Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Public Health

Some of the best online bachelor's degree programs in public health are available from schools in Mississippi, Idaho, Missouri, and more. Here we discuss what makes some of these programs the best, as well as program details and career options for public health. Schools offering Public Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Public Health

Online bachelor's degree programs in public health are available from several different institutions throughout the country. Some of the best programs offer small class sizes, unique hands-on learning opportunities, and/or are accredited by public health organizations. Explore some of these top programs and what sets them apart from other online programs in public health.

1. Brigham Young University-Idaho

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Rexburg, ID$4,11864%

Brigham Young University-Idaho offers an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health that totals 120 to 123 credits. Students in the program may choose from a concentration in health science or health education and promotion, and are required to complete an internship. The internship experience is designed to give students hands-on learning experience in an array of public health settings, such as schools, medical clinics, and non-profit organizations. According to the school's website, the online program has a little over 900 students enrolled.

2. Mississippi University for Women

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Columbus, MS$6,940100%

Mississippi University for Women has an online BS in Public Health Education that can be completed fully online. The program offers small class sizes, with most classes having less than 20 students, according to the school's website. Online students still have access to one-on-one advising with faculty members and can also transfer in credit they may have earned from community college. The university also has an online master's degree program in public health for students who decide to continue their education in the field.

3. University of Southern Mississippi

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Hattiesburg, MS$8,62494%

The University of Southern Mississippi provides an online BS in Public Health (Allied Health) that totals 120 credits. This online program is only available to graduates with their associate's in health who are certified or are eligible for certification in allied health. The program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and can be completed fully online. Students in the program are required to complete a final Allied Health capstone course and complete a total of 30 credits in the major of public health.

4. University of Missouri-Columbia

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Columbia, MO$9,97285%

The University of Missouri-Columbia has an online Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Public Health that totals 120 credits. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the program is accredited by the CEPH. The fully online program is available in full- and part-time formats, and the school accepts transfer credit to help reduce the time to degree completion. Students must complete 2 prerequisite courses, core courses, diversity courses, and a final capstone experience.

5. University of Arizona

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Tucson, AZ$12,46792%

The University of Arizona has an online BS in Public Health that includes fieldwork for a hands-on learning experience. Students begin the program as pre-public health and must complete prerequisite coursework, meet a minimum GPA requirement, and fill out a major application before being fully accepted into the program. Students are required to complete a final internship experience in public health that is designed to prepare students for a career in the field.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
6Kent State University at KentKent, OH$10,31296%
7Appalachian State UniversityBoone, NC$7,36471%
8Ohio University-Main CampusAthens, OH$12,19294%
9University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboro, NC$7,33187%
10Rutgers University-New BrunswickNew Brunswick, NJ$14,97469%
11Central Washington UniversityEllensburg, WA$8,07290%
12Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, AZ$11,56494%
13Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityWeatherford, OK$7,33593%
14Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester, NH$31,13675%
15University of Arkansas at Little RockLittle Rock, AR$9,54497%
16Arizona State University-SkysongScottsdale, AZ$10,31782%
17University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical CampusDenver, CO$9,28376%
18California Baptist UniversityRiverside, CA$33,47895%
19Eastern Washington UniversityCheney, WA$7,32394%
20Youngstown State UniversityYoungstown, OH$8,96798%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Public Health

Online bachelor's degree programs in public health are most commonly offered as BS degrees, but BHS degree programs are available. Most of these degree programs require around 120 credits and may be available in full- and/or part-time formats. Some programs may even offer accelerated formats where students can earn credit towards a master's degree. Traditionally, bachelors' degree programs take 4 years to complete, but many online bachelor's programs in public health allow students to transfer in credit, which could decrease the time it takes to finish the degree.

Some programs may require students to take some prerequisite courses before being fully admitted into the public health program, which may include introductory courses in public health and some general education courses in areas like biology and English. Once admitted, students generally take general education courses, major courses, and electives. There are some online bachelor's degree programs in public health that may have concentrations in areas like healthcare management, health psychology and behavior, or health promotion and wellness. Learn more about the curriculum below.

Common Courses

Students in online bachelor's degree programs in public health may take 30 credits or more of core public health classes. Although course titles and subjects may vary by institution, some of the common course topics for these programs include:

  • Foundations of Public Health- Introductory courses in public health may be part of prerequisite coursework for entry into the program or one of the first courses students take in their major classes. These courses are designed to give students an overview of the field, including main concepts, theories, goals, and practices of public health. Students may also explore the role of the government in public health and the complicated issues surrounding the field.
  • Evaluating Public Health Programs- Students may take 1 or more courses that explore the different assessment and evaluation methods used in public health. These methods are used to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of public health programs to see if programs have accomplished set goals. Students will examine the evaluation process from design to reporting results.
  • Ethics and Legal Issues in Healthcare- Courses in ethics and legal issues in healthcare generally explore the health services and policies in our country and the complications surrounding these policies. Students may explore real-world cases in the context of ethics and legal considerations for practice. Other specific topics for these courses may include malpractice, end of life care, legal control, and regulatory environments.
  • Public Health Education and Communication- Students in public health education and communication courses examine the importance of health education and health literacy and how social media, mass media, and the internet can play a role in this communication with the public. Students may explore the history and the current methods of communication used in public health. These courses may also help equip students with necessary communication skills and help train students in advocacy and policy development.
  • Epidemiology- Epidemiology courses are generally offered at the introductory level to teach students about its application to healthcare management. Students in these courses may learn how to identify at-risk populations, measure factors of interest, and evaluate population health. Some courses may then apply these concepts to the strategies and management of healthcare organizations.

It is fairly common for online bachelor's degree programs in public health to conclude with some sort of capstone experience. Some programs may require an internship experience, while others require a capstone course. In these capstone courses, students may be required to participate in discussions and complete a final project. Some of these courses may require a final presentation of students' projects, and some courses may include other assignments to help prepare students for their future career, such as preparing a resume.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor's Degree in Public Health

There are many online bachelor's degree programs in public health available, which may make it challenging for students to find the right program for them. Students may wish to first consider factors in the format of a program to find one that will work best with personal schedules and time commitments. Students can choose from full- or part-time programs, and some programs may offer tracks specifically for working professionals that allow students to work at their own pace. While most of these programs can be completed in 4 years, students may also consider programs that accept transfer credit and may be completed more quickly.

Other considerations may include preferences for class size or unique learning opportunities. Some programs offer small class sizes to help students still receive one-on-one attention with instructors. There are also programs available that may offer different concentration areas to help prepare students for a particular career. Students may also want to consider if they would like an online program that includes fieldwork and/or an internship experience for hands on learning. Below, we explore a couple other important considerations for choosing an online program in public health.

Accreditation

Accreditation is an important characteristic to search for in any institution that offers an online degree program to ensure that the curriculum meets high academic standards. Many online bachelor's degree programs in public health are offered from accredited institutions. Usually these are regional accreditation bodies, like the Higher Learning Commission or the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). However, students may wish to look for an institution that also has accreditation specifically for its online program in public health. Usually, these programs are accredited by CEPH to ensure that the curriculum meets standards specific to the field of public health. There are also some programs available that may align their curriculum to meet standards set by other public health organizations, such as the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).

Cost, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

Another huge consideration for choosing an online program is the cost of the program and any potential for earning tuition assistance. Tuition rates vary by school, but some online programs in public health may cost around $320 per credit hour or close to $25,000 for the entire program. When researching the cost of an online program, students should also be aware of any additional fees, such as a technology fee, which may cost around $160 per quarter. Other fees may include application or graduation fees. Students may also need to consider any costs for meeting technology requirements for the program, such as a computer or laptop.

Most, if not all, online degree programs in public health accept financial aid to help students decrease the cost of the program. This aid may come in the form of loans or grants. However, some schools may offer discounts for military students and/or those that have attended community college, and some schools may offer these same discounts for spouses and/or dependents. Students can also compete for scholarships that may be available from outside organizations and/or the institution. Some schools offer scholarships for first-time freshmen and/or transfer students as well. There are some professional organizations, such as the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), that offer scholarships specifically to public health students.

Career Options for Those with a Bachelor's in Public Health

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in public health can choose from a variety of careers in the field of public health and may work in a wide range of settings. Graduates may work in areas like research or for nonprofit organizations, the government, medical facilities, or departments of health. Some job titles include:

  • Policy analyst
  • Health officer
  • Health services manager
  • Health educator
  • Community health worker
  • Health administrator
  • Public health program specialist
  • Program director

Medical and Health Services Managers

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical and health services managers made an annual median salary of $99,730. The BLS also reported that the job outlook for these managers is 18% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the national average. Job duties for medical and health services managers vary greatly by job title and the size of the organization they work for. However, in general, these professionals are responsible for planning and overseeing various health services to benefit the public. They are likely to supervise staff and oversee administrative duties, such as managing budgets, creating work schedules, and maintaining records. They must also ensure that their department and/or organization is complying with all current laws and policies.

Health Educators

As of May 2018, health educators made an annual median salary of $54,220, per the BLS. The job outlook for these professionals is 10% from 2018 to 2028. Health educators are responsible for researching and understanding the health needs of their communities and then advocating for these needs. This may require creating program materials to teach the public about an issue, evaluating the effectiveness of a program, and analyzing health data on a particular community.

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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