Public Health vs Public Policy

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If you want to make a difference to the world around you, then one of the best things you can do is look into obtaining your master’s degree in an area of education that focuses on public transformation and improvement. For some people, this will mean looking into changing the world from a medical perspective, whereas others will prefer the idea of changing public policy to address the issues that individuals from across the globe may be facing.

Master of Public Health Degree

Those who choose to obtain a master of public health (MPH) degree will find themselves in an educational program that concentrates on the needs and requirements of working within a community health facility or residence. Graduates of this degree program can pursue a wide range of different positions within various organizations, and may find themselves working within the public and private sectors. Some of the most common career titles include epidemiologist, policy analyst, food safety inspector, or even health educator. At the same time, places of potential employment may include government agencies, schools, and various organizations such as the American Red Cross, or local nonprofits associated with health.

Because it is crucial to make sure that healthcare facilities or organizations work as efficiently and effectively as possible, it makes sense that there are plenty of potential job opportunities available to access in the world of public health. Indeed, many graduates will find themselves working with private and public sectors, alongside the potential for working with the government. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicates that managers within the field of public health services earned a median annual wage of approximately $92,810 a year in 2014. However, it’s safe to say that due to the broad nature of the field, salaries can vary widely according to place of employment, and type of career. For instance, health educators may earn a median salary of $50,430, and this field is expected to grow by 12% from 2014 to 2024.

Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Public Health

At the level of graduate education, master of public health degrees are actually quite common. These programs help in the development of skills that are relevant to various environmental health services, health service administration, human behavior, and communication. These introduce skills that are relevant to various environmental health services, including social sciences, health services administration, human behavior, and more. This programs will also teach students to apply their lessons to a real-world context before graduation.

A public health master’s degree program may also teach students how to influence health and social policies within the government both through lobbying and presentations. They will also be taught how to work with various populations and use sociological and cultural skills to understand the needs of a community. Areas of specialization for this degree can focus on things like epidemiology, biostatistics, nutrition, health policy, environmental health, health education, and health service management.

Careers in Public Health

Public health masters degrees have been found to open plenty of doors for potential careers in the future, beyond the government career path. Some of the settings wherein professional graduates may find work include:

  • Public industries, such as disaster preparedness, health department administration, public nursing, and more
  • Educational industries designed to produce teachers for public health students, or research programs
  • Private organizations where graduates can work as an employee or consultant for healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical brands, and insurance companies
  • Nonprofit institutions where graduates can attempt to address gaps in healthcare for a specific population

Getting a Master of Public Policy Degree

Some people choose to obtain a master of public policy (MPP) degree after they have completed the specialization degree at an undergraduate level. Public policy focuses on the processes that are used to create various regulations and policies that directly impact public health. In the MPP courses, the students learn about the legislative, executive, and administrative processes involved in policy creation, as well as how to develop and analyze policies while conducting relevant research. You should also build your understanding of the wider political, economic, and social factors available.

Those who pursue an MPP degree may find that themselves ending up in the middle of the policy-making world. This is a great career in environmental and economically challenging times. These individuals are poised to make a true difference to a nation, and even the globe.

Master of Public Policy Courses

An MPP degree program may either be one or two years long depending on where you take your program, and if you decide that you want to study part-time or full-time. Besides the said degree, you could also become a master of public policy by taking a master of science or master of arts qualification with the right specialization. The content of these programs generally overlap with the content in master of public administration degrees, due to the need for a good understanding of administration procedures and how policies can be fully analyzed.

Students will study qualitative methods of analysis, program evaluation, politics and management, and also have the opportunity to specialize within various fields of public policy. Some students will even be given the opportunity to take part in an internship during the course of their degree, and in many cases this work will count as one of the course modules involved in obtaining your graduation status. However, before you can graduate, you will need to be assessed through group projects and a written assignment that takes place at the end of each module. Most MPP degrees end with a dissertation which allow for the completion of independent research.

The Future for MPP Graduates

There are a lot of options available to you in your professional future as an MPP degree holder. Public policy programs offer their students a foundation for professional careers and leadership positions within the nonprofit sector, public sector, and various parts of the private sector that supply services and consulting options to other companies. Compared to many MBA programs, the degree option that addresses public policy is usually better suited to those who want to address the world around them on a deeper level. The different types of public policy jobs you might take part in can include:

  • Lobbyists who work for the state they reside in to promote a particular group of views or opinions in an effort to convince legislature to change
  • Public health administrators that are responsible for overseeing other staff as well as various business issues
  • Government or federal-agency based jobs wherein individuals are responsible for the research and information that go into informing changes in policies and legislation on a wider level
  • Teaching positions for individuals who want to take their skills and knowledge regarding public policy into the classroom to help other individuals obtain their certifications and degrees

Public policy master’s degree programs can be an ideal option for students who want to make a difference in the world without going into the healthcare industry – regardless of whether their focus is society at large, or just their local community.

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