Universities offer part-time enrollment options in the MHA programs for those who need more time than the usual two years it takes to complete the online MHA.
Some programs deliver content in a cohort format, where students should start and finish the program in one group.
Others, however, offer more flexibility to meet the individual needs of students and extend the completion time.
If you are researching MHA programs, you should find out as much as possible about the timelines for completion and an academic advisor specific questions you may have before you apply.
Some MHA cohort programs can be completed in two years and come with specializations that take another semester to complete.
Other programs may state their completion times are “as little as two years” which may mean that they offer part-time completion options.
However, unless you can find specific information about part-time programs on the program’s website, you need to ask about the options and regulations for part-time enrollment before you apply.
It’s a really great time to earn a master’s degree.
The number of students completing it is very high now.
According to the 2019 study by the US Department of Education, the total number of conferred master’s degrees grew by 51% between the 2002-03 and 2015-16 academic years.
The number of projected conferred degrees is expected to increase by 4% between 2015-16 and 2027-28 academic years.
In response to this enrollment trend, universities expand their graduate programs, offering accelerated, part-time, and online programs.
A 2015 survey conducted by the Aslanian Market Research and the Learning House demonstrates that 39% of online students were studying part-time.
According to these data, the part-time enrollment trend will continue to grow in the future.
Most people enrolling in part-time MHA programs choose them to balance their commitments and education.
Usually, graduate students have more family and work responsibilities than undergraduates.
So, part-time enrollment can be a great option to balance study, work, and family.
Students can keep their jobs while studying part-time.
Some companies provide employee tuition assistance that can help students pay for fees and tuition.
Of course, with part-time enrollment, it will take more time to complete a degree, but part-time students can use the challenges they face at work as case studies for their coursework to get authentic problem-solving practice.
By documenting this real-world knowledge, students can invest in their career advancements to high-level positions in the company they work in as well as use it to negotiate promotion.
Part-Time MHA Programs
George Washington University – Milken Institute School of Public Health
U.S. News and World Report ranked the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University #12 in their 2019 list of best graduate schools in healthcare management.
It offers an online master’s of health administration program a.k.a. MHA@GW.
The program includes 50 credits and prepares health services professionals to take on leadership and administrative positions in healthcare.
The program accreditation is provided by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
It can be completed within two years and has four start dates throughout the year in October, January, April, and July.
The program is divided into eight ten-week modules with three on-campus immersions and one, off-campus.
At the end of the program, students should do an organizational research project.
Live weekly classes take place in groups of 15 students.
Applicants need to have two years of experience (full-time employment) in the health sector or three years in another field.
Tuition is $1,765 per credit.
Ohio University Online
A fully online master of health administration program is offered by Ohio University Online.
The program includes 36 credits and takes six semesters to complete (fall, spring, and summer).
Typically, students spend 20 to 25 hours per week on their coursework.
Students interact with faculty members and peers through video office hours, discussion forums, email, and online chats.
The program is designed for working professionals who seek career advancement in leadership roles and those who have two years of experience in the healthcare field.
Courses cover the US healthcare delivery system, health policy, and law, information systems for health services, leadership of healthcare organizations, as well as strategic planning and marketing on health services.
Leading healthcare leadership professionals, and academics in healthcare administration comprise the program faculty.
The program costs $654 per semester-credit for Ohio students and $673 for out-of-state students.
Queens University of Charlotte
The Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina has an entirely online master of health administration (MHA).
This program is hands-on and features an applied curriculum that provides future healthcare administration leaders with real-world practice.
It prepares them to become effective leaders who can develop healthcare organizations.
The curriculum is based on five main competencies outlined by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
It includes leadership, instruction in communication, business expertise, professionalism, and healthcare knowledge.
This is a perfect program for applicants with some healthcare experience who want to become knowledgeable and effective leaders in developing healthcare organizations.
The program’s courses include financial management, organizational behavior in healthcare organizations, healthcare economics, and policy, quality improvement in healthcare organizations, healthcare law, and ethics, clinical issues in health services management.
The program costs $760 per-credit-hour.
According to the 2015 Aslanian Market Research and the Learning House study, most master’s degree students (60%) are enrolled full-time and take more than 9 credits per semester or quarter.
However, part-time students are also a large percentage of the student population, with 39% of online students studying part-time.
This statistic is worth repeating because the numbers say a lot about the educational enrollment trends and willingness of the universities to meet the unique needs of the students.
Students who consider part-time enrollment typically take into account three factors:
- Future professional opportunities.
- The personal impact of attending school while maintaining full-time employment.
Finances are the biggest consideration for enrollment in a part-time degree program.
While taking classes one at a time on per-semester bases seems more cost-effective, tuition models in universities may promote full-time enrollments.
The article from the US News and World Report breaks down the financial costs for two online universities.
Students of the Penn State World Campus pay by the credit-hour if they take less than 12 credit hours.
However, they pay a flat tuition rate if they are enrolled in 12 or more credit hours, which makes it a more reasonable option to enroll in a program full-time.
To compare, students at the University of Florida Online pay the same per-credit regardless of the type of enrollment, so there’s no financial benefit for students to enroll full-time.
Another factor that should be considered includes the terms of student loans.
Some loans may require full-time or part-time enrollment, and students should carefully research this.
In terms of professional opportunities, obtaining a master’s degree can be a benefit in the eyes of an employer.
Some companies provide tuition assistance within their benefits packages.
This includes tax-free tuition assistance offered to employees by employers.
Baxter is an example of a company that offers tuition assistance for graduate coursework if approved by management.
Companies can also offer the option to work from home or flex-time benefits.
Students can use this benefit and attend school full-time for some time if the university allows flexible enrollment per semester.
Finally, a master’s degree provides more advancement opportunities, but the personal impact of part-time study and full-time job together with other responsibilities can be hard.
There are multiple resources on time-management and communicative strategies.
They can help part-time students better organize and use their time and communicate their needs to friends, family, and colleagues.
- The Mayo Clinic has a list of suggestions for how to streamline tasks and set boundaries at home and work to be productive.
- Coach, vlogger, and podcaster The Professor Is In has advice for graduate students developing their physical, mental, and emotional capacities to face the challenges of graduate school.
- Lean In, an organization inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s New York Times best-selling book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”, has many resources on how to agree with family members on dividing household responsibilities and emphasize the importance of communicating how daily tasks are shared between couples.