Use Technology to turn your passion into a career with an online Public Health Degree Program
whether you are interested in research, working with people or simply crunching numbers, the field of Public Health offers something for everyone. Unlike other medical fields, Public Health Specialists focus on the health of entire populations before they are sick, rather than on an individual patient after they become ill.
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This proactive, preventive approach ensures that communities are safer and less prone to widespread illness or disease.
Students who are most effective public health workers are compassionate, thorough and analytical. They thrive under pressure and enjoy working with people of different racial, cultural and economic backgrounds. In addition, the best workers in this field understand the value of education as a means to help their community, and often gain an on-campus or online Masters or PhD in Public Health in order to advance in their careers.
What do Public Health Professionals do?
Public Health officials are the professionals responsible for keeping us safe and healthy. They work to prevent widespread health problems from happening and reoccurring. They inspect food, water and soil quality to ensure that people are living in a safe environment. They are sort of “doctors for the community” - responsible for protecting the health of individuals on both a local and global scale.
Since there are many disparate specialties you can pursue, your day-to-day duties will change dramatically depending on what you choose to focus your studies on. For example Epidemiology and Biostatistics are predominantly math and science fields, and will require a high level of analysis of data. On the other hand, a degree in Health Administration will give you a career that involves working with people and managing large organizations or projects.
What are the working conditions?
Since Public Health is a vast and diverse field, the job conditions vary according to the field in which a person works. For example health educators and community health specialists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, governmental buildings, doctors’ offices, private businesses and colleges. Although most health educators work in an office, they may spend a lot of time away from the office to carry out programs or attend meetings. Community health workers may spend much of their time in the field, communicating with community members and holding events. On the other hand, environmental specialists and scientists, apart from working in the office, spend long hours in the field gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions.
What is the typical pay and career outlook?
Although Public Health careers are generally excellent choices for a high-paying career, what you choose to specialize will determine your average wage. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for environmental scientists was $63,570, epidemiologists made an average income of $65,270 and healthcare educators took in an average annual wage of $48,790. Even though these wages are generally above average, it’s clear that specialization is a key factor when talking about earnings.
Another area that affects pay and career outlook is education. While a bachelor’s degree in Public Health is the basic requirement for entry-level positions, an on-campus or online Masters of public health is often necessary for more advanced positions, especially to work in governmental organizations. For the highest levels of administrative and research positions, an on-campus or online PhD is usually required.
Over the next 10 years, jobs in this field are generally expected to grow at a normal rate, with some exceptions. Although environmental scientists and epidemiologists will increase at a rate of between 10-15%, general healthcare workers, teachers and administrators are projected to be in higher demand as the baby boomer generation begins to age more dramatically.
Why should I choose an online Masters or PhD?
In order to get the most opportunities in this field, it is vital to consider an additional degree beyond a bachelor’s. For many students, this desire conflicts with work and personal schedules that might not allow them to attend an on-campus university. Because of this, many more students are choosing a degree online. For students who wish to advance more practically, like focusing on management within their field, a Masters in Public Health online is a flexible way to meet those goals. For those who wish to pursue research, academic instruction or high-level consulting for government agencies, an online PhD may be the right option.