Aspiring professionals take their first steps toward a fulfilling career improving people’s lives with a public health degree. Potential career paths include community health educator, refugee coordinator, and public health researcher. Workers with experience and additional training, such as a master’s degree, can attain employment as government analysts or epidemiology research associates.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles salary data on numerous healthcare-related positions throughout the United States. According to the BLS, community health educators earn a median annual salary of $46,910. The BLS also projects a 13% job growth rate for these professionals between 2019-2029. This figure outpaces the median projected growth rate for all U.S. careers by a wide margin.
Typical bachelor’s program admission requirements include earning a high school or GED diploma. Some colleges and universities also ask for recommendation letters and standardized test scores. Schools use the latter to make institutional financial aid determinations.
Is public health a good career?
The answer depends on prospective students’ personalities and career goals. Public health professionals should possess a desire to help others through educational initiatives and one-on-one guidance.
What jobs require a public health degree?
Numerous jobs require a public health degree, including public health advisor, health educator, and community health worker. Companies and organizations reserve management-level positions for master’s degree-holders.
What are the different fields of public health?
The public health field contains multiple specialties, including biomedical lab sciences, dental public health, and maternal and child health. Public health degrees feature concentrations that prepare students for their chosen specialty.
What does a career in public health look like?
No matter public health professionals’ job titles, they strive to improve people’s health through different initiatives and advocate for relevant laws and regulations.
What Are the Goals of a Public Health Degree?
An online public health degree prepares students for their careers with numerous skills. Coursework teaches degree-seekers how to analyze problems, develop solutions, and reflect on their work’s effectiveness. Bachelor’s in public health degrees also emphasize a global mindset. Students must think globally, as developing nations face serious public health issues.
A four-year public health program features a mix of general education and major courses. Typical core courses include the biological concepts of public health, social and behavioral health, and programming planning. Students train for a specialization by completing a concentration, such as environmental public health or public health sociology.
Why Get a Public Health Degree?
A public health degree leads to many professional and personal benefits. The following list contains just a few reasons why prospective students apply to an online program.
- Keep Communities Healthy
- Professionals with a public health degree keep communities healthy through educational campaigns and speaking to community members individually. These efforts help people improve their quality of life.
- Mitigate Disasters
- Public health workers assist disaster relief experts after a hurricane, earthquake, fire, or other event that puts people’s short- and long-term health at risk.
- Gain Personal Satisfaction
- Public health workers take great pride in their job, as they see their actions’ positive benefits on communities and individuals.
- Make Lasting Change
- Public health professionals who work at the local, state, and federal levels create programs that impact people’s lives long-term.
- Promote Environmentalism
- Many public health experts lobby for environmental regulations promoting clean air, water, and soil. These efforts extend people’s lifespan and preserve biodiversity.
What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?
What Are the Requirements for a Public Health Degree?
Typical admission requirements for public health degrees include earning a high school or GED diploma. Some programs accept only nontraditional students or those who possess an associate degree or ample transfer credit. Other colleges and universities also charge an admission fee.
Many schools do not require standardized test scores. However, these colleges and universities may use scores as a way to determine merit-based financial aid. Prospective international students must complete two additional steps. The first involves proving English language proficiency. These applicants also submit their foreign high school or college transcripts for evaluation.
Public health degree students remain in good academic standing by meeting their institution’s minimum undergraduate GPA requirement. Some programs also feature a capstone course in the final semester. A capstone course involves synthesizing new knowledge and skills by completing a research project or developing a professional portfolio.
Professional Organizations for Public Health Students
Learners enrolled in an online public health degree prepare for a career by earning good grades and networking with professors and peers. Other steps involve joining one or more professional organizations. Professional organizations, like the two below, connect students with public health professionals, host job boards, and offer professional development opportunities.
American Public Health Association
APHA dates back to the 1870s. Its members strive to create new public health infrastructure and expand healthcare to underserved communities. Student members enjoy networking opportunities, the CareerMart job site, and a resume review service. Degree-seekers who join also receive access to two professional publications at no additional charge.
Society for Public Health Education
SOPHE helps aspiring and practicing public health professionals complete professional development and prepare for career advancement. Student membership benefits include a career hub, volunteering opportunities, and a subscription to three peer-review journals with the latest public health research. More than 25 states feature a SOPHE chapter where online public health program learners network in person.
Scholarships for Public Health Students
An online public health degree confers many benefits, including cost savings. However, all prospective students should explore ways to reduce their tuition burden. The internet provides hundreds of private scholarship opportunities for learners enrolling in a public health program. Explore the awards below to start your scholarship search.
Who Can Apply: The IHS offers three scholarship opportunities to Native American students. Applicants should possess membership in a recognized tribe, earn a minimum 2.0 high school or college GPA, and agree to completing a service project after graduation. The scholarship committee considers applicants’ academic performances, recommendation letters, and essays.
Amount: Full tuition plus stipend
Who Can Apply: The NIH offers the scholarship to college students who possess financial need and major in a healthcare-related field. Other application requirements include U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, a minimum 3.3 undergraduate GPA, and full-time enrollment. Applicants also complete a criminal background check.
Amount: Up to $80,000
Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate health education students who join SOPHE can apply for this competitive scholarship. Academic requirements for undergraduate applicants include sophomore or junior status, official transcripts, one recommendation letter, and a resume. Find information regarding the next application deadline on the SOPHE member website.
Top 5 Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Health Degrees 2021
Located in Columbia, Mizzou offers an online bachelor of health science in public health. Career prospects for graduates include roles as health educators, research specialists, or emergency management directors.
The 60-credit program covers education, epidemiology, policy, and environmental health. Major core courses include ethics in public health, healthcare in the United States, and social and behavioral health theory and practice.
Students with less than 24 credits of college-level coursework may apply as first-year applicants. Those with 24 credits or more may apply as a transfer student. First-year students must submit ACT or SAT scores and successfully complete a list of 17 specific high school courses such as English literature and geometry. GPA requirements vary relative to test scores. However, students who do not meet the minimum stated requirements may still apply. Transfer students must possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 to qualify for admission.
Mizzou is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.
Northern Arizona University
Based in Flagstaff, NAU offers an online bachelor of science in health sciences - public health. The program prepares graduates for careers that tackle global health issues and promote healthy lifestyles in their communities. Graduates leave equipped to plan, implement, and evaluate public health programs. Potential career paths include roles as health educators, researchers, or emergency response planners.
Course topics include facilitating active living, theories of health behaviors, and principles of epidemiology. Students may then choose between taking additional electives or completing an internship. Students must complete 120 credits total, with at least 30 completed at NAU, to obtain their degree. The program generally takes four years to complete.
The university automatically offers admission to first-year applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Those with a minimum GPA of 2.5 may still apply for consideration. NAU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
California Baptist University
A private Christian university based in Riverside, CBU offers an online bachelor of science in public health. The program provides students with a population-based perspective of wellness. Students can complete the program in about 16 months.
Students study epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral science, and other core topics. Course topics include ethics in healthcare, curriculum design in health education, and pathophysiology for public health. Students must also complete two courses in Christian studies. Online courses begin every eight weeks.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and possess a minimum GPA of 2.0. Graduates gain eligibility to sit for the national credentialing exam to become a certified health education specialist.
CBU is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission. The school boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.
Based in Tucson, UArizona offers an online bachelor of science in public health designed for busy professionals seeking to expand their career opportunities. Students can choose from three emphasis areas: global health, health systems theory and practice, and public health practice.
The 120-credit program includes major course topics such as health disease across time and the world, health economics and policy, and corporate wellness. Students must also complete a 250-hour internship.
Applicants typically enter with the majority of general education and prerequisite coursework completed at UArizona or another institution. The major-specific coursework consists of 60 credits, which most students can complete in about two years. Students need a total of 120 credits to graduate.
UArizona is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.
Delaware State University
Based in Dover, DSU offers an online bachelor of science in public health. The curriculum covers community health promotion in the workplace, epidemiology, and substance use and abuse — in addition to many other key areas of study and research.
During their senior year, students complete a 12-credit public health practicum. Students must write an extensive report on the experience and present their work with an oral presentation. Courses include health disparities, introduction to chronic diseases, and health administration and policy.
First-year applicants must possess a certificate or high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Students must also possess a minimum SAT score of 800 or a minimum ACT score of 17. Transfer students must also submit SAT or ACT scores if transferring less than 12 credits.
DSU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.