What You Should Know About This Degree
As a complex field with critical responsibilities, public health demands that practitioners have the right knowledge and experience. Some MPH programs require students to already have a bachelor’s degree or professional experience in public health or a related field. If you don’t have a background in healthcare, it’s important to select a program that does not have a degree or professional prerequisites.
After earning their degree from a CEPH-accredited program, public health workers can obtain the Certified in Public Health, an optional credential that may make you more attractive to employers. Some jobs may require employees to have or earn this credential; attending a CEPH-accredited school will guarantee that you meet the educational requirements for the exam.
Even programs that have coursework that can be completed fully online typically require an in-person practicum and internship. When and where you complete this field experience depends on the program, so make sure that this requirement fits into your schedule and budget.
Many jobs exist under the umbrella of public health. Several online master’s programs offer concentrations in these various areas. However, those who have more general knowledge and are flexible in the type of job or setting they want might have the best job prospects, as competition for very specific jobs within public health can be stiff.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online MPH programs:
- Am I eligible to enroll in this program as an out-of-state student? Practicum and internship requirements may affect your ability to enroll as an out-of-state distance learning student, even at schools that are part of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Confirm with the program that they offer online degrees in your state.
- There are many opportunities for specialization within public health. Research these specializations, and confirm that your program of interest has the concentration you want. Certain jobs, like public health lawyer, may require an additional degree.
As part of your research process, get information about the programs’ application processes and deadlines. This information is typically available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly if you have questions.
Funding your graduate education is another important consideration. Ask the schools you are applying to about scholarship and financial aid opportunities and deadlines. For individuals already employed in the healthcare field, your employer might offer tuition reimbursement, or other financial support for earning your master’s degree.