best public health degree

What Degree is Best for Public Health Professionals?

With Baby Boomer retirements on the rise and the COVID-19 pandemic persisting, public health careers are growing in popularity, and professionals in the healthcare sector are in significant demand.

Today, there are more than 170 public health job categories, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, STEM-related public health positions can be found in environments across the globe, including:

  • Federal, state, and local departments
  • Government agencies
  • Health care settings
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Postsecondary institutions
  • Private companies, and more!

With the current need for public health professionals climbing, prospective students are exploring continuing education related to this field. Perhaps that is why you are here. You may be researching ‘majors similar to public health,’ or simply wondering, “What degree is best for public health success?”

Of course, the best distinction and institution for public health professionals will depend on each prospective student’s specific interests, career goals, and scheduling needs. As you consider the best public health degree for you, you must ask yourself:

  • How much time can I commit to school?
  • What level of education do I need to reach my professional goals?
  • What degree is required for my dream career?
  • Which area of public health aligns best with my passions?

Once you determine the logistics of earning your degree and decide which public health concentrations you’d like to study, you can gain the practical knowledge to take the next step in your education.

An added advantageBachelor’s in Public Health graduates can further expand their education and increase their professional opportunities (and salary potential) over time.

Read on to learn more about public health degree programs and concentrations that can lead to promising careers.

Popular Public Health Degree Options

Bachelor’s in Public Health Degree

Bachelor’s in Public Health students lay the groundwork for a professional career in public health. They complete courses in epidemiology, public health policy, health leadership, and more, learning the fundamentals needed to become change-makers in their communities.

Career options for public health graduates are plentiful, as a bachelor’s degree meets the qualifications for entry-level positions in emergency management, health promotion, health education, and more. This, in turn, positions graduates for a high-paying salary.

Let’s consider the emergency management career path with a bachelor’s degree.

  • Career summary: Emergency management professionals create and implement policies and procedures to protect and prepare populations against accidents, attacks, disasters, environmental hazards, and potential outbreaks.
  • Career salary: As of 2021, emergency managers in Connecticut earned an annual average wage of $99,140.
  • The good news at Goodwin: Goodwin University’s Bachelor’s in Public Health degree is delivered in a flexible and hybrid-online format. Career-focused students can earn their undergraduate degree in just three years full-time. Goodwin’s on-campus classes are also offered during the day, evenings, and weekends.

Master’s in Public Health Degree

A Master’s in Public Health (MPH) is designed to advance students’ careers in public health, enabling them to qualify for higher-impact leadership roles. An MPH curriculum covers courses on the behavioral and social aspects of health, environmental health, research methods, and more. MPH graduates go on to influence public health policy on a local, national, and global level. MPH program graduates also prepare for public health emergencies like infectious disease epidemics and outbreaks.

Earning a Master’s in Public Health degree qualifies recipients for advanced career options, including meticulous roles like biostatistician, epidemiologist, public health director, and more. Let’s consider the career path of a biostatistician, which requires a master’s degree.

  • Career summary: Biostatisticians take the results of research data and clinical trials and use that information to inform public health decisions.
  • Career salary: Biostatisticians in Connecticut made an annual average wage of $123,490.
  • The Good News: Goodwin University’s flexible MPH program is 100% online and there is no GRE/GMAT required. The MPH program also has three concentrations to choose from — community health, global health, and health policy and management.

Specialized Pathways for a Public Health Degree

Within many public health degree programs, there is the option to specialize in a given concentration. Depending on your interests and professional goals, you may consider narrowing your focus as you develop your education and career. Typically, concentrations are offered in MPH programs, after students have explored all potential passion areas. However, some concentrations may be explored in the latter semesters of a bachelor’s program, as students develop their interests and career aspirations.

We explore some of the best public health degree concentrations below.

Healthcare Administration

Healthcare administration concentrations contain courses in business, medical policies, and programmatic strategies associated with today’s healthcare system. A healthcare administration concentration is fitting for those who want to enter the healthcare field but solely through an organizational function.

  • Career summary: Bachelor’s degree graduates with healthcare administration concentrations are qualified for medical health and service manager careers. Also known as healthcare administrators, medical health and service managers organize, plan, and direct programs and provider establishments to improve population well-being.
  • Career salary: Medical health and services managers living in Connecticut made an annual average wage of $126,790 in 2021, as identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Community Health

A community health concentration prepares graduates in areas of public health policy, research methods, and leadership. Postsecondary graduates who focus on community health typically enter healthcare careers that are more patient-facing and accessible to populations in the community.

  • Career summary: Bachelor’s in Public Health degree graduates who are specifically trained in community health are eligible to apply for public health educator positions. Public health educators conduct research, evaluate and enhance programs, and educate communities on issues like disease prevention, disaster preparedness, environmental health, nutrition, and substance abuse prevention.
  • Career salary: In 2021, the annual average wage of public health educators, also known as health education specialists, working in Connecticut was $64,930.

Global Health

Global health concentrations are typically data-driven and research-intensive. Master’s degree graduates with a concentration in global health are also active advocates for the healthcare access of historically disadvantaged groups. Humanitarians at heart, global health graduates hold positions supporting healthcare education, funding, and sustainability.

  • Career summary: Graduate students who focus on global health during the attainment of their master’s degrees are eligible to apply for epidemiologist positions. Epidemiologists study the causes of disease and outbreak patterns within populations to mitigate and eliminate current and potential healthcare risks.
  • Career salary: Epidemiologists working in Connecticut made an annual average wage of $102,820 in 2021.

Health Policy and Management

Students concentrating on health policy and management attend courses in health economics, public health law, and public health policy as a prevention strategy. Graduates of health policy and management concentrations are typically devoted to proposing the legislation and budgets that allow public health systems to thrive.

  • Career summary: Graduates in health policy and management are strategic learners fluent in activism, legislation reform, and policy analysis. Master’s degree holders who studied health policy and management are qualified for political scientist careers.
  • Career salary: The average annual wage for political scientists nationally was $120,430.

Finding the Best Public Health Degree for You

When it comes to earning a public health degree, convenient and innovative institutions like Goodwin University do things differently. Goodwin provides learners with an inclusive educational experience taught by award-winning industry experts. Delivering affordable academics and support services, Goodwin helps students gain the knowledge and confidence to reach their highest career goals.

Public health graduates enter their profession prepared to promote accessible healthcare, ensure equity and safety, and examine the most efficient and effective treatments possible.

Using the best practices and protocols, new public health professionals can calmly address crises, analyze essential data, and begin making a difference in the well-being of populations.

Considering a profession advocating for the well-being of communities?

It’s never too late to create the career you love.

Learn more about Goodwin’s Public Health programs!