The fastest bachelor’s degree programs in public health are accelerated degrees that help professionals launch their careers quickly. The COVID Pandemic saw Public Health professionals taking the lead in recommendations to help mitigate the effects of the virus. Public Health experts became advisors for communities and political leaders on the best way to guide citizens in how best to minimize their exposure to the disease.
Although unfortunately, over 600,000 Americans died from the infection, we also watched as infection and death rates began to decline, thanks to the work of epidemiologists, virologists, infectious disease experts, and local Public Health Departments. An accelerated public health degree can help professionals meet their goals faster.
This diverse field offers careers as educators, epidemiologists, health program coordinators, medical and health professionals, healthcare business administration, and also public policymakers. A bachelor’s degree is the base education requirement to work in the field. Salaries range from $41,000 to $60,000 annually, depending on the location and concentration.
Our Method: Ranking the 10 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degrees for Public Health
Best Health Degrees has reviewed some of the fastest Public Health online degree programs to develop this ranking. We looked at online programs based on classes, program length, institutional and program accreditation, and the estimated cost. All these online degrees and accelerated online programs have accreditation, most by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). And, all the institutions and schools with online bachelor’s degrees have regional accreditation.
To rank the 10 Fastest Online Public Health Bachelor’s Programs, Best Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential. We use data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications. Keep reading for our list of school rankings for online bachelor’s degrees and accelerated programs and start your school search today!
1. University of Missouri Online
The University of Missouri Online awards a 100% online, BS in Public Health that holds specialized accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Mizzou has a generous 60-credit hour transfer policy for this 120-credit hour program. This policy allows individuals with an associate degree from a community college or prior college credit to earn this fast bachelor’s college degree in two years.
Offered through the School of Health Professions Department of Public Health, this accelerated public health degree’s core courses include Healthcare Management, Global Health, Public Health Ethics, and Environmental Health. Diversity elective courses cover topics such as Cultural Anthropology, Chronic Diseases and Public Health Approaches, and also Qualitative Approaches to Understanding Public Health Problems. Additional requirements include General Education studies and a Capstone Project.
Admission requirements for first-year students are completion of a Mizzou online application or Common Application. Prospective students must provide official academic transcripts and other documents the school may request. The ACT or SAT test scores are optional. Mizzou offers multiple admission options for online students.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $373-$380 per college credit hour for online programs
Fast Fact: Mizzou ranks #14 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and #90 in the publication’s Best Public Health Schools
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
Interested: Click to learn more about this accelerated degree program!
2. University of West Florida Online
This online bachelor’s degree in Public Health prepares graduates for entry-level Public Health careers and has CEPH accreditation. Qualified students may transfer 90 previous college credits towards this 120-credit-hour accelerated public health degree. However, the school must have accreditation from one of UWF’s approved accrediting agencies.
Courses in this accelerated online program are eight week sessions and sixteen week sessions. Additionally, the program offers a variety of subjects in Foundations in Health Education, Essentials of Public Health, Epidemiology, Diseases in Public Health, Epidemiology of Infectious Disease, Research Methods and Evaluation in Health Promotion, and other core topics. Students also choose from either Public Health Planning and Analysis or Health Promotion and Planning and complete either a Public Health Capstone or Senior Capstone Experience in Health Promotion.
Prospective college students should apply with an application processing fee and academic transcripts. The school may request ACT and SAT test scores. Students need to complete the residency application and submit a “financial responsibility statement” each semester through your MyUWF.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $219 per college credit hour for online programs
Fast Fact: UWF ranks #53 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and #174 in Best Public Health Schools as rated by U.S. News
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Interested: Click to learn more about this accelerated degree program!
3. American Public University
As a transfer student, you can use up to 90 prior credits towards this online BS in Public Health degree from American Public University. You have a choice of four concentrations in Emergency and Disaster Management, Nutrition and Wellness, Public Health Informatics, or General Public Health studies.
General Education requirements in the humanities include classes in English, history, and natural sciences. In addition, students take core courses in Introduction to Health Care Administration, Wellness: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Public Health in America, Epidemiology, and also Foundations in Nutrition. Additionally, students complete a Senior Seminar in Public Health. Other online classes are required depending on your chosen concentration. Courses start monthly so there are multiple start dates.
American Public University has no application fee for admission of first time or transfer students. Once you’ve submitted your application, an American Public University admissions counselor will walk you through the additional steps needed.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $250-$285 per academic year for online programs
Fast Fact: APU is #825/1,572 in Niche’s Best Value Colleges in America
Interested: Click to learn more about the undergraduate degree!
4. California Baptist University
You can earn your online BS in Public Health from California Baptist University in 16 months. This CEPH-accredited program is one of the fastest online degree programs in public health.
The accelerated public health degree curriculum has core requirements in the major. Among the necessary classes are general education studies in composition, fundamental chemistry, and general psychology. Students then take courses in Introduction to Public Health, Ethics in Health Care, Principles of Health Education, Public Health Nutrition and Physical Activity, and Epidemiology. As a Christian university, the curriculum also calls for studies in the Overview of the Bible and Foundations of Christian Thought.
Prospective students need 24 transferable credits, a high school diploma or GED, and a minimum 2.0 GPA to apply. The school requires you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Each student has an admission counselor and submits transcripts to the counselor. Once admitted, the counselor will then guide you through registration.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $613 per credit hour for online programs
Fast Fact: CBU ranks #67 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report and #182 in the publication’s Best Public Health Schools
Learn More: Click here for more about this accelerated bachelor’s degree online!
5. National University
National University’s online BS in Public Health degree is through the College of Professional Studies. This school was originally founded to provide educational opportunities for deployed military personnel and offers special opportunities for military students.
Courses are in four-week blocks, requiring less time, and the accelerated public health degree requires 180 hours. Students take classes in preparation for the Public Health major in Human Anatomy and Physiology, Personal Health, Introduction to Psychology, and more. Core coursework studies Culture and Health, Introduction to Epidemiology, Chronic and Communicable Diseases, and Health Behavior. Additional courses in Global Health, Preparedness and Disaster Management, Environmental Health, and Public Health Advocacy. A Public Health Field Practicum will give you real-world experience.
Website information on admission to this program is brief. But students apply according to their admission status (first-year student or transfer), and they should be prepared to submit academic transcripts for all the institutions they attended.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $370 per quarter hour for online programs
Fast Fact: National University ranks in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Public Health Schools and #164 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
Learn More: Click to learn more about this online bachelor’s degree!
6. Allen College UnityPoint Health
Allen College, located in Waterloo, Iowa, awards a BS in Public Health Leadership you can earn 100% online. Plus, students receive a 25% tuition deduction when enrolled in this Higher Learning Commission accredited program.
Students rn healthcare concepts in a wide variety of topics in the program’s 124 credit hours program. In addition to the 88 hours of general education classes (taken at another regionally accredited school), the curriculum will introduce you to a wide spectrum of public health topics. Among the classes, are The American Health Care System, Introduction to Public Health, Social Determinants of Health, Public Health Research and Evaluation, and also classes in ethics and diversity. Additionally, students must participate in a Capstone Project before graduating.
Allen College offers rolling admission with the PH curriculum beginning twice a year. Among the admission documents required are an application (with $50 fee), academic transcripts from all schools attended, and professional and academic references. Application review begins when the school receives all requested documents. The process can take six to eight weeks.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $677 per credit hour for online programs
Fast Fact: Allen College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Learn More: Click to learn more about the accelerated bachelor’s degree program!
7. Southern New Hampshire University
If you have prior college or university credits, you can transfer up to 90 credit hours toward Southern New Hampshire University’s online BS in Public Health degree.
The curriculum provides the education for entry-level public health careers or for students to attend graduate school. Among the classes are Principles of Epidemiology, Fundamentals of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Health, Ethical and Legal Considerations of Healthcare, and also Biological Concepts for Public Health. Additionally, students take courses covering evaluation methods, program planning, research, and assessment. Also, a Public Health Capstone Communication project is required in your last term.
You can apply anytime for admission with acceptance determination completed on a rolling basis. A free admission application and provide names of any prior schools attended (SNHU requests transcripts at no charge). ACT scores or SAT test scores aren’t required with the application.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $225-$320 per credit hour for online programs
Fast Fact: Niche considers SNHU #59/308 in its Best Online Colleges in America school ranking
Learn More: Click here for more about these online accelerated programs!
8. Walden University
You can transfer 135 college creditd to this online Public Health BS from Walden University. Public health concentrations are chosen with this degree: General Program; Healthcare Management, Health Promotion and Wellness; or Health Psychology and Behavior.
Regardless of your choice, core coursework is the same for all four concentrations. Students study the Context of Healthcare Delivery, Foundations of Public Health, Behavioral and Cultural Issues in Healthcare, Theories of Health Behavior, and Living and Learning in the Technological World. General education classes are needed as well. A Capstone Project concludes the degree. The degree calls for 181 quarter hours.
Walden University admission standards include an application requiring personal information, employment and academic histories, and academic transcripts. Once the application is submitted, a Walden University Enrollment Specialist will contact you and walk you through the rest of the admission process.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $12,180 per academic year
Fast Fact: Niche considers Walden University #627/1,572 in its Best Value Colleges in America
Learn More: Click here for more about the accelerated public health degree!
9. Excelsior College
Excelsior College, in Albany, NY, will accept up to 113 prior credits (median 54 credits accepted) toward this BS in Health Sciences with an emphasis in Public Health. You may also earn credits toward this accelerated bachelor’s degree for certain healthcare licenses and certifications.
Health Sciences core classes include Health Care Issues in Culturally Diverse Populations, Writing and Communication in the Health Science Professions, Introduction to Health Care Delivery Systems, Research Methods, and Introduction to Health Care Informatics. Among the Public Health studies are classes in Principles of Public Health, Introduction to Epidemiology, and a Public Health elective. The program concludes with a Capstone Project.
There are no special admission requirements for this Health Sciences degree. General admission to Excelsior College and will ask for transcripts from any colleges and universities attended, reporting of any licenses or certificates, and completion of the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA®) before beginning the application.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $510 per credit hour
Fast Fact: Excelsior College was founded in 1971 as a distance education institution
Accreditation: regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Learn More: Click here for more about the accelerated public health degree program!
10. Trident University International
Here’s an online Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences (BSHS) offering several concentrations in Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, Health Care Administration, or Health Education. Trident University International has a liberal transfer policy that could reduce the 120 credit hours needed for this accelerated bachelor’s degree.
Students take 40 credit hours in core Public Health classes. A sampling of those classes involves studies in Essentials of Public Health, Introduction to Epidemiology, Health Behavior, Health Promotion, Disease Prevention, Cross-Cultural Health Perspectives, and others. Following the core studies, are classes in your concentration. Some of the core courses will satisfy some of the general education requirements. A Senior Capstone Project culminates the program. Additional information on courses for this major can be found starting on page 69 of TUI’s catalog.
As with others schools, an application (good news, it’s free!) is necessary and will prompt an Admissions Advisor to reach out to you and guide you through the process. Be prepared to submit academic transcripts (high school, college, or university depending on if you’re a first-year or transfer student) and additional information if requested.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $250-$415 per credit hour
Fast Fact: TUI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Learn More: Click here for more about the accelerated public health degree program!
What are Accelerated Degree Programs?
How is an accelerated bachelor’s degree online program different from a regular online program? Accelerated degrees are programs that move faster than their traditional counterparts and are often online degrees. Most programs with fast online degrees offer quality education from accredited schools, but in condensed timeframes.
Many schools with accelerated online programs have online courses in a 5 to 10 week format versus the on-campus 16-week semester. Although the content of the accelerated courses is the same, it is covered more quickly in accelerated bachelor’s programs. So, many bachelor’s degrees that are accelerated programs are more rigorous than other programs because of the speed.
What are Prior Learning Assessments?
Many innovative schools now have programs to help working students complete their degrees faster with prior learning. A Prior Learning Assessment program looks at academics and other life experience credits. The idea is that individuals with a work history already have some of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for a particular college major. Military experience and professional work experience can translate to college credit, depending on the school and program. So, prospective applicants with competency-based education credits can complete a degree program faster.
Some schools require applicants to submit a portfolio or take challenge exams to receive credit. A Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio showcases how a student’s experience aligns with the degree requirements and course criteria. In addition to work experience, this prior learning assessment portfolio may include military training, corporate training, personal essays, volunteer work, industry certifications, and other documentation.
What are Degree Completion Programs?
Degree completion programs are for adult students with undergraduate coursework who have not earned a degree. Some started a bachelor’s degree but did not finish. Others have an associate degree with college transfer credit that count toward a bachelor’s degree.
If they meet the application requirements for the degree completion program, their prior education and college credits count toward a bachelor’s degree. Students enrolled in these online bachelor degree programs often finish in two to three years. Most of these programs are in a distance education format or for online learners.
How Fast Can You Earn a Bachelor’s Degree Online?
A traditional bachelor’s degree program takes four years and requires 120 credit hours. However, certain bachelor’s degree programs like accelerated online degrees, take less time. Students pursuing an accelerated bachelor’s degree online program can earn a college degree in as little as 12-24 months.
An accelerated format is the same degree as a traditional one, but students can earn the degree faster. A BSN degree in a fully online format is a popular example. Registered Nurses (RNs) with an associate degree can earn a bachelor’s degree quickly using transfer credits and work experience. The convenience of this online education format appeals to many working professionals.
What is the Fastest and Easiest Degree to Earn?
So, what is the fastest bachelor’s degree to get? Some of the most popular majors include a Business Administration degree and a Psychology degree. The majors and degrees that do not have a lot of science classes with labs work well for online delivery and independent learning. For example, there are many accelerated degree options to pursue in liberal arts. Below are some other fast degree programs offered online and other accelerated online degrees.
- Supply Chain Management
- Business Administration
- Computer Information Technology (IT)
- Computer Information Systems / Computer Science
- Public Safety Administration
- Fire Science
- Organizational Leadership / Organizational Behavior / Strategic Management
- Criminal Justice / Criminology
- Human Services
- Marketing / Media / Journalism
- Political Science
- Nursing RN-to-BSN
- Healthcare Administration degree
- Financial Management / Finance
- Health Care Management / Health Management degree
- Elementary Education
- Human Resource Management
- Web Development / Web Design / Graphic Design
- Hospitality Management
Do Employers Respect Online Accelerated Degree Programs?
Accelerated programs help many graduates enter the workforce fast or advance in their current jobs. If your degree comes from an accredited school, it should not be an issue that you earned it quickly. College degrees from online programs are the same as traditional degrees. But, students enrolled in an online bachelor of science spend significantly less on tuition. A fast accredited bachelor’s degree shows employers that you have initiative and get things done!
Are Accelerated Programs Less Expensive than Traditional Bachelor’s Degrees?
Yes, online bachelor’s degree programs often cost less because the program duration is shorter. Students in fast bachelors degree programs are in school for less time, so it costs less. Additionally, most online programs charge lower tuition rates than campus-based degrees. Online degrees can significantly decrease the amount of money you expect to spend on your education. Thus, accelerated bachelor’s degrees are an excellent option for online learners who need to save money.
Most accredited online bachelor degree programs qualify for financial aid. Be sure to apply for financial assistance for the online bachelor degree programs that interest you. You can submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to see if you qualify for grants and loans. Frequently, schools use the FAFSA in scholarship consideration. As an online degree, also check that the school you choose has a state reciprocity agreement with your home state.
What are the Advantages of Accelerated Public Health Bachelor’s Degrees?
Accelerated degree programs are some of the fastest online degree programs. Additionally, online accelerated bachelor’s degree programs offer several advantages.
A bachelor’s degree can be expensive. Simply put, the longer you’re in school, the more you pay for tuition and fees. An accelerated Public Health bachelor’s degree can allow you to earn a degree at a quicker pace and, consequently, less money. Online bachelor’s degrees typically have shorter but more intensive class times. The fastest accredited bachelor’s degree programs are rigorous but are often more affordable.
Undergraduate degrees usually require four years for completion. An accelerated program will allow you to earn your degree less and more time to secure a job in your chosen field. This is especially beneficial in a discipline like Public Health which is currently experiencing high demand.
Frequently, schools will offer 4+1 online bachelor’s degrees. This accelerates your ability to earn an undergraduate and master’s degree simultaneously. It may require five years to complete the graduate program. But that’s still a shorter length of time than usual. So, an accelerated bachelor’s degree lets you leave graduate school with a BS/BA and MPH.
Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs are for the working adult with more responsibilities than, perhaps, a student fresh out of high school. With accelerated online bachelor’s degrees, you can better manage your time between family, work, and school. The shortest online bachelors degree lets you attend online classes at your own pace and earn a degree quickly.
What Can You Do with an Accelerated Public Health Degree?
Public Health professionals have many job opportunities, from clean water, sanitation, community vaccinations for COVID and influenza, food safety, and others. Most recently, we’ve seen the worldwide work of Public Health officials during the COVID Pandemic 2020. The increased demand for workers in this field also creates opportunities for career advancement.
Public Health is an umbrella title for a discipline with several separate careers. Employment opportunities are in the private sector and government organizations. All are in high demand and focus on the health and welfare of the community. The BLS or Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth in the field ranges from 11-18% over ten years, depending on the specialty, which is much faster than average.
Concentrations in Public Health studies can include Epidemiology, Emergency Management, Health Education, Community Health, Research, Global Health, Public Policy and Administration, Environmental Health, Health Informatics, Biostatistics, or Food and Nutrition counseling. Public Health touches our lives daily. U.S. News and World Report provide a more exhaustive list of career opportunities in public health.
How Much Can You Earn with a Bachelor’s in Public Health?
Salaries in the diverse field range can from $60,000 to more than $200,000 (U.S. News and World Report) depending on educational level. PayScale suggests a median salary of $60,000 for those with a BS or BA in Public Health.
The BLS reports the below salaries for selected jobs in public health.
|Community Health Education||$48,860 (BLS)|
|Emergency Management||$76,730 (BLS)|
What if You Don’t Need a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health?
Because Public Health is so diverse, there are careers in the field that don’t require a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. If you’re currently working in the field in some capacity, you may want to explore earning a certification if Public Health. Professional certifications concentrate on skill sets and demonstrate a mastery of Public Health practices.
Public Health Certifications
One of the predominant certifications is the Certified in Public Health (CPH), which has specific eligibility requirements. To qualify for the CPH exam, students need to demonstrate work experience in Public Health. Jobs are abundant at local or state Public Health Departments, non-profit Public Health agencies, military units focused on Public Health, working in Public Health in a healthcare system, and others. Not all employment in the field will guarantee eligibility to sit for certification.
Health Educators may want a certification from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). NCHEC provides two certifications: Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES).
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) can help you earn certification as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS).
You can also take short online courses from community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, or healthcare organizations or systems which will award a certificate of completion. Professional certificates are a great way to explore new fields and develop new skills. Online programs let you work at your own pace so you have time for family and job obligations. You can start learning today!
We have not listed all of the best schools on our list. If you have not found the school for you on our rankings, you can discover schools with accelerated bachelor programs. These schools are Florida State College, Colorado Technical University, Western Governors University, Regis University, Capella University, Liberty University, Northeastern University, Albertus Magnus College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Saint Louis University, and Purdue Global.