A Master of Public Health degree program offers instruction in community health, which is an area of public health that seeks to document the health-related behaviors of particular demographic groups and to foster positive health practices within those communities. Courses cover human behavior, data collection, and analyzing research results. Students have the opportunity to focus on a particular geographical area or on a specific demographic. For instance, specialization options include women's health, urban healthcare, and global health.
These programs generally take about two years to complete. Some programs offer evening classes to accommodate working students. An internship or fieldwork is often required for graduation, as is the submission of a thesis paper. For admission, a bachelor's degree in a healthcare-related subject is preferred but not mandatory. Relevant work experience may also be helpful.
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Master's Degree in Community Health
Since it is a graduate-level program, a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community Health offers both practical and theoretical courses. The practical courses train students to do the daily tasks that are necessary in community health work. These courses cover writing field reports and organizing community records and data. The theoretical courses cover the principles, concepts, and psychology of human behavior and health practices.
Because students are expected to already have a basic and broad understanding of healthcare and biomedicine before they start the program, the core courses focus specifically on public and community health. After completing the core courses, students typically choose an area of specialization. Core courses deal with these subjects:
- Human behavior
- Community organization
- Health care system organization
- Biometric and epidemiology surveys
- Research methods
- Environmental health
Popular Career Options
Upon completion of the program, students are eligible for a wide variety of entry- to mid-level positions. Alternatively, some graduates go on to pursue medical degrees. Common career options include:
- Public health worker for government and non-government agencies
- Health educator or specialist
- Community organizer
- Planners and evaluators of health-related program
- Health-related policy maker
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were roughly 61,400 health educators employed in 2014, and that number was expected to increase 13% between 2014 and 2024. This faster-than-average job growth may be driven by increased efforts to manage health issues and cut healthcare costs. As of 2015, health educators earned a median annual salary of $51,960, according to the BLS.
In summary, a master's degree in community health provides students with comprehensive knowledge of the field and allows them to delve deeply into a specific area of interest. After graduation, they are prepared for a wide range of careers in the field.