Are you looking at online degree programs in public health? Is public health a good career for career seekers? The answer will depend on what someone’s own personal goals consist of. However, public health is an excellent career choice. To understand what a public health degree is and whether public health is a good career, it helps to understand just what public health is.
What Is a Public Health Degree?
Public health isn’t a single thing as it encompasses the overall health of people in groups, communities, and societies. This means practically any career that works in service of the health of groups can fall under the term public health. Public health also works toward prevention. For example, a doctor may save a life by treating someone sick.
By contrast, public health workers and officials will strive to create an environment where that person and those around them won’t become sick to begin with. In this type of situation, public health can mean research, education, promotion of health guidelines, risk mitigation, safety standards, and a tremendous number of other things to keep a population of people healthy.
When it’s time to track a disease or do research into why a particular ailment seems to affect people who fit certain profiles, the authorities in public health rise to the challenge. Public health even works at administrative government levels, as only public health officials can truly help to draft laws or speak on inequalities that factor into the health of a group or society.
All that said, it’s more obvious to see the bachelor’s in public health’s worth. This also can answer the question of what is masters in public health or why pursue a masters in public health. Because there is a high level of specialization involved in public health, the question of why to get a master’s in public health becomes easier to answer.
A bachelor’s can take someone far in this career field as having an undergraduate degree can help someone start down any number of paths in healthcare and public health. What is master’s in public health if not an investment in a future career that will only see growth as populations increase and the needs of the many start to require people who understand what it means to look to the overall care of those who need it most. Of course, there is a lot more to a public health degree which makes it worth pursuing.
Most Popular Schools with Online Public Health Degree Programs
|Quick Facts: Health Educators and Community Health Workers
|2019 Median Pay
|$46,910 per year
$22.55 per hour
|Typical Entry-Level Education
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|Work Experience in a Related Occupation
|Number of Jobs, 2019
|Job Outlook, 2019-29
|13% (Much faster than average)
|Employment Change, 2019-29
Most Affordable Online Public Health Degree Programs
What Can You Do with a Public Health Degree?
The bachelor’s in public health jobs are both plentiful and diverse. In addition, the BS in public health jobs can also represent a stepping stone for further advancement and education. As public health needs people in every facet of society, those bacehlor’s in public health jobs can very well sit side by side with PhD in public health jobs.
There is no end to both the career opportunities as well as educational opportunities. Because public health exists in so many fields, there are even bachelors in public health jobs that are verticals of the health fields. For example, public health administrator jobs can exist in both the private and public sectors. However, public health administrator jobs can also exist within other industries that require people to see to the health of a specific class of workers.
Of course, specialization becomes key as someone advances in the public health field, which means pursuing a masters and possibly going beyond that to find PhD public health jobs. But, even for those with goals that go beyond the basic, it must start with bachelors in public health jobs. To give an idea of how diverse and widespread these opportunities are around the nation and the world, here are some public health career choice examples:
- Health inspectors
- Community planners and administrators
- Social workers and counselors
- Public health nurses and physicians
- First responders
- Health scientists
- Health researchers
- Health data analysts and biostatistics
- Health educators and trainers
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it does show that there are numerous bachelors in public health jobs as well as numerous public health PhD jobs and everything between.
There are really no boundaries to what someone can do with a public health degree if that person wants to pursue a goal of advancing in the public healthcare field. As with most degree types, it can also help someone to work in public health between attempting to move from a bachelors to a masters degree or a doctorate.
Not only does a public health degree offer the possibility of advancement, but it also offers a career choice that someone can spend a fulfilling life in. As things change, so too will the duties and purview of the public health field, so there’s no reason to ever think of a public health career as a dead end or a path that stops short.
What Are the Different Degree Types for Public Health?
There are several degree types and masteries in public health. These degree types come with varying requirements.
For those looking for an online public health degree, it’s generally possible to pursue some form of it from an online public health BS, to a masters in public health online, and even some online PhD programs in public health. This will all depend on the applicant’s goals, but it can be helpful just knowing the opportunities are there.
Here is a closer look at the different public health degree types.
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health
An online BS in public health can prepare someone to enter the public health field the right way. Technically, a degree in public health isn’t necessary to enter the public health field.
Since the field needs all types of people, from mathematicians to other professionals, choosing an online public health degree means the applicant specifically wants to work in the public health sector and no other. However, it’s important to note that an online BS in public health is also a good entry point for those who want to specialize in some aspect of public health, such as global health, or to pursue masters in public health jobs.
Nevertheless, an online public health degree opens the doors to many potential work avenues and career possibilities. Someone doesn’t particularly need to pursue masters in public health jobs or more advanced jobs specifically in the public health field to utilize the advantages granted by an online public health degree.
Master’s Degree in Public Health
As previously stated, a master’s degree in public health is all about specialization and advancement in the field. A master’s in public health online can afford someone the same tools and standing as achieving their masters elsewhere.
For those looking to obtain a master’s in public health online, it helps to try to find the best online MPH degree possible. Consider that even among brick-and-mortar schools, discretion and discernment goes a long way, especially when it comes to things like education quality and accreditation. Look toward a master’s in public health online that creates opportunities.
Doctoral in Public Health
A public health doctorate will offer more practice-based forms of learning that prepares applicants for taking on leadership roles and high-level public health administration duties. An online public health PhD can come in several forms, as there are several disciplines that make up public health.
When looking at online PhD programs in public health, accreditation becomes incredibly important. A public health doctorate online should also prepare someone to take on roles that specifically require a PhD, such as the role of an epidemiologist. An online public health PhD may still require someone to show up at a campus or facility to complete certain aspects of the degree, so it’s a good idea for people who want to pursue an online public health PhD to keep that in mind.
What Type of Accreditation Should You Look for in Public Health?
As with most institutions of higher learning, accreditation plays a very significant role. Accreditation means a public health school, program, or institution meets national standards for quality health-related education and services.
Several accreditation boards exist to provide public health program accreditation, but there are some that stand out more than others. Not all accreditation is relevant to a public health degree, so it’s a good idea to learn a little about which accrediting bodies have the best standards and highest standing in this field. Accreditation can make the difference between having a degree that’s accepted by everyone and having a degree that can make it a little more difficult to find a place in the public health field that an applicant may want.
The most known and nationally accepted accrediting body is the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). But how important is CEPH accreditation? There are other boards and those sanctioned by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) and those approved by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) tend to also have good standing. Nevertheless, it’s the CEPH accreditation criteria that comes up most often. In addition, applicants will require a school or program from an accredited body approved of by the NBPHE to sit for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam.
Public health program accreditation also exists at state and local levels in some places. Since many public health fields deal specifically with a designated population, some areas have requirements of their public health professionals that deal specifically with certain places or communities. Even some employers may require a degree to have an accredited status from a particular group or a specific certification. Typically, the CEPH accreditation criteria and the accreditation criteria of other, highly regarded public health program accreditation groups will suffice as they tend to encompass the needs of businesses and governments when it comes to public health education.
Are There Certifications or Licenses for Public Health?
The public health field, by its nature, can require people to have certifications, licenses, or other credentials. Even to have recognition as a public health official can require a public health certification or license. The overall title tends to require public health certificates, but even specific job duties can require a certificate of public health that comes from a government entity, rather than a certificate in public health that comes strictly from a school or program.
Some jobs will require certifications in public health, even at the entry levels. Applicants should take note of what types of public health certificates or licenses they will need on their chosen path so that they can choose schools or programs that prepare them for obtaining those certifications in public health they need the most.
It’s also possible to achieve certifications for niche or highly defined job duties and may become necessary in some cases. For example, a nurse that wants to move into the public health sphere may need to go through some training to earn a nurse public health certification. Also, it’s sometimes possible to advance in the public health field by means of certification rather than going for a full degree.
For example, someone with a bachelor’s in public health may not need to pursue a masters to obtain a better position. They can often take one of the many programs that award public health certificates to move forward.
At some point, however, a certificate in public health may not offer enough to advance further without going for a higher degree. Note certain distinctions in terms. Certifications in public health can often mean specializations in the field while certifications for public health can mean a graduate or state certification for the public health field specifically.
Are There Any Scholarships or Grants for Public Health Education?
Plenty of public health scholarships and scholarship programs exist. Scholarships in public health can come from several sources, as well as public health grants. As with scholarships of any type, applicants for scholarships in public health will need to meet the criteria of the scholarship program and apply.
Scholarships are never guaranteed, but in most cases, it doesn’t hurt to try applying for as many public health scholarships as possible. In addition, other college or education scholarships and grants that aren’t specifically tied to public health are also out there waiting for people to claim them.
Many schools and institutions will have resources for students to help them find scholarships as well since this can help greatly with tuition costs. Some examples of scholarships in public health include the AAPHP Graduate Student Scholarship, the HIMSS Scholarships, and many, many others.
Some schools and institutions also offer scholarships themselves. Applicants should spend some time researching these and other opportunities when they’re deciding on a public health online program or any other.