Online Public Health Degrees

Public health professionals work to maintain healthy living conditions throughout their community. They are responsible for collaborating with community officials and local governments to address community health and wellness needs. They focus on preventative and wellness care and are trained in all aspects of disease prevention, human nutrition, and environmental safety.

Ideal candidates for a career in public health are analytically inclined problem-solvers with excellent interpersonal and communication skills. A bachelor’s degree is required for many entry-level jobs, and MPH programs can provide additional training for professionals seeking managerial responsibilities in the field.

Increasingly, public health students are turning to online programs. As distance education opportunities have expanded in recent years, those interested in pursuing a public health degree have more opportunities to pursue bachelor’s and master’s programs online than ever before. Read on to learn more about the online opportunities available to students in the field.

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Jennifer Dunphy Public Health

“This virtual program allowed me the flexibility to be the most successful version of myself.”


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Degrees

Online Public Health Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $12,744 14.5% 2 years $33,100 $46,200 N/A
Bachelor's $15,422 10.36% 4 years $37,500 $60,500 4.1%
Master's $17,977 6.57% 2 years $52,900 $75,600 N/A
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Pursuing a public health degree online can prepare you for a variety of career options in public health and wellness, social services, and community engagement. However, because there is no formal licensing requirement at the undergraduate level, employers in many industries prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Students who complete online MPH programs often also choose to earn the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credentials or other voluntary specialty certifications, increasing their marketability in the workplace.

Online Public Health Degrees

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Online Associate’s Degree in Public Health

An associate degree can be completed in two years, and these programs are suitable for students aspiring to become community health workers. While salary and job growth rates improve significantly for students who complete a bachelor’s degree or MPH program, associate degree graduates can expect to earn an average annual salary exceeding $30,000 per year.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    American History and World Civilization, Public Speaking, Introduction to Ethics, Social Problems, and Health Services Organization

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Health Education and Wellness Coaching

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Community Health Worker, and Social and Human Service Assistant

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $34,870

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    15% growth projected 2014-2024

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health

A bachelor’s in public health is the minimum requirement for many jobs in the industry. Graduates stand to earn a significantly higher salary than those holding an associate degree, with lower loan default rates as well. Degree holders can pursue a range of jobs, including positions in health services management, nutrition, and health education. BPH graduates are also prepared for online MPH programs or to obtain CPH certification.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Health Care in the US, Global Health, Introduction to Epidemiology, Safety Fundamentals, and Strategic Planning

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Environmental/Occupational Health, Disaster and Emergency Management, Health Informatics, and Health Promotion and Wellness

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Health Services Manager, Nutritionist, Health Educator, and Community Health Worker

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $92,810

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    17% growth projected 2014-2024

Online Master’s Degree in Public Health

Master’s degree-holders are prepared to enter research-oriented jobs in the field. Graduates have low loan default rates, and earning an MPH online can open the door to a variety of jobs in science, research, and upper-level management in the field. Some online master’s in public health candidates may choose to obtain specialty certification in an area of expertise alongside their degree.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Science, Health Sector Reform, and Economics for Health Policy

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Epidemiologist, Survey Researcher, and Political Scientist

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $67,420

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    6% growth projected 2014-2024

Online Public Health Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

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Public Health Master’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill$$$$$103 South Bldg Cb 9100
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

Part of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health, this online master’s in public health program is one of the highest ranking in the country. The global online master of public health (GO MPH) is administered by UNC’s Public Health Leadership Program, which applies contemporary leadership models to worldwide public health issues.

The 42 credit GO MPH is offered fully online, and students must take at least two courses (six credit hours) per semester in order to fulfill enrollment requirements. The curriculum of this online master’s in public health can be completed in two years, and it covers the basics of public health with courses in epidemiology, ethics, and issues facing public health in the U.S. and around the globe. A practicum (for hands-on learning) and a required field of concentration allows students to tailor the program to their interests.

2Emory UniversityAtlanta$$$$$408 Administration Building, 201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-6123

Based in Atlanta, GA, Emory University offers one of the world’s leading health care programs. The Rollins School of Public Health offers a master’s in public health online through its executive master of public health (EMPH) program. The program is designed with working professionals in mind, with two on-campus sessions every semester to supplement interactive online content. The 42-credit program can be completed in two years and students must have a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience to apply.

The curriculum of this MPH develops core competencies in public health, and a practicum experience provides students with a direct application of their coursework. Additionally, students select from one of three concentration options to focus their studies: applied epidemiology, applied public health, or prevention science. Emory also offers online learners enrollment and career services via phone, email, and in person to assist with post-graduation plans.

3University of FloridaGainesville$$$$$
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-3261

As one of the largest public institutions in the state, The University of Florida is a leader in innovation and is committed to solving global problems. The online master’s in public health extends this mission by developing leaders in the healthcare industry. UF’s MPH in public health practice is designed for individuals with previous healthcare experience, such as physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and social workers. The program develops the breadth of knowledge essential to lead in the industry, while allowing students to select a concentration that fits their interests or needs.

UF's MPH curriculum is available fully online in a standard 48-credit workload; or, if a student holds a prior terminal degree, they may apply for an accelerated 42-credit program. Coursework provides a foundation in the U.S. healthcare system and public health, while concentrations in environmental health, epidemiology, management and policy, or social and behavioral sciences prepare graduates to be health care leaders. All students complete a special project and an internship at the end of their degree.

4University of Minnesota - Twin CitiesMinneapolis$$$$$100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0213
(612) 625-5000

Resting on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities boasts one of the top public health programs in the country. The faculty and staff develop students to be global leaders in public health administration, management, and policy, and the school offers a range of options to accommodate working health professionals. The master of public health emphasizes the practical, public aspects of health, while students can select from nine different concentrations to tailor their education.

The MPH in maternal and child health is delivered fully online and full-time students can finish within two years. The policy-focused executive MPH in public health administration and policy develops leaders in health management, policy, and analysis, and can the degree can be completed mostly online within 25 months. The MPH in public health practice is available partially online, and is designed for professionals who already have a terminal degree and significant experience in the field.

5George Washington UniversityWashington$$$$$2121 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-1000

George Washington University (GW) in Washington, DC is among the nation’s oldest and most renowned universities, and its Milken Institute School of Public Health ranks as the 14th best school of public health by U.S. News and World Report. As the only school of public health in the nation’s capital, students gain access to leading national and international organizations to enrich their education and professional development. GW’s online master’s in public health (MPH@GW) blends an online curriculum with a hands-on practicum to develop solutions for the world’s biggest health challenges.

Students in this online master’s in public health choose from five available focus areas: environmental and occupational health, global health, health communication, health policy or program planning and communication. Classes are taught in 10-week modules, and a culminating practical experience facilitates real-world application. Full-time students can earn this 45 credit MPH in as little as one year.

6University of Maryland - College ParkCollege Park$$$$$
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-1000

The University of Maryland College Park is one of the top-ranked research institutions in the world, and is hailed as the 25th most innovative school in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Located just outside Washington, D.C., The School of Public Health is the only accredited program of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region. The master’s in public health with a concentration in public health practice and policy features a blended online format for working professionals.

Administered by the Department of Health Services Administration, the 42-credit MPH prepares students to be leaders in local, national, and global health policy. Coursework features intensive leadership training, while a required internship and capstone project translate classroom learning into practical, hands-on settings. Upon completion of degree requirements, students are eligible for board certification exams.

7Tulane University of LouisianaNew Orleans$$$$$6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118-5698
(504) 865-5000

Founded as a medical college in 1834, Tulane University in New Orleans, LA is one of the top research universities in the country. Several master’s in public health programs prepare mid-career students to be leader in their industries and specialties.

The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane offers three MPH programs fully online: Disaster Management, Occupational Health & Safety Management MPH and Occupational & Environmental Health MPH. These 42 credit programs provide opportunities for hands-on learning with a Culmination Experience and Practicum. Students take 18 hours of School of Public Health core requirements, with 24 additional credits in a selected concentration. Courses in the environmental aspects of disaster response, population issues during disaster, or psychosocial aspects of disasters prepare students to manage public health in the wake of disasters; while coursework in toxicology, industrial hygiene, and occupational health develop leaders in occupational health and safety management.

8Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukee$$$$$8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-8296

The Medical College of Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee, WI, has been educating the next generation of scientists, physicians, and health professionals for over 120 years. As a major research institution, their students and graduates care for more than 430,000 patients every year, including more than 1.6 million patient visits. Additionally, the college benefits from close relationships with several major Milwaukee area hospitals.

Housed within the school’s Institute for Health and Society, MCW’s online master’s in public health requires no in-person responsibilities. An emphasis on partnerships with surrounding communities establishes graduates as leaders and collaborators in academics, communities, and governments. The 42-credit program is completed completely online, while a culminating field experience and capstone project allow students to synthesize and integrate the knowledge gained in the program.

9University of South FloridaTampa$$$$$4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
(813) 974-2011

With a main campus in Tampa, FL, The University of South Florida (USF) is a global research institution serving more than 49,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
USF offers seven MPH programs fully online, including epidemiology, public health practice, global disaster management and humanitarian relief, health, safety & environment, infection control, and public health administration. Students can complete the degree in as little as two years, while coursework is generally taught asynchronously. Each student meets with an assigned faculty advisor each semester, while a three-credit supervised field experience completes the degree. Due to some state regulations, USF is unable to provide online courses in certain states. Students should check with their program to confirm their eligibility.

10University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmaha$$$$$42nd & Dewey Ave
Omaha, NE 68198-7815
(402) 559-4000

The University of Nebraska Medical Center, located in Omaha, NE, serves as the only academic public health sciences center in the state. UNMC is an intimate campus, serving about 3,700 students in six colleges, two institutes and more than 24 available degree programs.

UNMC offers three different online MPH programs: MPH in biostatistics, MPH in environmental and occupational health and MPH in public health practice. These 45 credit hour master’s degrees are designed for working adults wishing to add to their skill set in public health. Classes provide flexible, asynchronous content for working adults, while highly interactive coursework allows students to learn from world-class faculty and their peers. Admission requires a completed a Bachelor’s Degree with a 3.0 or better GPA, and several prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, math, and physics. Due to state regulatory restrictions not all programs may be available in all states, and interested students should confirm their program’s availability.

11Loma Linda UniversityLoma Linda$$$$$11139 Anderson Street
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-1000

Committed to the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ, Loma Linda University in Southern California prepares medical professionals in the Seventh-Day Adventist tradition. The School of Public Health (LLUSPH) offers 17 master’s and doctoral degrees and emphasizes practical application to prepare graduates for careers in public health.

LLUSPH offers the only three online MPH programs in CA: lifestyle management, population medicine, and health education. Each 56 credit program can be completed in two to three years, and the curriculum is administered via Canvas. Each student, regardless of program, completes an introductory public health core curriculum to develop cross-field collaboration. A 400-hour practicum completes the degree, and provides students a supervised work experience to apply their skills and contribute to a health department or community organization.

12Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing$$$$$
East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
(517) 355-1855

One of the world’s top research universities, Michigan State University (MSU) began as the first land-grant University in the nation, and now boasts over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world. The College of Human Medicine offers an online master’s in public health for working professionals with a passion for improving large-scale health problems.

MSU’s master’s in public health is completely online. Asynchronous coursework allows students to complete it when most convenient, while online discussion boards and group projects promote collaborative learning. The 42 credit terminal degree can be taken part-time or full-time, and upon completion of required coursework, students participate in a capstone project and 240 hour practicum. The practicum can be completed anywhere in the U.S. or at a variety of international sites convenient for students.

13University of Colorado - DenverDenver$$$$$1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400
Denver, CO 80217-3364
(303) 556-5600

Situated in the heart of Denver, CO, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) has been at the forefront of online education since 1996, and the School of Public Health is the only accredited school of health in the Rocky Mountain region. The online master of public health in leadership and public health practice is designed for working professionals who aspire to leadership roles in health-focused organizations.

The MPH at CU Denver is offered online with an emphasis on collaborative learning. The 42 credit program develops core competencies in public health, and two on-campus visits are required to fulfill the management and leadership course requirements. A culminating capstone project and practicum emphasizes practical applications, while often providing students further career options. CU Denver is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which allows for a discounted tuition rate if students reside in one of 15 participating states.

14Des Moines University - Osteopathic Medical CenterDes Moines$$$$$3200 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 271-1400

Founded in 1898, Des Moines University (DMU) in Des Moines, IA is a health sciences university that only offers graduate programs. DMU is one of the largest medical schools in the country with over 1,700 students, three colleges and eight graduate degrees.

DMU’s online MPH programs are fully accredited and offer three concentrations: general public health, health service management and health promotion. The 46 credit curriculum provides a broad training in public health, with concentrations for students to tailor the program to their career goals. A capstone project and practicum allows students to apply their knowledge to real-world health problems. The MPH can be completed in as little as 2.5 years, and financial aid is granted to those in need.

15Salus UniversityElkins Park$$$$$8360 Old York Rd
Elkins Park, PA 19027-6262
(215) 780-1400

Located in Salus Park, PA, Salus University is a health science university with students across the globe. SU is an accredited university and a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization and recognizes the high cost of health disparities around the globe. The online master’s in public health prepares students to be motivated, curious learners to advance worldwide health and well-being.

The 42 credit master’s in public health is offered part-time as a distance option. Coursework in epidemiology, international development and health, and environmental health provide this program a global focus, while a capstone project and practicum integrates classroom learning with real-world application. Certificates in humanitarian and refugee health care and health policy are available for additional credits.

16SUNY at AlbanyAlbany$$$$$1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
(518) 442-3300

State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany) is a public state university nestled into New York’s historic capital. This major research university serves more than 17,000 students and offers more than 125 graduate programs. The School of Public Health was founded in 1985, and builds on collaborative research, education, practice between UAlbany and the New York State Department of Health.

A fully online, part time master’s in public health develops core knowledge of the public health field via coursework in statistics, epidemiology, and behavioral aspects of health. Field opportunities provide students with direct application to real-world health problems, and are available at sites convenient for students. The 51 credit program is offered year-round and is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

17Northeastern UniversityBoston$$$$$360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115-5005
(617) 373-2000

Northeastern University is located in historic Boston, MA. Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a worldwide, experiential research university focused on global education and research. With campuses around the country, NU offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees through their nine colleges and schools.

NU’s master of public health in urban health is focused on the effect of the urban environment on a population’s wellbeing with an emphasis on racial and ethnic health disparities. The MPH is offered fully online, and courses in general public health and general urban health provide a foundation in public health competencies, while a culminating practicum and capstone project presents students with direct application of their learning to issues of poverty, violence, and substance abuse. Faculty projects and directed studies provide students with additional opportunities to confront real-world problems.

18New York Medical CollegeValhalla$$$$$Administration Building
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594-4000

Located in Valhalla, NY, New York Medical College (NYMC) was created in 1860 and now features three schools - School of Medicine, Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences and School of Health Sciences and Practice. NYMC features an inclusive and humanistic approach to education and recently joined the Touro College and University System in 2011.

NYMC offers online MPH programs in three areas: behavioral sciences & health promotion, environmental health science, and health policy and management (also offered in an accelerated format). Each MPH can be completed completely online, however students may elect to take a blend of online and in-person courses. The 42 credit program can be completed in two years, however the accelerated MPH in health policy and management allows students to complete the program in a single year over three consecutive semesters. Admission into the online MPH is restricted to those with advanced degrees in healthcare such as physicians, medical students, and other professionals in health-related fields.

19West Virginia UniversityMorgantown$$$$$Stewart Hall, 1500 University Avenue
Morgantown, WV 26506-6201
(304) 293-0111

Based in Morgantown, West Virginia, West Virginia University was founded in 1967. The university has received a R1 Doctoral University classification--the top level acknowledged by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education--and serves more than 31,000 students.

The WVU school of Public Health offers an online master’s in public health in social and behavioral sciences (SBHS). The program address the behavioral, social and environmental factors which affect population health, and graduates leave with the leadership skills to develop and implement programs to improve public health. The 44 credit program features a courses in core public health and a culminating practicum project. Students can expect to complete the degree in four semesters.

20San Jose State UniversitySan Jose$$$$$1 Washington Sq
San Jose, CA 95192-0001
(408) 924-1000

20. San Jose State University
Located in San Jose, CA, San Jose State University (SJSU) is one of the top 20 research institutions in the country, with 145 areas of study with an additional 108 areas of concentration. SJSU serves more than 30,000 graduate and undergraduate students, all of whom have access to numerous online courses.

SJSU’s online master's in public health program is a 42 credit, 24 month degree available to students across the country. Students take all courses online, and meet with their cohort in-person four to five days once per year. SJSU also offers online MPH programs with a speciality in community health education. Distance students must complete a practicum and pass a comprehensive exam as their culminating experience, while in-person students may opt to complete a project or thesis.

21University of Massachusetts - AmherstAmherst$$$$$374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0111

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a nationally-ranked public university located in historic Amherst, Massachusetts. UMass serves more than 23,000 undergraduate students, 6,600 graduate students and features 1,300 full-time faculty members.

UMass offers a specialized MPH program -- a concurrent Dietetic Internship with an online master of public health in nutrition (DI/MPH-N). This online MPH is a full-time, 24 month program. Classes are available online, however the Dietetic Internship must be completed in-person. The internship requires a minimum of 1,200 hours in the field, and each intern rotates through different focus areas including nutritional care, food service management and community nutrition activities. In addition to the on-site hours, interns meet two to three times per month for seminar and other dietetic-related networking events.

22Mercer UniversityMacon$$$$$1400 Coleman Avenue
Macon, GA 31207
(478) 301-2700

Located in Macon, GA, Mercer University (MU) is one of America’s oldest institutions of higher learning. The liberal arts university was founded by Baptists in the early 1800’s, and now features 12 schools across three cities, including medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus, GA.

The MU masters of public health prepares public health professionals to form partnerships across rural and underserved communities. Courses are offered partially online, while many others are offered on-campus during weekends and evenings to accommodate working professionals. The 42 credit MPH program can be completed in two years and classes prepare students in topics like rural health, social determinants of health, minority health and, health disparities. A final capstone project completes the degree.

23University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham$$$$$Administration Bldg Suite 1070
Birmingham, AL 35294-0110
(205) 934-4011

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) calls the historic city of Birmingham its home. UAB’s downtown campus is known as an international, public doctoral research university and academic health center. The School of Public Health is the only accredited public health school in Alabama, while students and faculty benefit from over $29 million in research funds from the NIH.

UAB offers seven fully online MPH programs through the School of Public Health: environmental health & toxicology, epidemiology health behavior, health care organization, industrial hygiene, maternal and child health policy and leadership, mph in occupational health and safety. The 42 credit program requires all students -- regardless of concentration -- to complete core coursework in public health, which facilitates collaboration across disciplines. An internship is required to graduate.

24University of South CarolinaColumbia$$$$$Columbia-Campus
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-7000

Founded in 1801 -- and one of the oldest public schools in the nation -- The University of South Carolina Columbia (USC) enrolls nearly 50,000 students each year. The school’s online master’s in public health degree is designed for current health care practitioners in communities, schools, and health departments.

The 45 credit MPH program is takes two to three years to complete, and develops a diverse set of transferable, interdisciplinary skills relevant to today’s job market. Classes on race, ethnicity and health, health inequalities, consumer health in contemporary society, and applied health communication establish a foundation in core public health principles. Students complete a public health practicum and seminar to finalize their degree requirements. Tuition charges are identical for students residing in- or out-of-state.

25Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalb$$$$$1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828
(800) 892-3050

Situated 65 miles west of Chicago, Northern Illinois University (NIU) was founded in 1985 as a teacher's school. Today, NIU features nearly 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students across seven degree-granting colleges.

NIU recognizes the healthcare field benefits from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and the online masters in public health programs is open to those with bachelor’s degrees in all fields. The majority of coursework is completed online, and designed to accommodate working professionals. The 46 credit program features core courses, specialization and elective courses, a five credit internship, and a final comprehensive exam. The MPH program can be completed in 24 months as a full-time student, and offers two areas of specialization: health promotion and health service management.

Online Doctorate Degree in Public Health

After completing an MPH online program, some graduates choose to pursue a terminal degree in the field. DrPH candidates are qualified for senior research positions in public health, along with post secondary teaching jobs. Many graduates become postsecondary teachers at a college or university, or take on a senior educator role involving policy reform or national public health programming.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Public Health Ethics, Leadership/Management, Research Design and Methods, Public Health Intervention, and Health Politics and Policy Analysis

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Postsecondary Teacher and Medical Scientist/Researcher

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $70,790

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    13% growth projected 2014-2024

Online Public Health Choose Your Career

Average Public Health Salaries

$65,270
$34,870
$56,950
$92,810

Epidemiologist

Salary: $65,270
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
10% 5,100 Masters None

Epidemiologists research the causes and patterns of diseases, illnesses, and epidemics. They conduct research, analyze data, and develop community outreach programs and health policy reforms to prevent and reduce public health risks. Those suited to careers in epidemiology are detail-oriented critical thinkers and capable teachers with strong math skills. Epidemiologists are required to have at least a master’s degree to enter the field.

Community Health Worker

Salary: $34,870
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
14% 54,000 Associates None

Community health workers educate the public on wellness and healthy behaviors. Professionals collect data and statistics pertaining to public health, connect the public with health care services and programs, and plan and implement programs of their own to raise awareness in the community. Ideal candidates are analytical problem-solvers with strong writing and instructional skills. Community health workers holding an associate degree are qualified for entry-level jobs in the field, though many job-seekers go on to earn a higher degree in public health to increase their career opportunities and earning potential. Entry-level community health workers with an associate degree are prepared to enroll in a bachelor’s program.

Nutritionist

Salary: $56,950
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
16% 66,700 Bachelor's Registered Dietician

Nutritionists are trained to promote health and wellness by altering their clients’ diets. Professionals may counsel clients individually or in groups, helping them develop meal plans, encourage healthy eating habits, and promote a healthy lifestyle. Some nutritionists help patients achieve a particular goal, such as weight loss or diabetes management. Nutritionists should be compassionate and sensitive towards those they work with. Candidates who complete an online MPH program may earn a higher salary and have more job advancement potential. Though not always required, nutritionists are also encouraged to earn a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential.

Public Health Administrator

Salary: $92,810
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
17% 333,000 Bachelor's None

Public health administrators coordinate medical and healthcare services in a variety of settings. They may oversee a clinical department, specialty practice, or healthcare facility. These professionals are well-versed in public health policies, laws, regulations, and relevant technologies affecting the field. Ideal candidates also have strong leadership and communication skills, and must be detail-oriented and tech-savvy. As a management-oriented profession, public health administration requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. Public health administrators are well-compensated and the job growth rate in this area is high, though advancement opportunities and salary are contingent on your experience and credentials.

Online Public Health Degree in Action

Jennifer Dunphy Public Health

Jennifer Dunphy is a director of population health at Regal Medical Group. The flexibility offered by an online program allowed Dunphy to earn her master’s degree in public health from Berkeley College while she continued working.

Why did you choose to pursue your degree online?

I chose to pursue my degree online for several reasons. I was on my second masters, my first was a full-time MBA, so taking two more years to complete my MPH would have put me behind my peers in regards to professional experience. I needed an alternative which would allow me to make strides in both areas. Berkeley is also well known for it's exceptional public health program, and online was the only way I could continue to work at my current organization while enjoying access to Berkeley's faculty and curriculum.

What were the advantages of taking online classes?

The advantages to taking classes online were vast. I could make my own schedule, which sometimes involved being "in-class" or watching lectures during lunch at work, at 2 am on Saturday nights or 5 am on Monday mornings. I set my own schedule so that I could be most effective professionally and academically. If you have scheduled times you need to be somewhere in two disciplines (work and school), it becomes much more difficult to fit the pieces together in a way that works best for you. This virtual program allowed me the flexibility to be the most successful version of myself.

What were the challenges you faced taking public health classes online?

Challenges of working online include not being able to have face-to-face interactions with classmates and instructors. This was really only a large hindrance when I came across topics that are hard to talk through conversationally, like advanced statistical modeling. If the topic is mainly visual and involves a lot of symbols it's harder to talk things out. The other part of online learning I found challenging was exams-- finding and paying for a proctor, and scheduling exams at testing centers with administrators that can't answer any questions specific to your course material was frustrating at times. I found the rest of the aspects of online learning pleasant and adaptable.

How did your online public health degree prepare you for the job market?

My experience with online classes did prepare me for the job market, but this really had nothing to do with the courses being delivered online or not, and much more to do with the quality of faculty, access to resources such as office hours, content and delivery of course material and the context of the course compared with the professional opportunities available.

Online Public Health Professional Requirements

Public health workers may choose from a variety of credentialing opportunities in both general public health practice and individual sectors in the field. Though not required, common general certifications demonstrate your expertise and may make you a more marketable job candidate. Depending on your area of expertise and education, prospective licensees may opt to pursue a specialized credential (emergency management, wellness coaching, tobacco treatment etc).

Certified in Public Health (CPH)

The CPH is the most general certification for public health professionals. The test covers fundamental concepts in the field, including health policy and management, along with social and behavioral sciences. The CPH exam addresses the same basic skills students learn in an undergraduate public health degree program. To take the test, you must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have five years of work experience in public health. The cost of the test is $385; international students must pay an additional $125 fee.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Students have four hours to complete the exam

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

The CHES is a common specialty certification that assesses seven primary skills in prospective entry-level health education positions. CHES exam candidates must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a major related to health education. If their major is not in health education, they must submit an official transcript to demonstrate they have completed at least 25 semester hours (37 quarter hours) preparing for the exam’s Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists. The cost of the test for non-students begins at $240, and is $210 for students. As a form of standardizing high-quality health education across the country, more states are adopting policies encouraging health educators to become CHES-certified, though currently this credential is not required.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Students have three hours to complete the exam

Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

The MCHES is an advanced certification that can be obtained as a stand-alone credential or as an extension of the CHES. Like the CHES, the exam assesses your understanding of the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists. The MCHES delves deeper into both advanced and sub-level competencies within this framework. MCHES exam candidates with a CHES credential must have at least five continuous years of experience as a certified health education specialist. Candidates who do not have prior CHES certification (or who have CHES certification but fewer than five years as an active-status CHES) must have a master’s degree or higher in public health or a related field, or must show evidence of at least 25 semester hours preparing for the exam’s Seven Areas of Responsibility. Non-public health majors must also have five years of experience as an active-status CHES. The test costs $250 for students, and $300 for non-students. Job-seekers aspiring to senior-level educator positions or government work may be required to obtain MCHES certification.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Students have three hours to complete the exam

Career-specific Certifications

In addition to the common general certifications listed above, there are more than 25 available certifications spanning the primary sectors of public health, including occupational, environmental and first aid, and safety and emergency professions. Many employers will require first aid, CPR, and AED training for professionals providing direct health care to patients. If you are working with children, you may also need to obtain Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician certification. Wellness coaches and personal trainers may opt to obtain specialized credentials to improve their credibility and increase their advantage over competitors in their line of work. Other categories of public health that offer career-specific certifications include physical activity, nutrition and obesity, and drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.