The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) is the highest degree that you can earn in the field of public health. This is a practice-oriented degree that trains talented public health professionals to develop, implement and evaluate public health programs and policies – both nationally and around the world.
The DrPH prepares public health professionals for practice in public health in many specialties, including:
- Environmental health
- Health services administration
- Social and behavioral sciences
Most DrPH programs are suitable both for the full time public health student, and also public health professionals who are currently employed and need an advanced public health education to improve their current skills. Many online DrPH programs do not require the GRE exam.
Professionals who earn this esteemed doctoral degree will often occupy leadership positions in public health. Those who earn this degree also will be able to have a great deal of influence on policy and program development that are designed to improve population health. Also, DrPH holders often can move into teaching at the university level.
The DrPH degree is a bit different than the Ph.D. in public health. The DrPH is focused on the application of modern science to public health leadership and practice, while the Ph.D. is focused on research, creating new knowledge, and the degree holder generally pursuing a teaching or research career.
Basic Description of a DrPH of Public Health
A DrPH degree is designed for the public health professional with several years of work experience in the field, and who already has earned their MPH. In this four to six year program you will learn to evaluate theories, research and ethical parameters that guide modern public health practice. You will become an expert in analyzing the many factors that lead to health disparities in various populations. You also will assess the effectiveness of national and global public health systems and policies. A DrPH program also provides you with advanced knowledge and skills in systems thinking, epidemiological research, collaborative leadership and community advocacy.
A DrPH degree usually can be earned in biostatistics, environmental health scientists, epidemiology, behavioral science and population and family health.
Where Can DrPH Candidates Find Work After They Graduate?
A DrPH degree leads to many high ranking leadership roles in many areas of public health. Some of the common job titles for public health professionals with this no GRE doctorate include:
- Adjunct, part-time or full-time faculty
- Chief public health advisor
- Director of prevention and control
- Disease surveillance specialist
- Epidemiologist (non-clinical)
- Senior biostatistician
- Health research analyst
- Infection prevention and control professional
- Outbreak investigation coordinator
- Public health epidemiologist
- Research analyst
- Supervisory senior epidemiologist
Some of the common workplaces with a DrPH degree include:
- Consulting firm
- Community college
- Government public health agencies
- Health care industry
- National health advocacy institute
- National research institute
- Public health nonprofit organization
- Land-based or online college or university
- Research organization
- Social welfare organization
- State department of health
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the salaries and job outlook for several types of public health professionals. BLS states that the median salary for epidemiologists is $63,010. However, most of those professionals likely hold only an MPH. The top ten percent earn more than $98,000 per year, many of whom likely have a doctorate. BLS also reports that the highest paid epidemiologists work in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing field, with a median salary of $93,000.
The job outlook for epidemiologists is excellent, with a 24% increase in jobs expected by 2020.
BLS also reports that the median salary for medical and health services managers – many of whom have public health degrees – is $84,270. The top ten percent earn over $144,000 per year. The job outlook also is strong in this field, with a 22% increase in jobs by 2020.
Glassdoor.com reports that the average salary for epidemiologists who work at the CDC in Atlanta is $86,844, with a range of $64,000 to $111,000. Those with a high level of experience and a doctorate likely are at the higher end of the pay scale.
Glassdoor.com also reports that biostatisticians in the pharmaceutical field are well paid, with a median salary at Johnson & Johnson of $94,000.
Assistant professors in public health earn in the area of $60,000 per year in some locations, so full professors will earn a good deal more than that.