What you’ve heard is true: the job market for healthcare is growing far faster than any other profession, as high as 23% between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That doesn’t just mean doctors and nurses either – a hospital or clinic needs people with specialized skills and experience for record keeping, scheduling, finances, and other non-medical tasks. Those people are healthcare administrators.
With the health care field booming, it’s possible to get a job with a stable, middle-class income in healthcare administration with only a bachelor’s degree. However, your route to higher positions, and the higher salaries that go with them, may be limited. That’s why many working professionals in healthcare administration and management find themselves going back to school to increase their credentials.
If you’re already working in the field, an online master’s degree is probably the way to go. Of course, any time there’s a boom, there are companies looking to take advantage of it, and that includes education. Some prospective students are sucked in by flashy but untrustworthy, unaccredited online schools; others pay too much for a degree they could have gotten for much less, and get saddled with student loans they’ll never pay off.
The colleges and universities on the Cheap List are all regionally accredited, reputable programs that just happen to be the cheapest routes to a Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration (MHA).
Note: These rates reflect the cheapest rates offered by the institution, usually in-state residents. Students registered as non-residents may pay considerably more. Special online education fees may also apply. Contact the institution and clear up any misunderstandings before committing.
Louisiana State University in Shreveport
LSU Shreveport is a significant part of the healthcare system around the Shreveport, LA, area, due to the influence and service of the LSU Health Sciences Center. With over 600 faculty researchers, LSU Shreveport partners with four area hospitals to give their students a thorough education in the modern healthcare profession. Online students can now benefit from that wealth of experience and knowledge with the online Master of Health Administration degree, which prepares graduates for careers in middle and upper management for an affordable $369 per credit hour – a bargain for a master’s degree.
California State University, East Bay
The California State University system is one of the most highly respected state university systems in the nation, and Cal State East Bay (in the eastern San Francisco area) is recognized as one of the best public institutions in the west by the Princeton Review. CSU-EB offers an online Master of Science in Health Care Administration designed for ultimate convenience for working adults. Using a quarter (rather than semester) system, full-time students are able to complete the MS-HCA in six quarters, or only 1 1/2 years. Plus, as a public university, Cal State East Bay keeps tuition at a low $372 per credit.
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is an odd duck – a private, for-profit evangelical Christian university based in Phoenix, AZ, that is largely online and has become one of the best-known online educators. Unlike many for-profit institutions, however, Grand Canyon is regionally accredited, the standard for reputability. GCU offers a multitude of master’s degrees in the healthcare administration field, including the conventional Master of Science in Healthcare Administration; an MS in Healthcare Informatics; a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Systems Management; a Master of Public Administration in Health Care Administration; and several Master of Science in Nursing/Healthcare Administration dual degrees, all tailored to the kind of work you want to be doing, and all for a reasonable $390 per credit.
University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College was originally, in the 1920s, the institutional home of the University of Maryland’s adult education program, until that program grew so much that the University College was able to split off into its own UM system institution in 1970. UMUC fulfills its mission of providing education to working adults with its copious online programs, including a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (which is also available in a dual-degree format, adding an MBA with a few more courses). This 36-credit program is an affordable $458 per credit.
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
If the name doesn’t give it away, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is a small, Catholic liberal arts college in Standish, ME. Knowing the limitations that such a location brings to attracting students, Saint Joseph’s has invested in online education, building an impressive slate of degree programs for a college of its size. For a manageable $479 per credit – a bargain for a private Catholic college – online students can earn a Master of Science in Health Administration, or a dual MSN/MHA degree for nurses who want to move into administration.
Colorado State University Global Campus
Not the online wing of a public research university, but a full-fledged member institution of the Colorado State University system, the CSU Global Campus was founded in 2007 as an online university that could help the CSU system meet the educational demands and needs of the people of Colorado and beyond. CSU Global Campus has in short order become one of the leading, most respected online educators, offering a full university’s worth of degree programs, including the Master of Healthcare Administration and Management, which can be earned for a cool $500 per credit.
Southern New Hampshire University
Recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the US for their highly-developed online education system, Southern New Hampshire University is a private research institution in Manchester, NH, that is looking to the future of education and beating most of its competitors there. SNHU offers an online Master of Healthcare Administration degree that carries a strong reputation on the job market and an excellent level of preparation. $627 per credit is more than others on this list, but the name recognition carries its own value.
Athens, OH, is renowned as one of the most beloved college towns in America, but if you’re a working adult and don’t have the time or the means to move to Athens, Ohio University will come to you. The OHIO eCampus is one of the best-developed and most trusted online educators, offering many degrees, including the Master of Health Administration. This rigorous program from one of the US’s top public research universities prepares mid-career professionals for greater successes and is a proven value at any price.
Originally an extension campus in Utica, NY, for Syracuse University in the 1930s, Utica College grew into its own until it became an independent institution in 1995. Since then, Utica has been building its brand and its offerings through a growing online presence including a Master of Science in Health Care Administration. Utica’s MSHCA offers five concentrations as well, specializing in areas such as Acute Care and Community Health and Wellness, depending on what is more appropriate to your career needs.
Our Lady of the Lake College
Like Saint Joseph’s, Our Lady of the Lake College is a small, private Catholic college that has used the possibilities afforded by the internet to extend their reach. Our Lady of the Lake was founded as a nursing college in Baton Rouge, LA, back in 1923, so students can be confident that Our Lady knows what she’s doing when it comes to health care. With no MHA programs in the region, OLOL fills a significant need with the online Master of Health Administration, and while it may not be the cheapest of the cheap, it may be one of the best.