Returning to school to upgrade your degree or change careers is a big decision. If you are committed to health care and would like to rise in the profession, then you may be looking for a program the will give you the credentials to work in a leadership position in health care management. An online or hybrid degree from a CAHME accredited program can allow you to get the credentials while continuing in your professional career. It is a big commitment to add on a Master’s degree program to a fulltime job and family life, but if you are organized and driven, it is a great way to advance.
For degrees in healthcare management, the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, or CAHME, is the gold standard for programs that are seeking continuous improvement, effective education, and to achieve the highest quality of education for students. CAHME schools go through a rigorous accreditation process, working with outside specialists, and the process requires them to thoroughly examine and perfect their program. This process means students get an excellent program, and not one stitched together by a degree mill looking to make a buck, or a large school just adding another degree willy-nilly to their offerings. CAHME programs truly care about excellence and are committed to providing you a great program of study.
MHA vs EMHA Programs
Most of the programs listed below offer a Master’s in Health Administration, but there are MBA and MSHA degrees as well. These are considered Executive MHA programs, as you are expected to be working during your studies. You will be able to directly apply some of your lessons to your job, and many employers will not only allow you the time to study, but might pitch in to help with the cost.
Online vs Hybrid MHA Programs
Almost all MHA programs require you to spend some time on-campus in face-to-face intensive courses, where you will get to interact with faculty and peers. These programs are considered to be hybrid meaning that more than 20% of the coursework is completed in person. All the programs require a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent, and many also want you to have a number of years of professional experience before applying, though there are exceptions. Your peers in any program will be varied, from physicians and nurses, to administrative professionals and other healthcare specialists. Some programs allow very committed and promising recent graduates to apply. Your future networking may depend heavily on your peer student group and other alumni from the school, so many programs offer training in a cohort model, where a group of students stays together for the entire program.
As with many health care programs, you may need to check if the program you apply to is accepted in your state. Some programs accept international students with extra application materials, and some don’t. Some require the GRE/GMAT, but many waive it for professional experience. All will want letters of recommendation. A few allow you to attend part time, but most programs are designed with full time study, which can entail 15-20 hours of work each week.
For rising talent in the healthcare industry, a Master’s degree is becoming necessary to reach the highest levels. If you don’t want to quit your job to go back to school, an Executive Master’s program may be right for you. Check the differences in programs carefully, as schedules, emphasis, and requirements do vary.
Top 7 CAHME Accredited Online MHA Programs
The following programs are available at least 80% online.
1. Des Moines University
Accreditation: ARC-PA, CAHME, CAPTE, CEPH, COCA, HLC
Tuition: $616 per credit hour
The MHA from Des Moines U is 48 credits of coursework, can be completed within two years, and most students work full time during their studies. With 20 courses and one 3-credit field experience, there are three 5-day on-campus courses to be completed during the program. The on-campus courses are scheduled in September and January, running Wednesday through Sunday to minimize disruption to work and family schedules. There are three admission deadlines per year, you may apply either through the university or the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) system, and only US citizens and permanent residents may apply. Check with the program about whether or not your state will recognize this program. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is recommended, but student’s former GPAs range from 2.6-3.8, and no GRE/GMAT scores are required. Most students have between 1-5 years of work experience, in healthcare, management or other professions, and can demonstrate leadership potential and determination. Admissions are considered in a comprehensive fashion, focusing on overall quality and potential. Employment rates of graduates were 100%, with a median starting salary of $70,000. The program can be completed in as little as 2 years, but most students take around 3 years to complete the program. There are group projects in the online courses, and lively interaction with both peers and faculty in the on-campus intensive courses.
2. Pennsylvania State University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACEJMC, ACEN, ACEND, ACOTE, APA, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CEPH, JRCERT, LCME, MSCHE, NASAD, NASM, NAST, NCATE
Tuition: $665-$1,142 per credit hour
Penn State has a very well developed residential MHA program, with over 4,000 graduates and 25 years of experience of educating students in this specialty. The online program is designed to be completed in 28 months, is 49 credits long, and has an online independent study portion. There are two residency courses—one in August during the first semester and one week in December of your last semester—and room and board is covered by the program. Applicants should have at least five years of professional experience, preferably in health care, though most students have 8-10 years of industry experience. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is preferred, and no GMAT or GRE is required. The faculty all have PhD’s and the program is for students who have a strong commitment to this field.
3. University of Central Florida
Accreditation: AACSB, ABET, ACEN, APA, CACREP, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CSWE, JRCERT, LCME, NAACLS, NASM, NASPAA, NAST, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $773 per credit hour
The Executive MHA at University of Central Florida is entirely online, with absolutely no campus visits required. Admission is competitive and requires a 3.0 GPA on previous coursework and three years of clinical or management experience in healthcare. The program is fulltime only, with students taking two courses per semester and completing within two years. Students are admitted for the fall semester, and go through the program with a cohort of their peers. Because of the completely online format, this program may be especially attractive to busy professionals who can’t afford the time to travel to campus. The tuition is also quite reasonable in comparison to other programs.
4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ACAE, ACEN, ACEND, ACOTE, ADA, APA, CACREP, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, JRCERT, LCME, NASPAA, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $851-$1,914 per credit hour
UNC Chapel Hill’s Executive MHA is designed for professionals who wish to improve their decision-making and leadership competencies. Classes are held online in real time with faculty, typically Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The program can be completed in two years, with 14 days of on-campus coursework per year (8 workdays and 6 weekend days). The program boasts over 1600 graduates employed throughout the world, and MHA students take some courses with MPH students, broadening the networking opportunities. Students come from medical, nursing, insurance, dental, laboratory, public health and many other fields, but should have knowledge of accounting, algebra, statistics, and microeconomics. Admission requires a 3.0 GPA, certain MCAT/MRE scores, and three years professional experience. This is in cohort model, with a Capstone project in the final semester.
5. George Mason University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, APA, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, NASAD, NASM, NASPAA, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $978 per credit hour
The curriculum is taken fully online, with one course per 8-week session. At the end of the coursework, a non-credit Capstone Practicum project is completed with a preceptor, allowing students the experience of being an integral part of a healthcare team in hospital, healthcare system, consulting firm, or other healthcare agency. The program emphasizes healthcare knowledge, skills in critical thinking, communication, leadership, and ethics. With competitive admissions, a minimum of a 3.0 GPA is required, and students who meet the criteria are interviewed in person or by video conference as part of the admissions process. International students should review GMU policies before applying.
6. Seton Hall University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ACEN, ACOTE, APA, ARC-PA, ATS, CAHME, CCNE, CODA, CSWE, MSCHE, NASPAA, NCATE
Tuition: $1,212 per credit hour
Admission to Seton Hall’s online MHA program is competitive, and a 3.0 GPA on previous work is preferred, though special consideration can be given to applicants with above a 2.8 GPA and other qualifications. Most students are mid to high level career professionals, though exceptionally motivated individuals with a relevant undergraduate degree may apply. International students are welcome and there are no GRE’s required for application. The online program groups students into learning teams, and they will attend on-campus together for three 5-day intensives in August. Students may study part time or full time, with course work completion in 2-3 years. There is a final Capstone project required.
7. University of Southern California
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACEJMC, ACEND, ACOTE, ADA, APA, CAHME, CEPH, CWSE, LCME, NASM, NASPAA, NCATE, WSCUC
Tuition: $1,666 per credit hour
The EMHA is completed in cohorts in six semesters, but students do have the option to slow down their studies, if necessary. Most coursework is asynchronous online, with two 4-day on-campus experiences that often include well-known speakers. Focusing on the rapid change in the healthcare industry, the program also stresses collaboration and networking. Program staff will help students walk through the application process. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA on previous coursework, 5-8 years of mid to senior level experience in healthcare, and managerial potential.
13 Hybrid CAHME Programs
These programs are offered less than 80% online. Each program requires different levels of on-campus, in-person training. The following programs are ordered by most affordable to most expensive. Ranges in tuition indicate in-state versus out-of-state tuition.
1. California State University-Long Beach
Accreditation: AACSB, ABET, ACCE, ACEND, APA, CAAHEP, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, JRCERT, NASAD, NASD, NASM, NASPAA, NAST, NCATE, WSCUC
Tuition: $199-$908 per credit hour
The Master of Science in Healthcare Administration – Accelerated is a program that can be completed in two years of study, with four semesters per year. The program has prerequisites in financial accounting, microeconomics, and statistics, some of which can be fulfilled by passing the appropriate CLEP exam. This hybrid program has Saturday full-day face-to-face classes, and online education during the week, allowing students to finish in two years. The program is taken in learning teams, so students work with the same peer group throughout their program. Admission requires a 3.0 Undergraduate GPA, at least three years of healthcare industry experience or management in a related industry. Applicants with less than five years professional experience are required to submit recent GRE or GMAT scores.
The program is designed for executives in healthcare who wish to advance their careers or broaden their knowledge: physicians, nurses or other clinicians who wish to move into leadership positions. Graduates can work in administration in hospitals, mental health care facilities, long-term care facilities, managed care, multi-institutional system central offices, government health agencies, and other healthcare settings. Program may not be available to foreign nationals due to visa restrictions, but call if interested.
2. University of Alabama at Birmingham
Accreditation: ABET, ACOE, ADA, APA, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, JRCERT, JRCNMT, LCME, NASAD, NASM, NAST, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $555-$1,272 per credit hour
The EMHA at Alabama Birmingham can be completed in two years, with most work completed online. There are on-campus 7-day courses required three times each year, and students should have a 3.0 GPA to apply. Applicants also must have five years of work experience in healthcare and be currently employed full time in the field. There is no part time option for this program, but it is designed for working professionals. During the second year, there is a 3-4 day Capstone experience at a national or international health organization, with lodging covered by the program. Application must be completed by March 1st, and interviews are scheduled March through May.
3. University of Missouri-Columbia
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACEJMC, ACEND, ACOTE, APA, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, HLC, JRCERT, JRCNMT, LCME, NASM, NASPAA, NCATE, TEAC
Tuition: $800 per credit hour
Taking advantage of the broad knowledge and expertise of students, the EMHA has synchronous and asynchronous online learning, independent study, and monthly campus sessions on weekends. There are four prerequisites to the program, but students who do not yet have these can take them through UMC: statistics, microeconomics, managerial finance, and accounting. This program begins in January, with completion in two years. There is an Oral Comprehensive exam in the final semester of the program to ensure students meet the standards of knowledge and competency expected of graduates.
4. Weber State University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABET, ACEN, ACS, CAAHEP, CAATE, CAHIIM, CAHME, CIDA, CoARC, CODA, CSWE, NAACLS, NAEYC, NASAD, NASM, NATEF, NWCCU, TEAC
Tuition: $833 per credit hour
The EMHA can be completed in an accelerated format in five semesters, with campus visits of 1-1/2 days each semester. The campus is located just 20 minutes from the airport, and no GRE/GMAT is required for professionals with five years of experience. A 3.0 GPA is required (though lower GPAs may be considered) and two years of managerial experience is preferred. The program accepts applications at any time, but deadlines are in March and April for fall start. Students take three courses per semester, and there is a longer, 4-day on-campus component in the final semester. The program accepts international students with additional requirements.
5. Medical University of South Carolina
Accreditation: CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CODA, LCME, NAACLS, SACSCOC
Tuition: $840-$926 per credit hour
The MHA Executive program is available part or full time. Students take two (PT) or three(FT) courses online each semester, and each course has a weekend on-campus component. The on-campus weekends generally happen in June, September and January. Undergraduate courses in statistics and microeconomics are prerequisites for the program. Applicants need a 3.0 GPA and high GRE or GMAT scores to be competitive, plus at least one year of healthcare experience. Part time students can usually complete the program in nine semesters and fulltime students in six semesters, and the program for either begins in the summer semester.
6. Virginia Commonwealth University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABET, ACEJMC, ACEN, ACEND, ACOTE, APA, CACREP, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CIDA, CODA, CSWE, JRCERT, JRCNMT, LCME, NAACLS, NASAD, NASM, NASPAA, NAST, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $908-$1,753 per credit hour
Offering an MSHA program that can be completed in as little as 22 months, the VCU program is asynchronous online, with six on-campus visits. Applicants need a minimum of five years of experience, a 2.75 GPA (lower may be provisionally admitted), and GRE/GMAT scores. Upon admission to the program, students independently complete online non-credit modules in statistics, microeconomics, and accounting; these modules may be waived for students with appropriate experience/coursework. Part time schedules are available and take three years to complete. Students are accepted from anywhere in the US, and the program boasts a historic, but technologically upgraded building for on-campus weeks of study.
7. University of Colorado Denver
Accreditation: AACSB, ABET, ACEN, APA, CACREP, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CEPH, CODA, HLC, LCME, NAAB, NASM, NASPAA, NCATE
Tuition: $1,098 per credit hour
This Executive MBA in Health Administration has one-week on-campus intensives in July and January, with the rest of the program completed online. Applicants need three to five years of experience in healthcare, whether clinical or administrative, and GRE/GMAT test scores, in addition to transcripts. Applications are due in May for the fall start. The program lasts for 25 months, and there will be five on-campus visits; students pay for their own lodging, transportation, and some meals for on-campus intensives. Students come from across the US and Canada, and many are physicians, nurses, or administrators, though other healthcare professions are represented as well. An understanding of college-level algebra is necessary, plus statistics and accounting for those who have limited business experience. Students may sign up for mentorship and the university provides support services to arrange the administrative details for students, including ordering textbooks and software.
8. Saint Louis University
Accreditation: AABI, AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACOTE, ACS, ADA, ARC-PA. CAAHEP, CAATE, CAHIIM, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, HLC, JRCERT, JRCNMT, LCME, NAACLS, NASAD
Tuition: $1,100 per credit hour
Saint Louis University’s Executive MHA program requires applicants to have at least 18 months of professional experience in a health-related field. This is one of the oldest and most established MHA programs in the country, founded in 1947. The EMHA program allows working professionals to perform most coursework online, with monthly face-to-face classes. There are many possible areas of focus, including finance, quality/performance improvement, and population health/analytics. Additionally, students can develop a customized emphasis for their degree, depending on interests. This Jesuit school has an active network of alumni across the country, and consistently has employment placement of graduates above 90%.
9. Clarkson University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABET, ARC-PA, CAHME, CAPTE, MSCHE
Tuition: $1,138 per credit hour
Clarkson U has an MBA in Healthcare Administration that boasts 89% of students employed by graduation, and 97% by six months after graduation. A flexible part-time or full time schedule is possible, with fully online for students anywhere and hybrid formats for nearby students, if desired. A 3.0 GPA is expected on previous coursework, whether undergraduate or graduate level, and GMAT/GRE scores for some applicants who have less professional or graduate experience. There are some merit-based scholarships available for the MBA program. Courses are offered in three 10-week trimesters or in accelerated format over the summer session. Online students are required to take three weekend intensive classes (3-days each) to complete the program. Internship experience is designed into the program, but may be waived for those already employed full-time. Many students opt for paid internships that lead to prestigious job offers from this experience. The program contains 16 courses and the internship, if required.
10. Florida International University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACCE, ACEJMC, ACEN, ACEND, ACOTE, APA, CACREP, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE, CEPH, CIDA, CSWE, LCME, NASAD, NASM, NASPAA, NAST, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $1,426 per credit hour
Special attributes of the online MBA in Healthcare at Florida International University include the quick 18-month program option and their optional global travel program. The program is 42 credits and has three on-campus residencies required. 75% of students completed the program and 100% of graduates were employed (2015-16 statistics). The on-campus residency courses lead to Lean Six Sigma Yellow and Green Belt designation, plus lodging and meals are covered for students residing more than 20 miles away. Admission requires a 3.0 GPA on previous coursework, a Bachelor’s degree, and at least 2 years of professional experience. Each semester has two 8-week sessions with students taking 2 courses each session, and the program works on the cohort-model (students go through the program with the same peer group.)
11. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACCE, ACEJMC, ACEND, ACOTE, ADA, APA, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CIDA, CSWE, HLC, LCME, NASD, NASM, NAST, NCATE
Tuition: $1,560 per credit hour
This Executive MHA is mostly online, with a total of 22 days on campus in five different visits. The program is in a cohort format, with students progressing through the 25-month program together. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, current employment in a healthcare setting, and three years of clinical or administrative leadership experience. International students need a J1 visa. 55% of students are promoted while enrolled, 48% of students hold post-graduate degrees, and 64% of students are female. The program is academically rigorous, but flexible, and students come from a range of professional backgrounds, providing a lively and challenging peer environment.
12. The George Washington University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, ACS, APA, CAAHEP, CAATE, CACREP, CAHME, CAPTE, CCNE. CSWE, LCME, MSCHE, NAACLS, NASM, NASPAA, NCATE
Tuition: $1,655 per credit hour
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington offers the same MHA curriculum and faculty online as it does for resident students. The program can be completed in two to four years, and courses are offered in 10-week sessions four times per year. Students must attend two 40-hour and two 20-hour immersion sessions on the GWU campus or at other location throughout the world. GW’s highly respected program has deep roots in the medical community of the DC area, and offers professional networking with a worldwide group of alumni. Applicants must have at least two years of professional experience in healthcare, or three years of other professional experience and be currently employed in healthcare. A GPA of 3.0 and a grade of B or above in undergraduate courses in financial accounting and statistics are required. International students are welcome, but must fulfill extra application steps. No GRE/GMAT is required, but there is an online video interview arranged before admission.
13. Georgetown University
Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, CAHME, CCNE, LCME, MSCHE
Tuition: $1,995 per credit hour
The Executive MHSA at Georgetown is framed by Jesuit values, and has three 1-week on-campus portions on their Washington, DC campus, where students may interact with government and advocacy health interests. There is also a 1-week offsite residency and five 12-week sessions of online work in this 2-year program. Two online courses are offered each session online. Each entering group proceeds through the program together, and during intensives, will experience guest lectures and visits to health care sites in the DC area. The program is designed for mid-career professionals with five years or more experience in healthcare delivery or a related field. A video interview is part of the application package. Costs for lodging and most meals during intensives is covered by the program. The special access to important parts of the US healthcare system in the DC intensives is a huge selling point for those interested in policy and agency positions.
Enroll in an Online MHA Program Today!
Whether you opt for a completely online or a hybrid version, a master of health administration program can be a great career move. Make sure to verify that the program you chose meets you criteria before enrolling.