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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Public Health

Majors Overview March 18, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in public health and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Public Health

Students enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program in public health are provided with the training, skills, and educational background they would need in order to obtain employment in healthcare policy management and planning.

Coursework is devised to teach enrolled students about the policy and ethical issues underlying medical care, the laws affecting the healthcare system, and the history of the U.S. healthcare system. They can also expect to gain a strong grasp of organizational and management principles before becoming adept at overseeing financial resources and personnel for healthcare facilities and hospitals.

These four-year bachelor’s degree programs in public health are available through several schools that require completion by undergraduate students of hands-on experience or an internship program during their junior or senior year.

Completion of an internship would enhance the chances of obtaining entry-level occupations in a research institute, health insurance company, government agency, healthcare organization, or hospital system.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to passing standardized tests such as the ACT or the SAT. Some schools expect successful completion of classes in health sciences, communication, business administration, and mathematics before they allow incoming students to begin core coursework.

Coursework

Coursework in a bachelor’s degree program in public health aims at imparting both a practical and theoretical grasp of the strategies involved in public policy planning in the healthcare field. Core coursework may include the following:

•Healthcare financial management
•Strategic planning and marketing
•Health organization leadership
•Applied microeconomics
•Management of human resources
•Law and ethics in health administration
•Introduction to healthcare service systems
•Environmental health
•Epidemiology
•Policy issues in health services

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program in public health can seek various entry-level occupations in management, healthcare administration, and policy planning, among other fields. They can choose from popular career options such as:

•Medical service manager
•Hospital department head
•Health information manager
•Healthcare administrator
•Epidemiologist
•Healthcare policy planner
•Assistant hospital administrator
•Healthcare service manager

Job and Wage Outlook

A faster-than-average job growth rate of 23% has been predicted for medical and health services managers in general over the 2012 – 2022 decade. Over the same period, epidemiologists are expected to see 10% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, medical and health services managers brought in an average annual wage of $88,580, while epidemiologists earned $65,270 on average per annum (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

After completion of a bachelor’s degree, some graduates may opt for continuing education to boost their career prospects in administrative service organizations or hospitals. They may pursue master’s degree programs in healthcare information, healthcare administration, epidemiology or public health.

These may involve even more advanced and intensive coursework in management principles and additional hands-on and clinical experiences. Graduates can use the knowledge gained from the degree program to move up the ladder in hospitals or administrative service organizations.

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