Guide to online MPH degrees is a collection of helpful resources for students pursuing master’s degrees in public health. Graduate level degrees in public health are commonly offered at various education levels and specializations. Public health is a field geared towards helping others and improving the health in our communities. This field is growing and changing rapidly due to economic, political, and social factors. By earning your master’s degree in public health, you’ll be at the forefront of developing new programs and bolstering existing ones.

If you’re passionate about helping others and making a difference, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a great way to expand your understanding of the policies, financing, and dynamics of the U.S. healthcare system. You’ll learn how to implement public health programs, budgets, strategic plans, campaigns, and much more!

George Washington University . George Washington University is a smaller, private school accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA). The school is a great choice for students looking to enter the public health field as several options are available online, including the Master of Public Health program.
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Kaplan University . Kaplan University is one of the nation’s biggest schools with over 50,000 students enrolled. Kaplan is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Kaplan offers an MPH general program with specializations in health education or program development available.
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Walden University . Walden University is an online school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Walden has two MPH programs available: a general studies major and a health policy specialization. Both of these programs can be completed entirely online with no campus visitation required.
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Grand Canyon University . Grand Canyon University is one of the largest Christian schools in the country and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. While GCU presents a rich, engaging campus experience, students who already have careers or those with family obligations can take classes online including the Master of Public Health program.
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MPH Programs – What to Expect

MPH programs vary by school. Each program is different and has its own admissions and graduation criteria. However, you can expect most programs to focus on the core functions of public health. These include:

  • prevention and control of diseases
  • environmental health
  • health status assessment
  • health disparities
  • policy development and research

Public health combines science and public service into one unique field. The curriculum emphasizes the scientific and ethical aspects of healthcare. You’ll participate in a variety of fieldwork experiences that challenges your intellect and broadens your mind.

Once accepted into a program, you’ll likely need to complete about 45-60 course credits. Some programs can be completed in about two years. If you work full-time or have other commitments that require a flexible schedule, enrolling in an online program might be an option. This way you can complete most classes, if not all, from home.

Fieldwork and MPH Programs

You might find that the program you choose requires you to complete a field training or project-based public health practice activity. What does this mean? Fieldwork involves working in a social service agency or community center in order to gain practical, real-world experience.

Fieldwork is a very important component of graduate study. The networking opportunities will get you connected with a number of different professionals in the field. Who knows? Your placement just might land you a job after graduation. Some schools require 200 hours or more of fieldwork. Given the amount of hours required, scheduling your fieldwork may prove difficult. However, schools are often very accommodating and work with students to find the perfect placement that meets the student’s needs. You might be able to fulfill hours on the weekend, after work, or even at your current job if you’re employed at a community center or social service agency.

In addition to the hours at your assigned agency or community center, you might also be required to complete the following:

  • final written report
  • oral presentation
  • attend fieldwork seminars

If you’re unsure of the fieldwork requirements, schedule an appointment with an academic advisor. This way you’ll know exactly what’s expected of you and a timelines for completion.

Career Options with an MPH Degree

Once you’ve earned your MPH degree, your career options have increased. What great news! More education means more job opportunities and bigger salaries. MPH programs are rigorous and the rewards are many. You’ll learn more about your field and the opportunities it offers. It’s time to really make your mark in the public health arena. Public health is a diverse field, and there are many areas in which you can lend your time and skills, including:

  • Education
  • Administration / Management
  • Community Practice
  • Policy
  • Research

Within each area you can find unique employment opportunities. If you’re more research-oriented, perhaps working at a university would be a good fit. If you like working in the field and interacting with other professionals, community practice or administration might be an option. Other settings include:

  • Consulting firms
  • Consumer advocacy organizations
  • Federal and state health agencies
  • Health service delivery organizations
  • International organizations
  • Public and private secondary schools
  • State legislative committees
  • Voluntary health agencies

With an MPH degree, you’ll be ready to assume leadership roles and managerial positions. Community agencies need public health professionals to manage their programs and serve clients. Additionally, public health professionals help community agencies receive the funding they need to quickly respond to outbreaks and disasters. Your skills can be applied to any community or group experiencing health disparities. You can even work abroad and gain experience working with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Some job titles for MPH graduates may include:

  • Teacher of Health Economics
  • Teacher of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
  • Health Educator
  • HIV/AIDS Specialist
  • HIV/AIDS Care Services Coordinator
  • Outreach Specialist
  • Virology Trainer

Career Outlook for MPH Graduates

Where you work and who you work for will determine how much you earn. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual wage of $96,030 in May 2011 for medical and health services managers. Epidemiologists earned $69,660 in May of 2011. An epidemiologist investigates the causes of disease and other public health problems. If you’re more science-minded, you might want to consider working in this field. What’s more, employment of epidemiologists is “expected to increase by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.” Occupational health and safety specialists earned $67,340 in May 2011.

Each of the above careers allows you to utilize your leadership, research, and clinical skills to help communities in need. Public health is field with numerous possibilities and with a MPH degree, you’ll be a position to assume incredible job opportunities.

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