Online Public Health Degree Programs
Public health programs prepare students to plan, implement and manage programs that provide citizens with healthcare services and teach them to achieve optimal nutrition and wellness. Online degree program in public health are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level. Continue reading to learn more about what these programs entail and how online learning works.
What Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Public Health are Available?
Online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in public health are not common, but they are available. They will educate you in all aspects of the American - and in some cases international - public healthcare system. This includes learning about chemical dependency, mental health, human reproduction and other issues for which numerous individuals or large groups may need health services. Online bachelor's degree completion programs - designed for students who have already completed two years of college coursework - are also available on a limited basis. These programs may be offered in health studies or other related fields, so degree titles may differ.
Degree curricula address cultural factors affecting public health via courses in sociology, human behavior, social work counseling and medical problems in low-income populations. You'll become familiar with the medical programs and services designed to address these issues, and you'll learn about the skills required to implement them. Courses in these areas include health care administration, community health program planning, disease control, school health, medical terminology and human services administration. Some online programs may differ in curriculum compared to on-campus public health programs.
|Bachelor's Degree Options||Rare, but full bachelor's degrees and completion programs are available|
|Master's Degree Coursework||Focuses on public health management, administration, and medical knowledge|
|Doctoral Degree Coursework||Programs focus on public health research, management, and leadership|
|Online Program Structure||Access lectures and exams via an online platform, using the Internet and perhaps some extra software.|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||9% growth (for epidemiologists )*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$69,660 (for epidemiologists )*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Learn in an Online Master's Degree Program?
Completing an online Master of Public Health (MPH) program generally prepares you for a managerial career in community or public health administration. Many programs allow you to declare concentrations in specific areas of public health, such as epidemiology, administration or environmental health. Most schools do not mandate that your bachelor's degree be in public health in order to be admitted. However, you may need at least a year of experience working in a public health-related field or letters of recommendation from current public health professionals.
You'll typically need to complete 40-50 credits and a research thesis, comprehensive examination or capstone project to graduate. Most programs provide education in all relevant managerial, environmental and medical areas of public health. Degree curricula often begin with mandatory core courses in areas like epidemiology, human behavior, occupational and environmental health, biostatistics and health services administration. You can fulfill the rest of your graduation requirements with relevant elective courses; for example, social science options include urban health promotions, community nutrition, wellness education and political health policy. Topics covered in courses related to health administration include healthcare economics, program evaluation and management, public health law, environmental health regulation and comparative health systems.
What Will I Learn in an Online Doctoral Program?
Although online doctoral degree programs in public health are rare, some schools do offer Ph.D. or Doctor of Public Health (DPH) degrees online. Admissions are generally selective; both a master's degree and more than a year of public health work experience may be required. Some programs allow you to declare concentrations in such areas as epidemiology or community health education. Course curricula focus heavily on public health research and management, with required courses in these areas including health program research, organizational leadership theory, case study analysis and financial health management. Some programs may require a limited amount of campus visits to attend mandatory conferences or workshops.
How Do Online Programs Work?
As a student in an online public health degree program, you can complete almost all required coursework virtually, without having to visit your school's campus. Typically, the only degree requirements that cannot be fulfilled over the Internet are internships and projects; however, you can usually complete these from a relevant location near you. All other coursework is usually transmitted through online teaching and learning platforms like Blackboard Vista or WebCT. These systems allow you to log in and access, complete and submit all of your coursework, including lectures, readings, homework assignments, exams and mandatory class discussion message board posts. An Internet-connected computer and some additional software allowing you to create or view course documents, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader, are required.