Public Health Policy & Management Degree

By Henry R. Steele - May 21, 2018
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As a public health professional or manager, you will focus on preventing injury and disease by promoting policies and procedures that lead to healthier lifestyles for at risk communities. Public health management professionals are responsible for implementing public health programs, policies and services that achieve desired public health goals.

Public health management professionals with a degree in public health policy and management confront some of the most pressing global health matters: improving access to quality healthcare, controlling the spread of infectious diseases, reducing dangers to human and animal health in our environment, substance abuse and injury.

Professionals with this degree are entering a remarkable field that has brought real, measurable improvements to the lives of millions of people in the past century. Life expectancy in the US has increased by nearly 30 years in that time, so the work of public health management professionals is incredibly important to improving lifespan and quality of life.

A career in public health policy and management is a good fit for those who want to better people’s lives through developing more effective health programs and analyzing them to ensure they policies will be beneficial and fully accessible to those who need them.

What Is Public Health Policy and Management?

To understand exactly what public health policy and management is, it is helpful to look at a master’s degree program in this major. For example, Yale University has a Master of Public Health in Policy and Management whose goals include providing students with a strong foundational knowledge in both public health and public policy management and to teach them concepts and principles and scientific skills they need to effectively develop public policy that will improve public health.

Students in the program develop a complete understanding of the data and research needed for effective policy and management in public health. They also are taught how to anticipate future needs that are related to expanding technology, how patterns of community health change over time, and how societal and programmatic needs evolve over time

Opportunity

As people are living longer lives and technology is improving, there is a growing need for many types of public health professionals with skills policy and management. For example, public health educators and community health workers are experiencing strong job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there will be 16% job growth in these fields through 2026, which is much faster than average. Growth in both fields is being driven by efforts to enhance public health outcomes and to cut healthcare costs by teaching people to have healthier behaviors, and explain to them how to better use healthcare services that are available.

Governments, social services and healthcare providers are trying to find better ways to enhance health outcomes and quality of care while cutting costs. This will increase the demand for health educators and community health workers because they are needed to teach people how to live better and healthier lives.

Job demand for medical health and service managers is also increasing by 20% by 2026, much faster than average. This is a possible career path as well for a person with this degree.

Career Paths

BLS reports there were 57,500 community health workers in the US in 2016. The largest employers were:

  • Family services and individuals: 18%
  • Government: 16%
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic and professional: 14%
  • Hospitals: 10%
  • Outpatient care centers: 10%

For health educators, there were 61,000 jobs in 2016. The biggest employers of these public health care management professionals were:

  • Hospitals: 23%
  • Government: 22%
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic and professional : 9%
  • Outpatient care centers: 8%
  • Individual and family services: 7%

Salaries

The median salary for community health workers in 2017 was $38,300, with the top 10% earning $64,000 per year. Meanwhile, the median salary for public health educators was $53,900, with the top 10% earning $97,100 per year. Professionals earning at the top of the salary scale for public health educators usually have a master’s degree in public health policy and management or a related field.

Also, Payscale.com reports the median salary for public health program managers is $57,606 with a range between $37,000 and $88,000. For medial health and science managers, the median salary is $103,600 per year.

Employers

One of the advantages of having a public health policy and management degree is that you can work in both the public and private sector. According to Indeed.com, below are some of the companies and organizations currently looking for public health managers and related positions:

  • Asian Health Services
  • StayWell Company
  • Hennepin County MN Public Health Department
  • Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce
  • Emory University Public Health Department
  • Innovations in Healthcare
  • CareOregon
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Cook County IL Health and Hospitals System
  • American Heart Association
  • Kewa Pueblo Health Corporation
  • Howard University Hospital
  • JUUL Labs
  • COPE Health Solutions

Bachelor’s Degree

There are bachelor’s degrees available in the public health policy and management major that will give you the skills to obtain an entry level position in this field. Some of them, such as the online program at USC, allow you to study the administration and management of healthcare organizations, or policy formulation and implementation.

Master’s Degree

To obtain a higher level position in the public health management field, earning a master’s degree in public health policy and management is usually a wise choice. Students at the University of Berkeley program, for example, complete core classes in health policy, economics, finance, strategy and management. Many graduates of their program go on to be a manager in a major healthcare organization, or join a management consulting company. Other job possibilities are working as a manager for a major biotechnology company or medical device manufacturer.

Admission Requirements

Some of the typical admission requirements for a master’s program in public health policy and management may be:

  • GRE scores
  • 0 or higher GPA
  • Public health related bachelor’s degree or prerequisite courses
  • Three professional or academic recommendations
  • Updated resume
  • College transcripts of all undergraduate level work
  • Writing samples

Curriculum

The bachelor’s program mentioned above has the follow courses required. Your requirements could vary based upon the program you attend:

  • Fundamentals of Health Policy and Management
  • Public Policy and Law
  • Analytic Foundations for Public Policy
  • Health Policy
  • Administration of Healthcare Organizations
  • Community Health Policy and Planning
  • Health Issues in Adulthood
  • Organizational Behavior in Public Administration

Financial Assistance

There is greater need today for public health professionals in management, so you may be able to find tuition assistance with the following grants and scholarships:

  • Public Health Community Scholarship: $2500
  • AAHE Delbert Oberteuffer Scholarship: $1500
  • Advancing Public Health Excellence Scholarships: $10,000
  • Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship: $10,000
  • Cathy L. Brock Healthcare Scholarship: $1000
  • Colley Master’s Scholarship: $1000
  • Corris Boyd Scholars Program: $40,000
  • David A. Winston Health Policy Scholars Program: $10,000
  • Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship: $1000
  • General Mills Health Scholarship: $2500

Certifications

One of the most important certifications for public health professionals is the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential. This esteemed credential shows you have a high level of knowledge of public health science and public health management principles.

Associations

These associations are worth exploring and belonging to for expanding your career options and education in public health:

  • American Public Health Association
  • World Federation of Public Health Associations
  • European Health Management Association
  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

Earn your public health policy and management degree if you want to enjoy a high in demand career with a good salary in a variety of public health management positions, and they can be in both public and private organizations.

References

Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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