Public health offers a rewarding, challenging career. The field prioritizes multiple Public Health degrees, especially for top positions. Depending on your career goals, there are different types of doctoral degrees that can set you on the path to success. Let’s take a look at these two distinct degrees.
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
The Doctor of Public Health is a degree designed for public health professionals. Doctor of Public Health jobs might include:
- Policy Advisors
- Public Health Information Officers
- Medical Directors (who are also physicians)
- Program Directors
- Community Health Managers
Students in a DrPH program will study ways to inform and influence different public health interventions. They’ll also learn how to use evidence-based research to promote social change and improve overall public health. Graduates know how to identify and prioritize public health problems while formulating solutions.
PhD in Public Health
Contrary to the DrPH, the PhD in Public Health is more of a research degree. If your career goals include working in a specialized area of research, making contributions to the field, this might be the right doctorate degree for you. What can you do with a PhD in Public Health? PhD public health jobs might include:
- Professor or Faculty Member at a University
- Lab Researcher
Public Health PhD students will study how to apply research to affect change in different populations. They also learn how to evaluate and apply theories in the prevention of disease. They’ll focus on using their knowledge and skills to advance the practice of public health as a whole.
We’ve ranked some of the top online PHD (DRPH) Degrees in Public Health to help make this goal of a Doctorate in Public Health a little easier to attain. We looked at available online programs and weighed them on their value and academic reputations in compiling the list.
How Much Can I Earn with a Doctorate in Public Health?
It’s important to note that many public health positions do not require a PhD, holding this prestigious degree will make you more competitive and likely to receive a higher salary.
According to payscale.com, the average doctorate of public health salary is $88,000/year. With experience, you can earn potentially much more annually, plus you’ll enjoy career stability and utility in a rapidly growing field. The Association of Schools of Public Health has found the demand for professionals in the field of public health has never been higher. We take a look at some of the highest paying jobs in the field.
Health and Safety Engineer – $99,040/year
At the intersection of engineering and health/safety is the Health and Safety Engineer. This unique area of public health designs and develops systems that protect people from injury or illness. Health and safety engineers play a critical public health role by inspecting facilities and machines to ensure safety. They also help ensure safe working conditions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this role requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. There are jobs for PhD in public health graduates in leadership and senior health and safety engineering roles.
Employment is expected to grow by 4% through 2031.
Epidemiologist – $78,830/year
An epidemiologist is a public health professional who investigates trends and causes of disease in the population. They usually work in applied public health or research. Depending on the career path chosen, either a PhD or DrPH is appropriate. An epidemiologist may manage programs or plan and direct public health studies. Some are employed by local health departments while others work for state and local governments.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary is $78,830/year but the highest 10% earn upward of $130,050/year. The highest paid epidemiologists work in scientific research and development services.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists – $76,530/year
Environmental health professionals are public health experts who work to solve environmental problems. They use their knowledge to protect the environment and public health. Public health PhD jobs are available in research and policy development. While the average salary isn’t overly impressive, senior roles are expected to pay much better.
Employment is expected to grow by 5% through 2031
Global Health Professional – $68,000/year
Global health is a popular specialization within the field of public health. Global health professionals assess global health issues and causes while working to develop solutions. PhD in public health jobs related to global health are available in higher education, research agencies and in government. Some global health professionals work for NGOs or non-profits.
Payscale.com reports that the average base salary for a global health professional with their master’s in public health is $68,000. That rate is likely significantly higher for professionals with a doctoral degree in public health.
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers – $60,600/year
Health educators are public health professionals who promote wellness among the public by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. The job is extremely diverse. Some doctorate in public health jobs in this specialty are available in educator or governmental agencies. Jobs that require a doctorate in public health salary estimates are higher than average. According to payscale.com, the average base salary for someone with a PhD focused on community health education is $102,000/year.
How Do I Choose the Right Public Health Doctoral Program?
Now that you know some of the positions you qualify for with a Doctoral degree in Public Health, take a close look at the top online PHD (DRPH) Degrees in Public Health ranking. Make sure you choose programs not just based on prestige, but based on how they align with your career goals, interests, schedule and ongoing responsibilities. One school on the list, Loma Linda University, offers five different concentrations, allowing you to specialize in one of the following while earning your doctorate: Health Education, Nutrition, Epidemiology, Preventative Care and Health Policy and Leadership. Check it out!
Are there Online Programs Available?
Earning a Doctorate in Public Health is time-consuming, but one way to save time and money is earning that DrPH online. There aren’t many online doctoral public health degrees, but the ones that do exist will let you save money, and help you earn your DrPH while you continue to work and handle your ongoing obligations.
If you have a Master’s in Public Health and want to expand your knowledge or get cutting-edge information into public health research and methods doctorate might be the right career move. A doctorate degree in public health is a great route to take. It won’t be easy. These degrees generally take between four and six years, but the rewards from them are plentiful. You’ll be well qualified for supervisory, managerial, and executive positions in a number of organizations dealing with public health.