PhD Public Health Online

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated January 8, 2024
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Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.

Degrees

Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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In various ways, public health professionals work to protect the health of individuals and communities. They may perform infectious disease research, educate the public about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco, and develop workplace safety regulations, among other things. Earning a DrPH or PhD Public Health Online can help individuals prepare for new opportunities by gaining advanced knowledge and abilities in community health challenges, data analysis, and leadership in public health. Students who are also working professionals can benefit from online DrPH programs and PhD public health programs. The PhD in public health program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to influence policy and save lives in communities and around the world. This advanced degree will help individuals succeed whether they desire to conduct research, increase public awareness, or lead public healthcare organizations. Employment in public health is predicted to expand because of the need to educate the public about preventive health care and give more services to people suffering from mental health or drug addiction challenges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers jobs are set to grow 17% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This article covers all there is to know about a PhD in public health, where to pursue one, what the admission requirements are, what careers one can choose upon graduating, where to find the right college and more.

Public-Health

Best Online PhD in Public
Health Programs

The Ph.D. is the most important degree a student may earn because it determines their future career path and their level of future accomplishment. It is important to look for the best Ph.D. PhD public health programs, as well as a top university with a solid reputation, extensive research facilities, excellent student resources, and experienced and qualified faculty. Based on these and other crucial factors, several FBD teams have created a list of the best online Ph.D. programs in public health: *

Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599 $10,552 91%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

Find Online PhD Programs in
Public Health Near Me

Most PhD students are working professionals who work and study at the same time. In addition, many also have other commitments such as a family to look after, making it essential to choose the right location to pursue a PhD program. In all likelihood, these students and others may prefer studying at a college closer to their homes rather than far across the country. On the other hand, some students may choose to enroll in a college that suits them well, disregarding location. Whatever be the preference, here is a list of ”PhD in public health near me” to choose from:

What to expect from the Online PhD
in Public Health?

As a scholar-practitioner in an online PhD in Public Health program, students will be able to expand their knowledge and abilities to help improve the health of diverse communities. Among the topics covered are disease and injury prevention, health informatics, and the role of public health communication, marketing, and Public Relations. While undertaking original research on any public health issue of choice, students can also learn how to use public health findings for the benefit of society as a whole.

The doctor of philosophy, or Ph.D., is the most common final degree sought by students interested in public health. Others may go for a doctor of education (Ed.D.) or a doctor of public health (DrPH) program to earn their doctorate in public health. Over the course of four to seven years, most degrees require between 40 and 60 credits.

Preventive medicine, epidemiology, health policy, and biostatistics are among the essential courses required for a PhD in public health. In addition, dissertations or independent research are standard requirements for doctoral degrees in this subject. Professional certification in the field of specialization is an option for recent graduates.

Coursework in a PhD in public health largely depends on the chosen concentration. However, in general, one can expect the following courses from a list of many more:

Courses in Biostatistics

  • Advanced Statistical Inference
  • Generalized Linear Models
  • Missing Data
  • Bayesian Methods
  • Biostatistics Research
  • Computational Statistics
  • Linear Models
  • Large Sample Theory
  • Advanced Survival Analysis
  • Courses in Community Health Sciences
  • Advanced Research Methods for Community Health Sciences
  • Seminar in Community Health Sciences
  • Advanced Analytic Methods for Community Health Sciences
  • Doctoral Laboratory in Community Health Sciences Research Development
  • Advanced Theories and Topics in Community Health Sciences

Courses in Epidemiology

  • Epidemiology Research Seminar
  • Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • Current Epidemiologic Literature
  • Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic Computing
  • Design of Clinical Trials
  • Sampling and Estimation Methods Applied to Public Health
  • Intermediate Epidemiologic Methods
  • Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases

Courses in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology

  • Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases
  • Occupational and Environmental Disease
  • Geographic Information System Application in Public Health
  • Geographic Information Systems for Planning and Policy
  • Occupational Health and Safety Practice
  • Applied Methods in Occupational Epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment in Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Injury Epidemiology and Prevention
  • Intermediate Epidemiologic Methods
  • Epidemiologic Computing
  • Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology
  • Current Topics in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology
  • Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis
  • Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems
  • Applied Methods in Environmental Epidemiology

PhD in Public Health
Vs DRPH

In a doctoral degree in public health, students would have come across the dilemma of DrPH vs. PhD. So, what is DrPH, and what is PhD? A DrPH is intended for public health professionals, while a PhD in public health is intended for scientists. For those who wish to work in the field, putting programs and policies into effect, the DrPH can assist them in gaining the high-level expertise that will enable them to be a more effective leader. In contrast, students can focus on specific research expertise, jumpstart their research career, and set themselves on the path to making significant contributions to our understanding of public health challenges and solutions through the PhD in public health program.

Areas of Specialization for Online
PhD in Public Health

Specialization refers to a subfield of study. Some specializations merely allow students to delve further into a particular component of their major. Others are multidisciplinary, combining both the chosen major and additional subjects of study. PhD public health students pursue a concentration by enrolling in a series of courses focusing on a particular topic of study within the public health domain. Specializations offer important insights for students who intend to dig deeper into a specific area of interest and desire to develop specialized skills. There are several specializations in public health that PhD aspirants can weigh and consider. Here are a few examples:

PhD Epidemiology Online

The Epidemiology specialization builds on the knowledge of how diseases affect populations and investigates options for community health maintenance. Students examine how the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes may put communities under stress and learn how to develop education programs to help prevent the spread of chronic disease. They will also perform an epidemiological field study that incorporates original research.

PhD in Community Health Online

Students pursuing the community healthy concentration get knowledge and experience in administrative elements of health care, community outreach and advocacy, health disparities, illness risk factors and trends, and more to enhance health behaviors and results. They learn how to promote health, eliminate risk factors, and influence community leadership in order to sustain healthy conditions in a variety of populations. Students will look at the leadership principles, health education policies, and social and behavioral change theories that underpin effective community health education and advocacy, as well as the planning and organization of health programs.

PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health

This specialization provides students with a holistic picture of how environmental and occupational factors affect human health on a local, global, and national scale with this online PhD in Public Health specialization. Students develop advanced research skills that will enable them to come up with novel solutions to the complicated environmental health issues that affect communities and populations.  They also learn how to encourage healthier home, public, and work settings, through research, policymaking, and health promotion.

PhD in Health Behavior

Students who complete this specialization will be able to develop theoretical models for evaluating population behavioral change, qualitative and quantitative research methods, design and evaluate interventions to improve health behavior in underserved and vulnerable populations, and advocate for and promote changes in health care policy.

PhD Global Public Health

Health issues and challenges that transcend all borders, including geographical, class, color, ethnicity, and culture, are part of and relate to global health. The global health specialization emphasizes the universality of health concerns faced by the United States and its worldwide partners and calls for collaborative, science-based treatments to address these problems. Graduates will be equipped with the core scientific knowledge, ethical understanding, and key competencies needed to work as public health researchers and leaders in a variety of settings.

PhD in Biostatistics Online

The fundamentals of statistical reasoning will be emphasized in the biostatistics specialization, and graduates will be required to undergo rigorous training in applied probability and statistical analysis. This specialization equips individuals with strong math and science backgrounds to work as research biostatisticians in academia, industry, or government. They learn about public health outbreaks, surveys, response times, and fatality rates through collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data.

PhD in Health Services Research and Policy

This specialization prepares students to conduct original quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed methods research in a variety of areas related to health policy and health services research in the United States and abroad. It emphasizes research that can be translated into policy, programs, or practice.

PhD in International Health and Sustainable Development

Students who complete this specialization will be prepared to conduct cutting-edge research on global health and development concerns, as well as minimize injustices and help design a sustainable future for the globe. Doctoral students learn to identify and evaluate scientific theories and methodologies; conduct original scientific studies in resource-constrained settings; leverage findings toward best practice and strategic planning for global health programs; teach, mentor, and advise students, programs; development officials and governments; and conduct original scientific research in resource-constrained settings. Students also learn about interdisciplinary and mixed-method research methodologies, cultural competency, and ethical research.

PhD in Human Nutrition

The PhD program in Human Nutrition is aimed to prepare professionals to identify, comprehend, and address problems of public health concern in human nutrition using scientific methodologies. Students learn how to enhance the nutritional well-being of vulnerable populations, assess the nutritional needs of various groups, develop and implement nutrition programs, and manage nutrition programs in both community and institutional settings.

PhD in Social and Behavioral Interventions

This specialization trains researchers and public health practitioners interested in using social sciences in the design, implementation, and appraisal of public health programs and community-based treatments.   The specialization uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and covers gender and health issues, community participation in health initiatives, and cultural and environmental elements that influence global health.

Why should I do Online PhD in
Public Health?

Why get a PhD in public health? A PhD in Public Health can prepare students for a variety of positions as a leader, researcher, consultant, or educator in a wide range of contexts. PhD Students learn the skills and acquire the knowledge they will need to transform the world and the lives of countless others throughout the planet. Doctoral programs in public health tend to attract mid- to late-career healthcare employees seeking a change of employment, as well as aspiring senior scholars in the public or private sector. This program is best suited for students who have prior undergraduate or graduate-level education in public health or a similar discipline, as well as years of relevant professional experience.

Students who are also working professionals can benefit from an online public health PhD program. Web-based programs often follow the same rigorous curricula as traditional schools, providing graduates with equal growth potential. Students who have extra responsibilities – such as child or family care – on top of their career and class schedules will find the online format particularly convenient for them.

Should I get a PhD in public health? One of the most compelling reasons to do an online PhD in public health is the potential for jobs in this field. For example, between 2020 and 2030, the overall employment of health education specialists and community health professionals is expected to expand by 17%, substantially faster than the average for all occupations.

The PhD in public health also widens students’ perspectives and equips them with a host of skills. Among other things, PhD public health graduates will be able to:

  • Employ ethics and principles in public health research decision-making.
  • Create public health research proposals that are both evidence-based and competitive in the marketplace. 
  • Develop the ability to critically analyze scholarly literature in the field of public health and related areas 
  • Show leadership abilities to assist the implementation of evidence-based public health initiatives. 
  • Promote positive social change in diverse populations through original public health research.
  • Communicate effectively with professionals in order to communicate complicated public health research and information to a wide range of professional audiences.
  • Consider cultural values and practices when developing or implementing public health policies or initiatives, as well as when conducting research. 
  • Identify stakeholders, propose strategies, and form coalitions and alliances to have an impact on public health outcomes. 
  • Examine people’s requirements, assets, and capacities that have an impact on the health of communities. 
  • Understand how structural prejudice, social injustices, and racism affect health and provide obstacles to attaining health equity at the organizational, community, and societal levels.

How to get into an Online PhD in
Public Health program?

With most universities, the path to getting a Ph.D. in social work begins with a master’s degree, preferably in public health or a closely related discipline. Other PhD in public health requirements is the same as all other Ph.D. programs – official academic transcripts, letter of recommendation, personal statement, etc. Here is a list of admission requirements for an online Ph.D. public health program:

  • Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, preferably with a major in the biological, physical, or social sciences. (Varies by school & program)
  • Acceptable undergraduate coursework Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Master’s degree in public health or a closely related discipline from a CEPH-accredited program. (Preference is generally given to applicants with a public health master)
  • A Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in graduate-level studies
  • Acceptable Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • Professional Resume
  • At least 2 to 3 Letters of Recommendation

In some instances, application to a Ph.D. in public health program may require submitting an Admission Essay or writing sample, completing prerequisites courses, and facing an interview before an admissions panel.

How long does it take to complete a PhD
in Public Health Online?

How long is a DrPH program or PhD program in public health? Students must finish between 40 and 60 credits to graduate from most online programs leading to a Ph.D. in public health or a DrPH program. Graduates typically complete their degree within three to seven years.

Generally, students complete their coursework in the first 2 years or 4 semesters of the program, with the remaining years dedicated to research, writing, and defending a thesis, dissertation, or other similar assignments/requirements.

It is worth noting that certain schools will enable students to transfer credits if they meet specific criteria. This can help to shorten the length of the Ph.D. public health program, saving cost and money. While some online Ph.D. programs may enable students to work at their own pace, others will adhere to a tight timetable and group students together for the duration of their degree, which is called cohort learning. Another factor that can influence the length of a Ph.D. program in public health is the number of courses taken.

Accreditation for Online Doctorate
in Public Health

Students are guaranteed a high-quality education when programs and institutions are accredited. To receive an accrediting seal, a school must be able to demonstrate that it has met a set of established quality standards. Students who earn a public health degree from a recognized institution have demonstrated that they possess a certain level of knowledge and skill in the field. The accreditation of a PhD program in public health is even more important when applying for licensure because many licensing boards require that applicants have completed an approved curriculum or demonstrate equivalency.

Programmatically, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), which is an independent agency that accredits schools of public health, and public health programs outside schools of public health, is an exclusive programmatic accrediting agency for public health programs. CEPH accredited online doctoral programs public health are the most recognized programs in the job market. Where programmatic accreditation is unavailable, an equivalent alternative is a regional accreditation, provided by any one of the following six accrediting agencies, authorized by the U.S Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Read the Accreditation Guide for in-depth information on accreditation and its importance.

Doctorate in Public Health without
Masters in Public

Many students have the thought – “”DrPH without mph”” – on their mind. There are three ways for bachelor’s degree holders to pursue a doctorate in public health:

Option 1

Students can choose to forego their master’s degree by enrolling in a Ph.D. program as soon as their undergraduate degree is completed. This may be a suitable option if they are certain they want to pursue a Ph.D., have a strong concept of what they want to do for their dissertation, and are confident in their abilities to conduct academic research.

Option 2

Students have the option of enrolling in an integrated Ph.D. program. An Integrated Ph.D. program is a four-year curriculum (sometimes known as an integrated master’s degree). It consists of a one-year master’s degree followed by a three-year Ph.D. program. If one wishes to pursue a Ph.D. without a master’s degree but is having trouble meeting the eligibility standards, this could be a suitable choice.

Option 3

Students have the option of upgrading their present master’s degree. It is somewhat common practice to upgrade one’s masters’ dissertation to a Ph.D. dissertation, especially in science-related academic subjects. This may be a viable choice for those who have discovered a promising study area during their master’s degree that justifies PhD-level academic involvement.

Some colleges allow students to enter the PhD program in two different tracks, depending on their academic background. For example, students can choose from two options (a) if they have a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) or an MS (Master of Science) in public health, or (b) if they hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in an academic discipline other than public health. However, it must be noted that if a college offers the latter, there will be additional admission requirements to meet.

Online PhD in Public Health
no GRE Programs

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) must be taken, or scores submitted at the time of application for most Ph.D. in public health programs, except for a few. Fortunately, some institutions have waived or eliminated this requirement because of the Covid outbreak, at least for the Fall 2024 admission. It is also not uncommon for colleges to waive the GRE requirement for students who already have a doctoral degree or over 7 years of experience in the field. However, finding a school or program that does not need candidates to submit a GRE or GMAT score is generally difficult to come by. Still, here are a couple of examples of universities that provide a PhD in public health without requiring students to take the GRE or submit GRE scores.

Capella University

The Capella University offers online DrPH programs no GRE that include online coursework and in-person experiences.

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut offers a PhD in Public Health for which GRE scores are not required.

Fully Funded Online PhD in
Public Health Programs

Fully or partially funded marketing and other business-related Ph.D. programs are available from several universities. Occasionally, financial assistance is also provided by private groups and for-profit research corporations under specific circumstances. It is possible, however, that a student’s eligibility for financial assistance will be subject to completing additional admissions or program requirements. Here are examples of some universities offering fully funded DrPH programs and fully funded PhD programs public health:

University/College Description
Brown UniversityBrown University’s Brown School of Public Health offers admitted doctoral students up to five years of guaranteed financial support, including a stipend, tuition remission, a health services fee, and health and dental insurance subsidies, along with four summers of support.
Georgia State UniversityThe Georgia State University School of Public Health will consider all admitted doctoral students who plan to study full-time for Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and/or Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Assistantships cover the cost of tuition and provide a monthly stipend. However, students will still be responsible for university student fees.
Harvard UniversityHarvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health offers all students admitted to the PhD in biological sciences in public health program guaranteed full funding, including a stipend, tuition, and health insurance for five years, provided they maintain satisfactory progress.
New York UniversityNew York University’s The School of Global Public Health offers doctoral students financial support designed to help them undertake full-time study and research and engage in superior academic and scholarly experiences. Students who are admitted to the program will be fully funded by a fellowship or a combination of fellowship and Research Assistantship for five years.
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Indiana University

Accelerated Online PhD in
Public Health Programs

Some colleges offer fast-track or accelerated programs for students who desire to get their Ph.D. in less time than the standard 4 to 7 years required by most universities. The fact that these programs need a large amount of time and effort on a daily basis should not be underestimated by students. Students who wish to complete their doctorate in a shorter amount of time must take three courses per term rather than two, and they must work on their dissertation throughout the program rather than putting everything together at the end. Unfortunately, accelerated Ph.D. programs in public health are scarce, with institutions rarely offering them for a variety of reasons.

How to Pay for Online PhD in
Public Health Programs?

Although PhD public health online programs may be less expensive than traditional instate or out-of-state public health Ph.D. programs, the program’s cost can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars. As working professionals, the majority of PhD students may strive to fund their advanced education totally on their own. However, this may not always be achievable due to responsibilities such as family, profession, health, and so on. In such cases, looking into other sources of funding for a PhD program may be a good idea. Here are a few financial aid options to keep in mind for online Ph.D. public health students:

Scholarships are by far the most frequent form of financial support for most students. Scholarships for higher education are funded by a wide range of organizations, including individuals, private foundations, alumni associations, and a host of cultural, religious, and commercial institutions and corporations. The applicant’s academic performance and achievements are taken into account first and foremost when deciding whether or not to award a scholarship. Among the many criteria used to award scholarships include a student’s shown leadership in their community, cultural heritage, or religious affiliation. (Note: Read about Scholarship Scams to avoid being scammed online.)

Fellowship

Doctoral students who are in the process of finishing their doctoral degrees are eligible for PhD Fellowships (also known as Predoctoral Fellowships), which give financial assistance. In exchange for the money they receive, several Ph.D. fellowships urge students to do a future assignment or utilize the money for a specific purpose.  Awards for exceptional achievement are common, but there are also fellowships to retain or attract the most highly valued students. Different institutions and individuals offer fellowships, including government agencies, universities, and even private companies.

Many colleges and universities offer financial aid in the form of grants, which do not need to be repaid. Because grants are more need-based than merit-based, students from disadvantageous financial backgrounds are more likely to be awarded grants than their monied counterparts. Grant money can either pay for tuition or other educational expenses such as accommodation, transportation, meals plan, books, supplies, etc.

Student Loans

DrPH and PhD in public health students and working adults may also consider taking out loans from the government, banks, or other private lenders, necessitating making interest payments. In contrast to scholarships and grants, students must pay back their student loans along with accrued interest at the end of the term. If students fail to pay back their loans on time, they will end up with more student debt due to accruing interest and penalties, which can take years to clear.

Although usually meant for graduate students, PhD students are sometimes also eligible for graduate assistantships. Graduate Assistantships come in two forms – a Teaching Assistantship, where students are provided a fee waiver or stipend for working as assistants for professors – assisting them with instructional constraints, assisting in a lab or workshop, or teaching and demonstrating for undergraduates, or a Research Assistantship, which provides a fee waiver or stipend, but differs by allowing students to help a professor with their research.

Employer Sponsorship

A growing number of firms allow their employees to pursue further education while they are at work. A potential doctorate student needs to inquire about the terms and conditions under which their employer may provide financial assistance. A long-term commitment to the company is usually required for the company to sponsor a PhD program.

The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form students must fill out to check their eligibility to receive federal financial aid. This includes grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. Additional FAFSA-related information is available here.

For more information on various funding options, read the best Financial Guide.

Free Online PhD in Public
Health Programs

PhD public health students are unlikely to find free online PhD in public health programs and courses that may be of help to them in their study or research. Despite this, some graduate-level or PhD-level courses may provide a distinct viewpoint on a topic, which might help students to learn something new and become more knowledgeable. Here are a few resources for free public health courses for PhD public health candidates:

Course Description Offered by
Public Health & Public Health-related TopicsHarvard University offers a few free online courses ranging from 1 week to 10 weeks on a variety of topics. The courses are free to audit, but students must pay a fee if they want a certificate. Topics include PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854, The Opioid Crisis in America, Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19, MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe, etc.Harvard University
Public Health & Public Health-related TopicsCoursera’s public health courses cover a wide range of topics at various learning levels, including foundational and specialist themes. Epidemiology, precision nutrition, and clinical research are among the topics covered. Coursera also offers tools and techniques for illness prevention, community health promotion, and health disparities reduction.Coursera
Public Health & Public Health-related TopicsEdX offers free online courses in public health on a wide range of topics, including Congenital Hypothyroidism: What Every Primary Care Provider Needs to Know, Viruses & How to Beat Them: Cells, Immunity, Vaccines, Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety, Injury Prevention for Children & Teens, and more.EdX

FAQs about Online PhD in
Public Health Programs

How to get a doctorate in Public Health?

To enroll in a Ph.D. public health online program, an applicant must first get a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, preferably in public health or a field closely related to public health. A master’s degree is preferred and may improve one’s chances of acceptance into a PhD program. Students must take courses in five categories beginning in their first year of study: foundational coursework, core coursework, specialized coursework, research methodology coursework, and capstone/thesis preparation coursework. Then, among other things, students must conduct research, write, and submit a dissertation or thesis, as well as defend it in front of a panel of academicians and specialists.

What are the best PhD programs in Public Health?

What is the average fee charged by the colleges?

Why get a PhD in public health?

 How long is a DrPH program?

What can I do with a doctorate in public health?

Is there a PhD in public health online?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after
Online PhD in Public Health

Whether one is interested in research, managing healthcare organizations, promoting public awareness of health issues, or assisting in policy creation, the public health sector has a wide range of job opportunities available for PhD public health holders. Furthermore, the dramatic transformation of the country’s healthcare delivery system, along with a national emphasis on healthy living and disease prevention, is creating an increasing demand for highly trained public health professors, researchers, and leaders across the United States.

What can I do with a doctorate in public health? PhD in public health graduates can choose from several professions spanning the corporate sector, National Institutes of Health (NIH), health care organizations, academia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health departments, hospitals and medical facilities, nonprofits and more.

Options in PhD public health and DrPH jobs include:

Students should note that in order to pursue certain career paths, they may need extra experience, training, or other requirements in addition to completing a PhD in public health degree program successfully.

Public health PhD graduates should expect their salaries and job growth to be heavily influenced by the type of position they take on, their specialization, and the number of years of experience they have. O*Net OnLine reports that Health Services Managers earn a median annual pay of $104,280 and have a job outlook that is 15 percent or more between 2020 and 2030, which is significantly faster than the national average.

Here is a quick look at careers in public health, their annual median salaries, and growth potential, as reported by PayScale and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

OccupationJob DescriptionMedian Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030)
BiostatisticianBiostatisticians assist with experimental design and conduct statistical analysis for a wide range of biology-related topics. They collaborate with a scientific team on the statistical design of investigations, assisting in identifying the team’s needs and acceptable approaches. They also assist with grant applications, data analysis, and interpretation of findings in collaboration with the research team.$77,768NA
EpidemiologistAn epidemiologist is a researcher who investigates the link between the transmission of contagious diseases and the cultures and vectors through which they propagate. The epidemiologist gathers data on several cultural elements before assisting communities and cultural groups in preventing, or at least slowing, disease spread.$67,154NA
Health Information ManagerHealth information managers oversee the gathering of data and the maintenance of records, ensuring that all data is sent and maintained legally and ethically. The majority of information is held electronically by health information managers; however, some still work with paper records. A Health information manager’s responsibilities also include designing and implementing health policies and related information systems.$57,181NA
Health Education Specialist and Community Health WorkerA health education specialist instructs people on how to adopt healthy habits. They propose strategies to improve people’s lives and the well-being of communities. A community health worker advocates for people’s needs in collaboration with healthcare providers and social service agencies. They create wellness programs by gathering data and speaking with people from various demographics about their health concerns. The roles of health educators and community health workers are distinct, even though they commonly collaborate.$48,14017% (much faster than average)
Environmental Scientists and SpecialistAn environmental scientist or specialist applies their natural science knowledge to safeguard the environment and human health. They might clean up contaminated areas, provide policy advice, or collaborate with businesses to reduce waste. Environmental scientists and specialists may conduct a study and offer recommendations on industrial methods, such as avoiding the use of chemicals known to be harmful to the environment.$73,2308% (as fast as average)
Medical and Health Services ManagerA health services manager, often known as a healthcare executive or administrator, oversees planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services. They can be in charge of a specific department or clinical area, or they can supervise the work of a group of doctors. A health services manager must keep up with changes in healthcare legislation, regulations, and technology in order to be successful in this position.$104,28032% (much faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Online
PhD in Public Health

Certifications are an excellent approach to increase one’s work opportunities as well as one’s earning potential. They also function as a “declaration” indicating to potential employers that the candidate possesses significant knowledge and the necessary competencies in a certain sub-field of public health. Although a master’s degree or PhD is adequate to practice public health in many scenarios, certifications may be required to apply for licensure in some contexts (and in some states). Licensing norms vary by sector and state.

Here are a few certifications for PhD in public health students to consider:

Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC)

The Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) examination, which is also administered by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC), is a standardized assessment of the fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of infection prevention and control professionals.

Certified in Public Health (CPH)

CPH certification is frequently required by employers. This credential is awarded to graduates of a master’s program in public health that has been approved by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and who have at least five years of professional public health experience. The CPH exam includes all the basic CEPH curriculum areas and places a strong emphasis on emerging public health concerns.

Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

The Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) credential, which is offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, is appropriate for health educators who have earned a master’s degree and are looking to develop their careers. Candidates must obtain a Certified Health Education Expert (CHES) credential and have at least five years of experience working as certified health education specialists.

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

The CHES credential, which is the most popular certification issued by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), is conferred exclusively based on academic achievement. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited institution with a major in health education and have logged at least 25 credits in the National Commission on Certification of Health Education Specialists’ Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists.

ABPM Preventive Medicine Board Certification

The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) offers public health and general preventive medicine certification to public health professionals who wish to pursue a career in medicine. Candidates must hold a valid medical license as well as a medical degree from an ABPM-approved institution, as well as finish at least 15 credits of graduate coursework in a related subject to be considered.

Additional Resources for Online PhD
in Public Health Degree

Students pursuing a PhD in public health online, as well as recent alumni, can benefit from a variety of helpful resources provided by professional groups. Access to online journals and trade periodicals, professional development opportunities, job listings, and in-person networking events are some of the benefits of membership that are generally excellent ways of enhancing one’s career and interests. The following are a few resources for public health PhD students and practitioners:

American Public Health Association (APHA)

A major goal of the American Public Health Association (APHA) is to promote community health and strengthen the public health profession while also advocating for evidence-based health policy. Public health campaigns are coordinated by APHA, which also publishes the American Journal of Public Health and arranges an annual public health conference. In addition, the APHA provides a number of online professional development materials.

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a nonprofit, independent professional association that represents nearly 4,000 health education professionals and students from around the United States and 25 countries. The organization promotes public health by raising awareness, expanding knowledge and skills, encouraging family, school, and community cooperation, and strengthening advocacy efforts.

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) promotes, improves, and protects the health of people through upholding the highest quality standards in health education certifications. NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice.

American College of Epidemiology (ACE)

The American College of Epidemiology (ACE) represents the interests of epidemiologists who operate in both academic and professional settings. Organizational activities include organizing scientific meetings and publishing an academic magazine, advocating for legislation and concerns pertaining to epidemiology, as well as awarding prizes to those who have made significant contributions to the discipline.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides effective health and human services while also fostering sound, long-term advances in the sciences that underpin medicine, public health, and social services. This official website is an excellent source of information on public health rules, news, licenses, and other topics.

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.

Degrees

Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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