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 get where they are needed faster.
This is a diverse field and offers careers as educator, epidemiologist, health program coordinator, medical and health professionals, public policymakers, etc. The bachelor’s degree is the base education needed to work in the field with salaries ranging from $41,000-$60,000 annually, depending on the location and concentration.
Best Health Degrees has reviewed some of the fastest Public Health online degree programs to develop this ranking. We looked at programs based on classes, program length, institutional and program accreditation, as well as estimated cost. All these programs are accredited, most by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), but all are regionally accredited. Be sure to apply for aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA® to see if you qualify for grants and loans. The FAFSA is frequently used in scholarship consideration. As an online degree, also check that the school you choose has a state reciprocity agreement with your home state.
Our Method: Ranking the 10 Fastest Online Public Health Bachelor’s Programs
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, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
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 which allows you to earn your degree online in two years.
Offered through the School of Health Professions’ Department of Public Health, this accelerated public health degree core courses include Healthcare Management, Global Health, Public Health Ethics, and Environmental Health, and more. Diversity elective courses in topics such as Cultural Anthropology, Chronic Diseases and Public Health Approaches, Qualitative Approaches to Understanding Public Health Problems, and others are offered. General Education studies are required as is a Capstone Project.
Admission requirements for first-year students are completion of a Mizzou online application or Common application and provide academic transcripts and other documents as requested. The ACT/SAT test scores are optional for Fall 2021. Mizzou offers multiple admission options for online students.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $373-$380/per credit hour
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
2. University of West Florida Online
This BS in Public Health is designed to prepare you for entry-level Public Health careers and is CEPH accredited. Transfer students are able to transfer 90 credit hours towards this 120 credit hour accelerated public health degree, provided the school is accredited by one of UWF’s approved accrediting agencies.
Courses are 8 and 16 weeks in duration and offer 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. You’ll 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.
Along with a $30 processing fee, you’ll submit an application, academic transcripts, and ACT/SAT test scores may be requested. You’ll need to complete the residency application and submit a
“financial responsibility statement” each semester through your MyUWF.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $219/per credit hour
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 and World Report
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: Emergency and Disaster Management, Nutrition and Wellness, Public Health Informatics, or General Public Health studies.
In addition to General Education requirements in the humanities, English, history, natural sciences and so on, you’ll take core courses in Introduction to Health Care Administration, Wellness: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Public Health in America, Epidemiology, Foundations in Nutrition, and others. Additionally, you’ll complete a Senior Seminar in Public Health. Other classes are required depending on your chosen concentration. Courses start monthly.
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 additional steps needed.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $250-$285/per academic year
Fast Fact: APU is #825/1,572 in Niche’s Best Value Colleges in America
4. California Baptist University
You can earn your online BS in Public Health from California Baptist University in 16 months (on average). This is a CEPH accredited program.
The curriculum for this accelerated public health degree has core requirements in the major. Among the necessary classes are general education studies in composition, fundamental chemistry, general psychology, and others. You’ll then take courses in Introduction to Public Health, Ethics in Health Care, Principles of Health Education, Public Health Nutrition and Physical Activity, Epidemiology, and more. As a Christian university, the curriculum also calls for studies in the Overview of the Bible and Foundations of Christian Thought.
You need 24 transferable credits or high school diploma/GED and a minimum 2.0 GPA to apply. The school requires you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You’ll be assigned an admission counselor and will submit transcripts to the counselor. Once admitted, the counselor will then guide you through registration.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $613/per credit hour
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
5. National University
National University’s online BS in Public Health degree offered 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 offered in four-week blocks, requiring less time, and the accelerated public health degree requires 180 hours. You’ll 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, Public Health and Advocacy, etc. A Public Health Field Practicum will give you real-world experience.
Website information on admission to this program is brief, but you’ll submit an application according to your admission status (first-year student or transfer) and you should be prepared to submit academic transcripts for all schools attended. You can contact an admission advisor by email at email@example.com.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $370/per quarter hour
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
6. Allen College UnityPoint Health
Allen College, located in Waterloo, Iowa, awards a BS in Public Health Leadership you can earn 100% online. Plus, you’ll receive a 25% tuition deduction when enrolled in this Higher Learning Commission accredited program.
You’ll learn 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 you’ll take are The American Health Care System, Introduction to Public Health, Social Determinants of Health, Public Health Research and Evaluation, as well as classes in ethics and diversity. A Capstone Project is necessary for graduation.
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/or academic reference. Your application won’t be reviewed until all requested documents are received, a process that can take six to eight weeks.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $677/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Allen College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
7. Southern New Hampshire University
If you have prior college/university credits, you can transfer up to 90 credit hours towards Southern New Hampshire University’s online BS in Public Health degree.
The curriculum is designed to provide you with the education for entry-level public health careers or graduate school. Among the classes you’ll take are Principles of Epidemiology, Fundamentals of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Health, Ethical and Legal Considerations of Healthcare, Biological Concepts for Public Health, etc. Additionally, you’ll take courses covering evaluation methods, program planning, research, and assessment. 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/SAT test scores aren’t required with the application.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $225-$320/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche considers SNHU #59/308 in its Best Online Colleges in America school ranking
8. Walden University
You can transfer 135 credit hours towards this online BS in Public Health from Walden University.
There’s a choice of public health concentrations 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. You’ll study 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, you’ll be contacted by a Walden University Enrollment Specialist who’ll 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
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 degree for certain healthcare licenses and/or 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/universities attended, reporting of any licenses or certificates, completion of the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA®) prior to beginning the application.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $510/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Excelsior College was founded in 1971 as a distance education institution and is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
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 degree.
You’ll take 40 credit hours in core Public Health classes. A sampling of those classes involve 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, you’ll begin 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 or college/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)
What are the Advantages of an Accelerated Public Health Bachelor’s?
An online undergraduate degree offers several advantages.
Cost– A bachelor’s degree can be an expensive proposition and simply put, the longer you’re in school, the more you’re going to pay in tuition and fees. An accelerated Public Health bachelor’s degree can allow you to earn a degree in less time and, consequently, less money. Online programs typically have shorter, but more intensive, class times.
Time Spent– Undergraduate degrees usually require four years for completion. An accelerated program will allow you to spend less time earning your degree and more time securing a job in your chosen field. This is especially beneficial in a discipline like Public Health which is currently experiencing high demand.
Advanced Degree– Frequently, you’ll find schools will offer a 4+1 degree program. This accelerates your ability to earn an undergraduate and master’s degree at the same time. It may require five years, but that’s still a shorter length of time than usual. Such a program allows you to graduate with a BS/BA and MPH.
Work-Life Balance– Accelerated bachelor programs are frequently designed for the working adult who has more responsibilities than, perhaps, a student fresh out of high school. With accelerated online programs, you’re better able to manage your time between family, work, and school.
What Can I Do with an Accelerated Public Health Degree?
The work of Public Health professionals is all around us, from clean water, sanitation, community vaccinations for COVID and/or influenza, food safety, and several more. Most recently, we’ve seen the worldwide work of Public Health officials during the COVID Pandemic 2020.
Public Health is an umbrella title for a discipline with several separate careers, all of which are in high demand and are dedicated to the health and welfare of the community. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth in the field ranges from 11-18% over ten years, depending on the speciality, which is much faster than average. 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 $57,000 for those with a BS/BA in Public Health.
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, Food and Nutrition, etc. Public Health touches our lives on a daily basis. U.S. News and World Report provides a more exhaustive list of career opportunities in public health.
What if I 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 degrees. If you’re currently working in the field in some capacity, you may want to explore earning a certification if Public Health. Certifications concentrate on skill sets and the demonstration of Public Health practices.
One of the predominant certifications is the Certified in Public Health (CPH) which has specific eligibility requirements. To qualify to sit for the CEPH exam, you’ll need to demonstrate work experience in Public Health. Employment in 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 to earn certification from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. 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 courses from colleges/universities or healthcare organizations or systems which will award a certificate of completion.