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Top 7 CAHME Accredited Online MHA Programs

a businesswoman chats with a doctor as they leave a boardroom meeting in a hospital

Are you committed to a career in healthcare and looking to rise in the profession? You may want to consider a program that would give you leverage into leadership positions in the healthcare industry. Returning to school to upgrade your degree or changing your career path may seem daunting. However, you would be making a significant change in the right direction if you consider getting a degree from a CAHME Accredited Online MHA Program, and here’s why!

According to the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, employment of Medical and health services managers is projected to grow by 32% from 2020 to 2030. This growth translates to approximately 51,800 openings for medical and health services managers each year within that time frame. They observed that the widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) will create a demand for managers with a firm grasp of health information technology and informatics systems. This change is where the Medical and Health services managers are crucial.

Service managers will organize, manage and integrate these within the healthcare industry. Therefore, if you are looking to climb the corporate ladder in the healthcare industry or seeking solutions to the diverse issues associated with healthcare delivery, then getting a Masters of Health Administration (MHA) would be the best step to accelerate your career. This article will discuss what’s an MHA, and what are the top 7 accredited online MHA programs? Let’s Get Educated!

What is MHA?

A Masters of Health Administration (MHA) is a professional program that provides individuals an edge in the healthcare sector by exposing them to the knowledge required to manage healthcare services organizations, take on consultancy roles or manage public health infrastructures. Some of the areas covered within the program include health policy, Organizational behavior, Governance, Information systems assessment, and management.

MHA or MBA: Which is Better?

One of the biggest dilemmas you may face is deciding between getting an MBA or an MHA.

An MBA is a Master's in Business Administration. It focuses on general training in business functions such as accounting, finance, project management, etc. While an MBA provides flexibility, an MHA tends to focus solely on the healthcare industry.

An MBA in Healthcare and MSHA (Masters of Science in Health Administration) are often considered Executive MHA programs because you are expected to work during your studies. This allows you to apply some of your lessons to your job directly.

Related Resource: MHA vs MBA vs MPH: What’s the Difference?

Career Opportunities for an MHA Holder

Earning an MHA allows you to apply for senior positions in the healthcare industry, some of which include: Admissions coordinator, Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical director, Corporate healthcare manager, Government healthcare consultant, Health insurance administrator, Health Services manager, Hospital Chief executive officer among others.

Online Options for Acquiring an MHA Degree

There are several learning options available to you if you are looking to acquire an MHA.

The first option would be attending classes full-time and on-site. Ideal as this may be, most healthcare workers prefer options that allow them to continue working while studying. If you fall within this category, you may want to consider online or hybrid MHA programs.

Online vs. Hybrid MHA

An online program would deliver all courses via the web; however, a hybrid program would go a step further by requiring that you spend some time on campus with your peers. These short stints on campus are called “Immersion experiences,” and about twenty percent (20%) of coursework is completed within this period.

It is important to know that almost all MHA programs require you to spend some time on campus in face-to-face intensive courses where you get to interact with faculty and peers. Considering that your peers will comprise people from various fields (from physicians and nurses to administrative professionals and other healthcare specialists), face-to-face interactions provide you an opportunity to expand your network. Some schools offer training in a cohort model to encourage networking, where a group of students stays together for the entire program. Your future networking may depend heavily on your peer student group and other alumni from the school.

Requirements for Enrolling in an MHA Program

Each school offering MHA programs has their specific requirements. However, there are a few general requirements.

  • All schools require a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Many also want you to have professional experience before applying for an MHA program, although few exceptions exist.
  • You need a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Some schools require the GRE/GMAT but may waive it for professional experience.
  • If you are an international student, some programs will require that you provide extra application materials.
  • All schools require that you provide letters of recommendation.

It is important to check if the program you apply to is accepted in your state. Also, note that only a few will allow you to study part-time. Most of the programs are designed with full-study time, roughly about 15-20 hours of work each week. Also, check that the program you wish to enroll in is CAHME accredited.

What is CAHME Accreditation & Why is it Important?

The gold standard for degrees in healthcare management is accreditation by the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education or CAHME. CAHME is a discipline-specific professional accrediting agency concerned with approving programs seeking continuous improvement, effective education, and achieving the highest quality of education for students. Currently, ninety-one healthcare administration programs are fully accredited by CAHME across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

It is vital that the program is CAHME accredited, and here’s why!

  • Investing in a master’s degree in healthcare administration can be expensive. Therefore, you must get value for your money. Accreditation by CAHME guarantees you that the program you have chosen meets the gold standards and will be worth the value paid for them.
  • A certification from a CAHME approved graduate school will give you a competitive edge in the market because employers know that you have the highest training and have the prerequisite know-how on handling the complexities in the health industry.

Top 7 CAHME Accredited Online MHA Programs

We’ve put together a list of the top 7 CAHME online MHA programs to get you well on your way to starting one of the most rewarding journeys of your life.

1. Des Moines University

Accreditation: ARC-PA, CAHME, CAPTE, CEPH, COCA, HLC
Tuition: $762 per credit hour

The MHA from Des Moines University is only open to US citizens and permanent residents. You can apply for this program through the University or the Schools of Public Health Application Service system (SOPHAS). With three admission deadlines every year, admissions are considered comprehensively, focusing on overall quality and potential.

The duration of the program is two years, and the course scheme is flexible enough so you can work full time during your studies. The MHA from Des Moines consists of 48 credits of coursework spread across 20 courses, three 5-day on-campus courses, and one 3-credit field experience, which can be completed in two years (although most students complete it in 3 years). The online course comprises group projects and lively interaction between peers and faculty in the on-campus intensive courses. Most students work full time during their studies. Therefore, this program is your best bet if you are looking to work full time. The on-campus courses are scheduled in September and January, running from Wednesday through Sunday. Before applying to Des Moines, you must ascertain that your state recognizes the program.

The minimum requirement you would need to get into Des Moines MHA program is a GPA of 3.0. However, you could still get in with a GPA between 2.6-3.8. GRE/GMAT scores are not a requirement in this program. Also, work experience between 1-5 years would be an added advantage.

Alumni of this program have had employment rates of 93% according to graduate and 6-month alumni surveys, with a median starting salary of $65,000.

View More about Des Moines University

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: $996-$1,142 per credit hour

With over 4000 graduates and 25 years of experience, Penn State has a well-developed MHA program. They make use of a cohort model foundation and offer both residential and online programs.

The online program is designed to be completed in 28months and is 49 credits long. It also has an online independent study portion. The program is for students committed to healthcare and faculty members who all have Ph.D.’s in the field.

There are two residency courses throughout the program – one in August during the first semester and one in December of your last semester. During the residency, students are placed with leading health care organizations and work on projects suited to their personal and professional development. The program covers room and board during the residencies.

Students are required to complete a capstone project during the last semester of the program. Students work as a team to solve a strategic problem within a specific health organization during the project. They then present their analysis and solutions to senior leaders of the organization.

To secure a placement in the Penn State MHA program, you would have at least five years of professional experience, preferably in health care, as well as an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Penn State does not require the GRE/GMAT.

View More about Pennsylvania State University

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 University of Central Florida has an Executive MHA program. It is entirely online, with no campus visits required. Admission into this program is competitive. And, it is attractive to busy professionals who do not have the time to travel to campus. The program is full-time only and can be completed within two years.

To get into the University of Central Florida MHA program, you need a 3.0 GPA on previous coursework and three years of clinical or management experience in healthcare.

View More about University of Central Florida

4. The 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: $927- $1759 per credit hour

UNC-Chapel Hill runs an Executive MHA program specifically designed for professionals who wish to improve their leadership competencies and decision-making skills. With over 1600 graduates in leadership positions around the world and a consistent top three ranking by the US News & World Report and Modern Healthcare, this University has earned her flowers on the roll for top MHA programs.

The University runs a cohort model, with a capstone project in the final semester. Classes are held online in real-time, typically on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. If you are looking to work full-time, this program would be a perfect fit for you.

The program can be completed in two years, with 14 days of on-campus coursework per year (eight workdays and six weekend days). The program also makes use of a cohort model with students from a wide range of fields.

To get into the University of North Carolina’s MA program, you need a 3.0 GPA, MCAT/MRE scores, and three years of professional experience. You would also need some knowledge of accounting, algebra, statistics, and microeconomics.

View More about The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

5. George Mason University

Accreditation: AACSB, ABA, ABET, APA, CAHME, CCNE, CEPH, CSWE, NASAD, NASM, NASPAA, NCATE, SACSCOC
Tuition: $978 per credit hour

The online MHA program of George Mason University combines the flexibility of online learning with the rigorous standards of their on-campus program. The program focuses on delivering competencies in healthcare systems and healthcare management, communication and interpersonal effectiveness, critical thinking, leadership, professionalism, and ethics. A field-based capstone practicum is also done in the final semester of study, providing students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained during the coursework.

To get into the program, you would need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. If you meet the criteria, go through a video or in-person interview. International students would have to review GMU policies before applying.

View More about George Mason University

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

The Seton Hall University MHA program is a 42-credit program and accepts students from diverse areas of the health industry to foster lively class discussions and build strong professional networks.

To apply, you would need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, although consideration may be given to those with a 2.8 who have professional experience working in healthcare. For international students, academic records would have to be evaluated by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member agency. GRE/GMAT is not required for admission into the program.

Students typically finish the program within 2-3 years. A final capstone project is required.

View More about Seton Hall University

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 Executive MHA program of the University of Southern California is a 48-credit course split between required and elective courses. The program is built around in-class and experiential learning. It takes cohorts in six semesters to complete. However, students have the option of slowing down their studies if necessary. Program staff are available to walk students through the application process.

To enroll in the program, you would need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. The principal criterion for admission is potential for distinguished academic and professional achievement, and this is evaluated based on:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample
View More about University of Southern California

13 CAHME Accredited Hybrid MHA Programs

These programs are offered less than 80% online and require different levels of on-campus, in-person training. Let’s take a look at them, starting from the most affordable to the most expensive.

1. California State University-Long Beach

Tuition: $199-$908 per credit hour

The program at CSU-Long Beach has four semesters per year and takes two years to complete. Classes are held online during the week, with a full-day face-to-face class on Saturdays.

Requirements for admission into this program are a minimum 3.0 GPA, at least three years experience in healthcare, and prerequisites in financial accounting, microeconomics, and statistics. Passing a CLEP exam will take care of those requirements. Applicants with less than five years of professional experience will be required to submit recent GRE/GMAT scores.

View More about California State University - Long Beach

2. The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Tuition: $555-$1,272 per credit hour

This Executive MHA at the University of Alabama at Birmingham can be completed in two years and is for working professionals. It has no part-time option and requires that students are currently employed full-time in the field. Three times each year, students are expected to participate in on-campus 7-day courses. A 3–4-day Capstone experience is completed at a national or international health organization during the second year.

The program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0.

View More about University of Alabama at Birmingham

3. University of Missouri-Columbia

Tuition: $800 per credit hour

The Executive MHA program has synchronous and asynchronous online learning, independent study, and monthly campus sessions on weekends.

The prerequisites of this program are knowledge of statistics, microeconomics, managerial finance, and accounting. Students without these can take them through UMC. There is an oral comprehensive exam in the final semester of the program as well.

View More about University of Missouri - Columbia

4. Weber State University

Tuition: $833 per credit hour

The program can be completed in an accelerated format in five semesters with Weber University campus visits of 1-2 days each semester. You need a 3.0 GPA to get into the program. The GRE/GMAT is not required for admission. Applicants with two years of managerial experience are preferred, and applications are accepted at any time with deadlines in March and April.

View More about Weber State University

5. Medical University of South Carolina

Tuition: $840-$926 per credit hour

This executive MHA is available full-time and part-time and requires the students to take two part-time and three full-time courses per semester.

Applicants to this program from the Medical University of South Carolina need a 3.0 GPA and high GRE or GMAT scores plus at least one year of healthcare experience.

It takes part-time students nine semesters to complete the program. Full-time students complete the same program in six semesters.

View More about Medical University of South Carolina

6. Virginia Commonwealth University

Tuition: $908-$1,753 per credit hour

This Virginia Commonwealth University MSHA program can be completed in 22months and comprises an asynchronous online program and six on-campus visits.

A minimum GPA of 2.75 and GRE/GMAT scores are needed for admission into the program.

Part-time schedules are available and take three years to complete.

For students without knowledge in statistics, microeconomics, and accounting, provision is made for them to complete online non-credit modules in these areas independently.

View More about Virginia Commonwealth University

7. University of Colorado Denver

Tuition: $1,098 per credit hour

This program typically runs for 25months, within which there would be five on-campus visits to the University of Colorado-Denver.

You would need 3-5 years of healthcare experience (clinical or administrative) as well as GRE/GMAT scores. An understanding of college-level algebra is necessary, as well as a grasp of accounting and statistics.

View More about University of Colorado Denver

8. Saint Louis University

Tuition: $1,100 per credit hour

This program from Saint Louis University requires applicants to have at least 18 months of professional experience in a health-related field. A majority of the coursework is done online with monthly face-to-face classes.

View More about Saint Louis University

9. Clarkson University

Tuition: $1,138 per credit hour

This Clarkson University program boasts 89% of students employed by graduation and 97% six months after graduation. It has a flexible part-time or full-time schedule with fully online courses for students anywhere and hybrid formats for nearby students.

A 3.0 GPA is needed for enrollment. GRE.GMAT scores are required from applicants with less professional/graduate experience.

Courses are offered in three 10-week trimesters or an accelerated format over the summer session. There is also an internship experience incorporated into the program.

View More about Clarkson University

10. Florida International University

Tuition: $1,426 per credit hour

This 42-credit program is unique because it boasts a quick 18-month program option and a global travel program.

It requires three on-campus residencies at Florida International University.

Admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.0., a Bachelor’s degree, and at least two years of professional experience.

Each semester has two 8-week sessions and works on the cohort model.

View More about Florida International University

11. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Tuition: $1,560 per credit hour

This Executive MHA program is primarily online and runs for 25 months. It requires students to spend twenty-two days on campus at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, spread across five different visits. It runs on a cohort model and is rigorous but flexible.

To enroll, you need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, be currently employed in a healthcare setting, and have three years of clinical or administrative leadership experience.

View More about University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

12. George Washington University

Tuition: $1,655 per credit hour

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington offers the same MHA online and offline curriculum. Program duration is 2-4 years, and courses are offered in ten-week sessions four times a year.

Minimum requirements include a 3.0 GPA and a “B” or above in undergraduate financial accounting and statistics courses. GRE/GMAT is not required. However, there is an online video interview before admission.

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13. Georgetown University

Tuition: $1,995 per credit hour

This Executive MHA is framed by Jesuit values and has three 1-week on-campus segments on the Washington DC campus of Georgetown University.

It runs for two years consisting of a 1-week offsite residency and five 12-week sessions of online work. It is for mid-career professionals with five years or more experience in healthcare delivery or a related field.

View More about Georgetown University

Enroll in an Online MHA Program Today!

Whether you opt for an online or hybrid version, a master of health administration program can be a great career move. Enroll today!

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