By selecting a career in public health, you will have a wide range of exciting, specialized options that will give you the chance to affect public health in many ways. No matter if you choose to work in public health as a teacher, researcher, consultant, epidemiologist or biostatistician, you will have the opportunity to make a real difference in the world.
One of the most important decisions that you will make about your public health career is which public health school you select. The type of school that you choose will depend on a number of factors.
First, you should think about if you are more interested in your career in research and teaching, or in actual practice of public health. There are a few public health schools that offer academic degrees, such as an MS or Ph.D. in public health that will generally prepare you to do research or to become a university professor.
The most common degree, however, is the master of public health, or MPH, that will prepare you for a public health career in a hospital, government agency, international agency or public health department. In choosing your MPH program or even an accredited online mph degree, there are several factors to consider.
What Can You Do With a Public Health Degree?
What Is Your Area of Interest?
Probably the most important factor in choosing an MPH program is determining your exact interest area for your career. In most public health schools, you can chose from most of the following specialties or concentrations:
Public health nursing (requires a master’s degree in nursing)
No matter which concentration you select, every public health program will have you complete a standard core of public health classes that all students must complete.
In some master of public health programs, there are other subspecialties to choose from, above and beyond the regular specialities above. For example, at Johns Hopkins University, you can choose from these more unusual concentrations as well:
Child and Adolescent Health
Health Systems and Policy
Women’s and Reproductive Health
Health in Crisis and Humanitarian Assistance
If you are interested in a particular speciality of public health, you should ensure that your public health program offers that speciality. Also make sure that it has the types of courses and professors available in your speciality that will allow you to reach your career goals.
Featured Accredited Online Programs
As with many graduate programs today, many of them now are offered mostly or entirely online. Which you choose depends upon your personal preferences and where you live. Some students prefer to have the interaction with other students and professors on a personal level. This can be done most effectively in a campus-based program.
With a top online program, you should be able to complete most of your classes from the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that many online MPH programs will require you to make at least one campus visit. Some online programs may require you to make more than one.
Also, remember that most MPH programs online will require you to complete a certain number of practicum hours to complete your degree. For example, at UMass-Amherst, you are required to complete at least 200 hours of supervised work in a public health setting. Your public health practicum can be near your home, but it will need to be approved by the university. At UMass, if you have three years of full time public health experience, this counts as 80 hours towards your practicum requirement.
Joint Degree Options
Another possibility to consider is to earn an MPH combined with another professional degree. The main advantage of this option is that you can earn two degrees in about ? of the time it would take to earn each separately. This is a major time and cost saver. Some of the more popular joint degree options in this field include:
MPH/MBA: Earn both your master of public health and master of business administration at the same time, so that you have both public health and business skills.
JD/MPH: You can earn your MPH degree at the same time you earn your law degree, so that you can work in public health law.
MSN/MPH: By earning your nursing and public health graduate degrees at the same time, you can open up an exciting career of public health nursing.
MD/MPH: You also can earn your MD at the same time you earn your public health degree. This could be the perfect fit for you if you want to dedicate your medical career to public health.
MPH/MSW: Another good option is to earn a joint degree in public health and social work. Having a background in public health will give you more insights to be an effective social worker.
Additional Joint Degree Options MPH/MBA, MPH/MSW, MPH/MD, MPH/JD, MPH/BA, MPH/BS, MHSA/MPP, BSIT/MPH, DMD/DDS/MPH, DrPH/PsyD, DVM/MPH, M.DIV/MPH, MAR/MPH, MEM/MPH, MESC/MPH, MF/MPH, MFS/MPH, MHSA/JD, MHSA/MS, MMSC/MPH, MPA/MPH, MPAS/MPH, MPH/DPT, MPH/MA, MPH/MCRP, MPH/MJ, MPH/MNA, MPH/MPP, MPH/MS, MPH/PharmD, MS/DDS, MS/MD, MS/PhD, MSN/MPH, MSPH/MD, MURP/MPH, PhD/MD
It is extremely important to ensure that the master in public health program that you are considering is fully accredited. This means that a respected accreditation body has fully evaluated the school and program to ensure that it meets the widely accepted standards established by the public health profession in the US.
The most respected and well known accreditation body in the field of public health is the Council on Education in Public Health, or CEPH. CEPH is a fully independent agency that has been recognized by the Department of Education. If your potential public health program has been accredited by CEPH, you know that it has met the most rigorous quality standards, and your degree will be viewed in the most positive way by potential employers.
CEPH provides this regularly updated list of fully accredited public health programs in the US.
The other common accreditation bodies to be aware of as you look at public health programs are the six regional accreditation associations that are recognized by the Department of Education. Which body accredits your university or public health program depends upon its physical location in the US.
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Accreditation Commission
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
By considering the above factors as select your public health program, you will be much more likely to find a program that fits your needs.
How to Get Started
Easily find and compare Accredited online MPH programs from top schools around the country.