If you have a passion for healthy living and helping others, a role in the public health field may be for you. The state of our health, as a country, relies on public health professionals. In fact, public health campaigns such as clean air and water standards, family planning, and tobacco regulations – just to name a few – have helped increase American residents’ lives by nearly 30 years!
Like many health-related industries, public health is always an in-demand field. As noted above, we rely (and will continue to rely) on it. It’s no wonder the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates an 11% increase in employment in public health over the next several years. The future looks bright for those who choose to help others.
Whether you want to jumpstart a new career, or are already working in the field but want to advance to the next level, you may be thinking about pursuing a postsecondary public health degree. As you peruse your options, you may be wondering which level of public health education is best for you. There are a couple different paths you can take, depending on your time and career goals. Here, we will break down the differences – and similarities – between a Bachelor’s vs. Master’s degree in Public Health.
A great public health school, whether undergrad or master’s level, will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this exciting field. At Goodwin College, for example, you will be taught by real industry experts in topics ranging from policy to chronic disease. And you will be taught on a schedule that works best with your busy life. Graduates of Goodwin’s two public health programs go on to become trained professionals who can respond to a variety of public health emergencies, outbreaks, and epidemics. But just what are some of the major differences, in terms of career outcomes, between our Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Health? Let’s explore your options:
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health (BPH)
Many believe that to become a public health professional, you must pursue a master’s degree. This simply isn’t true. There are many great career outcomes for those who pursue a bachelor’s degree in public health. For example, graduates of this type of program often go on to enjoy careers in the following roles:
- Child Development Specialist
- Community Health Education Coordinator
- Community Health Worker
- Education Coordinator
- Health Educator
- Health Promotion Specialist
- Public Health Educator
An obvious benefit of a Bachelor’s in Public Health is the shorter time commitment – generally around four years or less with flexible programs. Earning your bachelor’s degree doesn’t have to put a halt to your daily life. The program at Goodwin College offers classes days, nights, and even weekends. These courses are available in the classroom, online, and in a hybrid format.
Once you’ve completed your Bachelor’s degree in Public Health, you’ll be able to:
- Apply knowledge from your coursework (skills analysis, research, critical thinking), as well as current public health issues, to your practice as a public health professional.
- Develop cultural competency and understand the impact of cultural values on public health.
- Understand and analyze the impact of local, state and federal legislation, as well as other regulations and standards, on public health practice.
- Evaluate population-based data using epidemiological methods, and assess the social determinants of health across populations.
- Apply learned theories to ultimately drive change interventions and programs, and improve public health.
- Use scientific research methods to evaluate efficacy of health promotion, disease prevention programs.
Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH)
Now let’s explore the path of the Master’s degree in Public Health. You may be considering this option if you are already working in the field, have a bachelor’s degree, and wish to advance your career. Much like the bachelor’s program, you can find flexibility to accommodate your busy schedule. The 45-credit program offered at Goodwin College, for example, is available to students full-time and fully online, so that coursework may be completed in as little as 16 months.
This program prepares students for rewarding careers in public health, such as:
- Disaster and Emergency Specialist
- Public Health Director
- Public Health Educator
The careers available to those with a Master’s in Public Health are rewarding and worth the investment. Here are some of the salaries, according to the BLS:
- Emergency Management Directors ($74,420 median annual salary)
- Public Health Services Manager ($98,350 median annual salary)
- Epidemiologist ($69,660 average annual salary)
As you ponder Bachelor’s vs. Master’s degree in Public Health, you should know that either path can lead you to an exciting, rewarding, and honorable career. Throughout your career in the public health world, you will conduct important work to help create healthier environments within communities, workplaces, homes, and other facilities. You will have opportunities to travel to new places and work hands-on, helping improve the health of others. You will quite literally be making the world a better place, no matter which path you take to get there.
Are you ready to jumpstart, boost, or reboot your career to help create a safer and healthier world? Contact Goodwin today at 800-889-3282 to learn about our Bachelor’s and Master’s public health program options.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.