Students enrolled in 4-year public health bachelor's degree programs learn about the history of the U.S. healthcare system, the laws affecting the healthcare system and the ethical and policy issues underlying medical care. They are also expected to gain a strong background in management and organizational principles by learning how to oversee personnel and financial resources for hospitals and healthcare facilities. Internships are often a program requirement.
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Bachelor's Degree in Public Health
Some health administration programs will require successful completion of courses in mathematics, business administration, communication and health sciences prior to formal acceptance into the major, in addition to the typical high school diploma and ACT or SAT scores.
The courses included in a bachelor's degree program in public health are designed to provide students with both a theoretical and practical understanding of the strategies that go into public policy planning in the healthcare field. Core courses include:
- Introduction to healthcare service systems
- Law and ethics in health administration
- Management of human resources
- Health organization leadership
- Strategic planning and marketing
- Healthcare financial management
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in public health can go on to earn various entry-level positions in the fields of policy planning, healthcare administration, management and more:
- Assistant hospital administrator
- Healthcare policy planner
- Health information manager
- Hospital department head
- Healthcare service manager
- Medical service manager
- Healthcare administrator
Job Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 17%, much faster than the average for all occupations, for medical and health services managers in general from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $94,500 as of May 2015. The BLS also indicates that epidemiologists could expect job growth of 6% from 2014-2024. They earned a median annual salary of $69,450 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Options
Master's degree programs in public health, epidemiology, healthcare administration and healthcare information are possible for students who aspire to an advanced degree in this field. Such master's degree programs typically include even more intensive and advanced courses in management principles and more hands-on work; clinical experiences are sometimes called for as well. Graduates can use the knowledge gained from the degree to move up the ladder in hospitals or administrative service organizations.
Hospitals, healthcare organizations and government agencies are in need of those with healthcare and policy expertise. A bachelor's degree program in public health allows individuals to take advantage of that need.