The health care sector is expected to add 4 million jobs by the year 2026. That’s 1/3 of all new jobs that will be created. And the field of public health appears to be rising to meet some of these demands.
Looking to break into public health by pursuing a public health education?
We’ve got you covered. Here, we’ll discuss the basics of public health as well as the top degree programs you should consider.
What Is Public Health?
The goal of public health is to promote and protect the well-being and health of a community. You’re likely familiar with several public health initiatives. Think of the public push for wearing seat belts or hand-washing in the workplace.
There are several career paths one can take to engage in public health. When most people think of public health, they think of community outreach and policy. But for a more scientific approach, you can also go into research or clinical work.
Public health workers in this area tend to be the field workers out there in the trenches. They work to assess the needs of the community with which they choose to engage and educate. Often, they also train community leaders to keep these initiatives sustainable.
Sample careers in this field include program coordinators and outreach specialists.
The policy involves working with the government to create/change government public health programs. They may write grants appealing for government funds or divide these funds. These usually involve health education in at-risk communities as well as nutritional guidance.
Sample careers in this field include health services managers and policy advocates.
Most people thinking of research as a scientist in a lab, but that’s not what public health researchers do. Instead, they provide surveys to identify public health patterns and related outcomes. They also may conduct field research to examine food/health access and security.
Sample careers in this field include epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and clinical research coordinators.
Finally, public health has a clinical side. Here, clinicians discuss patients’ dietary habits as well as promote preventative health. They may also go into the community to provide these services at a discount.
Sample careers in this field include public health practitioners/nurses, and nutritionists and dietitians.
If you’re looking for further direction, check out this guide. It’s filled with information about the skills and education necessary for a variety of public health careers.
Bachelor’s Level of Public Health Education4FGYJMK0
There are more than 60 options for bachelor’s degrees in public health. A bachelor’s degree focuses on prevention, protection, promotion, and population-based care. These are also known as “the 4 P’s” of public health.
You’ll have to choose if you want a B.A. or a B.S. degree. The B.A. degree focuses on health policy and its sociological implications. The B.S. degree focuses on science and clinical aspects of public health.
If you plan on pursuing an MPH degree, you can choose another undergraduate degree in a similar field. Some options include biology, environmental health, nutrition, or health sciences.
With your bachelor’s degree, you can become a laboratory technician or community educator.
Here are some of the top bachelor’s courses in public health:
- University of California – Irvine
Here, you can choose from either a B.S. or B.A. degree. They also offer an optional Global Health Certificate as a part of the program.
- University of Washington
Besides offering both degree types, you can also choose a focus area. These are Assessment and Measurement, Environment, Policy, Ethics and Social Justice, Natural Science, Population Health, Communication, or Social Science.
- California Baptist University
If you’re looking for an online alternative, check out this B.S. degree program. You’ll choose from the core disciplines of epidemiology, behavioral science, biostatistics, curriculum design in health education, and environmental and occupational health.
Masters of Public Health (MPH)
An MPH degree lasts for 2-3 years. The focus of these degrees are practical applications of public health training.
You’ll learn how to promote community awareness. You’ll also get training in the form of an internship or supervised work experience. Some programs also require either a grant proposal or research paper.
Every accredited MPH program must cover all the basic public health disciplines. These are biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy, environmental health, and social/behavioral science. This ensures every MPH graduate has training for any relevant public health career.
Other related masters degrees that offer more specified public health career options. For research careers, it’s best to pursue a Masters of Science in Public Health or Masters of Health Sciences. For administration, management, or policy-based careers, pursue a Master of Health Administration.
MPH degree holders often work in government agencies or non-profit organizations. Career options include epidemiologists, health administrators, or public health practitioners.
A vast majority of MPH programs offer degrees both on campus and online. Here are some of the top masters courses in public health (which all offer both options):
- Johns Hopkins University
Here, a full-time degree takes one year but is very intense. Online, the courses take 2-3 years to complete, but 20% must be completed on campus. Choose from 1 of 12 concentration options.
- Harvard University
Harvard has an entire school dedicated to public health. Concentrations are global health, health policy, health and social behavior, or health management. The online option requires 3 on-campus sessions, which function as concentrated, intensive coursework.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Here, interdisciplinary programs are at the forefront. Additionally, the Gillings Global Gateway program offers an amazing international public health focus. It coordinates practice, research, and teaching between over fifty countries.
Ready to Study Public Health?
We hope this discussion on public health education has pointed you in the right direction. Public health is growing faster than ever, and now is the time to jump in on this amazing career path.