Where an MPH Degree Can Take You

by Ashley Eneriz

Do you feel called to make an impact in your community or abroad? Earning your Master of Public Health (MPH) degree can give you the ability to help shape a healthier tomorrow for many people. We are all affected by public health issues on a daily basis—from the people we come in contact with to the food we eat—so the applications are seemingly endless.

Azusa Pacific University’s MPH degree program, a part of the institution’s nationally ranked School of Nursing, prepares students to excel and lead in the areas of emergency preparedness, policy creation, and health education. With this graduate degree, you can equip yourself with essential healthcare knowledge and open the door for opportunities to make a difference in your community and nation, as well as the rest of the world.

Career Outlook for Public Health Graduates

Marissa Brash, DrPH, MPH, CPH, director of the Master of Public Health program at APU, says, “Public health is a great career for anyone interested in helping to improve the health of a population through health education.” Brash explains that you can do just about anything with an MPH degree. In fact, there are NASA astronauts hold a master’s in public health.

On average, those with a master’s in public health can expect to earn 50-75 percent more in their lifetime than individuals with just a bachelor’s degree. The career choices for graduates with this degree are plentiful and varied, making it easier to find a good career fit no matter your strengths and passions.

Here are just a few career fields you can pursue after graduation:

  • Emergency management: Become an emergency response specialist or bioterrorism researcher.
  • Government work: You could collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or National Institutes of Health, or even become a healthcare policy analyst.
  • Mental health: Become a health program coordinator or behavior research scientist.
  • Private companies: Working within the private sector could include jobs in the pharmaceutical or insurance industries.
  • Nonprofit/NGO: This route could find you working with HIV/AIDS research or helping to bring health education and aid to underdeveloped areas of the world.
  • Global organizations: You could work for the World Health Organization or become a global infectious disease analyst.
  • Education: This career path can lead you to become a nurse educator, health teacher, or academic policy advisor.

The Benefit of Studying Public Health at APU

Azusa Pacific University knows how essential this degree is to the larger community. Keeping in mind the wide range of careers that a public health graduate can access, APU designed the MPH program to allow each student the ability to mix and match specialization courses, enabling them to customize their program for their personal interests and career goals.

“That is why we developed seven specializations for our MPH students to choose from,” Brash explains. “We hope that there is a specialty that fits for anyone interested in public health.”

The seven specializations are:

  1. Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  2. Disaster Health and Emergency Preparedness
  3. Environmental Health
  4. Health Policy and Administration
  5. Health Promotion and Education
  6. International Health
  7. Social and Behavioral Science

Not only do students get the chance to craft the perfect program for their unique skills, but APU makes the rigorous course load feasible for working professionals to complete. The program meets for only one face-to-face session per week, and part-time options are available.

The Growing Need for Emergency Preparedness

APU is one of the only schools to offer a specialization in disaster health and emergency preparedness. Brash says that this is crucial because emergencies and disasters can (and do) occur at any time. “This is such an important piece of public health education because large populations are affected simultaneously, and communication and collaboration need to occur through various channels, across jurisdictions, and with so many different groups,” she explains.

From natural disasters such as wildfires and illness outbreaks to man-made emergencies like hazardous material spills and plane crashes, the specialization in disaster health and emergency preparedness teaches students how to prepare communities for the worst—before it happens. Brash notes that the program teaches students how to “improve community resilience, response, and recovery after an event.”

Learn Health Policy; Improve Communities

Another important aspect of the MPH degree program is learning health policy and how to change (or write new) health policies. At APU, students study health policy from a Christ-centered perspective, building an understanding of equity and social justice as they relate to health care and community wellbeing. Understanding health policy equips graduates to handle complex challenges that arise within the U.S. public health and healthcare systems, as well as in other countries.

If you’re interested in crafting healthcare policies that benefit people, including underserved populations, then a Master of Public Health degree can help you make a lasting impact through your career.

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