Researching Master Degrees in Public Health? Public Health graduate programs focus on the biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of a community, as well as the planning, policy analysis and administration of health programs. Graduates with a master’s (MS) or PhD degree in Public Health can become public policy directors, directors of health, senior public health advisors and more.
Public health is a highly diverse and multi-faceted field of study. A master’s degree in public health, also known as an M.P.H. degree, allows students to broaden their knowledge base while learning how to prevent diseases from becoming epidemics and how to effectively for educate the public on proper health practices. Those with a public health graduate degree often pursue careers in education, Federal Government, research and development and social advocacy.
Since public health encompasses so many areas, it has the potential to be the right fit for a variety of personalities and learning styles. A successful public health graduate student may have the following characteristics:
- Genuine interest in helping other people
- A sense of the larger picture
- Curious and driven to find answers
- Resourceful and imaginative with “outside the box” thinking
- Able to keep up with an ever-changing field
- Technologically minded
Public Health Graduate Programs and Curriculum
A comprehensive graduate degree program for a master’s in public health will typically include the following coursework:
- Maternal and child health
- Environmental health
- Public health practice
- Behavioral science
- Public health policy
- Health services administration
- Health education
In addition to basic science and specific health courses, public health master’s degree students may also be required or choose to take courses in the following areas:
- Urban planning
- Organizational management
- Social work
- Budgeting and finance
Most programs also require a practicum or internship experience, as well as a capstone project. Public health master’s degree programs are accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health. The Council accredits schools of Public Health as well as Public Health Programs. In addition, The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) offers a certification program for Public Health practitioners. This test is not yet a required certification for the field.
Public Health Career Paths
With such a diverse education base, there are many industries and career paths that may potentially be available to those holding master’s degrees in public health. Often they involve assuming leadership roles as members of multidisciplinary health care teams. Hospital administrator, professor and researcher are some of the possible job opportunities.
Public Health Salary and Future Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of public health educators and communicty health workers is expected to grow by 21 percent between 2012 and 2022. The BLS states that a master's degree in public health may be useful for individuals who plan to pursue career opportunities in federal or state public health organizations In 2012 the median annual wages of health educators and community health workers was $48,790. The top 10% of earners made more tha $86,810, while the lowest 10% of earners made less than $27,730. The graph below provides detail on the median salary's of health educators and communitity health workers employed in selected industries.