Is an MPH Worth It?
By Sam MacArthur

Nearly every career path in public health is expected to grow, with public health jobs booming anywhere between 10% to 25% in the next decade. Even so, working professionals with public health degree jobs may wonder whether taking the time, putting in the work, and spending the money on a Master of Public Health program is worth it. Are jobs with a master’s in public health really that much better? Can the public health salary master’s holders make really be that much higher? Is an MPH worth it, if you can’t go to the best MPH degree programs?

To decide if an MPH is worth it for you, there are a lot of factors to consider. The time and effort are important, but ultimately, a decision like this is a financial one. Is the increased salary of MPH jobs worth the cost of an MPH?

What is the Cost of MPH Programs?

As with any type of degree program, the costs of an MPH program can vary widely. Also, applicants must not judge a course strictly by price alone. Even the listed tuition price for a course isn’t set in stone. Other factors that decide the full cost of an MPH program will include:

Various fees – universities are notorious for hiding fees until the bill comes
Books – public health books, like medical and scientific books, tend to be expensive
Accommodations – if, for instance, you take a distance or low-residency program, you will need somewhere to stay when you visit campus

And there are various ways to cut down the price as well:

Financial aid – student loans save you now, cost you later
Fellowships – many on-campus programs offer MPH fellowships that pay all or part of your tuition in exchange for service like working as a teaching or research assistant
Scholarships and grants – ie, money you don’t have to pay back or work for. They’re harder to come by for graduate programs (as opposed to bachelor’s), but can be found

With that said, tuition costs can range from around $6,000 to around $80,000. With such a wide spread, applicants will have to base their decisions on what works best for their individual needs. Given that a public health job’s salary can often hit six digits, many applicants can choose a school with confidence.

What Jobs Can MPH Graduates Get? What Are the Salary Ranges?

The health field is large, and MPH jobs are plentiful. Those trying to find public health jobs will have a large selection to choose from and a good public health jobs salary that goes with that choice.

A public health jobs description will include anything that helps to prevent health problems in a populace. As far as a public health jobs description goes, prevention can mean virtually anything. Applicants can use their MPH degree to find MPH jobs both within and outside the healthcare field.

By default, an MPH degree holder can accept any job available to someone with a bachelor’s in public health, which is already a large field with lots of career opportunities. However, an MPH degree offers more specialized work as well as the higher paying public health jobs.

Jobs with a masters in public health can include:

Environmental Health Director
Environmental Scientist
Health and Safety Engineer
Health Administrator
Health Educator or Consultant
Public Health Officer
Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Trials Analyst
Social Worker
Water Quality Investigator
Infection Control Officer
Midwife/Pediatric specialist

It’s not an exaggeration to say the list goes on and on. Many people who pursue an MPH already work in the health field or a health-adjacent field. The degree can help them stay in their chosen industry or vertical of the public health profession while demanding a higher public health jobs salary.

Public health salary can range anywhere from 40k to over 100k depending on the public health field or specialty. Public health salary will likely grow as certain types of public health jobs are increasingly in demand. When it comes to public health salary masters degrees increase earning potential by an order of magnitude.

Public health degree jobs exist in places many people wouldn’t expect. Since public health degree jobs aren’t limited strictly to healthcare industries, MPH holders can think outside the box when it comes to goals and career choices. For example, an MPH can create opportunities that allow graduates to create their own niche and salary requirements.

What is the Return On Investment for an MPH Degree?

For public health salary, master’s degrees can make a huge difference. That difference in earning potential gives an MPH degree a high return on investment value. Public health salaries for MPH degree holders are far beyond what someone without a masters can demand.

In addition, public health job salaries can stay high even if someone switches careers but stays in a public health or adjacent field. In all the ways previously mentioned, jobs with a masters in public health offer a lot more on an applicant’s initial investment.