Are there One-Year Online MHA Programs? 15-18 Month Programs?


The short answer is yes!

While some online master’s degree programs require two years to complete, there are fully online master’s of health administration (MHA) programs offering degree or certificate programs which can be completed in 12 to 18 months. Online MHA programs are designed for current working professionals wanting to begin or advance their careers in leadership roles in the healthcare industry.

The online MHA degree and certificate programs featured here are open to individuals with no prior experience in the healthcare industry. Many universities are offering MHA degree programs in response to the rapidly growing need for educated and experienced administrative healthcare professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has projected a 20 percent growth rate for medical and health services managers in the decade preceding 2026—a rate which is much faster than the national average. The increased need for healthcare professionals can be attributed to the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the booming healthcare needs of the large aging demographic in the United States, among other factors.

In response to these economic trends, universities have tailored their online degree and certificate programs to meet the needs of working professionals and their families. Two of the most attractive features of the online degree and certificate options are that students can complete their degrees online and remain in their current jobs without having to relocate in order to attend a face-to-face degree program.

Online MHA programs use web-based platforms and tools to deliver course content and facilitate interaction between students and professors. Some courses may meet in-person via video- or chat-based platforms once a week while other classes require weekly written contributions in online discussion forums. Courses can blend synchronous real-time meetings and asynchronous tasks with specific due dates. The types of interaction in online courses are at the discretion of the instructor and the program faculty.

While every online MHA program is unique in its delivery format and curricular requirements, there are also some commonalities. In addition to online coursework, several programs require a final capstone project or an issue-based research project informed by observations made during students’ hands-on practicum. Additionally, some online programs require hybrid campus immersions in which students must meet on campus for a number of consecutive days. Fully online programs, on the other hand, often have “virtual residencies” enabling students and professors to have face-to-face interactions from the convenience of their off-campus locations.

Course requirements for most online MHA degree and certificate programs include a combination of core and elective classes, allowing students to focus on an area of professional interest in healthcare. Common specialization tracks in this industry include long-term care, health informatics, and public administration.

Read on to learn about three fully online MHA degree and certificate programs.

Fully Online MHA Programs That Can Be Completed in 12 to 18 Months

American University

American University offers a fully online graduate certificate in healthcare management. This 12-credit certificate program consists of four courses designed by expert healthcare sciences professionals to ensure that relevant competencies, industry trends, and standards are focal points of the curriculum. This certificate program aims to teach students to make data-driven decisions in a values-based financial model of healthcare.

Students in healthcare management take four required courses: data-driven decision making; standards and systems in U.S. healthcare; the principles of health information technology and innovation; and evaluating new models of care delivery and payment. Courses are taught by current practitioners in healthcare management who bring decades of professional experience to their instructional roles. One of the courses features an optional face-to-face experience at the Washington D.C. campus.

While pursuing this master’s degree, students can immediately apply the skills they learn to their current careers and earn a graduate certificate in 12 to 15 months. For those wanting to pursue graduate studies at American University, the 12 credits earned in this certificate program can be applied towards the online master’s of science in healthcare management degree program.

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Accreditation: Middle Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
  • Tuition: $1,759 per credit-hour
  • Program length: 12 to 15 months

Liberty University

Liberty University offers a fully online master of healthcare administration (MHA) degree program. The aim of this 48-credit program is to equip students with an understanding of core disciplines of informatics, public health, and nursing. With a strong emphasis on informed decision-making, students in this program learn how to incorporate strategic planning, business management techniques, and financial models and principles in future management roles.

Courses taught in this program provide students with the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in leadership roles in healthcare organizations. Core courses include management of operations personnel, legal compliance, and quality assurance.

Liberty University features 12 different specialization tracks to meet the professional interests and needs of their students: accounting, finance, general, human resources, leadership, marketing, nonprofit management, project management, public administration, public relations, strategic management, and supply chain management and logistics.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers a 36-credit fully online master’s degree in healthcare administration. An ideal option for professionals aspiring to work in the healthcare industry in non-clinical administrative roles, this program provides its students with a rigorous curriculum focusing on the business standards, principles, concepts, systems, and current best practices of the healthcare industry. A variety of subject areas including finance and economics, law, policy, informatics, and strategic planning are taught in order to ensure equitable quality and access to healthcare for all.

SNHU’s program curriculum is reviewed regularly by a wide range of healthcare professionals in the industry. In response to the rapid expansion of the field of healthcare administration, SNHU is committed to continuously assessing the validity and practicality of its curriculum by aligning it with standards set forth by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) and the Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLA).

Graduates of this online MHA program are equipped with the expertise needed for top healthcare administration positions. Skills emphasized in this program include communication, computational abilities, critical thinking, societal and cultural context, leadership, and relationship management in healthcare environments.

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,881 per credit
  • Program length: 15 months

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