UA Public Health Degree Ranked One of the Best | Mar 27, 2017

In an effort to improve the overall well-being of communities across the country and around the world, students have pursued careers in public health. The field aims to create and monitor programs that reduce disease, prevent injury and promote healthy lifestyles. Through research and education, professionals in this industry can advocate for threatened areas and devise courses of action to promote the prosperity of citizens.

The number of schools offering a public health degree program has increased over the years as the focus has become more popular, especially as we learn more about the implications, causes and cures for various diseases plaguing both individuals and communities. While only 45 institutions provided an undergraduate course in this field in 1992, that number increased to 176 in 2012, according to a study published in Public Health Reports. As for graduate-level degrees, 270 institutions offered this coursework as of 2013.

It is crucial for interested applicants to do their research when attempting to find the best school to advance their public health career; and The University of Arizona is a strong choice for professionals looking to do just that. Here’s why:

Ranked as one of the best in the nation

The University of Arizona’s College of Public Health was ranked No. 25 in U.S. News & World Report’s listing of Best Public Health Graduate Schools in 2015.

In addition to the standings of its graduate program, the university is also highly regarded for its undergraduate offerings. College Choice, an independent online publication, released its choices for the top 35 undergraduate public health programs in the nation. The University of Arizona came in at No. 19 as a result of the unique career tracks the institution offers its students: Environmental and Occupational Health, Health Behaviors and Health Deliveries.

Yet, there are many other benefits associated with attending this university.

Top-notch accreditation

The University of Arizona, generally, and the College of Public Health, specifically, have both been officially recognized by some of the top accrediting bodies in the U.S. The institution as a whole is certified by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, on the other hand, was recently reaccredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, which will last until December 2020, and is the only accredited college of public health in Arizona.

Professionals who graduate from accredited programs will have an education and training that is highly regarded among employers and institutions offering higher degrees.

An online option for working professionals

Students with a bachelor’s degree under their belt, who want to gain a higher degree in public health, should look no further than the University of Arizona’s Master of Public Health online. The program enables professionals to choose from the following focuses:

  • Applied Epidemiology
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Administration

The ability to complete coursework online enables those already operating within the field to maintain their full- or part-time job while completing their master’s degree.

Designed for the working professional, the program can be completed in as little as two years. University administrators and professors will guide learners in the right direction and ensure they are getting the most from their coursework.
Those pursuing a Master of Public Health degree online will learn a number of interesting subjects after choosing a concentration. The following classes are included in the online coursework:

Applied Epidemiology

  • Biostatistics for Research
  • Public Health Research & Evaluation
  • Maternal & Child Health Epidemiology

Health Promotion

  • Multi-Cultural Health Benefits
  • Applied Aspects of Program Planning & Research
  • Communications

Health Services Administration

  • Health Care Economics & Policy
  • Public Health Law & Ethics
  • Marketing & Strategic Planning

Of course, this is just a sample of the classes available for students completing an online master’s degree.

World-class educators

The University of Arizona employs some of the top public health leaders as faculty in the online Master of Public Health program, giving students access to some of the best and brightest minds in the field. In fact, the same faculty who teach in the campus program are also educators within the online coursework.

Strong research opportunities

Due to its strong reputation and high national rankings, the University of Arizona often finds itself the recipient of federal and state funding for research projects of various magnitudes. These opportunities enable public-health students to either get in on the action or learn from ongoing plans firsthand.

The most recent example is long-term study of cancer in firefighters, which is being financed by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The $1.5 million in funding will be directed toward measuring firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing chemicals through skin absorption and inhalation and developing step to reduce this risk. The study will last for three years and aims to devise not only protective equipment to reduce firefighter fatalities but better practices for handling fire-based incidents.

Students can feel more confident in and proud of the education they receive through the College of Public Health due to awards and accomplishments like this research project. Other recent accolades worth mentioning include a grant to advance public health preparedness training in Native American communities and funding to support the institution’s Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program, among many others.

Access to competitive salaries

When deciding to advance within the career of public health, students and professionals have many factors to consider. One of the most important is the ability to earn a more competitive and often higher wage. Since there are so many concentrations in the industry, the salaries often vary. Yet, it is common knowledge that completing a Master of Public Health opens the door to increased compensation.

The University of Arizona’s College of Public Health online MPH program offers three focuses with promising salaries for its’ graduates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected those wages as the following as of 2015:

  • Epidemiologists made $69,450
  • Health Educators and Community Health Workers made $43,840
  • Medical and Health Services Managers $94,500

These wages are dependent on location and employer availability, but knowing that these salaries are obtainable is a strong motivator for earning a Master of Public Health degree.

A community of notable alumni

While the University of Arizona boasts graduates including director Jerry Bruckheimer and former Senator Bob Dole, there are plenty of distinguished alumni that have dedicated their lives and careers to public health in one way or another. Professionals who earn a degree from the College of Public Health will join the ranks of the following:

  • Daniel W. Bradley (PhD), credited with co-discovering Hepatitis C during his time at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Paul Wehrle (BS in 1943), a pediatrician who aided in the development the smallpox and polio vaccines.
  • Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS (2000), and current Associate Dean of Phoenix Programs, was recently named one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona in 2016.
  • Jeff Burgess MD, MS, MPH (1993) and current Associate Dean for Research who recently received the Fulbright Schuman European Union Award to conduct a project on safety and health programs for emergency medical and fire services in the U.K. and France.

There are many benefits of and reasons for earning a public health degree from the University of Arizona’s Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. In addition to its high rankings by independent publications based on its affordable tuition and strong reputation, the accredited institution offers a top-notch faculty, various degree options and concentration selections as well as interesting research opportunities.