Masters in Public Health Programs (MPH)
Public health is an increasingly popular field of study focused on the prevention of disease and promotion of wellness. This type of curriculum typically includes topics in epidemiology, health care economics, public policy, biostatistics, and community services, among other areas. Graduates who earn a masters in public health are prepared with the skill set needed to work for hospitals, clinics, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
With the health care industry’s exponential growth, public health graduates will likely find strong job prospects. This can be an ideal degree path for those already working in the field and looking to advance or individuals hoping to enter the field for the first time. Some online colleges may feature stand-alone public health degrees, while others offer it as a specialization track.
Completing an Online Masters Degree in Public Health
With the growing number of online degrees available, students looking to pursue jobs requiring a masters in health care can even continue working full or part time while in school. These types of programs are typically asynchronous, meaning students can log in whenever it’s convenient for them to download materials, communicate with professors, participate in discussion boards, and complete assignments.
Many public health curriculums feature courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health management, and financial management. Students will also need to develop strong analytical and communication skills. Below are some examples of actual courses you might be required to take:
- Public Health Practice
- Pharmaceuticals Management for Under-Served Populations
- Applied Epidemiology
- Health Policy and Management
At the graduate level, most programs require students to complete an original research project in addition to core classes. This capstone usually includes field research as well as a written paper and/or presentation. This serves to demonstrate a working knowledge of the concepts taught throughout the degree program. If you are interested in pursuing this type of degree, please note the following eligibility requirements that typically apply:
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school.
- Minimum GPA, as required by the school.
- Resume or curriculum vitae.
- Letters of recommendation.
- GRE scores (if required).
- Application form with personal statement.
- Application fee.
Career Opportunities for Public Health Graduates
Careers in public health may be found in both the private and public sectors. This can include positions with hospital systems, clinics, non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools, or even private companies. (Salary and employment figures below are estimates.) Equipped with advanced health care and business knowledge, as well as strong communication and planning skills, graduates can pursue careers as:
Health educators work with individuals, groups, and communities to promote wellness and healthy lifestyles. They may find employment through schools, hospitals, non-profit organizations, or even private companies looking to encourage health initiatives among their employees. With rapidly growing demand in this occupation, stability should be good.
Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers may work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or doctors’ offices. They are typically tasked with monitoring and improving the efficiency of the facility, reviewing budgeting information, managing and scheduling staff, and communicating with investors and board members about operations. These positions may be found in both the private and public sectors. Please note, the figures listed above are only estimates and actual pay and job availability will depend on a number of variables.
Social and Community Service Managers
Public health graduates may also find jobs as social and community service managers. Professionals working in this field are in charge of researching, developing, and implementing programs targeted at specific communities or groups. They may also need to collect data and evaluate the effectiveness of existing community health initiatives and suggest improvements. These positions can be found with government agencies or non-profit organizations.
Additional Benefits of a Public Health Degree
Since the health care field is growing so rapidly, the availability of jobs and potential for advancement is usually more favorable than in other industries. This is especially true for those who already work in the industry and are considering earning their master’s degree. It is a good idea to investigate whether or not your employer offers a tuition reimbursement plan. Some companies will help to pay for their employees’ schooling, as long as it is in a relevant area. This can fully or partially offset the upfront cost of attending the best masters in healthcare administration programs. Please be sure to check with your human resources department about whether or not your employer offers this type of benefit.