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Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health for 2024

Are you interested in pursuing your Bachelor of Public Health online? Check out this comprehensive guide, which spotlights standout programs and provides valuable insight into curriculum topics, salary expectations, and critical resources for your education and career.

Author: Kyra Sutherland
Editor: STEPS Staff

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A lab technician with curly hair examines a test tube while wearing blue gloves and a white lab coat. An associate in the foreground, slightly out of focus, looks on. The background shows lab equipment and a blurred colleague in similar attire.

At the intersection of science, research, public awareness, and policy lives a meaningful career dedicated to public health. Whereas healthcare focuses on treating people who are sick or injured, the American Public Health Association notes that, “public health aims to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place.”

And this variety of work is in high demand, as the role of epidemiologist — just one of the many lucrative job titles you can hold in this field — has an estimated 27% growth rate over the next decade, which is well above average.

If you’re interested in a high-paying career helping people live better, healthier lives and enjoy research and community outreach, keep reading to learn more about earning your Bachelor of Public Health online. Below, we’ll highlight several quality programs, discuss the topics covered in an online bachelor’s degree in public health, and provide you with a list of key resources that’ll pave the way to your rewarding future.

Online Bachelor’s in Public Health: Program Spotlights

Let’s first explore a variety of programs to kickstart your research. Below, we’ve highlighted several Bachelor of Public Health online programs nationwide. These school spotlights will provide insight into different course formats, the credits required to earn your degree, and how much you can expect to pay. We’ll also note any specializations you can earn to further tailor your education to your interests and career goals. Check out the following standout schools with exceptional public health programs.

This 100% online Bachelor of Science in Public Health is designed with flexibility in mind. It is considered a 2+2 program, meaning students finish their prerequisite and general education courses at a different college and then transfer their 60 credits to LSU online through the LA transfer program to complete their degree. There are six different start dates throughout the year, and classes are offered in seven-week terms. Additionally, the college pays full tuition for qualified students through the SPHERE scholarship.

Throughout the program, students will have multiple ways to engage in public health research via in-class assignments and working with faculty. Classroom instruction will address topics including global public health, climate change from a public health perspective, health equity, environmental determinants of health and disease, public health policy and advocacy, and the essentials of epidemiology. Tuition is $380 per credit, and the entire program costs around $22,800.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Specialization Options:

  • None

The BS in Public Health from UC Online is another option that does not require campus visits. Students can choose from three start dates throughout the year, and you can attend part- or full-time. Up to 90 semester credit hours of prior college coursework taken at an accredited institution can be transferred in and applied to the program. Core courses in the curriculum will cover topics such as epidemiology, community health and minorities, health policy and politics, global health, research methods, and evidence-based public health.

During your senior year, UC online students participate in an internship that will help you gain experience and succeed after completing program requirements. Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible to sit for the national certification exam to become certified health education specialists (CHES). Students can then start careers as health educators, health communication specialists, environmental health specialists, infectious disease specialists, data analysts, or disaster preparedness coordinators.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Specialization Options:

  • None

The University of Arizona offers diverse tracks for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, allowing them to customize their education to best suit their interests and career goals. Five tracks are available 100% online, and all tracks are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Admission to the program requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Core courses will cover topics including epidemiology, healthcare in the U.S., health education and promotion, biostatistics, health disparities and minority health, public health nutrition, global health, and biology in public health. As soon as you’ve reached advanced standing by completing certain prerequisites in your major, all students will participate in a two-semester public health internship. Students can attend an information session for online tracks and can review the school’s curriculum guide to learn more.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Specialization Options:

  • Public Health Practice
  • Global Health
  • Health Promotion
  • One Health
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Quantitative Methods in Public Health
  • Health Systems Theory and Practice

What You’ll Learn in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health

Now that you have an idea of what a public health bachelor’s degree online entails, we’ll explore some of the common courses you’re likely to take. This is by no means a list of all the courses you’ll encounter, and some will be named differently depending on the school you attend. However, these and other overarching topics are likely to be relatively consistent across most programs.

Common Courses in Bachelor in Public Health Programs

Intro to Epidemiology

This course will cover the principles of epidemiology, helping students learn to identify populations at risk and the methods and concepts used to evaluate the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations. Students will also be taught about the most common sources and types of data, important study designs, and sources of error in epidemiological studies.

Foundations of Health Education

This course examines the history and role of education in improving the health of individuals and populations. Students will learn the philosophical principles and models used in health education delivery and will learn how to analyze types of health information available in journals and on the internet. Students will also examine the primary responsibilities and competencies of health educators, trends in the field, professional organizations, national certification, and the code of ethics.

Health Communication

In this course, students examine how to design and deliver health messages to various audiences while remaining sensitive to cultural, socioeconomic, and educational factors influencing the audience. Students evaluate important intercultural and intracultural communication dimensions and study how to make scholarly writing accessible to the general population. They also explore the use of emerging technologies and social media in marketing and communications.

Health Politics and Policy

Students in this course examine one of the most influential factors shaping the health of populations: public policy. You’ll explore the institutional, economic, social, ethical, and political factors that impact public policy and will examine how public policy is developed. Students will discuss health advocacy issues within the social justice framework and learn how to properly develop and analyze health policy.

Research Methods

In this course, students will examine the basics of health-related research and will learn how to plan, organize, and conduct ethical studies for solving problems unique to community health. Basic research methods will be described, including surveys, observational studies, experimental and quasi-experimental design, primary and secondary data use, and statistical data analysis and interpretation techniques. Through interprofessional collaboration, students will learn how to locate peer-reviewed research articles, navigate through the different sections of a research article, summarize key elements, and critically evaluate research strengths and weaknesses.

Accreditation for your Online Public Health Program

The importance of accreditation is three-fold. First, it ensures that a third party has reviewed the program and agrees it meets an agreed-upon set of standards. Second, attending an accredited program is often a requirement to be able to sit for certification examinations — such as the CPH exam for public health professionals — and is often a necessary qualification for employment or pursuing further education. Third, attending an accredited college or program may help you qualify for financial aid.

Most public health programs are accredited by an industry-specific public health accrediting body, such as the CEPH. Most schools are also institutionally accredited by a regional accrediting body such as the SACSCOC or HLC. As you research programs, ensure the university or your specific program is accredited before applying.

FAQs: Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health

So far, we’ve explored programs and offered insights about an online bachelor’s degree in public health. But it’s likely you still have questions brewing, so take a look at the FAQ section below for answers to our readers’ most asked questions.

How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s in public health degree online?

A bachelor’s degree typically requires four years of undergraduate study, so to earn a public health bachelor’s degree online, you should plan for a minimum of four years. Some programs allow you to jump into the public health major from the start of your degree program, while others require you to complete prerequisite courses and general education courses before declaring yourself a public health major. Taking college-level courses while still in high school or finding ways to test out of one or more general education courses can help shorten your timeline and reduce your overall cost.

How much does an online public health bachelor’s degree cost?

Cost varies greatly depending on the school you choose to attend. Some states have a flat online tuition rate, while others use resident and non-resident tuition tables. In addition to tuition, fee amounts differ between institutions, and sometimes, an online course fee is tacked on as well. You also need to consider the daily cost of living, such as food and housing expenses. Luckily, if you’re taking a program entirely online, you can study from home without including additional travel costs.

To reduce tuition costs, look into scholarship options (some are even specific to online students), and check out our financial aid guide to help you develop your financing strategy. Because you’re studying public health, you may be able to find loan-forgiveness options as well.

Below, we’ve listed a few public health bachelor’s degree online programs to give you an idea of the range of costs you’ll find.

School Name# of CreditsCost/CreditsTotal Tuition
Utah Valley University120$260$31,200
American Public University120$350$42,000
University of Cincinnati120$566$67,920

What are the admissions requirements for online public health degrees?

Though admission requirements vary by school, at the very least you can expect to fill out an admissions application and submit your previous transcripts from high school or other colleges. Additional admission requirements may also include:

  • Minimum GPA (usually 2.0-2.5)
  • Personal statement/essay (typically addressing why you want to go to that school and what you want to do with your degree)
  • Minimum score on a college entry test score (ACT/SAT)
  • Personal/professional references
  • Completion of prerequisite courses

Can I earn my bachelor in public health 100% online?

Yes! Many programs across the United States offer an online bachelor’s degree in public health that can be earned 100% online. We’ve highlighted several of them throughout this guide. Some have the entire degree online (including general education courses); others require you to finish general education courses and other prerequisites before applying for the public health major.

How much can you make with a bachelor’s degree in public health?

Salaries range depending on the branch of public health you choose to pursue. An online bachelor’s degree in public health can help you get a job as a community health worker (with median pay of $48,200/year), health education specialist ($62,860/year), or a medical or health services manager ($110,680/year). A master’s degree could open doors to a career as an epidemiologist (median salary $81,390/year), research scientist ($145,080/year), or an executive health director ($155,900/year).

Are there any certifications or licenses that you need to work in public health?

No single national certification test is needed to work in public health. However, there are certifications you can get through third parties that will help lend credibility to your resume. The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) has a Certified Public Health (CPH) exam available for eligible students. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) offers Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credentialing to signify professional competency in health education. If you have a master’s degree in public health or at least five years of continuous experience, you can sit for the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) certification, also offered by NCHEC.

Similar Programs You May Be Interested In

Additional Resources for Public Health Students and Professionals

Below, we’ve hand-picked several resources that are perfect for students pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in public health and professionals already in the field. Whether you’re delving into epidemiology, policy analysis, or community health, this curated list offers articles, journals, online courses, and more to deepen your understanding and enhance your practice.

  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
    This professional organization advances public health policy, advocacy, and education, offering publications, webinars, and conferences for students and professionals to stay informed and engaged.
  • Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)
    The ASPPH is a membership organization representing schools and programs accredited in public health. You’ll find resources, conferences, and networking opportunities for students pursuing public health education.
  • Essential Skills for Public Health Students
    The page provides insights into essential skills for students pursuing online public health programs. It covers topics like communication, critical thinking, data analysis, and leadership, offering valuable guidance to develop competencies crucial for success in public health careers.
  • Health Affairs
    This is a leading journal publishing research and analysis on health policy and healthcare issues, offering insights and evidence for public health students and professionals interested in health systems and policy.
  • Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
    The HRSA is a federal agency improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, providing data, funding opportunities, and resources for public health students interested in healthcare disparities and primary care.
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health OpenCourseWare
    Open-access courses can be found here covering various public health topics, including epidemiology, global health, and biostatistics — providing valuable educational resources for students worldwide.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)
    This nonprofit organization focuses on health policy analysis, journalism, and research. It offers reports, data tools, and educational resources on healthcare reform, Medicaid, and other public health issues.
  • List of Public Health Student Resources
    Here you’ll find a comprehensive directory of scholarships for students pursuing degrees in public health. The guide details information on various scholarship opportunities, eligibility criteria, and application deadlines, serving as a valuable resource for aspiring public health professionals seeking financial assistance for their education.
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
    An organization supporting local health departments in the United States, NACCHO offers resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities for public health students interested in community health and policy.
  • The Lancet
    This leading medical journal publishes cutting-edge research and commentary on global health, epidemiology, and health policy, providing valuable insights and evidence for public health students and professionals.