Public Health

Overview of Public Health College and University Programs

Public health postsecondary programs are generally managed through college and university health departments.  Social work, educating the public on health trends and policies, health issues and controlling and eradicating infectious diseases are areas covered in the programs.

Importance of Public Health Programs

As healthcare continues to take front stage in politics and everyday life in America, roles and functions that public health professionals fill are expanding and becoming increasingly popular.  Rather than working with patients one-on-one, public health focuses on educating the general public in order to eliminate drug and substance abuse and eradicate vocational injuries and illnesses.  Some public health professionals work with state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials to create public health educational programs for employers and their workers.

The roles one can fill as a public health professional include researcher, educator, journalist, environmentalist and social worker.  Focusing on “going green” and creating a healthier planet and environment have also put public health initiatives, reforms in the spotlight.  To gain employment in public health, many employers, including government agencies, ask that you have credentials from accredited colleges and universities. 

Public Health Postsecondary Degrees

Diploma in Public Health, Certificate in Public Health, Bachelor degree of Public Health, Master degree of Science in Occupational and Environmental Health, Master of Health Administration, Master of Science in Public Health, Doctorate degree of Industrial Hygiene, Doctor of Public Health are undergraduate and graduate degrees and non-degrees you can get at accredited colleges and universities around the country.  If you get a graduate degree in public health, you can earn promotions and work at higher paying jobs that require you to supervise and manage other employees.  When it comes to earning your academic credentials, fortunately, you can take public health postsecondary programs with a college online if you choose to do so.  You can also drive to nearby colleges and universities and complete your assignments in a classroom setting. 

Public Health College and University Curriculum

Courses that you take in public health are the same whether you complete your degree online or offline.  Core courses you generally must take are:

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Preparedness information systems
  • Psychology
  • Communication techniques
  • Public health practice
  • Math
  • Biology
  • Disease modeling
  • Genetics and epidemiology
  • Biological data
  • Descriptive analysis
  • Data management techniques
  • Family health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Health disparities and cultural competence
  • Media and health
  • Health behavior and health education
Skills Gained from Public Health Postsecondary Programs

Public health is a program that equips you to serve others.  Skills you learn during your training and work include:

  • Understanding of government policies and trends that impact communities and society
  • Qualitative problem solving skills
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Ability to work in leadership and managerial positions
  • Training and experience to influence public health policies that can benefit people for generations
  • Ease working with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Strong communication skills, patience and flexibility
Job Outlook for Public Health Employees

If you work as a medical or health service manager, you might work a lot of overtime as you can be on-call to respond to public health emergencies.  You can work for organizations like the United States Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA), OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hospitals, clinics, emergency treatment centers and state and local public health administration organizations.  You will likely handle medical records and create budget reports and make suggestions on how best to respond to public health issues that can occur during natural disasters and everyday life.  The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in the career field to grow by 16 percent from 2008 through 2018.

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