Do you hear about public health crises and want to make a difference? Do you want to help people make lifestyle choices that can improve the quality of their life? While doctors treat those already sick, public health officials look for ways to prevent illnesses and educate the public about healthcare. According to the American Public Health Association, "public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play." If this sounds like a way for you to help improve the lives of others and find a successful career, you may want to consider one of these 15 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Public Health.
Public health professionals examine the science, sociology, and psychology of issues impacting public health. They work to find the root causes of the problems and offer solutions. Specialties include aging, the environment, food and nutrition, infectious diseases, substance use and abuse, chronic health issues, disaster preparedness, reproductive health, and occupational health and safety. Experts say that the 30-year lifespan increase seen around the world in the twentieth century is directly attributed to public health advances.
Why Become a Public Health Expert?
There is an increased need for public health workers as a large part of the population ages. That, combined with more awareness of the benefits for healthy lifestyles, means there is a need for workers who can take that message out into communities. As a public health worker, you will learn to collect data, assess the healthcare needs of specific populations, discuss health concerns with individuals and communities, teach groups about creating healthy lifestyles, and advocate for public policies promoting healthy lifestyles. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for health educators and community health workers are predicted to grow 16 percent by 2026. The median annual wage for health educators is $53,940. Jobs require at least a bachelor's degree for qualification. Many also require a Certified Health Education Specialist credential, which is available through the National Committee on Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This certification ensures that public health workers have the proper professional credentials along with the best career preparation.
Public health workers research and watch diseases, engage in communities, work with policymakers to help develop health policies, and promote public health and well-being. There are many possible careers in the public health domain. With a bachelor's degree in public health, you could pursue employment in:
- Community Health Clinics
- Laboratories and Research Centers
- Government Health Agencies
- Non-profit Organizations
- Medical Care Industry
- Educational Institutions
- Insurance Companies
- Emergency Services
- Resorts and Wellness Facilities
- Elder Care Facilities
There are several professional organizations that can assist you as you begin your career in Public Health. Those include:
- National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. The NCHEC administers the CHES certification and offers continuing education for the Public Health workers.
- Society for Public Health Education. SOPHE is an independent association for health education professionals around the world.
- Society of Health and Physical Educators. SHAPE America is a membership organization for health and physical education workers that promotes national standards for K-12 Physical Education and wellness.
- Wellness Council of America. WELCOA is a resource for corporations wanting to establish healthier workplaces.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor's Degree in Public Health
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#15. Johnson & Wales University-Online – Providence, RI
Bachelor of Science – Public Health
Johnson & Wales University, established in 1914, now offers its quality education online. The School of Online & Continuing Education, established in 2013, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree. The four year BS – Public Health offers career-focused curriculum. You examine ways to apply biological, socio-economic, and behavioral principles to health and wellness. This mix of healthcare and courses in the arts and sciences helps prepare you for a career in public health. During your program, you study nutrition, psychology, sociology, business, and economics. Electives in management help provide a foundation for a career in health administration and management. Each course at JWU runs for 11 weeks. Courses in your major include Public Health, Global Health, Life Science, and Exercise Physiology. You can choose Leadership/Management, Health Science, and Social/Behavioral electives. Those might include a Health & Wellness Internship, Accounting, Finance, Anthropology, or Sociology of Aging. You will also complete an Art and Science core, which includes English, Ethics, Biostatistics, Nutrition, and Psychology. There are four start dates for the Public Health degree and you have the flexibility to take courses on your own schedule.
#14. Excelsior College – Albany, NY
Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (Public Health)
Excelsior College, founded in 1971, focuses on degrees for adult learners. Excelsior has more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Pertinent to this list, however, is the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a Public Health emphasis. Your online classes at Excelsior rotate every eight weeks, and you can access your courses online 24/7. Because the program focuses on working adults you can also earn credit for health care licenses and professional certificates. The public health courses at Excelsior help you understand today's public health system. The college works with public health experts to keep the program relevant. To receive your BS in Health Sciences from Excelsior you will need to complete 120 credits. That includes 60 credits in arts and sciences along with 60 credits in health sciences. Nine of your health sciences courses must be in public health for this emphasis. The Health Sciences core includes Health Care Issues in Culturally Diverse Populations and Health Care Informatics. The Public Health emphasis must also include Introduction to Epidemiology and Principles of Public Health. Before you receive your BS in Health Sciences from Excelsior, you will also need to complete a three-credit Health Science Capstone.
#13. National University – La Jolla, CA
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
National University is known as the largest private nonprofit university in San Diego. Established in 1971 to educate adult learners, it offers more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degree programs. The School of Health and Human Services provides the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. You can complete the program online and there are monthly start dates. Each course runs for four weeks. This gives you a chance to take one class each month. You can focus on the individual class and complete your BSPH in less time. NU's Public Health program features a liberal arts foundation with an ecological perspective on public health. You examine public health disciplines to help prepare for a career in health policy. This includes the completion of 180 quarter units and 14 general education courses to receive your degree. Possible courses include Personal Health, Introduction to Psychology, and Human Anatomy. Students also complete four core courses in Culture and Health, Epidemiology, Chronic & Communicable Disease, and Health Behavior. Finally, graduates need to complete 11 courses specifically for their specific major. Those include Ecology of Public Health, Global Health, and a Public Health Field Practicum. After graduating, you will have the education credits required to sit for the CHES exam.
#12. University of West Florida – Pensacola, FL
Bachelor of Science Health Sciences in Public Health Specialization
The University of West Florida, founded in Pensacola in 1967, has almost 13,000 students. About one-third of those are enrolled in online programs. UWF ranked No. 11 in The Best Online Colleges in Florida for 2018 by TheBestSchools.org. The university offers more than 45 undergraduate degree programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. The Public Health Specialization is for students wanting careers in the field of public health, including community health workers. The online BS in Health Sciences helps you gain the knowledge you'll need to work in public health. To receive your BS in Health Sciences from UWF, you complete 120 semester hours. Your general education curriculum includes courses in communication, mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. You will also need to complete multicultural courses at UWF as well as a civics literacy requirement for all students. You can show this through an American Government course or by passing an assessment. While you can complete all of your coursework in the online program, UWF partners with state and community colleges as well. This can help to reduce costs for an online degree. To complete the major, you will take courses that might include Issues in Health Sciences, Global Health Sciences, Health Informatics, and Infectious Disease.
#11. California Baptist University – Riverside, CA
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
California Baptist University offers flexible undergraduate and graduate degrees for working adults. CBU is a yellow ribbon program. It ranked No. 28 for Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs for Veterans 2019 by U.S. News & World Report. The flexible learning environment makes it easier for you to balance work, school, and family. CBU offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Health which provides the knowledge and skills to work in the public health domain. CBU helps students to integrate a Christian perspective into public health. The degree requires 12 lower division major courses such as Public Health, U.S. Health Care Delivery, Ethics in Health Care, and Statistics. Upper division major courses include Health Education, Epidemiology, Public Health Nutrition, and Curriculum Design in Health Education. As a CBU student, you will need to complete two Christian studies courses. Those are an Overview of the Bible and Foundations of Christian Thought. The BS in Public Health can usually be completed in an average of 16 months and graduates are eligible to sit for the CHES exam.
#10. Brigham Young University-Idaho – Rexburg, ID
Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Public Health
Tuition: $ 7,727
Brigham Young University-Idaho, affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a four-year private university. Established in 1888, it now has more than 34,000 on-campus students and 15,000 online students. BYU-Idaho offers 11 online bachelor's degrees, including the Bachelor of Science degree with a Major in Public Health. Students attend classes during three 14-week semesters in Fall, Winter, and Spring. You can also take classes during the seven-week Summer Session. As a BYU-Idaho student, you will complete 39 general education credits that can include courses in writing, quantitative reasoning, science, arts and humanities, social science, and religion. You will complete 16 to 18 credits in a Public Health Core module. Those courses including Hospital and Health Administration, Environmental Health, and Biostatistics. The Public Health Core module even includes an internship. You will also complete a Public Health Science module. That module includes courses in Human Anatomy, Emergency Management, and Human Nutrition. The Public Health CHES module includes courses in Research Methods, Community Health Methods, and Health Communications. Students in the Public Health program select one of two emphases within your major: Health Education and Promotion or Health Science. Health Education and Promotion is ideal if you plan a health care career, such as community health educator, wellness specialist, health counselor, or resort wellness specialist. The Health Science emphasis is best if you want to work in a clinical position, as an occupational therapist, or in other healthcare fields with a public health approach. This is also the suggested emphasis if you want to continue studies to become a chiropractor, physician, physician assistant, or dentist. As a graduate of the BS in Public Health program, you will be able to sit for the CHES exam.
#9. Monroe College – Bronx, NY
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Tuition: $ 12,280
Monroe College was founded in 1933 in the Bronx. The focus has always been on providing affordable, career-oriented education. That same real-world education is available to students online. New York City-based experts teach the courses and every student has a dedicated counselor. Monroe College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health. The BS in Public Health, offered through the School of Allied Health, is a four year program for full-time students. Each course lasts seven and a half weeks and includes an introductory course in Health Care Policy or Health Issues. Public Health courses include Epidemiology, Community Health, Environmental Health, and Health Programs Administration. Students also complete field experience in public health which is a supervised internship that gives students a chance to apply classroom theory to real-world health settings. As part of your liberal arts electives, you may take courses in Psychology, Counseling Theory, Sociology, or Communication. The program uses project-based learning to help you apply critical thinking skills. Along with the BS in Public Health, you may elect to take a minor in Human Services. Doing so provides students a chance to work with diverse populations, supporting them toward a better quality of life. If you want to continue your education, Monroe College also offers an online Master's in Public Health.
#8. University of the Cumberlands – Williamsburg, KY
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
The University of the Cumberlands, located in the heart of Kentucky's Appalachian Mountains, started out in 1888 as the Williamsburg Institute. Founded by a group of Baptist ministers, it still retains that foundation as it seeks to educate servant leaders. There are almost 12,000 students enrolled at UC, including those in the online programs. UC offers an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health. The BS in Public Health is part of the Health Exercise and Sport Science Department. During your studies, you get the skills necessary to work in a variety of public health settings. Your studies are a combination of analytical, evaluative, management, and communication. To receive your BS in Public Health, you will need to complete 128 credit hours. Your courses include General Education classes in English, math, science, humanities, social sciences, and culture. As a student at UC you will also need to complete general education courses in Christian faith and values. The core requirements for the Public Health degree include courses in Anatomy, Nutrition, Substance Abuse, Health Science, and Epidemiology. You will select upper-level courses in Social Policy Analysis, Mental Health, or Research. For the remaining 18 courses of your program, you select electives within the School of Lifelong Learning. Those electives are not limited to your degree. Even as an online student, you are welcome to walk in a graduation ceremony on the Kentucky campus.
#7. Mississippi University for Women – Columbus, MS
Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health Education
Tuition: $ 10,783
The Mississippi University for Women, chartered in 1884, was the country's first state-supported women's college. Today, The W is a coed liberal arts college that continues to emphasize leadership development for women. Through the College of Nursing & Health Sciences, you can complete a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health Education. Both the BS and the BAS degree are available completely online. The BSPHE is for students who are either new freshmen or have an AA or AS degree from a community college. The W accepts up to 62 hours of credit from a community college toward the BS. The BASPHE is for those with an AAS in an Allied Health. The W accepts up to 43 career and/or technical credits towards the BAS degree. During your first two years in the BS program, you will complete general education requirements. These courses include science, English, humanities, communications, social science, and math. The remaining two years are almost all Health Education courses. Those might include Biostatistics for Public Health, Global Health, Infectious Diseases, and Chronic Disease. If you are working toward the BASPHE, you will take courses along with your transfer credits. The W suggests that the most successful students earn an A or B in three Critical Pathway Courses. Those three are English Composition, Biostatistics for Public Health, and Principles of Epidemiology. As a student in the BSPHE program, you will need to have 320 contact hours in public health before you graduate. Most students take the internship course during their last semester which gives them an opportunity to apply theory to real-world public health settings.
#6. Kent State University – Kent, OH
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Tuition: $ 18,156
Kent State, founded in 1910 as a teacher's school, is an Ohio institution. You can get your degree from anywhere on your own timeline, but with the great Kent State reputation for academic excellence, through the online programs. The Office of Continuing and Distance Education offers an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health. As a BSPH student, you will examine the country's public health care system. The online program includes five possible concentrations. Those include Community-Based Public Health, Health Services Administration, Clinical Trials Research, Allied Health, and Health Promotion and Education. The Allied Health concentration is for students with state licensure in an allied health field. Those fields can include Chiropractor, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Clinical Counselor, EMT, Massage Therapist, Nurse, Optometrist, Dental Hygienist, and more. You get exposure to epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, global health, and health policy. The Clinical Trials Research concentration focuses on clinical research. You will complete an internship in a clinical setting. The Community-Based Public Health concentration examines public health equity and social justice. The coursework prepares you to develop and put public health interventions in place. The Health Promotion and Education concentration focuses on the connection between society and health behaviors. The Health Services Administration concentration is ideal if you want a career in health policy and management.
#5. Northern Arizona University – Flagstaff, AZ
Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Public Health
Tuition: $ 14,901
Northern Arizona University opened its doors to students 120 years ago in Flagstaff. Today, thanks to its online programs, you can complete your degree at NAU from anywhere in the world. NAU offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Public Health through its Traditional Online program. This gives you a chance to continue working and taking care of a family while completing a degree. You attend classes online on your schedule. You have full access to library resources and databases. Even though your classes are online, you collaborate on projects and take part in classroom discussions. The BS in Health Sciences – Public Health prepares you for a health career. You will examine public health concepts and learn to apply them in the real world. You need to complete 120 credits to receive the BS degree which includes 35 units of Liberal Studies and six units of Ethnic and Global Diversity courses. For your major courses, you will complete 19 units in the Health Sciences and 52 units in Public Health. The Health Sciences courses include Human Nutrition, Anatomy, Healthy Living, and Health Issues. Your Public Health courses include Human Diseases, Health Behaviors, Environmental Health, and Epidemiology. Students complete a junior-level writing course that helps them to write within the context of the public health field. You will also take a Capstone course during your senior year that provides you an opportunity to apply the culmination of your studies.
#4. University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Tuition: $ 15,758
The University of Arizona in Tucson offers a quality on-campus and online education. It is a Top 30 for Online Bachelor's Degrees according to U.S. News & World Report. You can complete an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health through the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. As a public health student in Arizona, you will be in great company. Graduates include a Surgeon General of the United States, Commander for Aerospace Medicine Flight on a NASA Shuttle, and Manager of Tobacco Control Programs for the American Lung Association. Online courses take place in a seven and a half week format instead of the traditional 15 weeks. You can expect to spend 15 to 20 hours every week on work for a single accelerated course. Most students begin the BS in Public Health at Arizona after completing their general education requirements at a community college. There are 60 public health credits required for the BS degree. Those courses include Human Physiology, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Global Health, and Public Health Nutrition and students are required to take a public health internship. Arizona recommends that you complete the internship during your senior year. This gives you a chance to apply learned theories to public health settings and expand your professional network.
#3. University of South Florida-Main Campus – Tampa, FL
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
The University of South Florida is a research school based in Tampa. Founded in 1956, there are now more than 47,000 students in 14 colleges. USF offers 180 majors and concentrations. USF Health includes six colleges and a network of doctors. The College of Public Health has 1,400 students. It offers on-campus programs along with six online degrees. The Bachelor of Science in Public Health ranked No. 1 in the country for veterans by College Factual. The Public Health degree gives you an opportunity to examine a broad area of Public Health. As you progress further into your studies you will have the ability to hone in on a specialization. Those specializations include Infection Control, Environmental & Occupational Health, Global Health, or Nutrition. Besides your general education requirements, you will complete 54 credit hours in public health. Required core courses include Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Human Diseases. You will complete 12 credit hours in required skills courses. These include Professional Writing in Public Health and Critical Issues in Public Health. All students in the USF Health program get a foundation in research as well as selecting 12 credit hours in a specialization.
#2. University of North Carolina at Greensboro – Greensboro, NC
Bachelor of Science in Public Health – Health Studies
The University of North Carolina Greensboro opened its doors in 1892. Back then, there were only 198 students. Today, there are more than 20,000 students. UNCG also offers its same quality courses through UNCG Online. You can complete a Bachelor of Science in Public Health – Health Studies through UNCG Online. The BS in Public Health at UNCG ranked No. 2 Most Affordable Online Public Health Degree by College Choice. The BS in Public Health at UNCG Online offers an August start date. You complete the program as part of a cohort, giving you an extended support system. The degree requires 122 credit hours, including 51 semester hours in your major. You may transfer up to 64 credits from a community college for general education requirements and you will complete 33 credits in core Public Health courses. Those include Public Health, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, and Gender and Health. You will also need to complete 18 semester hours of health electives such as Global Health, Human Sexuality, Mental Health, as well as Immigrant and Refugee Health.
#1. American Public University System – Charles Town, WV
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Tuition: $ 10,658
A retired Marine Corps officer founded the American Military University in 1991. It has since evolved into American Public University in 2002. APUS offers 190 academic programs online, including the Bachelor of Science in Public Health. Online classes start monthly and are either eight or 16 weeks long. All courses are asynchronous, so you can complete classes on your own schedule. All APUS students are granted access to the online library, study resources, and advisors. The BS in Public Health, designed for professionals working in the public health field requires 120 credits. The degree program can usually be completed during four years of full-time study. Along with general education courses, students also take 37 credits in their designated majors. The major courses include Health Care Administration, Public Health in America, Health Economics, and Epidemiology. You will also take 21 credits in either general public health courses or one of three specializations. The general concentration lets you take a broad range of courses from Emergency Planning to Nutrition. Courses for the Emergency and Disaster Management concentration include Emergency Planning and Risk Communications. Courses for the Public Health Information concentration include Medical Terminology and Health Informatics. The Nutrition and Wellness concentration offers courses in Nutrition, Sports Psychology, and Fitness and Wellness. To receive your BS in Public Health, you must also complete a final senior seminar in Public Health. This capstone course, taken during your last semester, lets you bring together the mass of knowledge from your studies.