Earning a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) can open the doors to a range of rewarding and impactful careers that are essential to our global welfare. Learn about this advanced degree path and the leadership roles you can achieve with an MPH.
What is a Master’s in Public Health?
A Master’s in Public Health (MPH) is a professional graduate degree that prepares students to protect and improve population health. The MPH covers advanced disciplines like epidemiology, health policy, environmental health, and biostatistics, equipping students with the skills to become effective leaders.
Public health students, graduates, and leaders alike collaborate with professors, practitioners, policymakers, and patients, to help communities lead healthier lives. Through health advocacy, awareness, education, programs, services, and leadership, public health professionals give children a healthy start, save lives on a large scale, and help populations prosper.
Earning a Master’s in Public Health is a sound investment for those looking to make an impact in health research, public policy, disease prevention, and other contemporary issues affecting communities. In an innovative industry that supports “the bigger picture,” a Master’s in Public Health is a pathway to a rewarding profession that endorses health and extends the quality of countless lives.
What is the Difference Between a Master’s in Public Health and a Master’s of Science in Public Health?
When it comes to a Master’s in Public Health vs. a Master’s of Science in Public Health, the main distinction is each program’s curriculum and concentration. While a Master’s in Public Health trains students in transferable, practical skills for all-encompassing careers in communities, a Master’s of Science in Public Health prepares students solely for doctorate degrees or professions as researchers or academic educators.
Before commencement, Master’s in Public Health students must complete a capstone project or applied practice hours. Meanwhile, Master’s of Science in Public Health students must write a research or thesis paper as a condition to graduate.
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Public Health?
Master’s in Public Health students can have future careers in the following health care sectors:
- Behavioral and social sciences
- Community health
- Emergency management
- Environmental health
- Global health
- Medical practice
- Public health education
- Public policy
Master’s in Public Health graduates can work for community clinics, federal, state, or local health agencies, hospitals, non-profits, private foundations, and more. Through program policies, research, and community partnerships, public health professionals are dedicated to seeking solutions for well-being worldwide.
If you’re wondering what completing a master’s degree could mean for your career prospects, below are eight enticing MPH career paths for you to consider.
Eight Excellent MPH Career Paths
Health care sector: Biostatistics
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median annual wage for biostatisticians/statisticians to be $95,570.
Projected job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the BLS also predicts 33% job growth for statisticians, adding 5,200 job openings each year, nationwide.
Potential employers: Research institutions, the Federal government, academic institutions, biotechnology companies, insurance carriers, and more.
Occupational summary: Biostatistics is a field rooted in biology and blended with mathematics.
Biostatisticians collect data from clinical trials and medical procedures, analyzes the information, and transforms it into critical insight to evaluate health programs, interventions, and public health policy. Biostatisticians do not work directly with data subjects or patients; however, their indirect work cataloging test results, examining risk factor assessments, and research influences the public health of populations.
Also called data and research analysts and scientists, biostatisticians typically like working with numbers, are well-versed in database systems, and keep up with the latest scientific strategies.
2. Disaster Specialist
Health care sector: Emergency management
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median annual wage for disaster specialists and emergency management directors to be $76,730.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. BLS predicts 6% job growth for disaster specialists, adding 1,000 job openings each year.
Potential employers: Local and state government, hospitals, colleges, non-profit organizations, private companies, and more.
Occupational summary: Disaster specialists are commonly on the front lines of epidemics, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other public health emergencies.
Before a crisis occurs, emergency management professionals plan immediate and long-term responses. After a public health emergency, disaster specialists analyze solutions to reduce health risks and adapt to future circumstances.
Skilled in advanced public administration, research, and disaster management, disaster specialists are empathetic, proactive, and prepared people who typically work well under pressure.
3. Environmental Policy Analysts
Health care sector: Global health
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median annual wage for environmental policy analysts/environmental scientists and specialists to be $76,530.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. BLS predicts 8% job growth for environmental policy analysts, adding 9,400 job openings each year.
Potential employers: Consulting services, local, state, and Federal government, engineering services, and more.
Occupational summary: Environmental policy analysts examine environmental problems and create practical global solutions— determining data collection methods, analyzing samples and surveys, guiding government officials, and more.
Also known as climate advisors and energy economists, environmental policy analysts are typically research and reasoning oriented, with strong critical thinking and active listening abilities.
Environmental policy analysts hold impactful careers combating climate change, strengthening sustainability, improving health for populations worldwide, and advancing environmental health equity for all.
Health care sector: Epidemiology
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the mean annual wage for epidemiologists to be $86,740.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. BLS predicts 30% job growth for epidemiologists, adding 900 job openings each year.
Potential employers: Local and state governments, academia, consulting agencies, hospitals, research organizations, and more.
Occupational summary: Epidemiologists examine hidden patterns and results in data collections and lab reports to ultimately reduce the risk of public health harm to populations. Combining disease cause and prevention and statistical analysis, epidemiologists help understand how health is affected by, or related to, environmental contaminants. For example, epidemiologists will conduct research in locations heavily impacted by pesticides or analyze environmental links to areas with high concentrations of autism or cancer.
Also called clinical trial researchers and epidemiology investigators, epidemiologists utilize and influence public health education, research, and policy and are innately curious people who typically love problem-solving.
5. Public Health Director
Health care sector: Public policy
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median annual wage for public health directors/ medical and health services managers as $101,340.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. BLS predicts 32% job growth for public health directors/medical and health services managers, adding 51,800 job openings each year.
Potential employers: Hospitals, physician’s offices, residential care facilities, government, outpatient care centers, and more.
Occupational summary: Public health policy and policymakers impact large populations, from smoke-free laws to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Public health directors hold careers coordinating and managing health services and programs for an entire state, town, department, facility, or medical practice. In addition, public health directors may act as liaisons between health care agencies and the government.
Also known as health services managers and healthcare policy analysts, and lobbyists, public health directors are persuasive people who typically have extensive knowledge of the regulatory and legal realm and emerging healthcare technologies.
6. Public Health Educator/Healthcare Consultant
Health care sector: Public health education
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) identified the median annual wage for public health educators to be $56,500.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. DOL predicts 12% job growth for public health educators, adding 7,400 job openings each year.
Potential employers: The U.S. government, hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient care, non-profit organizations, universities, and more.
Occupational summary: Public health consultants and educators work directly with the public, teaching populations about emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social lifestyle components that could negatively affect health outcomes.
Public health educators and consultants are typically excellent analysts and communicators. In addition, public health educators enjoy motivating people to adopt new behaviors and promote programs that advance the well-being of communities.
7. Public Health Inspector
Health care sector: Environmental health
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median annual wage for public health inspectors/ occupational health and safety specialists to be $74,870.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. BLS predicts 7% job growth for public health inspectors/ occupational health and safety specialists, adding 9,600 job openings each year.
Potential employers: Government, construction and manufacturing companies, consulting services, hospitals, and more.
Occupational summary: Public health inspectors consider the natural and artificial factors that influence human health. Public health inspectors help develop interventions that impact large populations, from improvements to air pollution to sanitation practices.
Public health inspectors analyze, audit, investigate and report — ensuring that local businesses and the government meet regulations. Public health inspectors collect data on food protection, hazardous substance regulation, housing, product safety, recreational areas and waterways, and waste management to better population health.
Also known as sanitarians, environmental safety engineers, and health and safety specialists, public health inspectors are typically significantly passionate about making communities a safer place.
8. Public Health Social Worker
Health care sector: Community health/behavioral science
Career salary: As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median annual wage for public health social workers/social and community service managers to be $74,000.00.
Projected Job growth: From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. BLS predicts 15% job growth for public health social workers/social and community service managers, adding 18,300 job openings each year.
Potential employers: Individual and family services, non-profit organizations, residential care facilities, local government, community rehabilitation services, and more.
Occupational summary: Public health social workers seek solutions to help human behaviors. Public health social workers advocate for marginalized communities, analyze population data, educate and engage with communities, intervene in population issues like addiction and domestic violence, implement public health programs, and connect people to appropriate health care.
Also called patient outreach specialists, behavioral scientists, or community care coordinators, public health social workers are typically compassionate, inquisitive, and patient communicators on a mission to make a substantial difference.
Advantages of Achieving a Master’s in Public Health (MPH)
Made possible by flexible online MPH programs, students can now focus on their future careers, study on their schedule, and still work while earning a graduate degree.
In addition to the variety of public health career options, those pursuing an MPH can rest assured that these professions are in-demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects healthcare occupations to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030 — a faster than average rate compared to all other fields.
Upon entering the workforce, MPH graduates soon recognize a Master’s in Public Health as a transferable degree applicable across several disciplines, including (but not limited to) business, law, technology, and science industries.
Once beginning (or further developing) their public health careers, MPH professionals also see the benefits of their graduate degree through new higher earning potential.
Last but certainly not least, Master’s of Public Health graduates are analytic leaders who hold meaningful, satisfying careers serving others. A profession to be proud of, MPH graduates provide passionate support for population quality of life while welcoming and upholding the well-being of communities.
Are you interested in making a positive difference for diverse populations?
Click here to learn more about a degree in public health!
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.