Best Online Public Health Degrees in 2021

What can a degree in public health do for you? Compare some of today’s best schools, review program options, and see how an online program can make your career grow.

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EduMed Staff

last updated

Last Updated: 09/22/2021
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Choosing where to earn your public health degree online is a big deal. It is important that you do your research before applying to schools to find the ones that best fit your personal and academic needs. At first glance, online public health degree programs may appear similar, but each college or university has something unique to offer. In addition to cost and convenience, you will also need to evaluate each school’s course offerings and faculty strengths.

Our Best of 2021 rankings list below can help you get started in your search. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and universities themselves, we’ve created a collection of what we believe are the best public health degrees you can earn online for the cost. With our help, you can find an accredited program that works for you, offers the credentials your future employers want, and has a price you can afford. Learn which online programs stand out in 2021.

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About the ranking

X

Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Best Online Programs

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC Public $$ 5

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is home to the Gillings School of Global Public Health, which offers three potential online paths for those who want to work in the public health field. The online Master of Public Health offers concentrations in leadership, nutrition, applied epidemiology, and registered dietitian. Rolling admissions, four annual start dates, full-time or part-time options, and up to five years to complete the program make a flexible option. Those who want to focus on particular areas and cut the time it takes to get an education can look to the Online Global Health Certificate or the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate. Both require nine credit hours.

Program Highlights:

Certificate - Public Health Leadership

  • Credits: 11 credits
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $560.00/credit (in-state); $1,392.00/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CEPH (program)

Certificate - Global Health

  • Credits: 9 credits
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $560.00/credit (in-state); $1,392.00/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CEPH (program)

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42 credits
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $1,735.00/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
2 CUNY Graduate School and University CenterNew York, NY Public $$ 5

At City University of New York, the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy offers numerous programs, most of them entirely online. The Master of Public Health, a 42-credit program, offers five concentrations: community health, environmental and occupational health sciences, epidemiology and biostatistics, health policy and management, and public health nutrition. There is also a 15-credit Advanced Certificate in Public Health for those who want to complete their studies in one year and then sit for the Certified in Public Health exam. Applicants must have two letters of recommendation, a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0, personal statements, resumes, and experience working in public health or a related field.

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42 credits
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $7,546.45/semester
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CEPH (program)

Advanced Certificate in Public Health

  • Credits: 15 credits
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $4,270/semester
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
3 University of Washington-Seattle CampusSeattle, WA Public $$ 5

The Master of Public Health at the University of Washington is a fully online program requiring three on-campus visits. The school uses the Canvas learning system, and while much of the coursework can be completed asynchronously, classes themselves are synchronous and meet at set times each week. This allows students to have better interaction with their cohorts as they move through the 63-credit program. In addition to courses that focus on public health leadership, project management, health communication and marketing, global health, and program planning, students must also complete capstone projects and 160-hour practicums with an agency that pertains to public health.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 63 credits
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $912.00/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
4 University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, SC Public $$$ 5

At the University of South Carolina – Columbia, students can choose from two MPH courses online: a Master of Public Health in Health Services Policy and Management (MPH) via Distance Education and a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior Professional Online Program. In addition, those interested in expanding their MPH reach can enroll in dual degrees that add Public Administration or Social Work. The programs (except for the dual option) take about two years to complete. They are completely online, asynchronous, and offered through the Blackboard learning system. Students can take two to four courses each semester and the programs start every fall.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: Varies
  • Length: 24 to 26 months
  • Cost: $568.75/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 Central Washington UniversityEllensburg, WA Public $$ 4

Students at Central Washington University can begin their careers helping the public with health matters by pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Public Health and then move on to the Master of Public Health. Those in the bachelor’s degree program can opt for concentrations in population health or pre-nursing. Regardless of track, students can take 13 to 17 credits per semester to reach graduation. The master’s program can be completed within two years, including the capstone thesis. To dive deeper into the world of public health, students can choose to begin their MPH programs by earning the Rural and Community Health Graduate Certificate and can apply the 15 credits earned to their MPH pursuits. Students in any of these programs can take advantage of online tutoring, library resources, advising, and help with the Canvas learning system.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science - Public Health Major

  • Credits: 115 credits
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $6,475.00/year (in-state); $22,551.00/year (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school)

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 56 credits
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $9,822.00/year (in-state); $23,007.00/year (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
64%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
6 Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN Public $$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
7 University of ArizonaTucson, AZ Public $$$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
8 George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA Public $$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
28%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
9 University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, OH Public $$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
10 CUNY Hunter CollegeNew York, NY Public $$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
17%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
11 Wright State University-Main CampusDayton, OH Public $$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
12 San Diego State UniversitySan Diego, CA Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
21%
Accreditation#N/A
13 Florida International UniversityMiami, FL Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
76%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
14 SUNY at AlbanyAlbany, NY Public $$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
15 University of FloridaGainesville, FL Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
16 University of KentuckyLexington, KY Public $$$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
17 University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN Public $$$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
18 New Mexico State University-Main CampusLas Cruces, NM Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
19 Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond, VA Public $$$ 4 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
45%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
20 Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk, VA Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
21 Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station, TX Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
22 University of South Florida-Main CampusTampa, FL Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
23 University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
24 Portland State UniversityPortland, OR Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
55%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
25 California State University-NorthridgeNorthridge, CA Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
Accreditation#N/A
26 University of Maryland-College ParkCollege Park, MD Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
47%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
27 The University of West FloridaPensacola, FL Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
28 Oklahoma State University-Main CampusStillwater, OK Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
73%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
29 University of KansasLawrence, KS Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
30 East Carolina UniversityGreenville, NC Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
31 Boise State UniversityBoise, ID Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
76%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
32 The University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonHouston, TX Public $$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
or
About the ranking

X

Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Best Online Programs

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Northern Essex Community CollegeHaverhill, MA Public $ 2

The Public Health Associate Degree program from North Essex Community College prepares students to pursue entry-level positions in a variety of public health settings with federal and local public agencies and private healthcare providers. The curriculum combines general education and major-specific coursework that is completed over five consecutive semesters (including one summer semester). The program is presented in a hybrid format where students complete the bulk of their coursework online while attending class in person two evenings a week on the school’s Lawrence, Massachusetts campus. Students also participate in hands-on practice under the supervision of a program-approved preceptor as part of the Public Health Practicum/Seminar course. Credits earned in the program can be applied to a bachelor’s degree program in public health or a related field like health administration, health education, or environmental health.

Program Highlights:

Public Health Associate Degree

  • Credits: 68
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $315/credit (Massachusetts residents); $328/credit (New England Regional residents); $556/credit (outside New England residents)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: NECHE (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
5%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
2 Doña Ana Community College at NMSULas Cruces, NM Public $ 2

Dõna Ana Community College’s Associate in Public Health degree program provides fundamental coursework in public health for students seeking entry-level employment in the field. It’s also an affordable means of obtaining general education and public health subject credits for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. The course of study is two years long and designed to be completed over four semesters (fall and spring). All major-specific didactic courses can be taken online or in person. General education requirements may also be completed online. However, students must complete a Service Learning course that includes in-person participation in collaborative efforts within the community. The program fully articulates with the public health bachelor’s degree offered on New Mexico State University’s campus in Las Cruces.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Public Health

  • Credits: 60-61
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $74/credit (in-district); $90/credit (out-of-district, New Mexico); $236/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
5%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
3 Hillsborough Community CollegeTampa, FL Public $ 1

Students in the Central Region of Florida seeking a cost-effective way to earn two years of credits toward a bachelor’s degree in public health can do so through the Public Health Associate of Arts Pathway program at Hillsborough Community College. The program is designed specifically for students intending to transfer onto a four-year bachelor’s program upon earning their AA degree. Students complete the degree requirements over six semesters, including summer sessions. More than three-quarters of the required general education and major-specific courses can be taken online, although online course availability varies by academic term. Courses requiring face-to-face attendance are offered on HCC’s Brandon, Del Mabry, Plant City, Southshore, and Ybor City campuses.

Program Highlights:

Public Health AA Pathway

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $104.39/credit (in-state); $379.61/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
4 Metropolitan Community College AreaOmaha, NE Public $ 1

The Certificate of Achievement in Public Health from Metropolitan Community College offers individuals in the Omaha and Fremont, Nebraska areas a quick and cost-effect program for obtaining the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level employment in the public health field. The certificate also provides a pathway to earning a General Health Studies AAS degree through MCC. The 48-credit curriculum includes public health-related coursework and general education courses in mathematics, communications, and psychology. The program is presented in a hybrid format combining online coursework with additional courses taken on either MCC’s South Omaha or Fremont campus. Students additionally complete a minimum of 240 hours of in-person observation with a public or private health agency as part of the required student internship.

Program Highlights:

Certificate of Achievement in Public Health

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 1.5 years
  • Cost: $66/credit (in-state); $99/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
26%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
5 Itawamba Community CollegeFulton, MS Public $ 1

The Associate of Applied Science in Public Health program available from Itawamba Community College in Northeast Mississippi features a four-semester curriculum that can be completed in 1 ½ years of full-time study. All didactic coursework is accessed and completed online. However, all students are required to complete in-person field experiences of eight hours per week during the second and third semesters of the program when they interact and collaborate with public health professionals in real practice settings. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalency diploma and ACT scores. Seating in the program may be limited, however, so meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Selection of students is based on a points system that evaluates the student’s prior academic performance.

Program Highlights:

AAS in Public Health

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $140/credit (in-state); $240/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Profiling Online Public Health Degree Programs

School profiles like the ones we’ve provided below can be incredibly helpful as you research online public health degree programs. They can give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to earn your degree online, how much it will cost, what classes you’ll take, and much more. Learn more about online bachelor’s degrees in public health at two of the most popular online universities and see if they may be right for you.

Southern New Hampshire University

HAMPSHIRE-UNIVERSITY

SNHU is a private Institution located in Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. Established in 1932, the school today serves approximately 88,000 online students and holds regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The school offers a bachelor of science in public health degree entirely online for remote learners. The faculty delivers courses in an asynchronous format, including courses such as fundamentals of public health, social and behavioral health, programming planning in public health, and public health education and communication.

Prospective students do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration. SNHU also subscribes to a rolling admissions policy and offers six eight-week undergraduate terms per year. Students need to complete 120 credits for this program and can transfer up to 90 credits from previously earn courses at accredited institutions. Graduates of this program move on to careers as public policymakers, scientists and researchers, social workers, epidemiologist, first responders, community planners, health educators, and more.

Walden University

WALDEN-UNIVERSITY

Established in 1970, Walden is an online for-profit institution located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an online bachelor of science in public health. Public health students choose from concentrations in healthcare management, health promotion and wellness, and health psychology and behavior.

Online students choose from three degree completion options that cater to the learner’s schedule. Firstly, Walden offers a course-based option, which allows students to engage in synchronous course meetings with faculty on a predetermined schedule. Secondly, learners can take advantage of a competency-based option wherein they complete assignments with no weekly deadlines and work at their own pace. Lastly, Walden offers an accelerated track for undergraduates who plan on pursuing a master’s degree upon graduation. In this scenario, you can earn 20 master’s-level credits while completing your undergraduate requirements.

In total, bachelor’s degree speakers need at least 181 quarter credits for graduation. Core major courses include principles of epidemiology, public health education and communication, and planning public health programs. Additionally, bachelor students complete a five-credit capstone course.

Online Public Health Degrees & Accreditation

Colleges and universities that offer valuable education typically possess regional accreditation. Accrediting bodies ensure that educational institutions meet particular standards and evaluate them on a regular basis. In sum, schools with regional accreditation provide quality education to their students and are worth your hard-earned tuition dollars.

Some schools will seek out programmatic accreditation, which is usually specific to one degree program or department. For public health departments, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) offers the top programmatic credential. This accreditation improves the school’s reputation and visibility among the public health community, helps institutions attract world-class faculty members and top students, and increases the school’s access to a diverse network of resources in the public health arena.

Accreditation-img

Aside from offering reassurance that you as a student are pursuing a worthwhile education, school-wide and programmatic accreditation shows your prospective employers that, upon graduation, you’ve completed a rigorous curriculum that’s been carefully vetted and approved by credible outside parties. Additionally, in order to receive federal financial aid, the federal government and other types of public funding institutions require you to attend an accredited institution. You must submit your FAFSA before the deadline to be considered for funding.

Accreditation-img-mobile

A Look Inside the Online Bachelor’s in Public Health

Before you apply to a program, it is important that you spend a significant amount of time researching the cost, curriculum, and potential career prospects you may encounter upon graduating. When it comes to your education, you can never be too informed about the decisions you’re making. In the sections below, we offer a list of key questions that you should answer during the early stages of your search for an online public health program.

What do you learn in an online public health program?

Every public health program is different and brings unique strengths to the table. At the same time, these programs also share a core set of introductory and intermediate public health courses. Here’s a list of courses and common topics they cover to give you an idea of what you will face as a public health student.

Anatomy and Physiology

Undergraduate students in public health need to understand the basics of molecular and cellular mechanisms and organ systems of the body. These courses typically include laboratory exercises and lectures from faculty members. These classes are common and often required among undergraduate public health programs and usually include the word “introduction” in their titles.

Biology and Public Health

Courses in this category help learners explore causes of human diseases from an ecological perspective. Faculty assist public health students in examining population-based case studies of infectious diseases, genetically determined diseases, and disease transmission. Any type of introductory biological course that is designed for public health students at your school will cover the essential information you will need regarding diseases, risk factors, and transmission.

Research Skills and Public Health Professions

These introductory classes help prepare you for various types of research you may conduct upon graduation. You will develop foundational assessment skills, learn how to use data collection methods, and create executable research designs. While these courses are important for your undergraduate success, these research skills courses also prepare you for graduate-level coursework.

Behavioral Health and Sociology

These courses provide an overview of foundational information in the social and behavioral sciences as it pertains to public health majors. You will explore the essential theories, principles, and research techniques that have historically been used to solve public health issues. Using case studies, students explore a variety of factors related to human behavior, including culture, ethnicity, gender, and poverty.

Practical Skills in Public Health

These courses help undergraduates develop the necessary planning, time management, and leadership skills professionals in public health employ in a variety of contexts. Faculty cover essential theories, planning methods, and concepts that lead to the promotion of successful public health programs and effective public health policies.

As a public health student, you will learn a wide variety of valuable skills that are applicable both inside and outside of the public health field. The training you receive and skills you’ll develop prepare you for detail-oriented careers and help you be a more effective communicator, researcher, educator, and leader.

  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Teaching and presentation skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Research and analysis skills

What concentrations or tracks are available in public health?

Although concentrations and specialized tracks tend to be more common at the master’s degree level, bachelor’s students in public health can sometimes narrow down their interests while progressing through their undergraduate curriculum. In many cases, focusing on a concentration area helps you develop specialized skills that prepare you for more specific careers upon graduation. Additionally, the concentration area will help keep your academic interests and research focused as you advance through a program. This way, you’ll be better prepared for graduate studies in public health, should you choose to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree.

Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of diseases and health among populations of humans. In this concentration area of the field, you focus more on communities and research individuals as parts of a larger collective. It is also the scientific study of health patterns and risk factors among populations, with special attention given to infectious diseases, disaster scenarios, and other epidemic situations.

Health Policy and Management

This concentration best serves learners interested in improving health policies in their communities at the state and national levels. Undergraduates with this concentration learn about the basic skills and methods for impacting public health policies and regulations, utilizing data-based solutions to improve healthcare, and conducting effective health policy research.

Global Health

Students with a concentration in global health focus on both local and worldwide issues in public health. This specialization is good for students interested in working with government organizations, research institutions, and other partners who develop, improve, or analyze public health programs or projects around the globe.

Biostatistics

For public health students interested in a more mathematical approach to public health, a concentration in biostatistics may be an excellent fit. In these specialized tracks, you learn how to apply statistical research methods to analyze healthcare, clinical data, biomedical information, and more. Undergraduate students develop an understanding of statistical probability, random variation, various types of research methods, and ethical principles commonly employed in the field.

Community Health

Undergraduate public health students with a concentration in community health explore psychological, cultural, and social behaviors as it relates to public health and community-based interventions. Learners also study political and social action, local and national health agencies, and the effectiveness of health maintenance organizations in hospitals.

How long does it take to complete an online public health degree program?

Similar to most online bachelor’s degrees, the online degree in public health usually takes full-time students four years to complete. Many colleges and universities accept transfer credits or offer you credits for prior learning experience which can shorten your time in a public health program.

There are several factors that can affect the duration of your degree as an online public health bachelor’s student. The most significant determinant of time is your enrollment status as a full- or part-time learner. Depending on how many courses you are able to take each semester, part-time status may increase your time in school by one or two years.

How much does it cost to earn a bachelor’s in public health online?

The cost of your online public health degree varies between schools. Even though you may be taking entirely online courses, even where you live can affect the cost of your online education. Colleges and universities often charge different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state learners.

Furthermore, the longer you spend in school, the more you can expect you spend on education-related expenses outside of tuition, such as commuting to campus for hybrid courses, acquiring learning materials, and time away from your job. For the cost of a specific online bachelor’s programs in public health, find a school in the ranking above and visit its tuition and fees page.

Paying for Your Online Public Health Degree

A college education cost a significant amount of money and requires careful planning ahead of time. There are many options to help you pay for school, you just need to look for them. Regardless of your financial situation, you should apply for as many funding opportunities as possible, provided you meet the requirements. This list below contains five of the most common ways public health degree-seekers obtain funding for their education.

1

Scholarships

Scholarships may come through your department or college as well as from outside sources. Scholarship awards can come from public and private organizations, government bodies, private individuals, and more. Legitimate scholarships do not require you to submit an application fee to apply. You should apply for as many scholarships as possible, provided that you are competitive candidate based on the stated criteria. Scholarships are essentially free money for your education that do not need to be repaid.

Explore 15 of the best scholarships for public health students.

2

Financial aid

The U.S. Department of Education provides students more than $150 billion in financial aid every school year. In order to be considered for these funds you must fill out and submit a FAFSA. All students should submit this free application form regardless of their financial situation. This need-based aid may come in the form of a loan, grant, or work-study position.

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Grants

Grants are often need-based awards and come from the federal or state government, your school, or private organizations. A common grant for public health students to receive is the Federal Pell Grant. The amount of the grants change each year and do not need to be repaid, provided you finish your studies as intended each year.

4

Work-Study

These are part-time jobs for students in financial need. The positions are available to part- and full-time students and can significantly offset the cost of your education and living expenses. Be sure to check with your school’s department of financial aid to ensure that federal work-study program is available at your school, as this is not a universal program.

5

Loans

After you send in your FAFSA, the federal government considers your candidacy for an education loan. Alternatively, you can apply for a loan through a private financial institution, such as a bank. Most students choose a federal loan over a private loan, as the interest rates are usually better through the government. A loan helps you cover your educational and living expenses but it must be paid back to the loaner plus interest.

What’s After Your Online Bachelor’s in Public Health

It is important for new students to fully understand the industry that they’re preparing to enter upon graduation. As you look into degree programs to pursue your bachelor’s in public health, be sure to cast a wide net and learn as much as you can from credible sources. Make sure you examine the career paths that will become available to you with your public health credentials, as well as how much you can expect to earn in those roles.

Do I need certification or licensure with a bachelor’s in public health?

In many cases, you do not need to possess a particular type of certification or license to pursue a career in public health with a bachelor’s degree. Several elective certifications are available to bachelor’s degree-holders, however. Ultimately, a certification shows your prospective employers that you’ve gone the extra mile to hone your skills and set yourself apart from other candidates in the job market.

The most commonly sought out certification, the Certified in Public Health (CPH) designation, comes from the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Students can also pursue specialty certifications such as one from the Certification Board for Infection Control and Epidemiology, which requires that candidates have a bachelor’s degree in public health and at least two years of work experience.

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OnlineBachelor

What can you do with a public health bachelor’s?

A bachelor’s degree in public health positions you for a variety of exciting and rewarding careers. Whether you want to work in the public or private sector, a public health degree can serve as one of the most important steps to a fulfilling career. Depending on your area of interest or concentration area, you may find yourself working as a clinical researcher, healthcare consultant, nutritionist, social worker, and more. A bachelor’s degree also prepares you for additional education in a master’s in public health program. The chart that follows illustrates only a small taste of what’s out there for bachelor’s degree-holders in public health.

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public-health-bachelor-chart

How much can you earn with a public health bachelor’s?

While a bachelor’s degree in public health can position you for success in a variety of lucrative careers, your education level and amount of experience also greatly affect your earning potential. In the table that follows, we offer a spectrum of salaries based on education levels, experience, and geographic location for several common public health professions.

Career # Employed Entry-Level Early Career Mid-Career Experienced Late Career
Medical and Health Services Managers 372,670 $58,680 $76,050 $99,730 $130,820 $182,600
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary 199,480 $43,370 $61,280 $97,370 $160,580
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists 88,390 $42,450 $56,060 $73,020 $91,030 $108,520
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health 80,480 $42,520 $53,580 $71,130 $94,590 $124,620
Epidemiologists 7,060 $42,240 $54,930 $69,660 $89,950 $112,600
Health Educators 58,780 $32,030 $39,800 $54,220 $74,660 $98,530
Community Health Workers 56,130 $26,070 $32,280 $39,540 $51,650 $65,890

Continuing Education & Related Degrees

Perhaps you are interested in earning a bachelor’s in public health to expand your career options or advance up the ladder in your current position. Maybe you want something a little different than you originally planned. In public health, there’s plenty of opportunities to advance with additional education, such as a master’s in public health, or to pivot into a related career with a second bachelor’s degree. Take a look at a few of the degree options that may be a good fit if you’re currently studying or working in public health.

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Continuing Education

If a DNP doesn’t seem like the right fit, students looking to advance their nursing careers or increase their expertise may want to explore other online nursing degrees. Earning an advanced education is a big decision that warrants careful consideration, so exploring alternative degree programs is a smart idea. These may be great options for nursing professionals who want to advance their careers but aren’t set on a DNP route.

Master’s in Public Health Online

Like most master’s degrees, the MPH allows you to further develop your knowledge in the field, particularly in a specialized area. Master’s programs are typically 2-3 years in length and can require an extensive final project or traditional master’s thesis, depending on your program. The MPH is usually best for students who already possess a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Doctor of Public Health Online

The doctor of public health is usually the next step for current master’s degree-holders who wish to pursue the top education and research positions in the field. Most colleges and universities, especially top-tier institutions, require their full-time, tenure track professors to possess a doctoral degree. You can also obtain research and education jobs outside of universities and work for private research organizations, the state or federal government, nonprofit institutions, and more.

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Related Degrees

Healthcare Administration

Healthcare administration programs best serve individuals interested in the business side of healthcare. Sometimes referred to as health services managers, professionals in healthcare administration have strong leadership skills and an understanding of the complexities of the healthcare system, hospitals, clinics, and the relevant technology. You can find entry-level positions in a variety of roles, including jobs in human resources departments and hospital management.

Health Science

Health science programs prepare you for a variety of exciting jobs in the field, including occupational therapy assistant, surgical technician, registered health information technician, and more. While pursuing your degree, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, you will choose a specialization area in health informatics, epidemiology, administration, or another popular area. In any case, a health science program will ensure that you understand the foundational knowledge of the field, including topics in medicine and nutrition, to pursue a variety of career paths upon graduation.