Doctor of Health Administration: Degree Overview

Oct 15, 2019

Doctoral programs in health administration explore how to supervise the daily functioning of a healthcare organization. Students are prepared for leadership positions in a variety of health care settings.

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Essential Information

Students in health administration doctoral programs gain experience in personnel responsibilities in addition to healthcare goals. Some doctoral programs also train them to perform health-related research and formulate policies. The capstone requirement for this program is the completion of a research thesis.

Some programs require master's degree and professional experience for admission. GRE scores are also a common requirement for admission.

Doctor of Health Administration Degree

The curricula of health administration doctoral programs include practical topics in healthcare and business management. A research sequence is required and includes topics in design, statistics, and methods. Some doctoral programs have specific tracks that train students to perform health-related research and design. Other programs offer an executive track, which focuses on practical concepts and include an internship or other experience training requirements. Potential course topics include:

  • Healthcare system administration
  • Healthcare finance
  • Healthcare policy
  • Organizational theory and behavior
  • Health economics

Popular Career Options

Health administrators are employed by all forms of healthcare organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that these professionals are employed in hospitals, physician's offices, outpatient centers and nursing care facilities ( Some popular career options include:

  • Clinical director
  • Health program manager
  • Health service manager
  • Office manager
  • Medical records manager

Career Outlook and Salary Information

In 2018, the BLS listed a median annual salary of $99,730 for medical and health services managers. The BLS expects to see 18% growth in job opportunities for medical and health services managers between 2018 and 2028, which represents much faster-than-average growth compared to all job sectors.

Continuing Education Information

The BLS notes that all states required nursing care facility administrators to be licensed, while some states had standards for those who work in assisted-living facilities. While other administrative positions do not require licensure, there are voluntary professional certifications. The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers the Certified Medical Manager credential, which requires professional experience and passage of an exam. Individuals in specialized areas can find other professional organizations with specific credentials.

Health administration doctoral programs provide students with experience and training in healthcare policies and management. These programs can include thesis requirements, internships and specialization options. Graduates may pursue jobs in records management, health services management and similar fields.

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