What Can You Do with a Masters in Public Health?

What jobs and career can you get with masters in public health?

We asked experts to share their insights.

Dr. Mamuda Aminu, MD, MPH, PhD

Mamuda Aminu

Senior Clinical Research Associate at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

A Masters in Public Health is in many ways like an MBA in the health sector

It is one of the most versatile Master’s programs out there, opening many doors into multiple career paths. However, job opportunities with an MPH are generally in three broad areas:

  1. Health program implementation and management
  2. Public health research and
  3. Postgraduate lecturing/teaching

Thus, whether you fancy a corporate job with an NGO or you prefer getting into the trenches and sifting through tonnes of data to discover the next big thing in preventive health, an MPH could be the stepping stone you need into greatness.

Jana Mowrer, RD/RDN, MPH, CDE, LD

Jana Mowrer

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian (Oregon), Nutritionist & Certified Diabetes Educator

Getting an MPH is allowing me to change people’s health and improve the quality of their lives

I am currently employed with healthcare and endocrine medical practice for several years after graduating as their Clinical Dietitian. It also put me in a position to be chosen to serve on the Public Policy Committee for the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

But the most important use of that MPH is that it has helped me start my own nutritional coaching and consulting business where I can directly impact the quality of people’s lives through helping them make great, informed nutritional choices.

Erynne Jones, MPH

Erynne Jones

KP Public Affairs

I graduated undergrad right when the recession hit. Despite having graduated with honors and magna cum laude, it felt impossible to find a full-time job when I went out into the workforce in my early 20s.

Additionally, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was still years away, so most of my measly paycheck was going to a catastrophic health plan that basically only covered me in emergency situations.

After a few years of taking on any odd jobs that came my way on top of working multiple part-time gigs (among them, being a docent at a Chinese Historical Museum, working as a waitress in a small beach café, and acting as a pseudo-paralegal for a medical malpractice law firm), I took a position as a project coordinator for a non-profit that was promoting universal health coverage in California. This was my first introduction to public health.

I remember diving into my research to put together a grid comparing then-candidate Obama’s plans for health care reform for then-candidate McCain’s alternative and was fascinated.

Having been frustrated at spending most of my own paycheck for the past few years on a health insurance plan that seemingly covered close to nothing, the idea of having health insurance regardless of my income or background was the equivalent of someone telling me unicorns were real.

As I dove into further plans involving banning health insurance from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions (a common practice back then – and one which my mother was being affected by in trying to find coverage after she’d had a painful and much-needed knee replacement) and charging patients differently based on factors like gender (yep, women were also charged more for coverage back then based solely on the fact that we were expected to use it more), I was hooked.

When Obama was elected and ACA planning went into full swing, I knew I needed to go back for my Master’s in Public Health (MPH) so I could be on the front lines of helping make these once unfathomable plans a reality.

I received my MPH in health policy and management from UCLA in 2013, and have worked in the healthcare field ever since.

An MPH allowed me to take on a variety of leadership positions in various sectors

I began working as an Associate Director of Government Affairs for an advocacy organization representing community health centers statewide, moved into Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) consulting with a focus on mental health and substance use disorders, and eventually moved into public affairs, where I manage a variety of healthcare and public health clients doing both public relations and strategic counseling.

It’s been a truly invaluable degree for me, both in teaching me the nuances of public policy surrounding the health system, ways of thinking and communicating strategically, and approaches for improving the lives of communities from a population-based standpoint.

My degree has opened multiple doors for me, and I’ve had the privilege of being able to speak at conferences, serve on panel presentations, and publish reports to help drive solutions in a variety of areas.

I’ve also had the opportunity to be a mentor to other students and new public health workers that are thinking about their own career pathways.

Carol Gee

Carol Gee. M.A.

Retired Administrator | Author

With an MPH, the opportunities in the area of health and healthcare are endless

For nearly 13 years of nearly 22, I was a department administrator at a well known Atlanta university. Every semester my department hired graduate students working on their MPH. I interacted, supervised, and also mentored them, often finding them other opportunities including internships and funding opportunities.

Upon graduating over the years, my former students found careers as medical doctors (some later went to med school or already were MDs before getting their MPH. Others are health educators, policy analysts, researchers, etc. They work for such organizations the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Division of Public Health. Planned Parenthood. HMO’s such as Aetna and Cigna, the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society as well as local health departments.

The physicians either work in Atlanta hospitals or in private practice. With an MPH the opportunities in the area of health and healthcare are endless.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Skills Can a Person With an MPH Degree Develop?

With an MPH degree, one can acquire a wide range of skills crucial to public health. Let’s take a look:

Analytical skills: MPH students are trained to analyze health data, conduct research and evaluate the results, and understand how to evaluate the impact of public health programs and interventions.

They learn to critically assess public health policy effectiveness and identify improvement opportunities.

Communication skills: MPH students gain the ability to communicate complex public health information in an accessible and understandable manner to various stakeholders.

These include policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the general public. MPH graduates are equipped to effectively advocate for public health initiatives and educate others about the importance of public health.

Leadership skills: MPH students learn about health systems, administration, and policy and are equipped to lead public health initiatives and programs.

They understand how to effectively collaborate with healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community members to address public health issues.

Interdisciplinary knowledge: MPH programs combine multiple disciplines, such as biology, sociology, and economics, to provide a comprehensive understanding of public health issues.

This multidisciplinary approach equips MPH graduates to approach public health issues from multiple perspectives and develop holistic solutions.

Cultural competence: MPH programs emphasize the importance of cultural competence in addressing public health issues.

This includes understanding the diverse needs of different populations, identifying and addressing health disparities, and working effectively with diverse communities. MPH graduates are able to navigate cultural differences and provide culturally sensitive health services.

What Are the Benefits of an MPH Degree?

A degree in MPH can open doors to many career opportunities in the public health sector. It can provide a deeper understanding of various public health topics such as disease prevention, health management, nutrition, etc.

Some of the key benefits of an MPH degree include the following:

Job security: The demand for public health professionals is on the rise. With a degree from MPH, you’ll have a solid foundation in the field. This degree can increase your job security and make you a more attractive candidate for employment.

Competitive salary: MPH graduates often receive higher wages than those who only have a bachelor’s degree. This is because an MPH degree demonstrates higher public health expertise and skills.

Advancement opportunities: With a degree from MPH, you can pursue leadership positions in public health organizations, government agencies, academia, and research. This degree opens doors for professional growth and advancement. It allows you to make a more significant impact in the public health field.

Making a difference: One of the biggest benefits of an MPH degree is the opportunity to positively impact public health and improve the lives of communities. Public health professionals play a critical role in promoting and protecting the health of populations. 

Personal growth: A degree from MPH offers you the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. You’ll have the chance to expand your knowledge and skills in public health and learn new perspectives and ideas that will help you grow personally and professionally.

Overall, an MPH degree is a valuable investment in your future and offers a wealth of benefits that can help you achieve your goals and make a difference in the world.

What Kind of Work Environment Can I Expect With a Degree From MPH?

An MPH degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities in public health. Here are some of the types of work environments you can expect:

Government agencies: MPH graduates can work in local, state, and federal public health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

In these settings, you’ll likely work on programs and initiatives designed to improve public health, prevent disease, and protect populations.

Nonprofit organizations: MPH graduates may also work for nonprofit organizations that deal with public health, such as community clinics or advocacy groups. In these settings, you’ll work to improve health outcomes in underserved communities and promote health equity.

Healthcare organizations: MPH graduates may work in hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organizations where they can improve population health and eliminate health disparities.

In these settings, you’ll work with healthcare providers to develop and implement programs and policies aimed at improving health outcomes for patients and communities.

Research institutions: MPH graduates can work in academic institutions, research organizations, and pharmaceutical companies where they can conduct research on public health issues.

At these institutions, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to advancing public health knowledge and help shape public health policies and programs.

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