By Zawn Villines
There's more than one way to determine what should be named the best school, but with the 30 stellar schools on this list, you're bound to find a place that's perfect for your education. Facts from this article comes from a number of sources, including several college ranking lists, including U.S. News & World Report. In ranking health care administration degrees, however, these lists primarily evaluate academic factors, such as the competitiveness of the program, the quality of faculty employed by the program, and students' grades and test scores. These rankings don't consider factors such as pricing nor post-graduation employment data. Consequently, this piece takes into account this information, drawing from a number of sources, including publicly available surveys of post-graduation employment, student reviews of their educational experiences, the availability of flexible scheduling, and data published by the schools themselves.
In evaluating what constitutes an affordable school, this piece evaluates much more than just tuition. The cost of attending school – including commuting to and from classes, purchasing course materials, and mandatory activity fees – can significantly increase the cost of school attendance. The highest-ranked schools are often those with the lowest cost of attendance. Many of these classes offer online-only coursework.
This list offers bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as dual degree programs for students who want to spend less time in school and more time working. Because students need flexible options, programs with such options rank higher when all other factors are equal.
The Best 20 Cost-No-Object Health Care Administration Degrees
Unlike some other ranking systems, this list doesn't rank the degrees it mentions in order from best to worst. Each of these schools could be an incredible choice depending upon your specific needs, so be sure to carefully review each option and then consider what's right for you.
Master's Degree Programs
The University of Michigian at Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan offers both a traditional master's degree and an executive master's program designed to work around the schedule of busy professionals. The program focuses on health management and health policy, offering myriad elective options for students who want to explore specific elements of health care administration, management, or policy. Students also have the option to enroll in dual-degree programs, making it possible to pursue multiple fields of study at once. Tuition is $12,496 per semester for Michigan residents, and $20,657 per semester for non-Michigan residents.
Cornell University's Sloan health administration program is really different with highly customizable programs. Students can pursue master's degrees in public health or business administration with concentrations in health administration, or can opt for a traditional MHA. Students just beginning their academic careers also have the option to choose a five-year combination master's/bachelor's degree program. Programs are available in full-time, part-time, and executive formats, and Cornell is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 14th best program in the country. Tuition is $30,785 per year for full-time students.
George Washington University
George Washington University offers two separate tracks for its master of health administration program. The executive program is primarily online with regular contact with professors on-campus. The traditional track features small classrooms and intense personalized attention. Both programs are highly customizable, and can be combined with other programs at the university. Students can choose from myriad electives in specific health care administration competencies, and the school offers help with resumes and job placement. Tuition is $1,365 per credit hour.
Trinity University's master of health administration program offers both a full-time and executive track with options for online coursework. The on-campus program is limited to just 30 students per year, making the program highly competitive while offering students individualized attention. Students must complete a year-long paid administrative residency, and the university offers significant assistance with resume development job-seeking tools. For full-time students, the program lasts four semesters. Tuition is $34,678 per year for full-time students.
Columbia University's master of health care administration consistently ranks in the top 10 list of virtually every major ranking organization. Columbia also ranks eighth nationwide for overall student satisfaction. This Ivy League school is highly competitive and boasts a 99% student retention rate. Students can choose between full-time, part-time, and executive program formats. The program offers numerous research and internship opportunities. Professors are working professionals so class time also serves as an opportunity to network and learn from leaders in the field. Tuition is $17,500 per semester for full-time students.
Ohio State University
Ohio State University's master of health administration offers a post-graduation employment rate in excess of 95% and is ranked fourteenth by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to academically rigorous coursework, the program places a strong emphasis on employment and professional skills. Students can get resume counseling and assistance obtaining an internship. Students also take a course, which they work directly with a clinical care team in OSU's medical center, giving them real-world experience in health care administration. OSU ranks high on measures of diversity with a strong track record of attracting and retaining minority students. Tuition is $7,416 per semester for in-state students, and $16,688 for non-Ohio residents.
Not only does Baylor University's program rank among U.S. News & World Report's 20 best programs, it also offers a slightly different approach than most other programs. Rather than focusing on health care policy, Baylor's program is exclusively oriented toward leadership and management, conferring an MBA on graduates. Students are required to complete a seven-month paid executive residency, during which they gain hands-on experience in the field. Degree programs are highly customizable, and 100% of students are successfully placed in resumes, greatly increasing their odds of post-graduation eemployment. Tuition and fees are about $14,000 for students who live off-campus.
The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Located in a major health care hub in a state that is home to more than 500 health care technology companies, the University of Minnesota is an ideal choice for students who want access to lots of job and internship opportunities. Offering both full-time and executive programs, the University of Minnesota prides itself on training students for jobs rather than offering just theoretical training. The school is ranked number two on U.S. News & World Report's roundup of best health care management programs and students have a high rate of lucrative post-graduation employment. Tuition is $888 per credit hour for in-state students, and $1,115 for non-Minnesota residents.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC's executive master's program offers a customizable approach designed for people with busy schedules. The university consistently tops lists of schools with the highest rates of student satisfaction, and is regularly on Modern Physician and U.S. News & World Report's list of top three best health care administration programs. Students can pair their administrative training with a second degree in health policy and management. UNC currently boasts 1,600 graduates in top leadership positions around the world. Tuition is $13,729 per semester for out-of-state students, and $5,124 for in-state students.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University's master of health administration ranks among the top 10 best programs, according to U.S. News and World Report. Students are required to complete a paid residency as part of their third year of scholarship, and this residency affords options to network with other professionals and, potentially, land a job. The school boasts a 100% career placement rate (Note: this means that one or two students still may be unable to find employment), small class sizes, and a curriculum that is updated each year. Tuition is $6,1999 per semester for Virginia residents, and $11,922 per semester for out-of-state students.
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania consistently tops the list of best undergraduate schools in the country, and boasts an 86% post-graduate employment rate, making it one of the best schools for employment in the country. The Wharton School places a strong emphasis on helping students land a career. Students who pursue a bachelor's degree in health care management and policy have access to instructors already working in the field, and are strongly encouraged to work one of the many internships students can access through the program. Undergraduate students also have the option to take MBA-level courses in preparation for graduate work. Tuition and fees are $47,668 per year.
Boston University's graduate program in health care management confers a dual master's of business administration/master's of public health on graduates. The program is full-time only, making it ideal for students who want to finish quickly while concentrating full-time on their studies. Students learn about policy and management decisions, in addition to studying common public health issues and disease management. The school has a strong focus on ensuring post-graduation employment. Many graduates begin their careers in managerial roles. The school ranks eleventh on U.S. News and World Report's list of best health care management programs. Tuition is $22,843 per semester.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins is one of the leading medical universities in the country, giving students access to numerous local health care facilities where they can fulfill internships and seek employment. The school's five-semester master of health administration is consistently ranked among the best in the country. Johns Hopkins University is ranked ninth in the country for student satisfaction. The curriculum is highly customizable, allowing students to focus on the issues they find most interesting. Tuition is $59,160 for all five semesters, or $11,832 per term.
University of Missouri
Ranked 21st nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Missouri offers both residential and executive master's of science in health administration programs. Students have a dual enrollment option, and can pursue joint degrees in law, business, and similar pursuits. Classes are small and led by leading health care administrators, and students have access to myriad opportunities for internships and employment training. The University of Missouri's program is a long-standing one, first receiving accreditation in 1968. Tuition for in-state students is $29,493.70 for in-state students. However, the school offers a unique tuition waiver program that permits out-of-state students with a 3.0 GPA to receive in-state tuition rates.
The University of California at Los Angeles
Ranked 14th nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, the University of California at Los Angeles's executive health policy and management master's program is highly customizable. Students receive instruction from industry professionals, and have numerous internship opportunities at local hospitals and health centers. Classes are small with between 25 and 35 students. The university prides itself on offering intensive guidance and personalized attention. The degree's active alumni group members work with students to help them find jobs and gain career experience. Many graduates are in top health care management positions. Tuition is $29,000 per year.
Located at one of the most competitive and prestigious schools in the country, Yale University's master of public health in health care management is ranked fourteenth nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. Students are highly satisfied with their experience, with Yale yanking fourth nationwide for student satisfaction. The program places strong emphasis on the business side of health care administration, which educates students about organizational behavior, cost effectiveness, and management. Most graduates pursue careers in business, but 13% go onto work in hospitals, and 25% pursue further education. Tuition is $58,382 per year, including fees.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
New England College
Featuring a small program, a customizable education, and personal attention from professors, New England College is a stellar choice for students who want a traditional liberal arts education in a highly personal setting. The school's online health care administration offers flexibility and the chance to set your own schedule. Students are encouraged to get to know their instructors, and the school offers myriad internship and research opportunities. Tuition is $33,000 per year.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama's program is designed to prepare students for a professional career. The bachelor of science in health care management allows students who plan to pursue master's degrees to embark on a pre-professional degree track designed to equip them for graduate school. The university offers highly customizable degree options, and students can choose from several concentrations, such as clinical management and long-term care administration. The program is small with only about 200 students at a time, maximizing the opportunities for personalized attention. Tuition is $566 for the first credit hour for in-state students, and $1,038 for the first credit hour for out-of-state students. Thereafter, each credit hour is $351 for Alabama residents and $823 for non-Alabama residents.
University of Washington
The University of Washington is an ideal location to start an academic career because it offers bachelor's, masters, and post-baccalaureate certificates in health management. U.S. News & World Report lists it as the eighth best graduate program in health care administration in the country. Students can pursue both full and part-time coursework, and the school offers a unique program designed for mid-career professionals pursuing graduate-level work. Most students receive some type of financial assistance. All programs are designed to prepare students to take the American Health Information Management Association's national certifying exam to become a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Tuition rates vary depending on the program you choose, your residency classification, the number of classes you take, and other information.
Saint Louis University
Ranked number nine by U.S. News & World Report, St. Louis University's health management program is highly competitive and academically rigorous. The program offers access to a wide variety of on-campus programs and off-campus internships, and students can choose from a variety of customizable degree options. For students who know they want to pursue graduate studies, St. Louis offers a five-year combination master's/bachelor's program that doesn't require students to take the GRE. The university also offers a program designed to meet medical school prerequisites for students who plan to pursue careers in medicine. Tuition is $1,030 per credit hour.
The Best 10 Low-Cost Health Care Administration Programs
Low-cost doesn't necessarily mean low quality. Indeed, some of these programs are competitive with more expensive programs, and all offer an incredible value to their students.
Ranked ninth in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Rush University offers both bachelor's and master's degree programs in health systems management. Instructors are successful executives in the field, and the program places heavy emphasis on hands-on experience. Students can choose from several different degree options, such as a master of health administration, a master of business administration with a concentration in health care administration, or a master of public health in policy administration. Each program features a low student-to-teacher ratio, and every student receives one-on-one mentorship from a faculty member. Tuition is $11,616 per semester for students taking 12 or more credit hours.
Washington State University
Washington State University's master of health policy administration program is ranked 46th in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and consistently scores highly on measures of student satisfaction. Students have access to an advisory board staffed with experts in the field, and gain the chance to meet with this board at least three times per year. Post-graduation full-time employment rate is 88%, and classes are small. You'll typically take all of the same classes with your cohort, allowing you to develop a strong networking relationship with your classmates. Classes are in the late afternoon and early evenings, and students who come from one of the 16 western states that are members of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education can qualify for in-state tuition rates. Tuition is $5,867 per semester for in-state students, and $12,589 for out-of-state students.
University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina's master of health administration ranks 29th nationwide on U.S. News & World Report's annual list. Students can choose between a master's of health administration and master's of public health. Both programs offer small class sizes and personalized attention. The school boasts a job placement rate between 95% and 100%. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue paid assistantships of 10 to 20 hours per week, and the university offers placement assistance. Most students are employed within three months of graduation. Tuition is $7,012 per semester for South Carolina residents, and $14,185 for non-South Carolina residents.
Pennsylvania State University
Ranked 29th nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, Pennsylvania State University boasts competitive undergraduate and graduate health care administration programs. Both programs are residential programs with a traditional schedule, small class sizes, and intensive academic advisement. For students with scheduling challenges, Penn State also offers an online-only master's of health administration. The school ranks among Payscale's list of top 200 best-value colleges, and ranks sixth nationwide in student satisfaction. Penn State maintains collaborative relationships with nearby medical facilities and businesses, and students are strongly encouraged to pursue internships and research opportunities. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs strongly emphasize professionalism and the development of careers skills, and students can access additional resume and career coaching through the university's career office. Tuition varies significantly depending on residency status, whether you are an upper or lower classmen, and the number of credit hours you take. Generally, though, you can expect tuition around $17,000 per year. This link provides more detailed tuition information.
Kaplan University's bachelor of science in health care administration is available at over a dozen campuses across the country. Students can choose among multiple start dates and degree formats, and may take a combination of traditional and online courses. The majority of students qualify for tuition assistance, and the school establishes close relationships with businesses near its many campuses. Most students pursue internships and other unpaid experience. Tuition is $17,500 per year for full-time students.
Florida Institute of Technology
The Florida Institute of Technology's degree in health care management is actually a bachelor's degree in business administration, so students get ample preparation to become business leaders or pursue advanced degrees in management. The school ranks among the top 200 colleges for overall value, according to Payscale. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue internships, and FIT is a research institution, affording students numerous opportunities to work in health care research. Faculty members are generally long-term or tenured, and class sizes for major classes are small, offering personalized attention. Tuition is $16,695 per semester.
University of Phoenix
The University of Phoenix's bachelor of science in health administration with a concentration in health management offers an average class size of just 16 students. With satellite campuses across the country and flexible start dates, it's often possible to start within a short time after applying to the program. The online class format allows students to adapt the program to meet their own schedule, and the university offers a host of electives, making it possible to pursue a specific area of interest within the field. The fee structure can be a bit confusing, though, so you'll need to check your specific requirements to determine precise costs. It's generally $395 per credit hour for core classes, and $585 per credit hour for upper-level major classes.
Temple University Fox School of Business
Temple University offers a competitive, diverse program. Students can choose between a major or minor in health care management, and the program offers diverse concentrations in topics such as insurance management and risk management. Temple also offers graduate-level programs in both health care management and risk management and insurance. Class sizes are small, and professors are typically active leaders in the field. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue internships with one of the many organizations that partners with Temple, and the school's career center offers in-depth career counseling and assistance with developing a resume. Tuition is $690 per credit hour.
California State University at Long Beach
California State University's bachelor of science in health care administration offers students a strong core program and a diverse array of electives. Ranked 57th nationwide, the school offers a low faculty-to-student ratio for upper-division classes. For students who've already received bachelor's degrees, the school offers a unique certification in health care administration. Students undergo mandatory academic advisement each semester, and many graduates go on to work at nearby medical facilities, private clinics, or nonprofit organizations. Tuition is $3,226 per semester for in-state students, and $7,690 per semester for out-of-state students.
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About the Author:
Zawn Villines is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in health journalism.