Types of Degrees Public Health Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many public health graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Public Health Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to public health and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Public Health Majors
Public Health majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Skills for Public Health Majors
When studying public health, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Abilities for Public Health Majors
As a public health major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
What Can You Do With a Public Health Major?
People with a public health degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Community Health Workers||17.9%||$39,540|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health||11.1%||$71,130|
|Health Specialties Professors||25.9%||$97,370|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||20.5%||$99,730|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialists||8.1%||$73,020|
|Occupational Health and Safety Technicians||9.9%||$50,780|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Public Health?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of public health majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||2,378|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,659|
Public Health appeals to people across the globe. About 8.6% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do Public Health Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in public health was $48,300 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $42,200 (25th percentile) and $54,500 (75th percentile).
It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to public health.
Salaries According to BLS
Average salaries range from $59,660 to $113,730 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to public health. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Public Health
Some degrees associated with public health may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to public health have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||1.2%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||0.7%|
|Some College Courses||0.5%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||10.9%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||2.2%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.4%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.8%|
Online Public Health Programs
In 2018-2019, 691 schools offered a public health program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||59||12|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||23||3|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||2||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||177||15|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||10||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||5||2|
Is a Degree in Public Health Worth It?
The median salary for a public health grad is $75,690 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 90% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $715,800 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Public Health
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to public health.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Article 25 Flickr under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.