Is an MPH Degree Worth It?

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Medical team and administrator shaking hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you find yourself wondering, “Is an MPH degree worth it?” there is a lot to think about. You will need to assess:

  • The amount of work that goes into the degree program
  • How pursuing a degree impacts your current job situation
  • The costs of completing a program relative to the salary increases you can expect
  • The job prospects associated with a degree over time

When it comes to pursuing a Master of Public Health degree, the potential gains are significant. Public health initiatives are a major part of today’s health care field and the skills focused on in the degree program are applicable to a wide range of positions. With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the key factors that contribute to the value of MPH programs.

What Are the Benefits of an MPH?

MPH graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings, ranging from environmental health and community health to health administration. Students in an MPH program can expect to learn about how to investigate health trends and combat epidemics and disease. They can also gain knowledge about the processes behind creating health policy in varied settings, managing care delivery and promoting health and wellness.

These skills apply to a wide range of job roles, positioning individuals with an MPH to work in diverse settings, from hospitals and research labs to government agencies and community advocacy groups. The job prospects, and potential earnings, are promising.

What Are the Career Prospects for Individuals With an MPH?

Individuals with an MPH can pursue a wide range of career opportunities. The training in understanding the big-picture implications of health care policies and procedures is valuable in the sector. Three of the most prominent roles associated with a degree in public health are:

1. Epidemiologist

An epidemiologist is a health care professional specializing in analyzing the underlying patterns and circumstances surrounding diseases and injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most epidemiologists possess an MPH degree. Epidemiologists perform studies on public health problems and gather data pertaining to diseases and epidemics to communicate that information to practitioners, policymakers, and the public.

In many ways, an epidemiologist is a heavily investigative professional, but some of the work also incorporates managing teams of technicians and other specialists involved in performing studies. Epidemiologists work in both private and public sectors, researching a wide array of medical issues, including mental health, infectious diseases, environmental health, and emergency response, The BLS explained.

According to data from the BLS, the median annual salary for epidemiologists was just below $70,000 in 2018. Job growth is expected at a 5% rate from 2018 to 2028, which is average across all occupations.

2. Medical and Health Services Manager

Efficiency is a growing priority across the health care sector, where efforts to keep costs under control while improving the quality of care are the new normal. In this setting, individuals with an understanding of public health concepts and the underlying systems of the health care industry have key skills to offer. Whether it is working as a hospital administrator or managing a public health agency in the local government, individuals with an MPH degree can be valuable for organizations.

The master’s degree in public health can pay dividends when applied to management roles. According to data from the BLS, individuals can become a medical and health services manager with just a bachelor’s degree. However, the majority of people working in the role have master’s degrees.

This job centers on efficiency and administration, with key goals being to analyze and understand work practices in a care setting and create an environment that facilitates quality care and effective financial management. As such, a medical and health services manager will need to handle supervising staff, meeting with investors and board members, creating budgets, and organizing records.

According to the BLS, a medical and health services manager job is rewarding both in terms of financial prospects and occupational growth. The median salary for this position in 2018 was nearly $100,000. Furthermore, job growth is expected at a 28% rate from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster pace the average across job types.

3. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Working in occupational health and safety can be a great fit for public health professionals. In this setting, public health expertise prepares individuals to analyze occupational health trends and identify measures that can be taken to promote better practices and care.

According to the BLS, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians earned a median annual salary just below $70,000 in 2018, and job growth is expected at an average rate from 2018 to 2028.

How Can You Get the Most Value from an MPH Program?

There are many opportunities in public health, which makes an MPH degree a valuable option. An online MPH program can be especially beneficial for those who are already working professionals in the health care field. The online program at Regis College creates value by:

  • Providing flexible scheduling so you don’t have to make as many personal or professional sacrifices to fit your education into the rest of your life. You can expect to put approximately 20 hours of work into the program each week, but you can set your own schedule.
  • Offering three different start times and no GRE requirement so you can start the program when it makes the most sense for you.
  • Two concentrations, Epidemiology and Health Care & Policy Management, that help you gain the specialized knowledge needed to work in specific public health fields.
  • A field placement component to the online MPH that gives you an opportunity to get practical training and network in the field, helping to prepare you for your future after obtaining the MPH degree.

The value you can gain from an MPH depends on your personal goals. However, the raw data points to an industry that is growing, jobs that pay well, and flexible learning options. Regis College can help you explore the full potential of an MPH. Contact us today to speak with an admissions counselor and learn more about what you can expect from the degree.  

 

Recommended Readings:

What Can You Do with an MPH Degree Compared to an MHA Degree?

A Picture of Children’s Health in America

 

Sources:

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Epidemiologists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Health Services Managers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master of Public Health Frequently Asked Questions by Regis College

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Epidemiologists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Health Services Managers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master of Public Health Frequently Asked Questions by Regis College