An associates degree in any field is an opportunity to get your feet wet. Many people attend a community college program to get an associates degree as an affordable option. They then transfer their earned credits to a four-year institution of higher learning for more in-depth coursework in public health. This is generally in service of a bachelor’s degree. This is a common option both for students who are interested in saving money and exploring their options. Some people, however, attend an associates degree program in order to determine if they want to go farther in a given field.
An associates degree path in public health is no different. The programs themselves can have different focal points but are generally more of an overview. Some of the related programs are within the health sciences but are not always called public health. They often offer introductory coursework that looks at a myriad of related disciplines like psychology, sociology, health, wellness, disease, and the healthcare systems in the United States and beyond. Many people choose to take their associates degree in public health to the next level with a bachelors in public health as aforementioned. There are many entry-level positions that can be accomplished with a bachelors. This can also be seen as a jumping-off point and inspire people to take the next step and achieve a masters in public health. One can be eligible for many leadership roles in the field of public health with this degree path, and even have the tools to conduct original research and run organizations. A select few that have gone as far as an MPH in the field decide to go on to achieve a doctorate in public health. These people are generally the ones that shape the discipline with research and their academic contribution as professors.
With all of this being said, some people get an associates in public health degree and take those tools with them into a career path that grows with time. Many associate’s degree programs emphasize key factors in public health like communication. This includes the realm of interpersonal communication, professionalism, and communicating with different populations of people. Leadership is also emphasized as well as the responsibilities associated with a career in healthcare. Community healthcare is also emphasized along with occupational health, and safety, among other disciplines. Students also learn how to enforce a healthy lifestyle and facilitate ways to do that in community. Students will also learn how to understand policy, public health programs as they relate to education, and community and individual incentives.
Associate Degree in Public Health Jobs
There are many ways to plug into the field of public health with an associates degree. Many people in this position start out working as assistants and either work their way up or achieve another degree. Some options include for associates degree holders include:
This is a professional that studies the files of patients and translates the information to insurance companies for billing. They are responsible for ensuring that the codes are accurate. This position requires strong attention to detail.
Community Health Worker:
Community Health workers have a myriad of responsibilities. They are often responsible for linking people with unique healthcare needs to services and information. They engage with families and communities in a variety of ways. They also often facilitate groups and classes. They help people find appropriate resources including housing, food, health insurance, and health information.
Cancer Registrars play an important role on the healthcare team for those who have cancer. They are the ones that synthesize an accurate summary of a patient’s diagnosis, course of treatment and disease progression. Their work supports care management and the path towards a cure for the patient.
This position is basically a public health documentation expert. They create written reports that synthesize many sources of information including voice memos from health care workers and physicians.
As you can see, there are many positions in the field of public health that can be achieved with an associate’s degree. The good news is that many of them are pretty high-paying positions. In fact, according to payscale, the average salary for an associate degree in public health jobs is $76,000. Studies show that those who have associates degrees in public health report considerable job satisfaction. As the field of public health grows there will continue to be new positions and ways to plug in. As of now, if you are looking for a path that requires minimal education, is affordable, and can support the health and wellness of individuals and communities, an associates degree in public health can be a great path for you.