What Can I Do with a Public Health Degree?
You’ve always been interested in health on a larger scale: epidemic, water treatment, mental health services, public policy, and even the environment. You’ve looked at public health degree programs at three or four colleges near you, and maybe you’ve downloaded an application and bookmarked a link to the FAFSA. Yet before you apply to a program or submit a request for financial aid, you need to think about what a public health degree unlocks. Which industries hire public health graduates and what specific jobs do they hold? In other words, what can you do with your public health degree?
Last Updated: 05/28/2020
What Jobs Can You Get with a Public Health Degree?
Public health graduates have numerous career options depending on their educational attainment, experience, and specialty. They take jobs with the government, state and community public health agencies, consulting firms, research organizations, universities, hospitals, and nonprofits. They may work for international or overseas health organizations, counseling centers, nutritional education organizations, or large industrial firms. There are also opportunities to coordinate services with law enforcement officers or first-responders to facilitate emergency or disaster planning and policies. Check out some of today’s most popular and most lucrative careers in public health.
|Fields & Careers||Avg. Growth Rate (%)||Avg. Salary||Min. Education|
|Biostatistics & Informatics||16.5||$76,838|
|Epidemiology & Research||9||$69,660|
|Maternity and Child Health||31||$98,424|
|Public Health Education||15||$61,640|
|Public Policy & Administration||$61,443|
|Social and Behavioral Health||16||$41,610|
|Public Health Averages||13.83||$70,821|
What Is a Public Health Degree Really? Industry Breakdown
Public health includes a wide range of career fields, from epidemiology and HIV/AIDS prevention to emergency management and statistics. In addition to the
Where Can You Earn a Degree in Public Health?
Most of today’s colleges and universities offer some sort of public health degree. At community and junior colleges, students can earn an associate degree in public health, which includes a number of introductory courses in sociology, psychology, health, and communications. Many of these two-year options prepare students for entry-level positions in the field or to transfer to a four-year program.
Public and private universities give students the chance to earn bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates in public health. Not all of these larger institutions have the full spectrum of degrees available, but more and more have added to their bachelor’s offering to include the master’s (MPH) and doctorate (DrPH).
Can You Earn a Degree in Public Health Online?
Absolutely. Both hybrid and online public health degree programs are great for students who need a flexible education, whether they’re balancing family commitments or working full-time while in school. There are online programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as those that offer public health certificates. Accredited online degree programs typically feature the identical curriculum and field training as their campus-based counterparts. Distance students do much of their didactic training online, but may be required to complete internships or field work at a community organization. Admissions requirements may also include the completion of practical experience. Schools may have partnerships with local public health organizations that offer internships. The bachelor’s curriculum generally requires a total of 120 credits for graduation. Students completing community college degrees may be allowed to transfer up to 60 credits of coursework to their four-year programs.
For more details on your learning options and to see the top schools, visit our page dedicated to hybrid and online public health degree programs.
Top Skills Learned with a Public Health Degree
Even if you’re not sure which public health career you want to pursue, it’s important to understand the core skills and professional qualities you stand to learn in a public health degree program. According to The Public Health Foundation, core competencies were developed over 20 years by representatives of public health organizations and the schools that offer degrees. These competencies ensure that each public health professional has the knowledge and skills needed to make an immediate and lasting impact in their field. Here’s a rundown of these competencies, with a few additional skills that colleges often teach and employers often ask for.