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Guide to CAHME-Accredited Online MHA Programs

Find out where to get the highest quality healthcare admin online education and why getting your degree from a CAHME-accredited MHA program matters.

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A female healthcare professional in scrubs concentrates on a desktop computer in a high-tech medical office setting, with a colleague visible in the background.

Healthcare administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of a medical facility, from hiring staff to ensuring the efficient delivery of services to keeping abreast of the laws and regulations the facility must adhere to. Even if you’ve been in the field for a long time this can be a tall order, so you want to ensure that you receive the best training possible.

Many administrators find that earning a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) is a great way to prepare for the rigors of an administrative leadership position. But all MHA programs aren’t the same. When MHA programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), schools are evaluated by the highest standards to ensure you’ll get the necessary skills to be an attractive candidate to employers and a standout manager on the job.

Continue reading to learn about CAHME accredited online MHA programs, including a rundown of the best grad schools offering these degrees, the process involved in earning CAHME accreditation, and the benefits of getting your MHA from a CAHME-accredited program.

Inside Top CAHME-Accredited Online MHA Programs

Just as every medical professional isn’t the right choice for every patient, the CAHME-accredited schools offering online MHA programs won’t necessarily be right for every student. As a result, all prospective students should do their due diligence—and we’ve made that process a lot easier by vetting the best schools and accredited online MHA programs. Below you can review the top-5 CAHME-accredited online MHA programs that we’ve chosen based on factors such as affordability, flexibility, and curriculum quality.

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

When you enroll at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, you can choose between the school’s traditional and executive MHA tracks. In the traditional program, you’ll focus on developing the skills to pursue a healthcare managerial position, from leadership to communication to analytical skills. The program includes coursework in health economics, management of individuals and groups, and health information systems.

In addition, students get the opportunity to put what they’ve learned in class to the test through an internship at a healthcare facility. Also, the school offers a mentoring program, so you’re able to learn from current healthcare executives.

The executive track is for students who already have experience working in healthcare and want to upskill to increase their responsibilities and achieve career growth. While students take the same curriculum as those in the traditional track, in this program students have the added benefit of learning alongside a cohort of other healthcare professionals.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health Administration

  • Credits: 51
  • Cost: $556/credit (in-state); $1,350/credit (out-of-state)
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (school); CAHME (program)

University of North Carolina Wilmington

When you enroll in the CAHME-accredited online MHA program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, you’ll gain multiple skills to help you successfully navigate the day-to-day duties of a healthcare administrator, including:

  • Finding evidence-based solutions to problems
  • Communicating effectively with healthcare colleagues, patients, and families
  • Understanding the laws, policies, and ethical standards related to the healthcare field
  • Designing business initiatives related to areas such as finance, marketing, regulatory compliance, and operations
  • Evaluating the impacts of economic, political, and cultural factors on the success of a healthcare business

To do this effectively for every student, the school offers customized instruction. You’ll take an initial gap analysis assessment, which the school uses to determine your strengths and weaknesses to aid in your learning. Also, the department helps you regularly assess your knowledge to ensure you’re always getting the most out of your education.

Program Highlights:

Master of Healthcare Administration

  • Credits: 48
  • Cost: $262.17/credit (in-state); $1,030.45/credit (out-of-state)
  • Length: One year
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) (school); CAHME (program)

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine provides a competency-based online MHA program accredited by CAHME that focuses on core goals, such as teaching students strong demonstration, interpersonal communication, leadership, and collaboration skills. Specific coursework covers healthcare informatics, strategic planning and management, healthcare financial management, and leadership in healthcare administration.

In addition, you’ll be required to complete a capstone course, during which you work closely with a faculty member to develop either an applied management project (the best choice if you plan to work in healthcare administration) or an applied research paper (the best choice if you aspire to earn a doctoral degree).

To be admitted, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine expects students to have at least two years of work experience in the healthcare industry, a bachelor’s degree, and a 2.5 minimum GPA. During the application process, you will submit a letter of intent, two professional letters of reference, and a resume. Also, you will be required to interview with the program director.

Program Highlights:

Master of Health Administration

  • Credits: 42
  • Cost: $591/credit
  • Length: Full-time, one year and nine months; part-time, three years and six months
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education (school); CAHME (program)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The CAHME-accredited online MHA program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is designed for seasoned healthcare professionals. As a result, applicants are required to have at least five years of general work experience in healthcare; administrative or managerial healthcare experience; or a doctoral degree in a healthcare field, such as an MD or DDS. In addition, the school expects students to have at least a 3.0 GPA and to submit a resume, official transcripts, the contact information of three people who can provide a recommendation, and a personal essay.

Once admitted, students take coursework in healthcare economics, laws and ethics for managers, public health fundamentals for leaders, and epidemiology and health services management. In addition, students are required to complete a capstone course, which is chosen based on their career goals and leadership competencies that have been identified through required self-assessment activities.

Program Highlights:

Executive Master of Healthcare Administration

  • Credits: 40
  • Cost: $354/credit
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (school); CAHME (program)

University of North Texas

The CAHME-accredited online MHA program at the University of North Texas is a skills-based program that focuses on helping students develop the management competencies outlined by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership. To ensure that students are learning these competencies, each core class includes an applied project in which students demonstrate their understanding of the material and how it applies to healthcare leadership in the real world.

During the program, students take coursework designed to teach them about healthcare information systems, ethical and legal issues, strategies for marketing healthcare services, and how efficient care is delivered to patients.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Health Services Administration

  • Credits: 45
  • Cost: $459.60/credit (in-state); $658.41/credit (out-of-state)
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CAHME (program)

What is CAHME Accreditation?

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is dedicated to ensuring that students receive quality healthcare management education. To do this, the organization establishes measurable criteria that degree programs can be judged by, provides assistance to schools that want to meet or exceed these criteria, and grants accreditation to those that make the mark.

When evaluating schools, CAHME considers the following:

  • The program’s mission, values, vision, goals, and support: When judging schools based on these criteria, CAHME examines the purpose of an MHA program and what it’s trying to accomplish, as well as the culture the department has created and how that culture impacts behavior and decisions. Also, CAHME evaluates the school’s goals and the support it offers, such as administrative support.
  • Students and graduates: When evaluating MHA programs by this standard, CAHME looks at the school’s application process and its rate of degree attainment and student retention. Also, the organization reviews the employment rates of graduates to determine if the program leads to career preparedness.
  • Curriculum: To receive CAHME accreditation, the curriculum must align with the school’s mission and the careers students are training to pursue. During the evaluation process, CAHME delves into class content, learning objects, and the methods teachers use in the program’s classes.
  • Faculty, scholarships, and services: In this part of the evaluation, CAHME looks at the diversity of a program’s faculty, the level of involvement professors have in crafting the curriculum and making decisions about admissions, and their professional and community activities in the healthcare industry. The research and scholarship the department is engaged in, as well as the investments the school makes in professional development of professors, is also evaluated.

Why CAHME Accreditation Matters for Your Online MHA Program

When you enroll in CAHME-accredited schools, you will receive a quality education that you can be confident will help you succeed. The following are some reasons you should only choose CAHME-accredited online MHA programs.

High Academic Standards

Healthcare administration is a challenging job. Professionals not only have to run the day-to-day operations of a facility, but they also must deliver high-quality healthcare to ensure positive patient outcomes. This means students need a program that has high academic standards so they can be prepared for the task. CAHME-accredited online MHA programs ensure that students get the quality of education the field demands so they are prepared to provide the care patients deserve.

Easier to Transfer

If for some reason you need to transfer to another MHA program, being enrolled in a CAHME-accredited school will make it much easier. Generally, schools that have CAHME accreditation only accept transfer students who have attended another school that also has this designation.

Opens Doors to Further Education

If you aspire to earn a doctoral degree, chances are the program you apply to will expect you to have a master’s from an accredited school. To ensure that you can further your education, attending a CAHME-accredited online MHA program is the best option.

Access to Vital Partnerships

CAHME has partnerships that can help students enrolled in MHA programs develop as professionals. For example, the American Hospital Association allows students to participate in its membership groups for free, which gives students a chance to network. Also, the Medical Group Management Association provides membership to students at CAHME-accredited schools, so they have access to a wealth of resources that augment their studies.

CAHME Scholarships

In addition to receiving a high-quality education, students at CAHME-accredited online MHA programs also can take advantage of opportunities to help pay for their education. CAHME provides scholarships to those at accredited schools to help defray the cost of students’ education.

FAQs About Online CAHME-Accredited MHA Programs

Are CAHME-accredited MHA programs more academically difficult?

To earn a seal of approval, CAHME-accredited online MHA programs are required to offer a top-notch education that gives students the skills they need to be successful healthcare administrators. This means the course content should be challenging. Whether students are taking classes about healthcare systems, law and ethics, or informatics, they will be given information that reflects the rigors of an administrative position.

Also, some schools require a practicum in which students are challenged to develop a project that demonstrates their knowledge of course material or to get hands-on experience at a healthcare facility. Either way, from start to finish, accredited online MHA programs are designed to be rigorous.

How much do online CAHME-accredited MHA programs cost?

Although the tuition charged by CAHME-accredited schools differs from one to the next, the cost of these programs may be determined by whether the school is a public or private institution and if students are in-state or out-of-state residents. The following is a look at the tuition costs of some CAHME-accredited online MHA programs to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

Will graduating from a CAHME-accredited MHA program help my job prospects?

Although every employer has its own hiring standards, earning a degree from a CAHME-accredited online MHA program can definitely be worth your time because it can help you create a good impression among hiring managers. In fact, according to CAHME, “Hospitals and health systems look to hire graduates of CAHME-accredited schools knowing that these new executives are coming to them not just with academic credentials, but with proven competencies in meeting the challenges of providing healthcare in communities across the country and around the world.”

Do CAHME-accredited schools offer part-time online MHA programs?

CAHME-accredited online MHA programs are offered on a part-time basis, and the length of time it takes to complete the degree depends on the specific program. For example, Ohio University has a part-time program that can be completed in two years, New York University’s part-time program lasts 28 months, and students at Suffolk University finish their degrees in 20 months.

Do online MHA programs with CAHME accreditation require on-campus visits?

It depends on the program. In some cases, students are required to make campus visits despite taking their coursework online. For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New York University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have accredited online MHA programs that require trips to campus. Also, some schools that offer their classes completely online may require a capstone course in which students get hands-on training at a healthcare facility—but that may be the only in-person component of the program.