5 reasons to earn a Master of Public Health degree | Oct 19, 2016

As a public health professional, you play an important role in educating others about important health topics. However, education is not only important for the people with which you work. Attaining a high level of training is important for your own career as well. If you are working in the field or recently completed your undergraduate education, a master’s degree in public health could help you to take the next step in your career and increase your ability to provide valuable services to the public.

Interested in seeing where a higher education could take you? Consider these five reasons to pursue an MPH degree:

1. Increase your career options

While it is possible to work in public health with a bachelor’s degree, there are some positions that you need a master’s on your resume to qualify for. When you complete an MPH, you have the experience and skills to excel in these roles. Examples of jobs in public health that require or benefit from a higher degree include epidemiologist, non-profit program manager, clinical research coordinator and research analyst.

An MPH can also give you a solid background in public health that will prepare you for other related roles in the field, such as a career as a physician or a public health attorney.

2. Open opportunities for advancement

When you work in public health, you may reach a point in your career where you are ready for greater responsibility and independence in the workplace. You can set yourself apart from the competition when applying for a promotion or new position by earning an MPH. Having a higher degree on your resume shows an employer that not only are you equipped to take on a management position, but you have the commitment and passion for public health to complete a master’s degree program.

3. Improve your earning potential

While you likely chose a career in public health to help others, a master’s degree often has the extra bonus of increasing your earning potential. In part, this is because an MPH can help you to land management positions and other promotions that often carry an increased salary. Some of the jobs that a master’s qualifies you for, such as program manager, research analyst or epidemiologist, in addition to being incredibly rewarding can earn annual salaries above $70,000, according to the job and salary website PayScale.

4. Develop your public health skills

As with most fields, more education in public health tends to translate to greater expertise and more developed skills. The additional coursework you complete while pursuing a Master in Public Health will give you a greater understanding of topics such as financial management and behavioral aspects related to the field. In most programs you will additionally have opportunities to develop your public speaking and presentation planning skills, as well as other useful abilities that will help you to more effectively relate to the public.

5. Specialize your focus

Your undergraduate education likely gave you a broad foundation for your public health career. However, pursuing a master’s degree can give you an opportunity to focus on a more specialized area of expertise. For example, you may choose to focus in epidemiology to pursue a career as an epidemiologist, working on research that will help improve the overall health of populations. Students in University of Arizona’s online MPH program can also choose to focus in health services administration and health promotion in addition to applied epidemiology.

If you did not complete your undergraduate degree in public health, pursuing a master’s can additionally give you the education that you need for a rewarding career change.