Pennsylvania Public Health Certificate Online Graduate Programs
Often designed with the mid-career professional in mind, Public Health Certificate Online Graduate programs offer a convenient alternative to traditional campus settings. Many universities and colleges have distance learning options for students who live too far, have to balance a full-time job or family obligations with their coursework. Public Health comprises quite a few subfields from epidemiology and biostatistics to health services and health education. If you are not quite ready for a graduate degree but do want to update your present competencies and knowledge base, an online public health graduate certificate warrants some consideration.
Online Public Health Certificate: Program Basics
Many accredited Public Health Graduate Schools have online graduate certificate programs which consist of anywhere from 9 to 21 credit units of advanced coursework in public health topics (e.g. biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health policy and health administration, social and behavioral sciences)[i].
In some cases, the credits earned may be applied to a more advanced degree (such as the MPH or MSPH). In fact, some students might enroll in Public Health Graduate Certificate Online programs instead of a full graduate degree as they are shorter in duration, and offer take-away knowledge if you are currently working in the field.
On the professional side, graduate certificate programs provide continuing education credit opportunities for many careers. Those seeking to refocus or boost their current careers without enrolling in an entirely new Public Health degree program may also benefit from graduate certificate programs.
FACT: The focus of a public health intervention is to prevent and manage diseases, injuries and other health conditions through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy behaviors, communities and environments[ii].
Potential Features of Public Health Certificate Online Graduate Programs
Referred to in some descriptive texts as ‘convenient’ and ‘flexible’, Public Health Certificate Online Graduate Programs are certainly different from traditional campus programs in that there is no regular commute; you do have the leeway to schedule study when you have the time for it. However, not all programs are the same so as you explore some choices, make sure to see whether it truly matches your needs. Here are a few points to consider:
- A fully online graduate Certificate in Public Health program is typically one where you have access to your courses on a 24/7 basis. These courses are asynchronous, meaning they are prerecorded. The potential advantage to this is that you can be anywhere you have Internet and log into your course management system. This same web portal is usually the way assignments are submitted.
- A partially online Public Health Graduate Certificate Program typically means that the majority of your courses are delivered via web with the exception of the courses that require live demonstration, in-person participation or meetings that you need to be present for. It may also mean that some of your lectures are live-streaming.
- Support systems for online programs may be the same as for the campus programs, although certainly, there should be a strong tech support in addition to student services
- Staying connected to classmates and professors may be via email, text, web chat or participation in group forums.
- Faculty may or may not be the same professors who teach the on-campus programs; this is definitely something to find out when you have narrowed down a few online universities.
- In terms of facilities, if you will have laboratory requirements, find out how to fulfill these in a distance-learning program.
Types of Public Health Certificate Online Graduate Programs
There are any number of options for Public Health Certificate Online Graduate Programs from general areas in public health through to quite targeted areas such as:
- Bioethics Online Graduate Certificate Programs
- Epidemiology Online Graduate Certificate Programs
- Health Education & Communication Online Graduate Certificate Programs
- International Health Online Graduate Certificate Programs
- Occupational Health & Safety Online Graduate Certificate Programs
Curriculum for online Graduate Certificates in Public Health varies between universities and is dependent on ‘what’ you are studying. Some topics that students might learn could include:
- Basic Principles of Epidemiology
- Public Health Policy
- Environmental Health
- Workplace Health and Safety
- Behavioral Aspects of Public Health
Accreditation is just as important for Public Health Certificate Online Graduate Programs as for campus ones. You can check this easily; in the U.S., The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the agency which accredits schools of public health and programs of public health. They are approved by the U.S. Department of Education.[iii]
Take the Next Step
If you have limited time to pursue a campus-based full graduate degree, earning a Graduate Public Health Certificate Online may provide the skill enhancement you are seeking. Why not take the next step and review sponsored listings today!
Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
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