One Year Accelerated MHA Programs

A Master of Health Administration (MHA) is a degree that focuses on the managerial side of healthcare. It is an option for those who want to pursue an executive rather than clinical career.

MHA programs

Most MHA programs consist of 30-60 credits and an internship. On average, they'll take a full-time student two years to complete as schools may break for summer.

Are there any one-year MHA programs? Yes, accelerated MHA programs have busy students in mind. They may feature fewer courses, virtual residencies and a compact online schedule.

As such, they are often more affordable (and quicker) than traditional MHAs. Plus, they may allow you to complete your capstone project in your workplace.

written by Rana Waxman

Here are ten schools with MHA programs that can be completed in less than 2 years.

  1. American InterContinental University-Online: Master of Healthcare Management (MHCM)
  2. Saint Joseph’s University: Master of Health Administration
  3. Union Institute and University: Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership
  4. Loyola University Chicago: Master of Arts in Healthcare Mission Leadership
  5. Capella University: Master of Health Administration in Health Care Leadership
  6. Walden University: Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
  7. West Coast University – Los Angeles: Master of Health Administration
  8. University of California – San Francisco: Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership
  9. Drexel University: Master of Health Administration
  10. Briar Cliff University: Master of Health Administration

#1: American Intercontinental University

Master of Healthcare Management (MHCM)

AIU's online Master of Healthcare Management (MHCM) is a 48-credit program accredited by the ACBSP. In it, you'll study how to plan, direct and coordinate healthcare in a variety of settings.

The 8 focused courses build knowledge in several key areas. Law, marketing, business, government, finance, accounting, ethics and technology. You may also learn how to make executive decisions, solve problems and set priorities.

More About the MHA Program

  • Next start date – March 27,2019
  • Offered online, Atlanta, Houston
  • One-year MHA program

Compare with AIU’s online MBA in Healthcare Management

#2: Saint Joseph’s University

Master of Science in Health Administration (MS-HAD)

Saint Joseph's University offers a 36-credit online MHA program. It covers key areas that may help you refine skills as an organization leader. You may also study current research, laws, and industry practices.

Choose from a general track or one of their areas of emphasis. Informatics centers around health data, how to store, access and keep it safe. Organizational Development and Leadership may help you make business decisions.

More About the MHA Program:

  • January, March, May, June, August, and October start dates
  • No residency
  • Time to completion- 1 to 2 years

Compare with Saint Joseph’s online MS Health Administration - Organizational Development and Leadership

#3: Union Institute and University

Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership (MS-HCL)

The online Master's in Healthcare Leadership at UIU is a 36-credit program. Students take 2 courses at the same time, each one lasting 8 weeks. In it, you'll study healthcare policy, advocacy and big data.

A key feature of this program is mentorship. The school matches students with a mentor in the health care industry to interact with. Enrolled students become affiliates of the American College of Healthcare Professionals (ACHE).

More About the MHA Program:

  • August, January, and May start dates
  • Online format, cohort model with virtual learning community
  • Complete your degree in as few as 12 months

Compare with UIU’s Master of Arts in Health and Wellness

#4: Loyola University Chicago

Master of Arts in Health Care Mission Leadership

Loyola University Chicago offers a 36-credit online MA in Health Care Mission Leadership. In it, you'll study key topics that relate to leaders of today's Catholic hospitals.

Some courses touch on areas like theology, spirituality, and bioethics. Others focus on ethics, finance and how to run a health care organization.

More About the MHA Program:

  • Flexible start dates including summer
  • 100% online
  • Full time students might complete their degree in one year

Compare with Loyola’s online MBA in Healthcare Management

#5: Capella University

Master of Health Administration – Health Care Leadership

Capella's online MHA consists of 48 quarter credits. In it, you may hone skills in strategic health care planning. There are also courses in health information systems, health care law and marketing.

Students who bring in transfer credits (up to 12) may be able to speed up their studies. The University also offers two formats and one is self-paced. You’ll also be able to tailor your program around a concentration.

More About the MHA Program:

  • Multiple start dates
  • 100% online
  • Designed around NCHL’s Health Leadership Competency Model

Compare with related online MHA and MBA programs at Capella:

#6: Walden University

Master of Health Administration – General

Walden’s online MHA consists of 53 credits. It provides a well-rounded business core. You’ll find courses in strategic planning, marketing, healthcare finance and operations. In tandem, you'll study population health and IT.

Eligible students may bring in 25 credits for prior master’s level coursework to save time and money. [ii] You can stick with a general program or tailor studies. Four areas of emphasis are available. Population health, social entrepreneurship and innovation, systems and policy, leadership and organizational management.

Choose course-based or competency-based Tempo Learning ®. Full-time, part-time and accelerated formats make for other options.

More About the MHA Program:

  • Multiple start dates
  • 100% online
  • Accelerated formats and Tempo Learning ® - learn online, set your own pace, prove mastery of skills instead of going course by course (possible way to save extra time and money)

Compare with related online MHA programs at Walden:

Online MHA – General (Tempo Learning)

Online MHA – General (Accelerated)

Online MBA – Healthcare Management

Online MBA – Healthcare Management (Tempo Learning)

Online MHA – General (Part Time)

Online MHA – Leadership & Organizational Development)

#7: Westcoast University

Westcoast University’s online MHA is a 36-credit program. Their curriculum draws on the Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLA) 5 core competencies. Apart from 12 3-credit courses, students might access a variety of internship opportunities.

In it you’ll take courses in managerial epidemiology and health research methods. In tandem, there are classes in finance, planning and marketing. Other topics may help students develop as leaders and project managers.

More About the MHA Program:

  • 100% online
  • Earn your degree in as few as 12 months
  • Partner grants may be available

Compare similar programs at Drexel, USCF and Briar Cliff University.

What Are Accreditations Needed for an MHA?

There are a few reasons to look for CAHME-accredited online MHA programs. For one, they are available through regionally accredited schools. These schools make it possible to use transfer credits or apply for financial aid.

CAHME stands for the Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education. It is a professional accrediting board of MHA programs. As such, it may serve as a benchmark of

quality for online MHA programs.

For an MHA program to become accredited, it first submits to a review. This vets the program's purpose, courses, and students’ experience. Also, it looks at whether grads are successful in the job market.

To stay accredited, the program must submit to another review by CAHME. It must show that it maintains standards or improves itself. This means the courses should have their finger on the pulse of the latest developments.

This stated, some programs (like the MBA) come from a university's business school. These may have program accreditation too. But, rather than from the CAHME the agency may be specific to business and management.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is one. AACSB International is another. Each agency website usually keeps an up-to-date database of accredited schools and/or programs.

5 Potential Benefits of Earning an MHA

Whether you are a career mover, new to leadership or want to grow existing skills, an MHA may be worth pursuing. Here are 5 potential benefits to earning an MHA (hopefully in one year!).

#1: Great Job Outlook. Medical and health service managers are in demand. In fact, per, the field is growing by 20% to 2026. This is much faster than average and an extra 352,200 jobs.

#2: Getting Ahead. Yes, you might enter the field with a bachelor’s degree. But master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred by employers. In fact, it’s supposed to be even better if you have skills in healthcare IT systems.

#3: Five and Six Figure Salaries. The most recent data on salaries points to a median annual wage for Health Managers of $98,350. Since that’s the average, the lowest 10% earned $58,350 but the highest 10% earned $176,130. Striving for CEO? Top executives in healthcare earned $160,940 in 2017.

#4: Reboot Your Resume. In one year, you may have a whole new resume and credential. This may help you make the jump into leadership. Plus, with an online MHA you might set your own pace and study while working full time.

#5: Leverage Your Professional Experience. Shorter MHA programs may take into account your work experience. They may forgo the intense internship for a project-focused capstone. This may help you grow as a problem-solver.

What Are the Requirements for Earning an Accelerated MHA?

The requirements for earning an accelerated MHA may compare to traditional programs. But with a twist.

  • They are usually full-time
  • Courses may last around 8 to 10 weeks each
  • May require 36 credits or less of core courses
  • Most range between 12 and 18 months in length
  • Often 100% online
  • Have a worksite practicum instead of adding extra time
  • May sub a practice-focused capstone for the internship

To earn an MHA in as short a time frame as one year, expect to attend school full-time. Accelerated MHA programs may have you double up on classes or do without a summer break too.

Where you can expect some similarities is in the area of content - what you are likely to need to learn.  MHA programs look at issues that health care professionals face on a day-to-day basis.

Depending on their structure, the format may center around 5 key skills. These may be set up per the Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLC) Competency Model.

  • Leading people, teamwork
  • Managing projects and making decisions
  • Improving population Health
  • Setting strategic direction
  • Understanding health care IT, ethics, laws, health care policy

Some have a final capstone course, or you'll need to complete an internship too. Seasoned health care managers may pare down these requirements with transfer credits. Check school policy since it varies.

Admissions Requirements for Earning an MHA May Include:

Along with an application to your school of choice, some schools ask for:  

  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you attended
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college with a satisfactory GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay
  • Current CV or resume
  • Interview
  • Have work experience in the health care industry for some programs

Graduation Requirements for Earning an MHA May Include:

To earn an MHA, you’ll often need to keep your grades up.Purdue gives two attempts to complete the master’s capstone or you’re withdrawn.

Other schools may have different policies, but you’ll likely have to check the following boxes:

  • Finish any foundation, core, capstone and concentration courses
  • Meet school-set minimum grades
  • Complete assignments within deadlines
  • Attend any on-site classes if applicable
  • Take part in a 7 to 10-day foreign study experience in between semesters (E.g. MHA at Pfeiffer University)

Accelerated MHA Programs That Can Be Completed in 2 Years or Less

Some schools state in explicit terms that one might complete their MHA in one year (12 months). Others may suggest 2 years for full-time students. Accelerated MHA programs fall somewhere in the middle. These 8 MHA programs take between 1 and 2 years.


Completion Time

Northcentral University

MS in Organizational Leadership – Health Administration Specialization  

16 months

Brown University

Executive Masters in Healthcare Leadership

18 months

Southern New Hampshire University

MS in Healthcare Administration

15 months

Rutgers University

Master of Health Administration

24 months

Regis College

Master of Health Administration

16 months

Queens University

Master of Health Administration (online)

24 months

American University

Master of Science in Healthcare Management

20 months

Regent University

MA in Government- Healthcare Policy & Ethics

18 to 24 months

Sure, 1-year MHA programs may ask you to attend school full time. You may take more than the suggested course load, and study online. But for some students, the trade-off may be worth it.

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