Master in Public Health Degrees Information Guide

MasterInPublicHealth is an information hub for master’s degrees in public health. The study of public health involves the science of health promotion and illness prevention within a population. Individuals holding master’s degrees in public health are able to advance their careers in nursing, social workers, health educators, health administrators, and more.

The MPH is a multi-disciplinary professional degree, as opposed to an academic degree, and is catered towards actual practice and careers in public health settings. These careers may be in health departments, managed care organizations, community-based organizations, hospitals, consulting firms, international agencies, state and federal agencies, as well as others. Every school with a public health program has its own distinctions. It is important to understand specific degree programs and what they have to offer, rather than generalizing all programs as the same.

Kaplan University
Master in Public Health
MPH in Epidemiology
MPH in Health Education
MPH in Program Dev.
Kaplan University » Kaplan University's Master of Public Health degree program prepares students for health-care careers in governmental, nonprofit, and private organizations. The convenient, online program teaches students how to analyze and apply scientific research, prepare public health policies, develop health education programs, and review the impact of occupational and environmental factors, offering specializations in epidemiology, health education, and program development.
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Grand Canyon University
Master in Public Health
Grand Canyon University » The Master in Public Health at Grand Canyon University has a dynamic curriculum designed for students passionate about community health and the prevention of disease. Courses both survey and provide in-depth analysis of public health concepts, including the psychological, behavioral, cultural, and social interactions of health among populations. Students can be expected to also study epidemiology and biostatistics.
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Walden University
Master in Public Health
MPA in Health Policy
Walden University » The Walden University Master of Public Health degree program prepares graduates to fill the increasing need for health professionals that must understand the development of healthy individuals, organizations, and communities. The program provides core study in the public health field with world-class professors and and interactive curriculum. For students with an interest in public administration, Walden also offers an MPA in health policy.
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What is a Master in Public Health?

There are quite a few different degrees for people considering pursuing the public health field. Public health covers a broad swath of careers and opportunities, and therefore is an exciting career to pursue. Public health workers try to treat and maintain the health of an entire population—seatbelt laws, flu vaccines, and fluoride in drinking water are all examples of public health achievements. The Master of Public Health (MPH) is just one option that covers coursework in a number of public health disciplines, such as health administration, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental science, environmental health, health education, epidemiology, occupational health, and behavioral health and studies. MPH programs are available throughout the world in medical schools, schools of public health, and schools of public affairs.

There are more specialized degrees focused on certain topics within public health such as:

  • Master of Health Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
  • Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)

Coursework for a Master of Public Health Degree

Through an MPH program students develop an integrated, interdisciplinary set of overall competencies in communication and informatics, diversity and culture, leadership, professionalism, program planning, public health biology, and systems thinking. According to the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), there are five core discipline areas in the study of public health:

  1. Biostatistics: The development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing, and solving problems in public health; health care; and biomedical, clinical and population-based research.
  2. Epidemiology: The study of patterns of disease and injury in human populations and the application of this study to the control of health problems.
  3. Environmental Health: Environmental health sciences represent the study of environmental factors including biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of a community.
  4. Health Policy and Health Administration/Management: Health policy and management is a multidisciplinary field of inquiry and practice concerned with the delivery, quality and costs of health care for individuals and populations. This definition assumes both a managerial and a policy concern with the structure, process and outcomes of health services including the costs, financing, organization, outcomes and accessibility of care.
  5. Social and Behavioral Sciences: The social and behavioral sciences in public health address the behavioral, social and cultural factors related to individual and population health and health disparities over a lifetime. Research and practice in this area contributes to the development, administration and evaluation of programs and policies in public health and health services to promote and sustain healthy environments and healthy lives for individuals and populations.

After graduating from your MPH program you may be required to take the Certified in Public Health (CPH) Exam. The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) began offering certifications in 2008. The exam is based on the MPH degree’s five basic core competencies and is supposed to reflect the nature of the field and the way one area of knowledge blends into another. The certification exam is administered to graduates of and students at CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health.

The board of directors of NBPHE represents five public health key collaborating organizations: The American Public Health Association (APHA), the Association of Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR), the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The board is dedicated to increasing recognition of the public health profession, raising the visibility of public health, and measuring and improving the competency of public health workers across the nation and around the world.

Importance of a Master in Public Health

It is possible to be in the public health field without an advanced degree, but it’s not easy to do. For most public health positions a master’s degree is needed. An MPH offers a person the ability to gain knowledge of the factors which influence local, national and global legislative and social policies; apply broad-based, state of the art quantitative and qualitative skills needed for problem solving; develop multidisciplinary and collaborative strategies for solving health-related problems; enhance communication skills by working with diverse populations; and be positioned for a leadership role in health promotion and disease prevention.

There are abundant job opportunities within the public health field, and there’s bound to be a career path that suits all types of people. An MPH gives you the opportunity to seek out the career that appeals to your interests.

Future Career Opportunities with a Master of Public Health

So many specific specialties exist within the public health field that it can be hard to choose a career direction. Public health professionals can work both in the private and public sector. Public sector work includes local, state, or federal health department jobs. These types of jobs include food safety inspectors, health educators, policy analysts, and epidemiologists. Private sector jobs include working in university systems as researchers, or for a non-profit organization in fields such as health advocacy or policy. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Red Cross, or a local non-profit focusing on health issues are common places that people begin their public health careers. Working in randomized control trials for pharmaceutical companies or for health insurance companies is also another career MPH graduates choose.

Job titles, position descriptions, and salary ranges really depend on a graduate’s course of study and their personal interests. Some examples of job titles include:

  • Public Health Management Analyst
  • Director of Programs and Services
  • Health Communications Specialist
  • Research Scientist
  • Environmental Health Intelligence Analyst Manager

Some of the most common career opportunities and their salaries are:

  • Health Services Administration: $37,050 – $161,400
  • Biostatistics: $33,000 – $63,000
  • Epidemiology: $38,175 – $136,237
  • Health Education/Behavioral Science: $33,000 – $86,625
  • Environmental Health: $44,550 – $143,700
  • International Health: $31,500 – $86,625
  • Nutrition: $31,500 – $70,875
  • Public Health Practice/Program Management: $41,175 – $102,000
  • Biomedical Laboratory: $31,500 – $78,750

Master in Public Health Resources

  • WhatIsPublicHealth.org: An overview of the field of public health. This website explains the impact of public health in our daily lives and is a great resource for prospective students, academic advisors and the general public wanting to know more about the field of public health.
  • Council on Education for Public Health: This is the United States accrediting body for schools of public health and programs of public health, done through a formal review process.
  • The Council of Graduate Programs in Public Health (APTR), sponsored by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research: This council represents the accredited and emerging graduate programs across the U.S. that grant public health degrees and therefore prepare students for professional careers in public health. The Council encourages, promotes and supports universities, schools and colleges in developing, maintaining, and advancing graduate programs in the disciplines of preventive medicine, social medicine, community health and public health.
  • Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce: This is a collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations, and health sciences libraries which provides timely, convenient access to selected public health resources on the Internet.
  • The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO): ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the state and territorial public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia. ASTHO’s members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy, and to assuring excellence in state-based public health practice.
  • The National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH): This is the grass roots of public health. NALBOH’s mission is to prepare and strengthen boards of health, empowering them to promote and protect the health of their communities through education, training, and technical assistance.

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