Find Schools

Study Area & Zipcode

Public Health Major

Find Schools Near

Public Health

16,960 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
15,589 Master's Degrees Annually
#30 in Popularity
$75,690 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Public Health Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many public health graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 16,962
Master’s Degree 15,589
Graduate Certificate 1,648
Doctor’s Degree 975
Basic Certificate 669
Associate’s Degree 666
Undergraduate Certificate 60

What Public Health Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to public health were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Public Health Majors

Public Health majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

undefined
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills for Public Health Majors

When studying public health, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

undefined
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Public Health Majors

Public Health majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

undefined
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Public Health Major?

People with a public health degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Community Health Workers 17.9% $39,540
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health 11.1% $71,130
Epidemiologists 8.2% $69,660
Health Educators 14.6% $54,220
Health Specialties Professors 25.9% $97,370
Industrial Ecologists 11.1% $71,130
Medical and Health Services Managers 20.5% $99,730
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists 8.1% $73,020
Occupational Health and Safety Technicians 9.9% $50,780
Physicists 14.5% $120,950

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health?

16,962 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
80% Percent Women
49% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Public Health runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #30 out of all the undergraduate majors we track. In 2019, about 16,960 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this field. This major is dominated by women with about 80% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of public health majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Public Health Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 2,038
Black or African American 2,646
Hispanic or Latino 2,711
White 7,827
International Students 428
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,312

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Public Health. About 2.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Nigeria
  • Canada

How Much Do Public Health Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of public health students with a bachelor’s degree is $31,100 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,100 (25th percentile) and $34,300 (75th percentile).

undefined

It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in public health, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Public Health majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $59,660 to $113,730 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Public Health Major  ( 59660 to 113730 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
0K
250K

Some degrees associated with public health may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to public health have obtained the following education levels.

undefined
Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 0.7%
Some College Courses 0.5%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 42.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.2%
Master’s Degree 27.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.4%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.8%
Doctoral Degree 9.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 5.2%

Online Public Health Programs

In 2018-2019, 691 schools offered a public health program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 59 12
Certificate (1-2 years) 23 3
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 94 10
Bachelor’s Degree 212 83
Post-Baccalaureate 59 12
Master’s Degree 569 170
Post-Master’s 48 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 177 15
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 10 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 5 2

Is a Degree in Public Health Worth It?

The median salary for a public health grad is $75,690 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 90% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $715,800 after 20 years!

undefined

You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to public health.

Major Number of Grads
Nursing 305,309
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 99,641
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192
Allied Health Professions 86,697
Health & Medical Administrative Services 82,868
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 28,559
Mental & Social Health Services 27,743
Dental Support Services 26,183
Health Sciences & Services 25,948
Communication Sciences 21,606
Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences 19,767
Medicine 19,720
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science 19,354
Somatic Bodywork & Therapeutic Services 11,961
Health/Medical Prep Programs 11,279
Other Health Professions 8,168
Osteopathic Medicine 6,700
Dentistry 6,403
Dietetics & Clinical Nutrition Services 5,877
Alternative Medicine & Systems 3,576
Veterinary Medicine 3,297
Health Aids/Attendants/Orderlies 3,251
Chiropractic 2,608
Optometry 1,747
Advanced Dentistry & Oral Sciences 1,685
Medical Illustration & Informatics 1,624
Ophthalmic & Optometric Support Services 1,044
Medical Science 809
Veterinary Biomedical & Clinical Services 782
Bioethics/Medical Ethics 597
Podiatry 579
Movement & Mind-Body Therapies 444
Alternative Medical Support Services 191
Energy & Biologically Based Therapies 73

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Schools

Find Schools Near You

Our free school finder matches students with accredited colleges across the U.S.