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Public Health Certificate and Diploma Program Information

Get information on certificate and diploma programs in public health. Read on to find out about prerequisites, course requirements and career options, as well as employment projections and the salary outlook for this field.

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Essential Information

A master's degree or higher is required to hold many public health jobs. Public health certificate programs tend to be offered at the graduate level and are designed for those currently working in the health care profession, such as nurses, physicians and veterinarians. Program curriculum aims to expand a student's knowledge of health policies, community education and public health issues, including infectious diseases, environmental hazards and access to quality health care. These programs consist of just a few courses and may be available online.

Prospective public health workers may also consider enrolling in a graduate diploma program, which provides graduate-level specialization to individuals who have already completed a bachelor's degree. Successful graduates possess a high degree of professionalism, strong communication skills, leadership ability and a sense of public service.

Education Prerequisites

Admittance to graduate-level certificate and diploma programs generally requires a 4-year degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Official transcripts from all prior academics must be submitted, and reference letters are often required. Public health programs may consider career experience and internships as contributory factors.

Program Coursework

Students in graduate-level certificate or diploma programs may delve into the complex attributes of good health, including the environmental, social, individual and biological factors. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the public health field, program curriculum may also include advocacy, social sustainability and public policy. Courses may include:

  • Promoting health and wellness
  • Communication
  • Public speaking
  • Public health practice
  • Community health
  • Research methods in public health
  • Introduction to the health care system
  • Environmental health

Popular Career Options

Public health is a diverse field that includes specialization in areas such as maternal and child health, biostatistics, nutrition, leadership and environmental sciences. Many public health workers deal with developing policy, promoting community wellness, education, research and management. Career options for those with a graduate-level certificate or diploma include:

  • Public health social worker
  • Health educator
  • Health services manager
  • Community wellness administrator
  • Researcher

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Social workers in the healthcare field earned a median annual salary of $49,830 as of May 2012, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, Job openings for social workers in general were expected to increase by 25% from 2010-2020, which is a faster-than-average rate. Health educators should also see many job opportunities in the 2010-2020 decade: the BLS projected job growth of 37% in this field. Health educators earned a median of $48,790 as of 2012. As a third option, health services managers earned a median salary of $88,580 in 2012, per the BLS. Job growth in the health services management field was expected to be 22% from 2010-2020.

Continuing Education Information

Some universities and colleges may apply credits from a graduate diploma program toward the completion of a graduate degree in public health. Options include the Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Public Health, Doctor of Public Health and Master of Health Services Administration.

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