Believe it or not, many educators, epidemiologists, consultants, and administrators took similar degree paths to reach their current positions. A degree in public health can lead to any one of these rewarding careers, and should be worth considering if these options sound appealing to you.
In this article, we break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of a career in public health, along with factors to consider when deciding whether a public health degree is worth it.
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What to Know About Getting a Public Health Degree
Students pursuing a public health degree learn how to promote and defend individual and community health using critical thinking and analysis. Public health careers are often service-based and can allow you to influence policy issues related to disease prevention, drug use, and emergency response.
Christopher Lee, who holds a master of public health (MPH) degree and has worked in startups, healthcare, and advocacy, notes that because the discipline is so broad, it can be difficult to make generalizations about whether a degree in public health is worth it — particularly from a financial angle.
"The type of work varies greatly, so the expected salaries (and earning potential as you advance) also vary greatly," says Lee.
Still, there are a few things to keep in mind as you consider this education path.
A Public Health Degree is Versatile
Because public health is so broad, students typically have the opportunity to choose a specialization. Common specializations for public health majors include the following options:
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