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The Public Health Degree: Compare Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Public Health

The goal of the Public Health system is to help make sure that society’s overall health is addressed through providing sanitary living conditions, education, and the evaluation of behavioral environmental factors and chemical factors that might exist. The field is wide and varied and at the moment, offers many job opportunities. As a result, many people are turning to a Public Health degree.

What might you study in a Public Health program?

Common themes and issues that you might study when earning a Public Health degree could include:

  • Biological factors
  • Physical factors
  • Substance abuse
  • Toxic waste
  • Environmental threats
  • Public policy issues

Specialized Fields in Public Health

There are also specialized fields in the Public Health degree scheme. Since factors facing the environment, health, and policy change from year to year, there are quite a few different fields that are in place to investigate these. Common specialized fields of study include, but are not limited to:

  • Health Administration
  • Biostatistics
  • International Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Law
  • Population and Family Health Sciences

Job Opportunities for Public Health Degree Holders

There is a wide range of job opportunities available for those that graduate with a Public Health degree. Your degree and area of interest will be dependent upon the jobs that you seek and are qualified for. However, you will probably be pleased to learn that the field is varied and your choices can range everywhere from a hospital job to a government job.

Some popular job titles are:

  • Vital Statistics Director
  • Researcher
  • Epidemiologist
  • Air Pollution Engineer
  • Non-profit director
  • Occupational Health Nurse
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Specialist

About the Bachelor of Science in Public Health

A Bachelor of Science in Public Health prepares students to work as public health officials, usually within a specific community or subgroup. These professionals are able to address the health concerns of civic groups, ethnic groups, and organizations in general.

It usually takes 5 years to acquire the degree and then graduates are able to obtain entry-level employment. Some programs offer internship opportunities with local or regional health agencies which are a good way of providing practical experience for hopeful future officials.

Coursework in a Public Health degree focuses on public, environmental and the overall health of society, in addition to fundamental life science, communications, and basic psychology courses. Some regular courses might include:

  • Promotion of global health
  • Cultural health and wellness
  • Public health ecology
  • Epidemiology
  • Community and population relations

Master’s Degrees in Public Health

Many people prefer to receive their Master’s Degree Public Health in order to make themselves more marketable to future employers. A MPH degree allows students to focus on the public health practice itself, instead of own teaching or research like the Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health tends to rely on.

A master’s degree will also teach graduates to handle their typically large caseloads, prepare students for supervisory roles, and assist them in providing effective services for the organizations that they work with.

In addition to the courses that you would usually find in a Public Health degree, which focus on health services administration, biostatistics, and behavioral and environmental sciences, a MPH might also include classes that are based on:

  • Advocacy
  • Urban Planning
  • Communications
  • Social Work
  • Policy
  • Social Sustainability
  • Integrated Health
  • Community Organizing

The Master of Science in Public Health is typically more academic than professional and tends to be more focused on research. You usually have to complete a thesis as well as your regular coursework in order to pass.

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