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Frequently Asked Questions

In what areas of public health can I get a degree?

The five core disciplines of academic public health, which all CEPH accredited schools are required to offer, are:

Biostatistics - The use of statistical methodology for analyzing health related data.

Epidemiology - The study of the distribution and determinants of disease and disability in populations.

Health Services Administration - The study of health care systems, health care reform, health law, financial management, clinic management, and policy analysis.

Health Education/Behavioral Science - The practice of selecting, applying and monitoring appropriate behavioral, social and political change strategies to enhance the health of populations.

Environmental Health - The study of issues associated with the adverse chemical, physical and biologic agents in the environment on human health.

In additional, many schools offer these concentrations:
 

  • International Health
     
  • Maternal & Child Health
     
  • Nutrition
     
  • Public Health Practice/Program Management
     
  • Biomedical Laboratory Science
     

     

  • What are the entrance requirements? How many credits of science classes are required prior to admission? What are the average GPA/GRE scores of accepted students?

     

    While schools of public health look for high graduate entrance exam scores and GPA, other aspects of an applicant's record, such as a career achievement, professional experience, and clarity of career goals, are equally important. Admissions decisions are based on an overall assessment of the ability of applicants to successfully complete the degree track area selected. Each program or track within a given department may set additional requirements for admission, therefore, applicants should refer to the individual programs for details.

     

    Can I get an MPH offered completely via distance-based technology/off campus?

    Schools of public health offer a variety of programs via distance-based technology. Schools offer degree programs leading to a Master of Public Health as well as individual courses taught via distance learning technologies. Distance learning programs vary and may include satellite-based courses, audio, print-based, or Internet-based course work.

    In addition, there are many schools that offer non-traditional degree programs such as: executive programs, certificate programs, and summer institutes.

    What is the average salary of a public health professional?

    Because public health professionals work in such a wide variety of settings and are often work in multi-disciplinary capacities, the salaries vary significantly from job to job. There is currently no national data available to ASPH on the average starting salary that is representative of what a graduate can expect. However, career offices of schools of public health may be able to provide this information for their graduates. Another resource to identify current salaries is www.publichealthjobs.net.

    How much is tuition and what is the duration of an education in Public Health?

    The average yearly cost of education including tuition, fees, books, etc in 2004-2005 was $12,264 for in-state tuition and fees and $18,665 for out-of-state tuition and fees; and the median for in-state was $8,190 and $18,035 for out-of-state. For in-state, the range is from $2,826 per year to $31,522; and $3,665 to $33,225 for out-of-state. Most master's programs are two years in length. However, there are also accelerated programs, distance learning programs, programs for part-time students, etc.

    Are there scholarship available for schools of public health?

    While ASPH does not collect this information, the admissions offices of schools of public health may have information on scholarship programs applicable to their schools, and should be contacted directly. Other scholarship resources may be found at:

    www.idealist.org

    www.explorehealthcareers.org

    www.internationalscholarships.com

    www.wiredscholar.com

    www.aauw.org
     

    How can I apply for financial aid?

    Financing higher education is challenging today given rising tuitions and the limited amount of non-loan assistance available. Carefully exploring all of you financing options ahead of time will make your life during and after school much easier.

    First, contact the school(s) you are interested in attending to learn about the institutional financial assistance programs. Specifically, identify what types of assistance are available (scholarships, grants, loans, work programs) and what the eligibility requirements are for each program (financial need, academic merit, work experience). Finally, be sure to know what the schools' application deadlines are - students miss out on assistance they would have otherwise received by applying too late.

    Are you willing to pursue your degree part-time? If so, ask about the school's tuition remission program. Many colleges subsidize or pay full tuition for employees that enroll in courses. If you are working now, ask your employer about tuition assistance. These types of programs are wonderful in helping students to reduce their reliance on student loan programs; however, you must balance that benefit against the additional time it will take to complete your degree program on a part-time basis.

    What are your plans for after graduation? The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) offers tuition assistance and living stipends for students participating in some Public Health disciplines in exchange for service in a federally mandated health manpower shortage area after leaving school. More information about this program is available at http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov or by calling 1-800-638-0824.

    Another new federal program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which allows for the forgiveness of college loans after ten years of continuous service in the public sector. For detailed information, please see: http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml

    If you need to borrow, be sure to take your full eligibility from the federal programs first. Federal loans are the cheapest and offer the most flexibility in repayment. To be considered for federal financial assistance, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually (individual colleges may require additional information as well). Depending on the results of your FAFSA, you may be eligible to borrow subsidized loans where the government pays the interest on the loan for you while you are enrolled, during your grace period and any approved deferment periods. There are also unsubsidized loans available. Although the interest begins to accrue at disbursement, you can defer your payments until you have finished your program. The amount available from the federal loan programs varies based on your class year, the cost of your program and the other financial assistance you are receiving. Repayment begins six to nine months after you leave school (or after leaving half-time enrollment status) and the standard repayment term is 10 years. There are several provisions to assist borrowers experiencing difficulty meeting payments.

    With the advent of the World Wide Web, conducting a private scholarship search is easier than ever. There are many search sites that collect information about you and the educational program you wish to pursue during your first visit. From then on, you will get e-mails each time a new award is put into the database that appears to match your profile. The best time to start searching is in November or December prior to the academic year in which you will enroll. Some suggested web sites are www.fastweb.com, www.finaid.org, and http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/index.jsp Remember, this information is always free - disregard any web sites or mailings that request payment in exchange for financial aid information.

    If you still need more assistance, contact the college at which you plan to enroll for recommendations. Do not forget to carefully estimate your existing resources and your anticipated expenses before signing on the dotted line! It is important to borrow only what you absolutely need to make ends meet.

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