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Online Masters Degree in Public Health

If you choose to work in public health, you could make a difference helping individuals such as the elderly, disabled, homeless, mentally handicapped, mentally ill, gravely poor, abused or neglected. You can participate in a variety of programs that target and support those in need of assistance. If you wish to move into policy-making, administrative roles or research in public health, a master's degree might be required.

Master's degrees in public health

You can earn a master's degree in public health if you have a strong background in a related discipline, such as social work, environmental science, education, law or health services occupations like dentistry, nursing or pharmacy. Here are some typical courses:

  1. Environmental health
  2. Epidemiology
  3. Management sciences
  4. Policy and problem solving
  5. Public health biology
  6. Social and behavioral sciences
  7. Statistics

Most schools require electives, independent research and a completed thesis. You might need to complete a practicum project in a public health setting, then offer a report and presentation about it as a final exam.

Career options, outlook and salary

One common path for program graduates is to become a health educator. In addition to their degree, many health educators seek certification to expand their options. These professionals are found in a range of settings, including hospitals, non-profit organizations, government, physicians' offices, businesses and colleges. Health educators earned a mean annual wage of $45,830 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS sees promising employment opportunities, with expected job growth of 37 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Going beyond the master's degree

The master's degree can help you advance past entry-level positions and find work in public policy, administration or research. Going further to earn a doctoral degree in public health can open up even broader horizons for executive directors, supervisors or public health professors. Continuing education is a requirement for most positions in public health, and online studies allow you to earn continuing education credits while you gain valuable experience in the field.

While online master's degrees in public health are available, many programs opt for a hybrid approach that allows for web-based education combined with training in the field. Candidates who are already employed might find that they can use their current work experience to satisfy their fieldwork requirement, allowing them to study for their public health degree online.

Featured Online Public Health Degree Programs

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