in the healthcare industry as a path to advance their career, a Ph.D. in Health Administration combines the advancements in healthcare technology, business education, and the social sciences into one degree.

A Ph.D. in Health Administration is best suited for the healthcare professional, either administrative or clinical, that is seeking to advance into a research or academic field.

A Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, or Health Administration, will prepare professionals to become leaders in the healthcare industry, healthcare research and healthcare policy.

Generally sought out by established professionals in the healthcare industry as a path to advance their career, a Ph.D. in Health Administration combines the advancements in healthcare technology, business education, and the social sciences into one degree.

Who Should Pursue a Doctorate in Health Administration?

A Ph.D. in Health Administration is best suited for the healthcare professional, either administrative or clinical, that is seeking to advance into a research or academic field.

These professionals may also choose to combine this employment change with a position in government or a specific industry as a consultant. At the Doctorate level, experience is mandatory for both admissions and to be able to get the most out of the educational experience.

A doctorate level degree in Healthcare Administration will not be applicable to a new professional or an individual without direct healthcare experience.

What Does a Typical Doctorate of Health Administration Program Look Like?

Ph.D. programs in Healthcare Administration are found both in the Traditional classroom setting and online, however there are very few programs to choose from. Most programs have modified to use both online classrooms and in-person sessions.

This allows professionals to attend school while continuing to work. Many schools and universities focus on Doctorate programs in Public Health, with options in policy and administration, that can be quite similar to Ph.D. programs in Health Administration.


For most Ph.D. programs, the pre-requisites include a related post-bachloriate degree with around five years of experience in the desired field. Students applying to Ph.D. programs in healthcare administration need to prove proficiency in a variety of topics, from health finance, to organizational behavior, to economics.

Proficiency can be demonstrated either through graduate level course work or professional experience. Career personal statements are also often among the requirements for application.

Curriculum & Classes

Most coursework for a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration will take a minimum of three years. Many programs offer part-time options for classroom work, or will require (or allow) students to teach undergrad or graduate level courses while completing their Ph.D. requirements.

Few programs allow for further specialization within the degree, such as Information Technology or Leadership. The coursework covered will include topics in leadership and management, research methods, policy, and social theories. Class work will focus on theory, but also practical applications of theory.

Successful completion of a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration degree requires successful passing of all courses, potentially long term projects or research, and a final Dissertation or Thesis presentation.

Doctorate in Healthcare Administration FAQs

How does a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration differ from a PhD?

One of the primary questions asked by upcoming students in this program may pertain to the difference between these two degrees. Typically, PhD programs may be more preferable for students that wish to work behind the scenes in research and development of healthcare policies, while doctorate learners may work in more hands-on positions in higher level careers in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. The PhD in Healthcare Administration is more focused on the research-based aspects of healthcare service and quality. Professionals at this level may work in more research-driven sectors of healthcare such as policy development and healthcare law. The Doctorate in Healthcare Administration can help students remain in the applied settings of healthcare administration, which can lead to careers in corporate management, quality control or even hospital ownership.

How long will it take to complete this degree?

Before choosing a degree option, you might consider how much of a time investment the degree will be. Students choosing to pursue doctoral-level degree programs may find that the time it takes to complete the degree is small in comparison to the benefits of enrolling. The time it takes you to complete this degree program may be dependent on several different elements. What type of degree did you have before entering this program? If you come straight from your bachelor’s program, you might expect to spend an additional 4 years working on this degree. Those that have already obtained a related master’s program may only require 2-3 years for this program.

What type of work experience should I have before entering into this program?

Work experience in healthcare can be beneficial for upcoming students in healthcare administration. Some programs may require that you have a minimum of 5 years work experience in the healthcare field to be considered for acceptance. However, there may be plenty of programs available for new students that are either interested in pursuing the healthcare field as their first work experience or those that are changing fields mid-career. Work experience may be very important when seeking out leadership positions, so students should pursue opportunities prior to the end of their program.

What can I earn with a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration?

One important factor that may not easily be overlooked for upcoming DHA students is the earning potential. Regardless of which field a person chooses to work in, there are certain considerations that go into making that decision.

As able-bodied adults, most people choose to pursue a career that is worth the time and effort of a degree program and can pay well throughout their experience.

There may be numerous professional paths to consider with a DHA. Some graduates may choose to work for healthcare organizations that oversee the healthcare process from an outwards perspective, while others may seek positions more closely rooted to the application of healthcare services to the public.

Depending on what type of career you are seeking, there may be very different levels of salary for each. Below this section, you can read about the average incomes for higher-tier executives currently working in the healthcare field. See if these salaries are what you expected for degree holders at this level.

Schools to Consider

Your choice of university can potentially lead you into great quality education programs to help further your career in healthcare administration. All over the United States, there are schools that can help you achieve your goal of achieving higher knowledge in the healthcare field, so that you can pursue a career that utilizes all of your skills.

One university currently offering an online DHA is Franklin University. Students that choose this school can engage with experienced instructors throughout a 3 year program.

A.T. Still University is another option for students interested in pursuing their degree online. This online DHA program requires that applicants hold a minimum 2.5 grade point average from earlier education and have some experience in the healthcare field. If you enroll in this program, you could complete your online DHA degree in 2-3 years.

Courses to Expect in a DHA program

If you make the decision to enroll in a DHA program, you might be intrigued to find that the coursework for this degree focuses on the needs of communities as a whole rather than just individual treatment.

Some of the goals of DHA programs may include providing a more widespread knowledge of the healthcare field, so that professionals can improve the quality of healthcare systems from a wider angle. Take a look below at some of the courses involved in this degree program.

  • Population Health: In order to be an effective healthcare professional, students should have a diverse knowledge of the community and population in which they work. Population health can help students learn more about the types of health issues, risks and prevention methods present within their particular research area. Learning more about the overall health of the population can help healthcare professionals address more centralized issues, which can result in better and well-rounded care for all people.
  • Research Methods: One of the most important aspects of providing great-quality care is constantly reviewing and improving policies. Research methods can provide students with the skills necessary to conduct knowledgeable and scientifically-accurate research. During this course, students can learn more about the ways to gather information, organize data and analyze results in a way that promotes efficient research. Engaging in this course can help prepare students for a career in gathering evidence to support healthcare change.
  • Healthcare Trends: The field of healthcare may be constantly undergoing change. Healthcare technology and policies can be changed due to new information, advanced healthcare procedures and newly released tools. Staying up to date on the latest trends of healthcare can assist students in being more accurate with their knowledge of the field, which can promote success in leadership positions in the field.

Doctorate Versus Master’s in Healthcare Administration

If you are interested in pursuing a higher degree in healthcare administration, it is important to consider your different options and what types of careers they can prepare you for. The 2 most popular choices for students within this field is the Doctorate in Healthcare Administration and the Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Read more below this section to learn about what each degree can provide to you as a student in this discipline.

The Master’s in Healthcare Administration is a great option for healthcare professionals interested in moving out of practicing fields of healthcare. This option could also be useful for students that desire a more influential career in hospitals or healthcare centers across the United States.

The master’s program typically consists of courses that can help students better understand the general operation of healthcare facilities, as well as the organization and application of healthcare services to the public.

The Doctorate in Healthcare Administration may be a better option for students interested in providing advancement in the healthcare field. Graduates at this level can pursue careers in higher positions in the healthcare field, such as corporate hospital management and treatment decision making. The coursework for this degree program may focus more on the broader aspect of healthcare in America, such as overall population health, ethical practices and conflict resolution.

In comparison, these 2 degree programs touch on very different aspects of the healthcare field. As you move towards making your decision, you should consider what type of job you wish to have after graduation as well as the type of influence you wish to have on the people you serve.

As the years progress, changes to the healthcare field could open up even more career opportunities for graduates that have gained extensive knowledge through either of these programs.

School Spotlight:Medical University of South Carolina

The College of Health Professionals at the Medical University of South Carolina has one of the most expansive Doctor of Health Administration Programs Available with three programs to choose from: Executive, Inter-professional, or Information Systems.

Each expands upon the students experiences to teach leadership, research, health policy, and other topics applicable to the specific program chosen by the student.

While the majority of course work is completed online, with instruction from international healthcare leaders, on campus sessions use team building and professionalism to further enhance the learning experience.

Career Options for Doctorate of Health Administration

Job opportunities for individuals with a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration are often found in academic fields as a professor or university president. Outside of academia those with a Ph.D. may find themselves as a highly sought after consultant or as a CEO, CFO or COO for a health system.

Most individuals who choose this degree path have a specific position they are seeking in their organization, or are attending school with the assistance of their employer.


Those with a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration can expect to make around $104,000 yearly, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The vast majority of individuals with a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration are employed in Hospitals, with few in other industries such as pharmaceuticals or business organizations.

The need for Healthcare Executives and Administrators is currently on the rise, but as current lower level employees advance, the need will be driven down (source).

List of Programs

Consider a Featured Online Health Administration Program

School and Program Information Online Program? GRE Requirements Course Information
American University
Online M.S. in Health Care Management
Curriculum is specifically aligned with AUPHA, CAHME, HLA standards
Contact admissions representative 20-month, 30-credit online program. Program designed with input of an advisory council comprised of healthcare industry experts using a unique curriculum structure called the Professional Studies Experience (PSE).
George Washington University
Online Healthcare MBA
AACSB Accredited
No GMAT for qualified applicants Healthcare MBA is designed specifically for those who are interested in the business and leadership aspect of healthcare organizations.
George Mason University
Online MHA in Health Systems Management
Program is a mirror image of the CAHME accredited degree offered on campus
Online Contact admissions representative 47 credit hours, evidence-based curriculum. 24 month MHA program with synchronous and asynchronous practicum.
George Washington University
Online BSHS & Online MSHS
- Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
MSACS Accredited
Bachelors and Masters
Contact admissions representative Online Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS), Graduate Certificates and Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) programs for healthcare professionals.

George Washington University

Online Master of Health Administration
CAHME Accredited

American University

Online MS in Health Care Management

Tufts University

Online MS in Health Informatics & Analytics

George Washington University

BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management