Community as Patient: Careers in Public Health
Public health practitioners focus on the health of an entire population before illnesses and epidemics occur. A public health degree leads to careers in the following areas: behavioral science, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health education, health services administration and management, international and global health, maternal and child health, nutrition and public health policy.
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Public Health Degrees: What to Expect from Your Education
Public health schools usually offer a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Studies. Undergraduate public health degrees take four or five years to complete. The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is the industry standard, although many professionals pursue a Doctor of Public Health. Master of Public Health programs usually take one to two years to complete beyond the bachelor's degree. Doctorate public health programs generally require three to four years beyond the master's degree. At the undergraduate and graduate level, public health schools cover these subjects: biology, biostatistics, mass communications and public health, community, environmental, and global health, chemistry, child and maternal wellness, and epidemiology.
The Association of Schools of Public Health also confers a public health certificate for those who pass an annual CPH examination. The public health certificate test is administered every August.
Salaries for Public Health Degree Graduates
For the public health field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following average salary ranges for 2008, the most recent year for which data is available:
- Biostatistician: $52, 730 to $95,170
- Epidemiologist: $49,480 to $76,710
- Nutritionist: $41,060 to $61,790
- Health Educator: $33,000 to $60,810
- Medical and Health Services Manager: $62,170 to $104,120.