What Can You Do With a Master’s in Public Health?

A group of public health professionals

Public health is a healthcare specialization focused on promoting health and preventing injuries and diseases. While clinical professionals treat patients who are already suffering from medical problems, a public health professional works to prevent those medical problems from arising in the first place, focusing on communities and populations rather than individual patients.1

If you have an interest in this field, you may be wondering, What is an MPH degree? or What can you do with a master’s in public health? Here, you can explore the public health field and consider a few common Master of Public Health jobs.

In This Article:

What Is an MPH Degree?

An MPH degree is a graduate-level program that emphasizes the practical aspects of public health. It centers around preventing the spread of disease and promoting health in general.

So, what can you do with an MPH degree? With this degree, you can help improve health outcomes for people in all communities. Anyone with an accredited undergraduate degree can pursue an MPH degree.

Courses review specific issues that populations and communities face today, such as quality of life and longevity. You will also have the opportunity to examine quantitative and qualitative analytical research skills.

Why Should You Get an MPH Degree?

There are several reasons why you might consider earning an MPH degree. If you have an interest in healthcare but prefer not to work directly with patients, this could be an ideal subfield for you. Consider the following perks of working in public health.

1. Job Opportunity

There are multiple potential job titles in the public health field. Two of them include health educator and epidemiologist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth rate for health educators is estimated to be 7% from 2022 to 2032, faster than average.2 Similarly, the BLS estimates job growth for epidemiologists to be 27% during that same time period, much faster than average.3

2. Varied Environments

If you are looking for a career that will allow you to pursue work in a variety of different environments, then a degree in public health may be ideal for you. Public health professionals may pursue work in the following settings:4

  • Global health organizations
  • Local, state and federal governmental agencies
  • Hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Nonprofit companies
  • Private corporations
  • Universities
  • Community organizations

3. Community Impact

With a master’s degree in public health, you may be qualified to pursue work at a community organization or even in a government position. In these roles, public health workers help create policies and further access to health resources and are trained to deal with outbreaks of disease that can easily occur in a community. Public health professionals work to keep communities safe.

3. Job Satisfaction

Many public health workers experience high job satisfaction, as working to save lives and teaching others healthy habits can be rewarding. In fact, one survey found that 82% of workers in public health were satisfied with their careers.5 Public health professionals work with others to help them develop healthy lifestyles. In changing just one life, you are one step closer to positively impacting a community.

Jobs With a Public Health Master’s Degree

There is a range of opportunities available for individuals with strong competencies in the public health field. Consider the following opportunities:

Health Education Specialist

If you’re interested in promoting health and helping people prevent disease and injury, you may enjoy working as a health education specialist. These professionals are dedicated to developing programs and services that help teach people about health conditions and help them learn skills to protect their health. As an example, imagine you are newly diagnosed with diabetes. You may not have a good understanding of what the disease is, or what you need to do to keep this disease from getting worse. A health education specialist can help by providing information about the disease, teaching you how to check your blood glucose levels, and enroll you in programs that can help provide continuing support and information to you as you learn to live with your condition.

Health education specialists work in a variety of settings, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or hospitals and clinics. Health education specialists can be involved in collecting and analyzing data to identify community needs before planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. They also partner with health systems, health providers, insurers and patients to address individual and population health needs. They may also serve as a resource to help individuals, other health professionals or the community with health education and health promotion programs.

Health Services Manager

Some graduates with advanced public health degrees go into management and administration. One role to consider is that of health services manager. They are responsible for the planning, implementation and coordination of a healthcare facility’s services and activities.

Examples of specific tasks include:

  • Developing the objectives of the department or facility
  • Identifying ways to improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare services, patient care and patient outcomes
  • Developing a budget and managing the finances
  • Maintaining department or facility records of the available healthcare services
  • Liaising with medical staff and other administrators

Some health services managers are heads of departments within hospitals, while others serve as head of an entire facility.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

An occupational health and safety specialist focuses on promoting workplace safety. They evaluate the safety of various workplaces, analyze the data and recommend alterations to improve safety. They also conduct inspections of workplaces to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Occupational health and safety specialists may also design and implement workplace programs and policies intended to mitigate potential risks to workers. They may conduct educational workshops or seminars intended to teach both employers and employees about workplace safety issues. For example, they may teach safety measures for the use of potentially dangerous equipment.

Applying for Master of Public Health Jobs

After looking at the job options in the public health field and determining what interests you, the next step is to find open jobs and apply for the kind of position you want. Here are five tips to guide you in the right direction when it comes to applying for Master of Public Health jobs.

1. Set Aside Time To Search

Finding and applying for jobs can be a very time-consuming task, so make sure to set enough time aside for a thorough review of job openings. After finding some jobs that sound interesting to you, tailor your resume to each job so your application stands out, even if it takes a bit longer than applying with a generic resume.

2. Be Persistent in Applying to Master of Public Health Jobs

There are countless online resources available that can help you find a job. Many websites with job listings also have a feature that allows you to apply easily to similar jobs once you have submitted your resume. It’s always best to give yourself as many opportunities for interviews as you can.

3. Look for Internships or Work Opportunities While Earning a Degree

If you are still earning your degree or are planning to, take advantage of your school’s resources to find an opportunity to get your foot in the door in the public health field. The career services department may be able to connect you to relevant internship opportunities. Talking to your professors and other faculty at your school may also present opportunities you might not find on your own.

4. Network With Public Health Professionals

Ask professionals from your local clinics or other people you may know in the public health field about possible job openings or their experience. This will not only broaden your search, but also help you build a network of connections in public health.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering in public health can be a great way to expand your network and meet professionals in the field, as well as others who share interests with you. It's possible you may meet someone in this way who has the perfect job for you.

You can further your education in public health by earning your Master of Public Health at Grand Canyon University. The comprehensive curriculum explores timely topics, such as program planning and evaluation, the principles of epidemiology, and the environmental impact on health. Fill out the form on this page to learn more. 

1American Public Health Association. (n.d.). What is public health? Retrieved Dec. 15, 2023. 

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health Education Specialist, retrieved on Jan. 18, 2023. 

COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Epidemiologists,  retrieved on Jan. 18, 2023. 

4 Coursera. (2023, Nov. 29). 7 public health careers (and how to get started). Retrieved Dec.15, 2023.

5 NurseJournal. (2023, Oct. 9). 7 reasons to get a job in public health. Retrieved Dec.15, 2023. 

Approved by the public health lead faculty of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions on March 25, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.