Is a Doctorate in Health Administration Worth It?

son hugging father after graduating doctoral program

If you’re currently working in health administration, you may be thinking of ways to improve your career trajectory and climb toward the top of your field. Or perhaps you’re working in another field altogether but wish to transition to healthcare administration. If you’ve already earned your master’s degree, then earning your doctorate degree can be a smart move that may allow you to pursue higher-level positions.

When you’re thinking of going back to school, many questions may arise. You may wonder: “Is a doctorate in health administration worth it?” and “What can you do with a doctorate in health administration?” There are many compelling benefits to earning your doctorate degree in health administration (DHA), and furthering your education is always a worthwhile investment, whether for personal or professional reasons.

Why You Should Earn a DHA Degree

Is a doctorate in health administration worth it? It certainly can be if you envision yourself climbing toward the pinnacle of your profession. If you’re currently working in health administration and you aren’t quite satisfied with your place in the organizational hierarchy, you may envision taking your career to a higher-level position.

Earning a doctorate degree in health administration can certainly elevate your career. However, that’s not the only potential benefit. Before making your decision, consider the following perks of heading back to school.

Qualify to Pursue High-Level Leadership Positions

Professionals who are currently low-tier or mid-level managers within their healthcare organizations may aspire to step into leadership roles. Earning a Doctor of Health Administration degree will significantly broaden and deepen your healthcare knowledge and skills. 

In addition to learning about issues such as healthcare economics, healthcare technology and the applications of qualitative research, DHA students typically study topics that directly facilitate effective healthcare leadership. These can include healthcare organization resource management, the development of organizational initiatives and strategic healthcare management. Upon graduating with your DHA, you’ll be well qualified to pursue high-level leadership positions within healthcare organizations.

Polish Your Professional Reputation

Enhancing your resume and pursuing higher-level positions or better compensation aren’t the only reasons to consider earning a doctoral degree. Another perk is enhancing your own personal brand as a healthcare administrative professional. A DHA is a well-respected terminal degree indicating that you have exceptional professional credibility.

Make an Impact on the Quality of Healthcare

When considering the answer to the question, “Is a doctorate in health administration worth it?” it can be helpful to look beyond your personal and professional benefits. When you earn a doctorate degree in this field, you’ll develop advanced knowledge that may enable you to correct inefficiencies within your health system and promote a higher quality of care. This will directly benefit both patients and the medical teams caring for them.

What Can You Do With a Doctorate in Health Administration?

If you’re still having trouble deciding whether going back to school is the right choice for you, you may wish to consider the specific positions that you could pursue after graduation. What can you do with a doctorate in health administration? Explore a few of the many possibilities below.

Health Information Manager

Enhancements in information technology (IT) are the future of healthcare administration, and there are no healthcare organizations in which secure, well-organized and accessible health records are not crucial. If you’re passionate about IT and information management, you might consider earning your doctorate and pursuing a career as a health information manager.

These professionals are charged with staying on top of the latest regulatory requirements regarding patient information. They must ensure that all patient records, as well as the technology platform itself, are in full compliance with these regulations. Only authorized individuals are allowed to access the sensitive information found in patients’ health records.

Clinical Manager

A clinical manager is in charge of the administrative duties of a particular department within a hospital. Clinical managers are responsible for ensuring that everything functions smoothly within their department. The department’s policies and procedures must be aligned with the overall mission and values of the hospital.

One of the most important duties of a clinical manager is to ensure that the quality of patient care remains consistently high and to always strive toward improvement. Clinical managers may also be responsible for establishing staff schedules, developing the objectives for the department, implementing policies and procedures, monitoring the departmental budget and solving departmental inefficiencies.

Healthcare Facility Director

The director of a healthcare facility is typically at the pinnacle of the organization. They are responsible for strategic planning and business decisions for the entire facility. The director must continually balance the critical need to provide consistently high-quality healthcare to patients with the need to make smart business decisions that drive revenue.

A healthcare facility director may fulfill any of the following roles:

  • Spokesperson: The director typically acts as the public face of the facility. Even if the facility has its own public relations or marketing team, the director acts as the official spokesperson. They must participate in press conferences, answer questions from the media and promote a positive public image for the facility.
  • Strategic planner: The healthcare facility director is responsible for developing the mission, vision and values of the organization. They must ensure that all departments, strategic plans and business decisions are aligned with the organizational mission.
  • Liaison: The healthcare facility director is expected to work collaboratively with all of the organization’s health services managers and administrators, including department heads. It’s essential that the director be capable of communicating well with people at varying levels of responsibility and roles.

Enrolling in a DHA Degree Program

Only you can answer the question: “Is a doctorate in health administration worth it?” However, there are certainly many compelling benefits of enrolling in a DHA degree program. Many professionals do decide that the value of an advanced education is well worth the investment.

Health administration professionals who hold a doctoral degree are likely to enjoy a strong competitive edge for top-tier positions at large, well-respected facilities. There is expected to be particularly strong demand for qualified professionals in nursing homes and medical group practice management, as well as for health information records experts across medical specialties.1

Grand Canyon University aims to provide an exceptional academic experience for every student. If you would like more information about GCU’s doctoral programs, including the Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Qualitative Research) program, visit the College of Doctoral Studies or click on the Request More Information button at the top of this page.

1 Retrieved from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers in April 2022 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.