What Is an MPH Degree?An MPH degree, or master of public health, strives to educate individuals committed to making a difference by solving public health problems through the application of critical and analytical skills. In addition, many MPH degrees are designed to increase your ability to think critically and creatively to solve current issues in public health and to protect the health of various communities. Some of the goals of MPH programs are:
- Understand high scientific standards for research
- Evaluate effectiveness and equity in health care, public health, and regulatory systems
- Convey health information to a diverse audience to improve community health
- Interpret data to apply evidence-based approached to public health research
Available MPH ConcentrationsWith a variety of fields that fall under the public health umbrella, many students choose a concentration or a degree that is offered under a school’s department of public health. Nine of the most common choices are:
- Health Education and Communication
- Environmental Health Science and Policy
- Global Environmental Health
- Public Health Nutrition
- Maternal and Child Health
- Physical Activity
Differences Between MPH DegreesWhile these choices all offer a similar core curriculum focused on the biological concepts of public health and the principles of epidemiology, most MPH programs allot more than half of your coursework to your chosen concentration. With a different focus, these programs analyze different aspects of the field. For instance, an epidemiology master of public health concentration analyzes patterns, outbreak investigations, statistics, and researches the causes and effects of health and diseases. On the other hand, a public health nutrition focus analyzes the science of nutrition, various nutritional programs and services, and socioeconomic detriments of proper nutrition.
Practicum RequirementsMany programs also require that you complete a practicum so that you can apply the lessons and research you examine in the classroom to real-life situations. These experiences focus on developing skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating a project.
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Public Health?As you can see from the various concentrations and types of MPH degrees, there are a variety of public health careers you can choose from upon earning your degree. Often, these careers depend on the concentration you’ve chosen for your master’s and your professional experience.
Types of Public Health JobsSome of the public health careers you may pursue after earning your MPH, and their 2017 median annual salary, are:
- Medical and Health Services Managers: $98,350i
- Epidemiologists: $69,660ii
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists: $69,400iii
- Health Educators: $53,940iv
- Community Health Workers: $38,370iv
- Life Scientists: $74,540v
Public Health CareersThese careers, as with the various types of MPH degrees, have a similar overall focus, but are tailored to meet specific needs. For example, epidemiologists investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury. Through research, community education, and health policy recommendations, they seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes.vi On the other hand, environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. This can include reclaiming lands and waters that have been contaminated by pollution or assessing the risks of new construction projects to the environment.vii Both of these roles are designed to enhance the overall health of the public and to make sure that communities are protected from germs and potential illnesses.
Which Is Not an Aim of a Public Health Official?Public health covers a wide range of fields and how to use various research and findings to protect the health of communities large and small. However, public health officials do not treat illnesses and infections. Instead, their goal, regardless of the specific field inside of public health they are focused on, is to analyze the potential health risks and protect the public. Therefore, the main focus of public health officials is:
- Collecting and analyzing health status and utilization information
- Developing policies and policy recommendations to maintain and protect the public’s health
- Informing the public and officials of its analysis and recommendations
- Working to develop consensus on needed action
- Making sure that necessary public health and personal health services are available to all
Types of Germs
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- Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
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