A Primer on MPH College Degrees

By on September 21, 2020
college degrees

The COVID pandemic is just the latest of the many public health threats that confront to society at large. Because of this, there is a high demand for talented and educated people in various public health disciplines. Many people break into this arena after earning an MPH (Masters of Public Health) college degrees. 

What Is An MPH Program?

From an overall perspective, the MPH degree prepares individuals to work in a wide array of fields associated with the health of populations and society, as opposed to individual health. In most cases, it takes two years to complete. Here is a brief MPH degree overview.

Most MPH programs consist of about 45 credits including:

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  • Core Coursework
  • Specialization courses such as health policy, biostatistics, emergency preparedness, and public health finance
  • A practicum, field study, or internship
  • A masters thesis focusing on a specific aspect of public health

Where Do MPH Degree Holders Work?

An MPH degree is quite versatile. After earning an MPH, there is a wide variety of career options available. A recent academic article pointed to numerous subdisciplines of public health. The following are some of the career paths included in this article:

  • Public Health Manager, involved in the ethics and economic aspects of societal health
  • Epidemiologist, working in research and laboratory environments 
  • Global Health, involved with public health at the largest of scales
  • Biostatistics, cataloging and compiling information for health-modeling efforts
  • Environmental Health, looking at the ecological aspects of human health
  • Public Health Research, focusing on cutting-edge solutions to public health issues
  • Educator in Public Health, working in schools and institutions
  • Policy Consultant, working to influence health decision-makers, layers and government entities

Other opportunities can be found in areas of emergency management, environmental engineering, and public health control functions.

MPH Case Study

Students typically go into the field of public health because they are drawn to the opportunity of helping large numbers of people live healthy and vibrant lives. They are also attracted to the combination of the sciences with large-scale social issues.  For example, one student pointed out that combined concerns about homelessness, health insurance costs, and emergency room overcrowding were influential in advancing her desire to pursue an MPH: This video provides a student overview that is typical of many working toward an MPH.

What Is the Earning Power of an MPH-Degreed Individual?

Those with an MPH degree are forecast to be in high demand because of impressive growth in the public health sector. Because of this, as well as the ability to beneficially affect so many people’s lives, salaries tend to be high. Ranges for a person with one year experience can vary between $431,000 and $162,000, with an average of $68,000 annually. The top 10% of individuals with an MPH earn over $119,00 per year. 

As can be seen, the sky is the limit for the holder of an MPH degree. With so many possible career paths as well as the ability to help so many people, the attractiveness of this degree is hard to beat.

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A Primer on MPH College Degrees