There are various reasons why more and more potential students want to complete their degrees in less time. A master’s degree may open up additional career options, which may come with higher salaries than positions requiring only a bachelor’s degree. Completing an accelerated master’s program may enable graduates to enter their desired career and enjoy the benefits of that career faster.
Completing a degree more quickly can have financial as well as career benefits. It means graduates may enter the workforce and start earning money sooner.
Employment in the United States is projected to grow at an annual rate of 0.4 percent between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although this means an increase of 6 million jobs, this growth rate is lower than the 1.3 percent the previous decade.
Still, the increase in health care and social assistance jobs is projected to be higher than average growth. The BLS notes five out of the 20 industries projected to see accelerated growth between 2019 and 2029 are in these fields. This is due to the aging of baby boomers, people generally living longer and more people living with chronic conditions.
Schools across the country have seen an increase in students enrolled in public health programs. Some believe the COVID-19 virus may have motivated students’ decision to obtain a degree in public health. Accelerated MPH programs may help students in public health enter the workforce faster, where they can deliver valuable and necessary aid to vulnerable communities.
What Is an Accelerated MPH Program?
An accelerated MPH program is similar to a traditional MPH program, but the coursework is completed more quickly. This means students may need to attend classes at night and weekends. Online accelerated MPH programs may not require students to conduct on-campus learning. In these cases, students may be able to complete their studies on their own time.
Most accelerated MPH programs require students to complete a minimum of 42 credits in various areas of study — the same as a traditional MPH program. Eligibility for an accelerated MPH program differs from school to school.
Prospective accelerated MPH students generally hold a terminal degree (either a master’s or doctoral degree) in another field of study and have a desire to enhance their career with a degree in public health. Some schools might require candidates to hold a doctoral degree or be near completion of a doctoral degree. Alternatively, candidates could hold a master’s degree with a minimum number of years of work or research experience. GPA requirements may vary depending on the program, but generally successful candidates have a minimum GPA of 3.0. In some cases, GPA requirements may be around 3.25. Prospective students should check with the program they are interested in for specific application requirements.
Why Pursue an Accelerated MPH Program?
Traditional MPH programs generally take two to three years to complete. Accelerated MPH programs cover the same curriculum. However, these programs are expedited and, in many cases, may be completed in one year to 18 months.
Completing an accelerated MPH program may be beneficial for students who want to progress in their careers but can’t take a break from their profession for two years. It also offers graduate students an option to complete a higher level of study more quickly. That means these individuals could enter the field at a higher level or salary bracket than they would with a bachelor’s degree alone.
Accelerated Online MPH Programs at the George Washington University
George Washington University offers accelerated online MPH programs. These programs may be completed quicker than traditional MPH programs. Because they are offered online, in most cases students may complete the program requirements at times that suit them. The accelerated online MPH programs at GWU require the completion of 45 credits while offering expedited learning with a flexible yet intense schedule.
The one-year accelerated MPH program at GWU involves 60 to 80 hours of coursework weekly. Because this program is intense, students who are enrolled in the one-year program are not allowed to work during their enrollment. The 18-month MPH program requires 40 to 60 hours of coursework weekly, and enrolled students are not allowed to work more than part time.