Public health careers offer the opportunity to improve health and quality of life for individuals around the world.

A smiling woman working on her laptop computer.The public health field has an enormous impact on individuals around the world. Public health professionals develop and implement programs, conduct research, and promote behaviors that can improve the quality of life for all of us. These efforts can prolong life, eliminate diseases, and even improve infant mortality rates.

A public health degree can open the door to a wide range of public health careers in the private and public sectors. Jobs in public health cover many areas, including community health, public health education, environmental health, global health, epidemiology, communications, and biostatistics, to name just a few. One way to enter the field is to enroll in an undergraduate public health degree program, and to follow up with a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in order to obtain more specialized training that will allow you to advance to upper-level positions. In addition, an MPH degree provides long-term earning potential. For example, MS of Public Health salaries for those taking a position as a healthcare executive or healthcare administrator—positions that generally require an MPH or similar degree—earn an average of $98,350 per year.1

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The number of jobs in public health is also expected to grow over the next several years. Many occupations will see the number of positions increase by 20–25% over the next 10 years.1

But let’s return to the central mission of public health careers—initiating programs and promoting behaviors that can help us live longer and healthier lives. Is that really an achievable goal? There’s widespread agreement that it is if we focus on several key factors that can determine good health:2

  • Income. Those at the higher end of the income scale generally have better health.
  • Education. Those with less education tend to have poorer health. They also live with more stress and have less self-confidence.
  • Physical environment. Those who live and work in a clean and healthy environment have fewer health problems.
  • Support. Individuals with support networks—family, friends, and community—tend to be healthier.
  • Genetics. The genes we inherit can play a critical role in lifespan and our susceptibility to certain diseases. However, our behaviors can help mitigate the influence of genes.
  • Access to health services. The ability to obtain treatment for medical problems has an impact on health.
  • Gender. Men and women develop different diseases at different times in their lives.

The public health community cannot control all these factors. But professionals can have an impact on many of them. If that’s the kind of career you’re looking for, there is an MPH program out there for you. If you’re a working professional who needs a flexible schedule, the online option could be the right one for you. Online programs let you work at home at your own pace. You can complete your coursework while working full time and tending to other responsibilities. Studying online is another way to work toward a career in which you can help others lead healthier and longer lives.

Walden University is an accredited institution that offers a Master of Public Health degree program online. The program helps you gain the practical, real-world skills demanded by today’s employers.

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Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

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