Best Online Public Health Programs

An online bachelor's in public health offers students the potential for a thriving career. Learn more about these programs.

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Published on January 18, 2022 · Updated on April 25, 2022

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Society relies on trained, effective officials to manage public health crises and work with communities to implement the best strategies to promote health. By pursuing an online bachelor's in public health, students prepare to advocate for communities by gaining both relevant knowledge and soft skills.

A bachelor's degree typically takes four years of full-time study. Public health students prepare for advanced degrees and community leadership roles in public health and adjacent fields like nutrition and health services. According to Payscale data from December 2021, graduates with a bachelor of science degree in public health earn an average annual salary of $59,000.

Read on to learn more about online bachelor's in public health programs, including common courses, future career paths, and how to choose the right online program.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Public Health Program?

A public health program takes an interdisciplinary approach. Students explore biology, epidemiology, statistics, and the sociological factors behind disease. They also learn about public health sciences, policy, and intervention strategies. They may receive the training they need to step into leadership and advocacy roles.

A public health bachelor's program typically requires 120 credits and takes about four years of full-time study to complete. Most programs cover the same core courses to prepare students for careers in the field. Many programs offer the opportunity to concentrate in a specific area or field of public health. Possible options include the following:

Public health students often take part in internships and research projects as part of their studies. These requirements provide valuable experience in real-world public health settings. They also provide students with a portfolio of work to stand out when applying for jobs and graduate programs.

Online students who live close to campus can take advantage of the program's network for internship placements. Otherwise, they may need to find their own program-approved placements at a location near them.

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Popular Online Bachelor's in Public Health Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Public Health Program?

Principles of Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of disease. In this course, students receive training in common tools used in the field and methods for managing public health concerns and incidents.

Ethical and Legal Considerations in Public Health

In this course, students examine the role of public health policy in ethical decision-making. Coursework often explores real-world examples and case studies to showcase the impact policies can make on different types of communities.

Statistics for Public Health Professionals

Public health professionals must be able to analyze and visualize data. This course teaches statistical best practices applied to public health response and leadership. Students gain skills in research and data-driven decision-making.

Health Promotion and Education, and Health Communications

In this course, learners prepare for health educator careers, learning how to teach the public about healthy living. They also study the best ways to communicate with vulnerable populations.

Social and Behavioral Health

This course looks at the contributions of social and behavioral sciences in community health behavior. Students delve into contributing factors to the health landscape and policy decisions, including principles of race, class, culture, and gender.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Public Health Program?

Online bachelor's in public health programs usually maintain similar admission requirements as their on-campus counterparts. In addition to the requirements listed below, some programs may require applicants to complete an interview. However, most applications include the following five components.

Application

A typical college application form asks students to provide their personal information and write about their achievements. Most schools accept online applications. Application systems like the Common App and Coalition App make it possible for students to apply to multiple schools while only filling out one form.

Test Scores

While this requirement is becoming less prevalent, many schools still require prospective students to submit standardized test scores. Some online programs waive ACT and SAT score requirements for students with work experience.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation help provide the school with a better introduction to each student and their abilities. Former teachers generally write these letters, but students may also ask for letters from colleagues and supervisors. Most programs provide an online link for recommenders to submit their letters.

Essays

College essays provide a critical writing sample for admissions departments and give students a chance to stand out. Typical requirements include an essay of 500-700 words on a specific topic chosen by the university. However, students should read all essay parameters carefully for program-specific requirements.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts detail a student's high school performance and previous college experience. Adult students with significant professional experience may not need to submit high school transcripts. Schools also use previous college transcripts to determine how much transfer credit to award.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Public Health Degree?

Career Outlook

According to Payscale data from December 2021, bachelor's degree-holders in public health earn an average salary of $59,000 per year. They can pursue several in-demand positions. Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 16% job growth for all healthcare occupations.

This popular major offers plenty of potential for graduates. Degree-holders can work in general public health or specialize in areas like health education, nutrition, and disaster response. Career choices also include working in advocacy with a major health firm like the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization or moving into healthcare administration for hospitals and healthcare systems.

See where a bachelor's in public health can take you. Learn more about public health careers.

Career Paths

Biostatistician

According to the BLS, statisticians and mathematicians make a median annual salary of over $93,000. Annual wages can vary for biostatisticians, who work for hospitals, public health groups, and the pharmaceutical industry. They create studies that evaluate key factors like drug effectiveness and the causes of specific diseases.

Median Annual Salary: $93,290

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Students with a talent for computer information systems can move into this lucrative field, making well over six figures per year. In the public health sector, they may manage sensitive documents and information while ensuring that information remains available for stakeholders like patients, doctors, and research teams.

Median Annual Salary: $151,150

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors handle disaster response at the local or state level. Some professionals work for large hospital systems or research facilities. The BLS projects that the field will grow at an average pace over the next ten years.

Median Annual Salary: $76,250

Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers plan, manage, and implement policies for hospitals, healthcare centers, and research facilities. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 32% growth for this field, which quadruples the average projected growth rate for all occupations during that period.

Median Annual Salary: $104,280

Health and Safety Engineer

Health and safety engineers design the systems that keep society safe and healthy. In a public health context, they try to keep people from getting sick and injured. They usually work typical business hours in an office environment.

Median Annual Salary: $94,240

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Continuing Education

Many jobs remain available to students with a bachelor's degree, but a common path to advancement in public health involves earning a master's degree or doctoral degree. Graduates who want to work in federal positions or leadership roles at large health firms such as the World Health Organization should likely pursue advanced degrees.

Large hospital systems may require a master's in health administration or a related field. The most important element in advancing your career remains work experience. Many master's and doctoral degrees in public health require professional experience for admission.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Public Health Program?

Cost

Online programs sometimes offer tuition discounts and usually provide cheaper overall costs, since students do not need to pay for room and board. Many online programs allow out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition rates, while others may reduce the overall per-credit cost. Students can check tuition rates at prospective schools' websites.

Program Format

Online programs frequently use two distinct delivery methods. Asynchronous programs provide general work deadlines and allow students to complete assignments on their own time. Synchronous programs meet live at a specific time and follow a more traditional course path.

Some programs offer part-time study options for working students. Others offer accelerated programs designed for students who need to complete coursework faster than traditional full-time studies.

Location

Online students can choose the best program for their needs regardless of location. However, attending an online public health degree close to home offers several advantages. Students can use the school's network and resources to plan internships and clinical hours and receive on-campus mentoring through student services.

Accreditation

School accreditation remains an essential part of choosing a program. Accreditation is a guarantee that a school's curricula and programs meet certain guidelines. Accredited programs provide better foundations for gaining employment in the field. Students can check both the school's regional accreditation and the public health program's programmatic accreditation.

Student Support

Even online students should receive support from student services. Some schools offer dedicated support services for online students, such as mentoring, internship placements, writing support, and career guidance. Even without dedicated online support, online students should still have access to some form of support.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Public Health Programs

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Best Online Bachelor's in Public Health Programs

  1. Delaware State University
    Location

    Dover, DE

    Tuition

    $13234

    Located in Dover, this historically Black university offers students the opportunity to pursue a bachelor of science in public health remotely. The program offers courses in public health informatics, human sexuality, epidemiology, and more.

    Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.0, a score of 800 on the SAT or 17 on the ACT, and a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DSU enacted a "test-optional policy."

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $353-$400 per credit
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 122 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: None
    • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  2. University of Arizona
    Location

    Tucson, AZ

    Tuition

    $15594

    Located in Tucson, UofA is well regarded for its wide range of online programs. Students can earn a bachelor's in public health virtually. Areas of emphasis include global health, health systems theory and practice, and public health practice.

    You must have a GPA of 2.5 or above at UofA before you can enroll as a public health major. This public health program is the only one accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health in the state of Arizona.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $525 per credit
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  3. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    CBU is a private Christian university located in Riverside. One of the many online bachelor's degree programs the school offers is in public health. At CBU, students can earn a bachelor of science in public health in just 16 months.

    Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.0 and a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective students with at least 24 transferable credits are given preference.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $613 per credit
    • Program Length: 16 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 124 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Instruction style: Synchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health
    • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission
  4. University of Missouri
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    Tuition

    $17833

    Mizzou offers a bachelor of health science that can be earned 100% online. The program covers topics like health education, epidemiology, health policy, and environmental health. Students are able to transfer up to 60 credits into the course of study.

    Mizzou allows learners to earn the degree at their own pace, with part-time and full-time course load options. Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores and have 17 units of specific course work in high school.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $321 per credit (in state); $424 per credit (out of state)
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  5. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Based in Manchester and founded in 1932, SNHU now boasts more than 135,000 online students. The university offers a fully remote bachelor of science in public health. The program includes courses like fundamentals of public health, principles of epidemiology, and healthcare delivery systems.

    Applicants must submit their high school transcripts and possess a high school or GED diploma. SNHU does not require prospective students to submit test scores.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $320 per credit
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: None
    • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  6. University of Southern Mississippi
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Tuition

    $13773

    Southern Miss, located in Hattiesburg, offers a degree completion bachelor's program in public health with an emphasis on allied health. Students take classes like personal wellness, introduction to health systems, and communication in public health.

    Prospective students must have completed a community college allied health program before enrolling. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above is required for admission. Applicants must also pay a $45 application fee.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $384 per credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: The Council on Education for Public Health
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  7. Youngstown State University
    Location

    Youngstown, OH

    Tuition

    $11033

    What started in Youngstown, Ohio, as one law class in 1908 has since transformed into a large university with a wide variety of online options. Among its remote degree programs, YSU offers an online degree in public health.

    Students in this course of study are able to concentrate in environmental health and safety or health education / health promotion. Each track offers two-, three-, or four-year program options. Admission requires high school transcripts. SAT and ACT tests are optional until spring 2023.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $230 per credit
    • Program Length: 2-4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 127 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: None
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  8. Central Washington University
    Location

    Ellensburg, WA

    Tuition

    $14647

    Based in Ellensburg, CWU offers a bachelor of science in public health online. Students in the program can specialize in population health or pre-nursing. Both tracks aim to teach students practical skills they can use to strengthen public health in their region.

    An accelerated degree format can be completed in two years. All students are required to complete a capstone project before graduating. Admission requirements vary depending on an applicant's high school GPA.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $230 per credit
    • Program Length: 2-4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: None
    • School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  9. Rivier University
    Location

    Nashua, NH

    Located in Nashua, New Hampshire, Riv offers students an online bachelor of science in public health. Learners in the public health program at this Catholic university can develop the skills necessary to practice in multiple public health fields.

    Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.0. The public health program at Riv offers rolling admission, so students can control when they start. New classes start every seven weeks.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $365 per credit
    • Program Length: 2-4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: None
    • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  10. National University
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    Located in San Diego, California, National University is the county's largest private, nonprofit institution. Students at NU can pursue a variety of online degrees, including a bachelor of science in public health. Learners in this program explore how public policy impacts health at the local, state, national, and international levels.

    Graduates go on to work at hospitals, community agencies, and local governments. Applicants must possess a GPA of 2.0 or higher and a high school or GED diploma.

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost per Credit: $370 per quarter credit
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 180 quarter credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: None
    • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Public Health Programs

What can you do with a degree in public health?

Public health degrees offer students the opportunity to work in policy, community health, research, and disaster management. Bachelor's degree-holders can pursue education roles, local management positions, and research teams.

Is a bachelor's degree in public health worth it?

Yes. Public health graduates can pursue several in-demand careers, as the BLS projects 16% job growth for all healthcare occupations between 2020 and 2030. Many public health professionals also find their careers rewarding, as they often perform meaningful work like fighting global pandemics and helping communities live healthier lives.

Can I get a public health job with an online bachelor's degree?

Yes. Many positions are available for students with a bachelor's degree, and many of those positions provide salaries that exceed the national average.

What are entry-level public health jobs?

Entry-level public health positions include health educator, community health worker, and epidemiologist.

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