Doctor of Public Health: Salary and Career Facts

Learn about what you could do with a Doctor of Public Health degree. See what you'll learn, examine your career options are and what salary you could earn. Schools offering Public Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Doctor of Public Health Degree?

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree is a professional degree designed to educate leaders in the field of public health. Professionals in this field are concerned with protecting and improving the health of communities. Public health professionals with advanced degrees research and identify health trends, educate communities on principles of healthy living and assess and communicate health risks to the public. In this field, they could advocate for the protection of good health and illness prevention. An overview of some career options is available in this chart.

Public Health EducatorsBiostatisticiansHealth Policy Analysts
Degree Required Doctorate Master's degree Master's degree
Key Responsibilities Develop and promote health education in various settings Collect and analyze statistical health-related data Analyze health-related problems and advise policymakers on solutions
Licensure/Certification Required Certification may be required None needed Voluntary certification
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 12%* (all types of health educators) 34%* (all statisticians) 12%* (all types of health educators)
Median Salary (2016) $43,497** (public health educators) $73,452** (biostatisticians) $58,233** (health policy analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); **PayScale.com

What Is a DrPH Program Like?

If you want to pursue this degree, you will first need to complete a master's degree in public health or a related field. Most DrPH programs require that you have a few years of experience before applying.

In many DrPH programs you have the choice of concentrating your studies in areas such as environmental health, education, epidemiology, administration, nutrition, global health and laboratory practice. Programs differ by school but in general a dissertation is required and classes for all concentrations include:

  • Ethics and law in public health
  • Biostatistics
  • Health systems and policy
  • Leadership development in public health
  • Epidemiology

What Kind of Job Could I Have?

Public health is an interdisciplinary field. A few job positions for graduates of DrPH programs include health policy analysts, public health educators and biostatisticians.

If you like number crunching, then a career as a biostatistician may be right for you. Biostatisticians identify community health trends by analyzing statistics and instances of health issues, including diabetes, cancer, drug use or domestic violence. They use their findings to create statistical tables and summaries that other professionals may use.

If teaching is your passion, then a job as a public health educator might be what you're looking for. Public health educators teach communities about health concerns through workshops, conferences, pamphlets and other presentations and publications. You could work with one segment of the population, such as new mothers, to ensure they have the proper education to care for small children, or with the entire community. You could also become a professor in a college or university public health program teaching the next generation of DrPH students.

Health policy analysts conduct research and visit sites to analyze the health and social problems there. They also assess available health care programs and policies. They then use their findings to advise policy makers. The work of a public health policy analyst includes determining the costs and benefits of policies designed to improve public health, such as laws that prevent smoking in restaurants. This might be the job for you if you like research and writing.

How Much Could I Make?

Your salary as a Doctor of Public Health is dependent on your job location and job type. Public health educators in the United States had a pay range of $29,758 for the 10th percentile to $64,989 for the 90th percentile, with a median of $43,497 according to PayScale.com's 2016 national survey data. Using the same salary range, a health policy analyst made an annual salary of $43,097 - $80,383 with a median of $58,233 and a biostatistician made $55,207 - $110,776 with a median of $73,452.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Epidemiologists also work to improve community health. With a master's degree in public health, they study the causes and patterns of diseases and injuries, and use their findings to promote and support disease and injury prevention programs, practices and policies. Social workers help the community by helping people solve social, psychological and emotional problems though one-on-one sessions and social programs. Professionals in this field usually start with a bachelor's in social work. Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in healthy eating habits and the effects of various diets. They may use this knowledge in community outreach programs as well as one-on-one sessions. A person may start this career with a bachelor's in dietetics, food sciences or a related field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Capella University

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    • Doctoral

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  • Wayne State University

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    • Michigan: Detroit
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    • Indiana: Bloomington
  • University of Alabama

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    • Alabama: Birmingham
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    • Connecticut: New Haven
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    • West Virginia: Morgantown
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    • Connecticut: Storrs
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    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia