How Long Does It Take To Get An Online Masters In Public Health?
BY Kara Driscoll03 May 2022, 13:00
A student wearing a protective mask walks through campus on the first day of classes at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA, as seen in August 2020. (Photographer: Ty Wright—Bloomberg/Getty Images )
If you are looking for a career in the public health sector, earning an online master’s degree can be a rewarding way to advance in a field that integrates public education, health policy development, tracking community health issues and even finding solutions to global problems. issues like pandemics.
The time it takes you to earn an online master’s degree in public health (MPH) varies, but the average program takes at least two years — and usually no more than three years — to complete. The time required to complete an accelerated online MPH program can range from 12 months to 18 months.
Although earning this degree requires an investment of time, once you graduate you will have access to a variety of career opportunities in a growing field. For example, job growth for epidemiologists is is expected to increase by 32% between 2020 and 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Going to school online for an MPH degree may be suitable for someone who wants to earn an advanced degree while maintaining their current career or juggling family, school, and career responsibilities. says Jonathan VanGeest, professor and coordinator of the Health Policy and Management Program at Kent State University’s College of Public Health.
“There’s this tension between, ‘Do I quit work and then go back to college or can I keep working and find a way to do it in a practical way?’ And that’s what online degree options are for,” says VanGeest.
Below are three things to consider about how long it will take to get an online masters in public health.
There are different commitments for various MPH programs
Online master’s programs in public health require approximately 42 credits and require two years of full-time study. Reputable programs are accredited by the Council on Public Health Educationan independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs outside of schools of public health.
“When you have an internationally recognized CEPH accredited degree, there are so many options with what you do with it. It’s wide open,” says VanGeest.
Although the general curricula are likely to be the same at all universities, some program components may include practicum or capstones. These components may include an internship at a healthcare facility, research or written work, or a community service project, but most programs allow students to complete these requirements locally or online if possible.
At Kent State, for example, MPH students are required to complete an applied practice experience project during their sophomore year. Students have the choice of a three or six credit course, which consists of 150 or 300 contact hours, respectively.
“We’ve tried to steer students towards something that’s very career-focused, and it allows them to build their own experience,” says VanGeest.
Some MPH programs have in-person components and degree specialization options
Most online master’s in public health programs offer concentrations that allow students to tailor their academic studies to what they want to do after graduation.
Some of these concentrations include: social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, community health services, health care management, nutrition, health policy and administration, epidemiology, and biostatistics.
The University of Lassel is launching a new online master program in the fall of 2022, and it will emphasize an evidence-based approach to public health that systematically evaluates health programs and applies epidemiological methods to health policy and program development, says Cristina Haverty, Dean of the School of Health Sciences. The program is currently in the process of receiving CEPH accreditation.
Students in Lassel’s program will be able to choose specialties that particularly interest them, and the program will take two years, on average, to complete the required 42 credits, Haverty says. However, full-time students can complete the program in 15 months.
“They choose courses in the field they are passionate about. For example, students can also choose to take nutrition courses,” she says. “Our program is really focused on social justice and addressing health disparities that exist both at local, regional and national levels and, in some ways, in global communities. But ultimately, public health touches on a variety of these areas. »
Masters in Public Health programs may offer accelerated options
Several universities also allow students to complete an MPH in as little as 12 months through an accelerated program. If you want to finish the program quickly, this could be a good option.
Some students choose to take an accelerated one-year program between their undergraduate degree, but before starting medical school – and this may be an ideal option for someone who has the time to put in more hours of credit, versus someone juggling a career and family, Haverty said. Some full-time students can complete the degree in 12 months.
“It’s an option for a highly motivated student, someone who would have a strong interest in being a full-time student,” says Haverty. “You can choose how you do it at any pace.”
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