Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

Antibiotics, Food Safety, and the Growing Need for Public Health Degree Programs

Antibiotic resistance on a global scale is no longer a possibility—it is a startling reality, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2014, the United Nations agency published findings from its comprehensive study of microbial resistance data from 114 countries.1 The Centers for Disease Control reports that at least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually. Of those infected, at least 23,000 people die from infections that no longer respond to antibiotics.2

Antibiotics, Food Safety, and the Growing Need for Public Health Degree Programs

Antibiotics Overprescribed for People and Food Animals

Antibiotic resistance comes from the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in healthcare settings and in factory farms that raise animals for human consumption. Doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, even though viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. Food animals are routinely given antibiotics to promote faster growth and prevent them from getting sick. Every time we eat or touch meats, we risk being contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And so it goes. These persistent practices are creating serious public health and food safety problems internationally.

Increased Demand for Public Health Professionals

In our complex, interconnected world, the public health profession is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024 about 13 million Americans will be eligible for retirement.3 Job shortages are happening now or are projected to happen in vital public health positions—from public health doctors and nurses to healthcare educators, administrators, and epidemiologists.

Due to the wide range of job positions in the public health profession, job market growth varies widely. The biggest changes in projected job growth for public health professionals (2012–2022) is 23% for medical and health services managers and 20% for health educators and community health workers.4 At the lower end of the spectrum, projected job growth for epidemiologists is 9% which is in line with average job growth for all occupations projected for 2016–2026 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.5

Public health professionals are in the trenches locally, nationally, and internationally as educators, managers, researchers, analysts, advocates, policymakers, and caregivers. Their relentless frontline efforts help inform and protect communities, minimizing the repercussions of public health concerns.

Online Public Health Degree Programs Help Build the Workforce

Public health degree programs at educational institutions like Walden University provide accredited online public health and health sciences degrees that prepare students for a variety of public health careers. In addition to bachelor’s degree programs, Walden offers online graduate programs that may help working professionals from different backgrounds enhance their credentials in public health.

Online universities and colleges are in a unique position to offer students a convenient, flexible, and affordable way to obtain a public health degree. Walden University provides a comprehensive selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in public health and health sciences:

Doctoral Degrees in Public Health

  • Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
  • PhD in Health Education Promotion
  • PhD in Public Health

Master’s Degrees in Public Health

  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • MS in Health Education and Promotion

Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health

  • BS in Public Health

Graduate Certificates in Public Health

  • Graduate Certificate in Public Health

Explore Walden University's online public health degree programs and specialized certification programs that fit your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your life and schedule.

1 Source:
2 Source:
3 Source:
4 Source:
5 Source:

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,