Masters in Public Health – A Longer Road to Success
A Masters in Public Health focuses on the whole individual person and helps students to become skilled in planning, organizing and managing programs and teams. Students learn how to critically assess health issues, as well as how to create and implement solutions. Those pursuing this masters degree will also gain valuable work experience for college applications, as well as life skills that will serve them in their future career. Some students opt to continue on to pursue their masters degree after gaining work experience.
A masters degree in public health field prepares graduates for leadership positions in the administrative or managerial areas of health care. Graduates will most commonly seek employment in governmental organizations, with public health agencies, or with academic and research institutions. A masters degree allows individuals to pursue careers as managers of programs and departments within an organization. They may also choose to serve as a member of the staff of a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home or other medical facility. Those pursuing a masters in public health degree may even go on to become administrators of larger facilities.
As mentioned above, there are many different masters degree programs available in the public health field. The two most common degree types are the Master of Public Health and the Master of Science in Health and Human Services. Each of these degree options involves a different number of general studies courses and elective coursework. While these degree options are by no means the only ones available, they are the most common, and it is likely that all graduate students will be interested in pursuing at least one of these degrees.
An MSPH (Masters in Public Health) degree is designed for students who already have a strong interest and experience in the field. Students must first complete General Ledger Course (GCL), which teaches students how to manage accounting, planning, information systems, managing budgets, sales and marketing and developing and managing software applications. Next, students must complete a series of general education courses, which will include courses in community development, political science, psychology, sociology and statistics. Finally, students must successfully complete an advanced master’s degree in public health before being allowed to enroll in an MSPH program. For most students, the entrance exam for this degree is called the MS APR or Masters of Public Health Examination. Because this is an advanced degree, students must be eligible to apply for financial aid, and most schools do not offer scholarships to those with advanced degrees.
Another option for those interested in pursuing masters in public health is to enroll in an online MPH degree. Online MPH programs are quite similar to traditional on campus programs, but there is a big difference in the way in which students are enrolled in the program. With online programs, students work at their own pace, and complete all coursework at their own speed – some online programs offer self-paced or accelerated online learning, and there are also others that require students to meet at specific times and have the same set of classes.
A final option for those interested in earning a masters in public health program is the Capstone Project. The Capstone Project includes all of the coursework from the Master’s program – with the exception of a core course that must be taken as a stand-alone elective. The capstone project covers everything from epidemiology, prevention and control of diseases and conditions related to healthy environments to systems management. This project requires the students to demonstrate real world experience and the ability to use analytic skills to solve real-life problems. As part of the Capstone Project, students must also complete a practicum experience, and must complete and pass a final oral examination in order to earn their masters degree.
Students who wish to pursue their masters in public health program in less than one year can look to shorter programs, such as the Teaching Practitioner Option. In this case, the student chooses a specific area of study, such as community health management, and pursues the program for a specific teacher with a masters degree in the chosen field. The teaching work experience associated with the advanced degree allows the teacher the ability to apply what they have learned in their coursework back into their practice. The advantage to this option is that the student can continue with his or her work experience while pursuing an advanced degree in a different field. The disadvantage is that it can take longer to complete than a traditional Masters program, and is often more expensive as well.
Students looking for a longer duration in their masters in public health program may opt for an alternating pattern of a full-time degree and a practicum experience. The practicum experience is completed in the field of their choosing, and the student is able to complete his or her degree as rapidly as possible. In doing so, he or she will still be able to complete all course requirements of the degree in less than one year. This type of arrangement has the potential to allow a full-time learner to pursue a higher degree after successfully completing the MPH program, or a part-time student who already has a master’s degree may choose to pursue a higher degree in addition to the MPH program in order to fulfill his or her master’s desires.