The Best Online MSN/MHA Dual-Degree Programs of 2022

February 21, 2022 , Modified on March 22, 2022 · 4 Min Read

Nurses can advance their careers and increase their salary potential by earning a master's degree in nursing and pursuing an MSN/MHA dual degree online

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The Best Online MSN/MHA Dual-Degree Programs of 2022
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Nurses can advance in their careers and increase their salary potential by earning an MSN/MHA dual degree online. These programs combine an MSN curriculum with healthcare administration training, preparing graduates for careers as healthcare managers and administrators.

Students who enroll in MSN/MHA dual-degree programs online follow a flexible pathway and earn two graduate degrees at once. This article explores the MSN/MHA dual-degree track, the job and salary outlook for graduates, and some relevant scholarship opportunities.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online MSN/MHA programs, making it easier to find the right program. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about MSN/MHA programs, or go straight to our list of the best online MSN/MHA programs.

Featured Online MSN Programs

What Can You Do With an MSN/MHA Dual Degree?

An MSN/MHA dual degree is one of the most popular dual degrees for nurse leadership and administration roles. Candidates earn two master's degrees at once, spending less time in school and less money than pursuing each separately. In addition, both degrees feature complementary subject matter.

MHA-holders are expert nurses who are also skilled at nursing administration and healthcare administration. This broad perspective provides a better understanding of healthcare strategy, making graduates better leaders and administrators. An MHA can also lead to more career options, including jobs in hospital administration and health policy leadership.

Popular careers for MSN/MHA graduates include:

Nurse Administrator

These nurses manage and lead nursing teams or departments, create and execute nursing strategies, collaborate with other healthcare professionals, and lead performance improvement initiatives. The average annual nurse administrator salary is $88,620, according to Payscale, as of December 2021.

  • Salary: $88,620

Learn more about Nurse Administrators


Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers oversee teams, departments, or divisions. They analyze staff performance and identify improvement opportunities, lead change initiatives, and mentor staff. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these managers enjoy a median annual salary of $104,280.

  • Salary: $104,280

Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

A CNO ensures that nursing practices in their facility are efficient and effective. CNOs represent nurses in organizational planning and strategy development, and collaborate with other teams to improve healthcare outcomes. Payscale data shows a $120,000 median annual salary for CNOs.

  • Salary: $120,000

What to Look for in an Online MSN/MHA Dual Degree Program

An MSN/MHA dual degree program should fit your career goals, interests, and budget. Talk to your mentors and alumni to find out if a program suits your needs and background.

Admission requirements suggest how likely you are to be admitted to an MSN/MHA dual degree program. They also hint at what a school values in students and what kinds of backgrounds your fellow students may have. An MSN/MHA dual degree curriculum should align with your career goals. Will your chosen program let you pursue a specialization, take relevant courses, or choose independent study options? How do the clinical/fieldwork requirements fit your schedule? While some schools help distance learners find placements in their communities, others expect candidates to travel. Accreditation indicates a quality program. Employers generally prefer to hire graduates of accredited programs, and credits earned at non-accredited institutions rarely transfer to accredited schools. How long will it take you to graduate? Ensure that a potential program's schedule aligns with your existing responsibilities and professional goals. A high National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX) pass rate indicates that a nursing program prepares candidates for the workforce. Even if you have already earned an MSN, you can gain valuable insight into an MSN/MHA dual degree program by looking at its NCLEX pass rate. A high graduation rate demonstrates that a school provides learners with plenty of support, and that students are generally satisfied with an institution. Some online programs are presented in a highly structured synchronous format that features set virtual meeting times. Other MSN/MHA dual degree programs use self-paced, asynchronous, or accelerated formats, which may better suit working professionals.

Applying to an Online MSN/MHA Dual Degree Program

When you apply to an MSN/MHA dual degree program, you must demonstrate your strengths in nursing, administration, and leadership. Most applicants are better versed in one discipline than others. However, it is important to highlight your potential in areas where you have less experience.

Admission Materials

Applicants are usually expected to provide their undergraduate transcripts, a resume or CV, a current and unencumbered nursing license, at least two references, and an application that includes an essay or personal statement.

GPA Requirement

MSN/MHA dual degree programs usually require a 3.0 GPA or higher. However, factors like professional experience may offset a lower GPA.

Other Requirements

Most programs require or strongly prefer at least two years of experience as an RN.

Why is Online MSN/MHA Program Accreditation Important?

Unaccredited programs may seem to offer a faster, cheaper, or easier way to become an MHA nurse. However, attending an unaccredited MSN/MHA dual degree program wastes your time, effort, and money.

  • Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from accredited programs.
  • Accreditation ensures that a program meets quality standards and prepares you to become an MHA nurse.
  • Accredited programs almost never accept transfer credits from unaccredited programs.
  • Only graduates of accredited programs are eligible for the most valuable healthcare administration certifications.
  • Students must be enrolled in an accredited program to receive federal financial aid.

Paying for Online MSN/MHA Dual Degree Programs

Paying for an MSN/MHA dual degree program represents a major financial investment. Factors to consider include program cost, including whether you qualify for in-state tuition; books and equipment; how many hours you can work while studying; any travel expenses for on-campus requirements or commuting costs for fieldwork/clinicals; and your financial aid eligibility.

Many nonprofit foundations, corporations, and government initiatives sponsor scholarships and grants for nursing students. Some government programs offer scholarships or loan forgiveness for MHA nurses who agree to work in underserved areas after graduation. If you already work in the healthcare industry, your employer may offer tuition assistance or reimbursement.

The Best Online MSN/MHA Dual-Degree Programs of 2022

Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSN/MHA Programs


How long does it take to get an MSN/MHA?

A full-time student can complete an MSN/MHA dual degree program in 2-3 years, while part-time learners may graduate in 3-4 years. Although some programs require as few as 18 months of study, these fast-paced programs are highly demanding.

Are dual degree nursing programs difficult?

Because you are studying two related but separate disciplines, earning an MSN/MHA dual degree is more challenging than pursuing a single degree. However, both fields complement one another. Students with administrative experience may find the MHA nursing component easier.

What courses can you expect to take while earning an MSN/MHA degree?

Typical courses in an MSN/MHA dual degree curriculum include physiology and anatomy, pharmacology, nursing administration, nurse education, leadership and management, public health, and legal aspects of healthcare. Most programs include a practicum and an internship.

What is the difference between an MHA and an MBA?

MBA programs usually emphasize or are founded on for-profit management principles and practices, although some let students specialize in nonprofit or healthcare organization management. MHA programs focus entirely on healthcare administration.

Related Online MSN/MHA Program Resources

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