The PhD is only for those keen to pursue academic careers in public health. – VP – Project Manager at World Health Organization
For the public health professional who wants to advance their career to the highest level, one excellent option is to earn your Ph.D. or doctorate in public health. This is the highest degree that you can earn, and will open many exciting work possibilities for you.
With an online doctoral degree in public health, you have a choice of earning a Ph.D. or a Dr.PH in public health. These degrees, while similar, have crucial differences.
A Ph.D. in public health is focused largely on theory, research, methodology and academia. Choose a Ph.D. in public health if you are interested in a career in academia or research.
A DrPh in public health is a better choice if you are interesting in applying research, methods and applications in a public health career in the field. Many public health professionals who earn either of these esteemed doctoral degrees go into academia and research.
Whichever doctoral degree in public health you choose, you should be able to find a good job at a good salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public health positions of many kinds, such as epidemiologists, will grow rapidly by 2020. You also can enter into a career in many types of public health organizations, nonprofits or government agencies with a public health doctoral degree.
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Fascinating! A public health doctor takes the perspective of health from a population level rather than individual cases and Sam from Mt Maunganui College is keen to learn more about this role from Dr Neil De Wet.
BLS also states that the job market for statisticians generally will increase by 15% by 2020. We expect that the job market for public health-focused statisticians to be even higher.
Some of the other exciting career options for those with a doctoral degree in public health are:
Nutrition and dietetics
You also will be a strong candidate for public health positions in nonprofit organizations, pharmaceutical firms, consulting companies, public health departments and academia.
The salary that you can expect to earn with your online DrPh will depend upon which direction you go in – research, academia or something else. However, below is some helpful salary information in the public health-related fields of statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, academia, and public health educators:
A principal biostatistician, usually with a Ph.D., can earn $117,000 per year.
A professional with a Ph.D. in epidemiology can earn $100,000 per year.
A professional with a Ph.D. in biostatistics generally can earn $108,000 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the top 10% of epidemiologists earn more than $98,000 per year.
BLS states that the top 10% of public health educators earn more than $81,000 per year.
BLS states that statisticians in the top 10% earn over $119,000 per year.
Median professor salaries in the health field are approximately $95,400 per year.
5+ Online DrPh Public Health Programs
Note that these programs may be completed online.
- Ph.D. in Public Health: A public health doctoral degree from Walden University will allow you to learn about proven public health strategies that encourage major health improvements of entire needy populations at the community level. You also will be able to play a key role in improving health for people in your area and around the globe. If you already hold a master’s degree in public health, you must finish 82 credit hours to earn your doctorate. If you do not hold an MPH, expect to complete 110 hours. At the doctoral level, you can focus on Community Health Education or Epidemiology.
- Ph.D. in Public Health: Boost your leadership potential in public health with this esteemed doctoral degree from Capella University. This is one of a select few public health Ph.D. programs that allows you to study Health Advocacy and Leadership. The dynamic curriculum emphasizes leadership theory, how to best influence public health programs and how to plan effective public health policy. You also will learn about the most common reasons for public health disparities and how to change them.
- Ph.D. in Public Health: The focus on the doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina is on public health leadership. This highly-rated degree will prepare you for a high end leadership role in a public health organization in the US or abroad. This program is cohort-based and can be completed in three years. After you earn this public health doctorate, you will be ready for dynamic leadership roles in public health organizations of all kinds.
- Ph.D. in Public Health: You can earn your Ph.D. in public health from Emory University in the following concentrations: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences, Nutrition and Health Sciences, and Health Services Research and Policy. Each highly-regarded concentration will allow you to earn a public health degree in four years that you can use to obtain a leading role in public health institutions around the globe.
- Ph.D. in Public Health: Earn a Ph.D. in public health online from Drexel University in Community Health and Prevention, so that you can assume a leadership position in education, practice and public health research. Or, earn your Ph.D. in biostatistics, health policy or social justice. All of these concentrations will allow you to make a serious impact in public health at the community level, and you can complete your degree in five years.
- Ph.D. in Public Health: Earn your online Ph.D. in public health from Loma Linda University in four years of full time study. This is a fully accredited and distinguished program where you can earn a doctorate in Epidemiology, Health Education, Health Policy and Leadership, Nutrition and Preventive Care. All of the required classes that you need may be completed online.
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Malwina Niemierko at Global Clinical Trials Project Manager at Quest Diagnostics discusses this in a comment on Linkedin.
…generally DrPHs are considered more practical for people who want to work in the field (they are considered a terminal degree like an MD or a JD) and PhDs are for people who want to teach (they are considered academic degrees). However there are not many DrPH programs out there and, if you have the time and money, I think any additional schooling will be helpful. A PhD or DrPH both allow you to gain more experience and knowledge in a certain area so that certainly can’t hurt.
I recommend you look at job postings for your “ideal” jobs and see what they require. If you find that you already meet the educational requirements but are lacking in work experience or another area (maybe they require stats and you don’t have a stats background) then I would suggest investing in that area instead of PhD/DrPH.
Is a DrPH degree right for you? See more response to this and other comments in the Global Public Health group on Linkedin.