If you’re looking to make a positive impact on your community and society at large, you may be considering a career in public health. This professional path often appeals to aspiring difference-makers who broadly enjoy the sciences—such as biology, sociology, psychology, epidemiology, and environmental health.
Many successful public health professionals have a strong hankering for research and data collection. They also utilize their computer skills and statistical crunching capabilities regularly. Some people get involved in this discipline because they have a passion for advocacy, policy, and for building healthier communities.
As you can see, the public health field is multi-faceted and diverse! It’s no wonder that the people who choose this path come from many walks of life. But what does it take to get started? An interest in public health, plus a high school diploma or equivalent GED, is all that it takes to break into the professional degrees of public health. With cumulative education, students of this subject will become qualified for increasingly advanced roles.
Below are the three professional public health degrees that can level up your career.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health
If you are just beginning your journey in public health, you can jump-start your potential with a bachelor’s degree program. Public health bachelor’s degrees typically take four years to complete, with a comprehensive curriculum involving both hands-on and classroom components.
Goodwin’s Bachelor’s in Public Health, for example, involves an impressive 121 credits. In this degree program, students cover statistics, health psychology, and sociology. They also dive into subjects that set the stage for in-depth public health learning, such as leadership, ethics, policy, and theory. In addition, introductory courses in epidemiology, biostatistics, injury prevention, occupational health, and community health demonstrate what professional public health looks like in practice. Seniors in the bachelor’s degree program take on a capstone or internship, as well as electives, in order to find their niche within this profession.
At the culmination of a bachelor’s degree in public health, students take away an understanding of global as well as local and state health systems, policies, and administrations. The public health program outcomes would ensure that you are eligible for many exciting career options. For instance, titles that you would be a competitive candidate for include:
- Public Health Educator
- Health Promotion Specialist
- Child Development Specialist
- Community Health Education Coordinator
Many public health professionals end their studies at the bachelor’s degree level and find fulfillment in jobs similar to the above list. However, a bachelor’s degree may help you qualify for a master’s program, and therefore more advanced professional roles. The experiences gleaned from your favorite lessons in undergraduate school can form the basis for continued graduate studies.
- Master’s Degree in Public Health
While it is helpful to have learned the cornerstones of public health in a bachelor’s degree program, it is not necessarily a requirement to gain acceptance into a public health master’s degree program. For example, the admission requirements for Goodwin University’s MPH include providing a transcript and proof of a bachelor’s degree, not necessarily a BSPH. The institution simply must be accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and you must have received at least a 3.0 GPA. So, for those who are considering a career change, know that public health welcomes you!
One of the most impressive appeals of a master’s degree program comes in the expanded career possibilities. The best jobs (especially in today’s hiring environment) will be wooed more easily by an advanced education. In fact, many advanced public health roles require a master’s degree. This is because of the nature of the curriculum. Challenging and applicable MPH courses such as Emerging Infectious Diseases, Environmental Health Policy, U.S. Healthcare Delivery Systems, Risk Communication, and a capstone or internship can prepare you to work in a variety of higher-up positions, such as:
- Public Health Director
- Public Health Educator
- Disaster and Emergency Specialist
Besides the leadership skills you would be exercising in jobs like these, you also could be taking home an impressive salary. As a biostatistician in the United States, one might make on average $91,160 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Epidemiologists are measured to make $70,990 annually, as of 2019. Public health directors can reasonably look forward to $100,980 annually.
In light of the earning potential, the affordable tuition for this 45-47 credit program, combined with the flexibility and speed that comes with studying online, show that an MPH degree is a smart investment. After just 16 months of studies, you can both apply for lucrative roles, and also make a tangible impact in the field of public health, and most importantly, on other peoples’ lives.
- Doctorate in Public Health
To become a Doctor in public health would be to reach the upper realms of educational possibility in this field. It would also qualify you for upper leadership roles in public health or for academic research and teaching positions. With a DrPH, the roles of professor, medical researcher, public health service director, or executive roles would be considerably within reach. Typically, public health doctoral programs will require many years of work experience, in addition to prior advanced public health education, such as an MPH degree. An online doctorate program in public health is often the best fit for rising and busy professionals today.
It’s never too early start researching what it might take to get to the very top. Similar to undergraduate and graduate programs, make sure that the doctorate program you choose is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, for the best value out of your degree.
Wherever you are on your educational journey in public health, know that each stepping-stone builds upon the last. The further you venture, the more complex and rich the opportunities for professional development will become. To learn more about the professional degrees of public health, or Goodwin University’s Bachelor’s in Public Health or Master’s in Public Health, simply visit us online, or get in touch by calling 800-889-3282. Put your future in focus, now!
Goodwin University 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 University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.