Best Online Public Health Degrees & Programs
An online bachelor's in public health offers students the potential for a thriving career. Learn more about these programs.
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.
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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:
- Biostatistics: This concentration covers statistical methods as they apply to biology, medicine, and public health.
- Epidemiology: Students focus on the distribution patterns and determinants of disease in and across different populations.
- Environmental Health: In this concentration, students delve into the natural and environmental conditions that affect human individual and population health.
- Health Education: Students explore tools and best practices for working with communities to implement strategies to prevent disease and injury and promote positive health behaviors and environments.
- Health Services Administration: Students receive training in the leadership and management of healthcare infrastructure and facilities.
- Maternal and Child Health: Learners focus on necessary conditions for healthy children and mothers.
- Community Health: Learners study the conditions and principles of community health and health education.
- Disaster Management: Students gain the knowledge, training, and organizing principles needed to respond to emergent events and crises in public health.
- Health Public Policy: This concentration provides advocacy and leadership training, preparing graduates to shape public policy
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.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Public Health Programs
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
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Admission Requirements for a Bachelors in Public Health
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
How Do I Choose the Best Public Health Program For Me?The main factors to consider when selecting a bachelors program in public health are:
- Program Format
- Student Support
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Courses in a Public Health Online Bachelor's 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 Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Public Health?
Job & Salary 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.
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.
Careers for Public Health Bachelor's Graduates
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
Public Health Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
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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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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