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How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Healthcare Management?

Jan 19, 2021
Breaking down how long it takes to earn four common healthcare masters degrees

By Kara Sherrer

If you’re thinking about going back to school for a healthcare masters degree, then one of the first things you’re probably wondering is how long it will take you to earn your degree. The answer varies a lot from degree to degree and depends on whether you opt for a part-time, full-time, or accelerated track. Here’s more information on how long it takes to get 4 different degrees in healthcare management.

How long does it take to get an MBA in healthcare?

If you’re attending a traditional full-time day program, it will take about 21 months to earn your MBA — 2 academic years, plus a 10-12 week internship you will complete during the summer break between the academic years. However, this isn’t the only MBA timeline available: an accelerated program may take as little as 11-16 months, while a part-time program might stretch across 3-4 years or more. If you choose to participate in a dual-degree program and earn the MBA alongside another degree — for instance, a combined MD/MBA program — then that timeline will also vary depending on the second degree. As you search for MBA programs, keep in mind that not all of them offer a healthcare concentration or curriculum.

Pictured: Burch Wood, Director of Health Care Programs. Wood oversees Vanderbilt masters in healthcare programs.

Burch Wood, Director of Health Care Programs

“If you’re wanting to leverage your business experience to move on to your next step and your health care career, or if you’ve been in another industry and you want to switch, it’s a lot easier to switch careers when you do a full-time MBA where you have (2 years) to work with a career management office that can help you see your current talents where they’ll fit in a new career,” said Burch Wood, Director of Health Care Programs at Vanderbilt.

How long does it take to get a Masters of Health Administration?

A full-time Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree can be completed in 2-3 years. Most full-time programs combine some kind of internship, residency, or fellowship with the academic curriculum. The internship may be completed during the school year or during the summer break between years, while a residency usually takes a year and is completed after the academic portion of the program. Some part-time MHA programs are also available, and usually take between 3-4 years to complete, depending on how many credit hours each student can take in a given semester.

“They’ll place you (somewhere) place to do work as part of part of the program. Often they have connectors with (local hospitals),” Wood explained. “The MHA at Birmingham, for example, uses the hospital at Birmingham to place some of their students in different roles and train them up in sort of a working internship while they’re studying.”

How long does it take to get a Master of Management in Health Care?

Designed for working healthcare professionals, the Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC) program at Vanderbilt Business can be completed in a little over a year. Students continue to work full-time during the program, attending class at night and on weekends. Because students already come into the program with deep knowledge of the healthcare industry, the MMHC programs on taking fundamental business concepts and applying them to the healthcare field.

“The big benefit of the year of people working through the (MMHC) program is that they get to put their knowledge to work (right away), and it requires them to take less money out for loans and things like that,” Wood said.

How long does it take to get a Master of Public Health?

Like the other degrees listed here, this answer to this depends on whether the program is full-time, part-time, or accelerated. A standard full-time Master of Public Health (MPH) program usually takes between 18 and 24 months to complete and involves practicum or internship hours as well as an academic curriculum. An accelerated program can be completed in as little as a year; the compressed timeline is usually created by removing the practicum or internship component. A part-time program can take anywhere between 3-5 years to finish depending on the pace that the student works at.

To learn more about healthcare programs at Vanderbilt Business, visit the program pages for the MBA in healthcare and the Master of Management in Health Care.

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