Careers for MPH Students

A master’s in public health program can set you up for careers in a variety of exciting and new fields. Depending on your interests and your work experience, you may find some positions more suitable to you than others— but there is something for all kinds of students.

This guide will help you:

  • Learn the sectors you can work in with a MPH degree.
  • Learn about the public health careers available.
  • Gain an idea of the specific job responsibilities for each specialty area of public health.
  • Understand salary expectations based on U.S. Department of Labor data.

The program cards/tables featured on this page were last updated in November 2022. For the most current program information, please refer to the official website of the respective school.   

Sponsored MPH Online Programs

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Master of Public Health (MPH)

Earn your Master of Public Health (MPH) from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health in as few as 20–24 months. The CEPH-accredited online learning experience offers four concentrations.

  • Three accredited concentrations: MPH Leadership, MPH Nutrition, and Applied Epidemiology
  • Part-time and full-time program options
  • Curriculum includes applied field experience. Field placement services available.

George Washington University


Master of Public Health

With the online Master of Public Health (MPH) program from GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, you can earn your MPH in as few as 12 months. Make a meaningful difference in public health without having to relocate. No GRE required.

  • Complete in as few as 12 months  
  • No GRE required  
  • Accredited by CEPH 

Boston University


Online Master of Public Health

Fully online and offered by the No. 6 School of Public Health, the Boston University Online MPH program offers a skills-based curriculum focused on health equity that prepares graduates to solve real-world public health problems. In just 24 months students will acquire the knowledge and skills to influence change and transform lives in their communities across the globe. No GRE/GMAT required to apply.


Through our Public Health Careers Guide, you can find helpful salary information and career options for individuals that choose this degree program. Take a look below at what is in store for graduates with a Master of Public Health.

Sectors You Can Work in With an MPH

Students who graduate with an MPH may have the opportunity to work for various employers in the public, non-profit, education and private sectors.

  • Public: Graduates who seek employment within the public health sector work for local, state, national or international governments. Those who work in public sector roles in public health have the opportunity to affect the overall health of individuals, communities, populations or the nation. Positions include public health nurse, health administrator and prevention services nurse.
  • Non-profit: This sector typically involves organizations that target a certain population or one particular health disparity, such as diabetes or childhood obesity. One example of a public health job in the nonprofit sector for graduates with an MPH are individuals who provide disaster relief prevention for organizations such as The American Red Cross.
  • Education: MPH program graduates seeking employment in the education sector may find opportunities in research and data analysis, or as educators, teaching others on public health issues. Potential job titles include public health educator and director of student health services.
  • Private: Private sector employment opportunities can be a good fit for those who want to work on a contract or consulting basis, or for private organizations. These fields include occupational health, insurance and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

While some positions in these sectors may only require a bachelor’s degree, many employers prefer an MPH degree from a Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited program. Many MPH programs take two years to complete, and some are offered both on-campus and online. 

What Defines a CEPH-Accredited Program?

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs.

CEPH accreditation focuses on the quality of an institution and their programs. Each review takes several months to complete, and ensures that the institution is meeting the proper standards and quality of education. Visit for more information.

Public Health Career Areas

There are various career areas that fall under the umbrella of public health.

Population Health

While the term “population health” has evolved in recent years, it is traditionally defined as “…the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group” (Kindig, & Stoddart, 2003). Simply put, population health is the study of why certain populations are healthy, while others are more susceptible to diseases based on things such as socioeconomic status, race, gender and geography.

In recent years, population health has developed into a subset of public health, as it has a slightly different focus. While public health focuses on disease prevention, population health is based on health disparities and improving quality of care.

Careers in population health include health educator and population health manager.

Health Information and Laboratory Science

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the role of a health information technician is to organize and manage health information data of a population. They use classified systems to keep patient records and treatment histories, as well as code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement. Health information technicians are important to population health research because they help identify trends in health disparities.

  • Population health managers – In this role, population health managers monitor patients, communities and populations to identify trends and gather data and analytics. With this information in hand, they seek ways to improve population health management programs, lower costs and improve clinical outcomes. Their work is passed on to clinicians and administrators who then work to identify gaps in current initiatives.
  • Health administration – Health administrators are business-savvy professionals who keep healthcare facilities running, ensure profitability and implement strategies to improve patient outcomes.
  • Laboratory Science – Some MPH programs combine public health investigation, infectious disease, environmental assessment and genetic testing within a laboratory setting. The Wadsworth Center Master of Science in Laboratory Sciences program (view the Wadsworth Center Website) is one example.

Additional duties of the health administrator include managing staff; keeping up with laws and regulations; setting the budget; managing adoption of new medical technology; research initiatives; and marketing. Many health administrators work in hospitals, however some may work in nursing homes or family practices.


The practice of biostatistics involves using mathematical and statistical formulas, as well as data analysis, to identify health trends and factors that cause disease within a community. This area of public health could be a good fit for those who enjoy numbers and mathematics. Without biostatisticians, public health professionals would lack quality research to determine which diseases affect certain populations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the general employment of statisticians is projected to grow 30% from 2022 to 2032.

Environmental Health

Environmental health professionals study how environmental risk factors can cause diseases, like asthma, cancer and lead poisoning. Students who graduate with an MPH, and are specialized in environmental health, have skills in data analysis, epidemiology, risk assessment, occupational hazards and policy analysis.

Career opportunities in environmental health include environmental health professionals and wastewater treatment operators

  • Environmental health professional – Those who work as environmental health professionals coordinate inspection programs for facilities for safety, health and environmental regulations. They may work in the public or private sector.
  • Wastewater treatment operator – Wastewater facilities collect water that may contain food, sewage, chemicals or oil. These treatment centers prevent pollution in lakes, rivers and other waterways. The job of a wastewater treatment operator is to make sure contamination in the wastewater is broken down effectively.

Community Health

Whereas other areas of public health focus heavily on analyzing and gathering data, the community health field uses a more social and cultural approach. Community health is the practice of improving the health of individuals, families, communities and populations, and it requires understanding the cultural and behavioral factors that influence health. Careers and opportunities within the community health realm often involve teaching and/or promoting behaviors to improve health and wellness. Often, this includes developing innovative, educational programs for communities surrounding the prevention and treatment of disease.

One example of a career opportunity in community health is a health educator.

Health educators teach people behaviors that promote health and wellness. They may work in healthcare facilities, colleges, non-profits, public health departments or private businesses. Their role includes designing and implementing programs that improve health outcomes of individuals and communities. They also may work one-on-one with members of the community to discuss their personal health and wellness goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health educators is expected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032.

Public Health Careers


As a professional in this field, you may be required to take part in experiments that deal directly with agriculture or pharmaceuticals. Using math and statistics, you can analyze data and present results to public health organizations in an effort to improve overall public health.

Public Health Officer

Public health officers use their skills and knowledge of disease and policy to help guide organizations and individuals toward better health practices. Officers can be found in management positions or in teams working for public health organizations. If you choose this career, you could aid in the prevention of certain diseases within a community or provide support to agencies that provide preventative care to the individuals in which you serve.

Environmental Scientist

The environment is a huge part of what keeps everyone healthy. How it influences public health is a question that you are likely to investigate if you work in the field of environmental science. If you are interested in being a part of environmental science, you could find yourself working each day in an effort to reduce pollution, encourage recycling efforts and oversee proper waste disposal. The responsibilities of this field play a large role in how the environment interacts with and influences public health as a whole.

Infectious Disease (ID) Consultant

ID consultants may provide a wide range of services to their clients, using their in-depth knowledge of bacterial and viral diseases that can sometimes be misdiagnosed or improperly treated. In the event that there is a large outbreak of illness or disease, ID consultants can step in to educate the community on how to avoid contact, or provide expertise to healthcare centers on how to properly contain the outbreak.

Occupational Health Specialist

Businesses and corporate organizations seek out qualified occupational health specialists to assist them with identifying potentially risky areas and activities within their buildings. You can work with companies to develop more secure working areas, employee support programs and proper evacuation plans in the event of an unexpected emergency. 

Food and Water Quality Assurance

One of the most important aspects of human health is the food and water that is consumed. Working in this field can allow you to play a large role in the investigation of food or water quality issues, provide oversight of food and water packaging facilities and provide good quality products to the community in which you serve.

Hazardous Waste Specialist

Hazardous waste specialists are a very important part of the environmental aspect of public health. This group of professionals ensures that hazardous materials that are used in manufacturing or are a byproduct of manufacturing are disposed of in a way that does not negatively affect individuals or the environment. Companies rely on specialists in this field to ensure that all regulations for the disposal of hazardous wastes are followed to prevent potential fines on their organizations or even potential shut-downs. Specialists also work with waste collection companies to help with proper disposal of these materials.


Working as an epidemiologist can give you the opportunity to study various diseases within a particular population. You might be responsible for analyzing the possible causes for diseases, the reason for a rapid spread of disease or an overall effectiveness of certain treatments. This field is extremely important to public health due to its contributions to medical science.

Healthcare Management

Managers and supervisors in healthcare settings sometimes hold MPH degrees.The standard responsibilities of this path can vary, but many professionals in this career path oversee healthcare center operations, manage staff and have financial management responsibilities as well.

Public Health Educator

Public health educators are found in colleges and universities, providing knowledge and training to upcoming professionals in the field. If you have a knack for teaching but also have a strong attraction to public health, this may be a career field to consider. Educators may also be found in businesses providing training to other public health specialists.

Family Nutrition Consultant

Working in this field can give you the opportunity to provide educated support to families that wish to improve their eating habits for better health. You could also work for community healthcare centers, health departments or non-profit organizations.

Community Health Worker

As a community health worker, you can work for organizations that provide health-related services to the population. Centers that provide immunizations or nutritional care employ community health workers to assist with the in-flow of clients. You could also work for health departments or non-profit organizations that promote better health and better care of the community.

Family and Youth Health Specialist

Family and youth health specialists are important to communities because they provide programs and services that teach better health practices to families with young children. For instance, you may design a presentation for first graders on how to properly brush their teeth or cover their mouth when coughing. 

Health Scientist

All of the new and innovative medical technologies and medicines require a lot of testing before being released for use on the market. If you want to be a part of this fascinating and advanced field, then pursuing a career as a health scientist may be the right choice. Health scientists usually work in teams, and decipher how certain healthcare related products can be effective on the mass market. When in this field, you may also be required to test and examine certain medications, to ensure that they are safe for use by the general public.

Public Health Informatics Specialist

All of the information from various public health agencies must be stored and communicated through the use of technology. As a public health informatics specialist, you can work for companies that provide public health services to help gather, retrieve and store information pertaining to public health.

Specialty Areas of Public Health

Public health can seem quite broad at first glance. It can be applied to everyone as a whole, or broken down into subsections that apply to different groups, regions or sectors. Each subfield of public health has a specific purpose, which is to contribute to better public health by improving the health and safety of the group in which it specializes.

Health Policy and Law

Just like any other field that deals with the public, public health is under various restrictions and laws that must be followed in order to continue operations. If you choose to specialize in this field, you can be a part of the ever-changing policy and law development commission that works hard to ensure that the rights and liberties of the public are protected from harm.

Environmental Health

Environmental health studies the relationship between people’s health and the natural world or built environments they interact with. In some cases, what hurts people can also hurt the environment. Sometimes the environment can harm people and likewise people can hurt the environment. If you choose a field like this one, you can be a part of making this balance work for the better of society.


The data that is gathered during public health is a huge factor in determining proper treatment methods, social programs and public awareness. In this specialty field, you could be a major player in determining the statistics that are associated with different age groups, cultures or geographical areas of the country. Math lovers could be a great fit in this subject area.


If you are the type of person that likes to understand the how, the why and the when of diseases, then epidemiology is the field for you. This specialty field picks apart illness and disease to give professionals a better understanding of the workings of viruses and bacteria, which contributes to better maintenance and control. Biology plays a large role in this field, which is great for students with a scientific interest.

View the MPH in Epidemiology Programs Guide

Social/Behavioral Science

How people act and react is a major part of how illness and disease are spread throughout humanity. Fields such as social and behavioral science study these behaviors and how they can be changed to contribute to a better outcome for all people. If you have an interest in psychology or sociology, this would be a great specialty field for you.

Global Health

Public health is a highly broad field. If you have the urge to expand your knowledge to an even bigger platform, then global health is a good place to start. Researching different areas of the world can contribute more knowledge to how we handle diseases and illnesses here in the U.S., so this field is great for people that have a cultured mindset and want to know more about the world in comparison to the United States.

Public Health Teaching and Education

Trainers, presenters and educators are first-hand support for people within society that yearn to know more about how they can improve their own personal health. If you work in this field, you can work with groups of people, companies concerned for their employees or even at universities.

Public Health Management

Management is needed in fields that are interested in public health. Healthcare centers, disaster response agencies and government public health officials provide a large role in how health is preserved on a large scale. This field is suited for individuals that have experience in the public health field and want to exercise their expertise at the management level.

MPH Salary

When you have obtained a master’s in public health, you can potentially have access to careers in a wide variety of specialties. Earnings may vary extensively depending on which field you work in—do further research into the area you choose to work for more detailed information. According to BLS data, some potential yearly earnings for career pathways include:

Last Updated June 2024