Should I Get A Master’s Degree In Public Health?

If you are keen on pursuing a career that would really allow you to make an impact in the health of many people then it is highly recommended that you get your master’s degree in public health (MPH). An MPH degree is a professional degree for those who are already working in a health-related field and want to increase their knowledge and skill in this area. This is the degree to take if you want to do hands-on work in the public health space—whether you’re advocating for clean water, easy access to medical care, growing self-sustaining communities or preventing disease.

An MPH is also the best educational preparation if you want to become a leader in your respective healthcare field. The coursework in MPH programs will tackle such topics as biostatistics, biology for public health, epidemiology, occupational safety and health management, public health practice and public health policy, among others. Practicum experiences will also give you actual exposure in the field and further widen your knowledge about public health. Moreover, the research you do to fulfill your thesis requirement will give you the opportunity to delve deeper into your area of specialization.

Note that an MPH is not the best preparation if you want to teach or go into the academe. A master of science degree with a major in public health, for example, would better prepare you to teach students at colleges and universities. An MPH, on the other hand, will allow you to work in health departments, international organizations, hospitals and agencies of the federal government. In these roles, you will be working towards addressing public health concerns, crafting policies and finding solutions to systemic issues that are challenging organizations today.

If you are a public health nurse, an MPH is even more valuable. Since you care for entire populations and communities, you will be better equipped to educate people about health issues and monitor health trends with the training you will get in an MPH program. Improving access to healthcare and advocating for the welfare of vulnerable populations will also be part and parcel of your responsibilities in the public health sphere and the academic background you get in an MPH program will enable you to strengthen your programs and make your advocacies more effective.

While those who are already working in the field of public health will benefit largely from an MPH program, students who have also finished their undergraduate degree will find it beneficial to enroll in an MPH program to beef up their credentials before going into the workforce. An MPH degree will open doors to a wide variety of opportunities not only in local companies and healthcare settings but in international organizations as well.

Take note that you can also work towards obtaining another degree together with your MPH if you enroll in dual degree programs. This will give you the chance to specialize in a field as it relates to public health. For example, if you want to fuse together public health and law, an MPH/JD degree will allow you to specialize in these fields. Other dual degree options include master’s in public health and masters of social work (MPH/MSW), master’s in public health and master’s in business administration (MPH/MBA), master’s in public health and master’s in nursing (MPH/MSN) and master’s in public health and medical doctor degree (MPH/MD).

Career Spotlight: Public Health Nurse

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