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Master’s in Public Health Online (MPH) Degree – Everything You Need to Know

July 8, 2021

An online MPH degree can lead to various opportunities across the healthcare industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), estimates that five out of the 20 fastest-growing sectors from 2019 to 2029 belong to the healthcare and social assistance sectors.

With the baby-boomers continuing to age out of the field, increased life expectancies, and a surge in patients with chronic conditions, there is a significant demand for public health professionals. 

An MPH program equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a rewarding career in the health, science, and community development industries.

What is an MPH Degree?

A master of public health (MPH) degree is a versatile, interdisciplinary program that includes public health science and management courses such as diseases, behavioral science, community education, healthcare policies, biostatistics, and healthcare informatics.

An MPH degree can help you work in research, policymaking, healthcare information and statistics, education, awareness, and prevention efforts. It is also the minimum educational requirement for specific positions including epidemiologists.

what is an mph degree

What Are The Benefits Of Pursuing Online MPH Programs?

Online and hybrid programs offer a convenient option for students to pursue their degrees. If you are already working or have any health and family obligations, pursuing an online degree provides the flexibility to study at your convenience and without affecting your current schedule.

Distance learners can also save significant time and money, as they do not have to commute to the campus daily. Employed healthcare professionals who wish to advance their careers and pursue better roles and responsibilities can also pursue an online MPH program.

There are several high-paying careers you can look into after completing an online MPH program. Epidemiologists working in scientific research and development services had an annual median salary of $99,020 while health and service managers make an average of $104,280 per year.

Apart from the high-wage opportunities, working in health education and advocacy, helping local communities get access to better medical care, and drafting sustainable, cost-effective healthcare policies can be immensely satisfying.

NEIT offers a comprehensive, flexible online Master of Public Health (MPH) program that allows you to finish your degree in 2 years while you are working.

What to Consider Before Registering for an MPH Degree

Before you apply for any online mph degree program, you must consider the following factors:

Is the MPH program CEPH accredited?  What is its accreditation status?

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency that accredits public health programs in the U.S. With its quality assurance practices, CEPH aims to identify institutes that demonstrate excellence in public health education quality.

A CEPH-accreditation is the kind of seal of approval that you should be looking out for. CEPH-accredited online MPH programs are more reliable as the accreditation demonstrates that the institutes follow rigorous standards and the prescribed curriculum.

Some institutes may have other regionally accredited degree programs from organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission.

What is the length of the online MPH program?

An online Master of Public Health program can take up to two years to complete. You must obtain around 42 to 48 credits to obtain your degree. Some schools also offer accelerated programs that you can complete within 12 to 18 months.

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Is the coursework autonomous?

Autonomous coursework shows that your school has flexibility in terms of curriculum design, evaluation, and training. Autonomy helps an institute design and impart practical training that meets the job market requirements, helping make students readily employable.

How much does tuition cost?

Tuition will vary. Look for courses that offer the best returns on your investment. You can assess the tuition fee you pay against the accreditation status, teaching and learning infrastructure, and job opportunities. 

What Are the Prerequisites For an Online MPH Program?

Almost every master’s in public health online program requires a bachelor’s degree before applying. An undergraduate degree in environmental health sciences, chemistry, or biology can be especially beneficial for students. NEIT accepts all Bachelor’s of Science as a prerequisite for our MPH program, regardless of the focus. 

While applying for any program, you should also consider the following requirements:

  • The minimum GPA for application
  • GRE, MCATS, LSAT, and other standardized test scores
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

Some schools prefer students with prior work experience in health and allied sectors. You might have to complete specific prerequisite courses in mathematics or statistics, biology, social sciences, or chemistry before applying to certain programs.

You must also take into consideration the credit hours requirements for obtaining your degree. Many schools limit the number of credits you can opt for each semester to keep students on pace.

What Should You Consider Before Registering for an MPH Degree?

Which Are the Best MPH Online Programs?

Let’s take a look at some of the institutes that offer the best MPH degrees in the United States. We’ll note that we used no particular ranking methodology when compiling this list. Check out our suggestions below. 

New England Institute of Technology (NEIT)

New England Institute of Technology is an applicant for accreditation by CEPH. The hybrid program at NEIT features a combination of online and on-campus classes,  lectures, lab work, materials review, seminar-style courses, and assignments.

With its innovative use of technology for learning and interaction, the online programs at NEIT prepare students and working professionals in emerging areas like health informatics, emergency preparedness, quality improvement, and global health. 

Students can complete the interdisciplinary MPH program at NEIT in as little as two years (eight quarters), taking two classes per quarter.

George Washington University (GWU)

The Milken Institute of Public at George Washington University offers online MPH programs in six concentrations. You can attend weekly online classes via webcam and have 24/7 access to learning resources on the GWU mobile app.

Although you can apply without a GRE score, the university requires you to have a minimum of three years of health care experience. GWU has an extensive network of alumni who can guide you towards a promising career.

University of Southern California (USC)

USC’s Keck School of Medicine offers an online master’s in Public health program for emerging and existing professionals. The potential areas of emphasis at USC are Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Education and Promotion, and GeoHealth. 

The university has a state-of-the-art learning platform that includes online message boards, email, and social media tools. Students can complete the entire program in two years. Both online and on-campus students have to meet the clinical or practicum requirements for obtaining their degree.

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University offers two online MPH programs – MPH in Health Education and MPH in Population Medicine, that help prepare students for Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification. 

There are stringent prerequisites for admission that includes application form, recommendation letters, statement of purpose, and transcripts. To enroll at Loma Linda, students must also possess college-level writing skills and complete courses in anatomy or physiology and two behavioral sciences.

University of West Florida (UWF)

The MPH program at UWF is entirely online and does not require any classroom work. Students have to pass a proctored examination at an approved testing facility to obtain their degree.

The school has connections to several academic centers and certificate programs to help expand educational opportunities for students. Learners can opt for additional, industry-specific support through UWF’s internship coordination program.

UWF also offers its learners a public health practice internship wherein every student must submit a written report highlighting their research findings during the internship.

East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

ETSU delivers a fully online MPH program accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health with a specialization in epidemiology. It is a decent option for students with lower GPAs, as the institute expects a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 2.75 GPA.

Students have to submit their GRE scores while applying. If you already have a master’s degree or have taken the GMAT in the last five years, you may be exempt from the GRE requirement.

Distance learners can also access the Graduate Student Success center at ETSU that provides academic advice, career services, counseling, and online tutoring.

University of South Florida (USF)

The online MPH program at USF allows you to choose from diverse concentrations such as epidemiology, public health practice, global disaster management, infection control, social marketing, nutrition and dietetics, and environmental safety.

You can complete the MPH program at USF in two years. Certain concentrations at USF require you to complete a one-week offline session at the university’s Tampa campus. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, GRE score, and academic transcripts to apply at the USF.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

The School of Public Health at UAB offers specialized Masters in public health programs in the following disciplines:

  • Environmental Health and Toxicology
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Health Care Organization
  • Maternal and Child Health Policy and Leadership
  • Coordinated Master of Social Work  

In addition to credit hour requirements, you have to demonstrate competency in the biological basis of public health. 

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

The online degree programs at UIC allow students 24-hour access to course materials, assignments, and the community for online learners. The specializations at UIC require you to complete up to 51 credit hours to obtain your degree.

One of the most well-known courses at UIC is the MPH with a concentration in Public Health Informatics. This course equips learners with health information system management, databases and network structures, and operations management.

Other prominent schools that offer online MPH are Des Moines University, University of San Francisco, University of Montana, and the University of South Carolina. 

Public Health Degree Specializations

Public health is a multidisciplinary study area, allowing students to choose from a wide range of specializations for their master’s degree. They include:

  • Biostatistics: Focuses on using statistics, bioinformatics, and biostatistical methods to design, implement, and analyze public health studies.
  • Epidemiology: The study of diseases, illnesses, and risks in population groups. Learners use various epidemiological and statistical methods for research design, data analysis, and program implementations relevant to public health.
  • Leadership in Public Health: Involves strategic planning and evaluation, design and implementation of public health policies, and political analysis. This specialization can help you prepare as a future leader in healthcare.

Other specializations include Environmental Health Sciences, Community Health, Child and Maternal Health, Infectious Diseases, Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Health, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Professional Associations in Public Health

Joining a professional organization can benefit students enrolled in online MPH programs and public health graduates. You can get access to journals, publications, webinars, and courses through these organizations. The most prominent public health organizations are as follows:

  • American Public Health Association (APHA): APHA is one of the oldest public health organizations with a legacy of more than 140 years. It tackles key public health issues in America. The organization also publishes the peer-reviewed American Journal of Public Health.
  • Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN): Students enrolled in a healthcare program can join APHN for only $30 a year. The organization focuses on the promotion of educational opportunities for public health nurses.
  • Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC): APIC supports the Infection Prevention and Control certification. It also publishes the American Journal of Infection control and a member-exclusive magazine, Prevention Strategist.

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Public health?

Public health graduates can work in teaching, research, management, community outreach, and advocacy, health promotion, and policy-making. They work in pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and clinics, research firms, universities, NGOs, and government offices.

Prospective jobs for MPH-holders are:

What Can You Do With a Master's in public health?

Job Outlook

All jobs in public health have an incredibly high growth rate for individuals with  an MPH. The BLS predicts that theemployment of medical and health services managers will grow by 32 percent from 2019 to 2029. 

Between 2019 and 2029, employment among statisticians will increase by 33 percent. During the same period, there will be a 15 percent increase in jobs for Health Educators and Community Health workers, while the number of jobs of Epidemiologists will grow by five percent.

Conclusion

Public health is a diverse field that offers lucrative career options for budding professionals. An online Master’s in public health(MPH) degree program can help you take your career to greater heights without compromising your current obligations.

Be a part of the growing public health industry with NEIT’s online MPH programs.

START YOUR NURSING CAREER

Earn your degree in Nursing from NEIT and begin your new career path today!

ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE

BACHELOR'S DEGREE

MASTER'S DEGREE

FAQs

Are online MPH programs good?

Online MPH programs are a great way to learn at your own pace and advance your career without sacrificing your current job and family commitments.

How long does it take to get an MPH degree?

An online MPH degree can take up to two years to complete. Some accelerated degree programs allow you to obtain your degree in 12-18 months.

Do I need work experience for an online MPH program?

Some schools require students to have experience in healthcare and allied sectors before applying for their online MPH programs.