Is a Public Health Degree Worth It?

June 9, 2023

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There’s no denying the importance of healthcare and the critical nature of making quality healthcare available to communities. This is part of the mission of public health. Public health is a diverse field, and it’s made all the more complex due to the many moving parts that must come together to provide patients with competent, compassionate care.

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As technology improves and evolves, there are even more opportunities for public and community health jobs. Humanity will always need medical professionals to help everyone live their healthiest lives. Public health has seen increased importance in the wider healthcare sphere due to the pandemic and the lingering effects of COVID-19 in every community. 

Community medicine has emerged out of the necessity for quality healthcare for everyone. This new avenue within public health allows professionals to impact their community’s well-being sooner than they would if they were going to full-fledged medical school. There is also an added flexibility that comes with a Master of Science in Community Medicine since graduates are equipped with a degree that prepares them for various roles within the healthcare system. 

But do you need a degree to work in community medicine, and what are the benefits of receiving a degree in this field? 

Do You Need a Master’s Degree in Public Health? 

If you want to work in public health, pursuing a master’s degree in community medicine is crucial. This degree qualifies you to work in healthcare settings without receiving a full doctorate, making career paths in this industry more accessible for working professionals looking to expand their impact. 

Earning a master’s degree also correlates with higher salaries and increased job flexibility since individuals with graduate degrees are more marketable and thus have more choices in where to work. Investing your time in graduate school can pay dividends in your professional relationships as well since many professors and higher education institutions have diverse industry connections and alumni networks, which can give you a leg-up in the job search. 

Jobs With a Public Health Degree 

What can you do with a public health degree? The job opportunities in the healthcare field are as diverse as the branches of healthcare themselves. From jobs working directly with community members providing hands-on healthcare to administrative jobs with broad impacts, the community medicine industry is full of opportunities. Here are just a few of the careers you could pursue with a degree in community medicine: 


Biostatisticians collect data from medical research and analyze it to make predictions and improve patient treatments. Professionals in this position must know how to organize and communicate their statistical findings and be able to translate their research into solutions for patients by collaborating with doctors and other healthcare professionals. 

The average salary for biostatisticians is $124,034. 

Health and Wellness Director

Health and wellness directors build and manage programs that help to promote health and prevent diseases. They help their communities manage their mental and physical health by running initiatives like vaccination clinics and education sessions. Their administrative expertise ensures that their community receives the best healthcare possible. 

The average salary for health and wellness directors is $75,000. 


Nutritionists plan and help execute nutritional plans to help people live their healthiest lives. They can work in hospitals, private practices, or community centers. Their work helps people make the best food and exercise choices for their needs, helping to positively impact community health. 

The average salary for a nutritionist is $61,650. 

Public Health Advisor

Public health advisors work with researchers, support staff, and healthcare providers to give medical advice and support to healthcare systems as a whole. They can work with local or state governments to provide guidance for improving healthcare systems to make healthcare more efficient and accessible for communities everywhere. 

The average salary for public health advisors is $82,000.

Behavioral Science and Health Education Professional

Community health starts with the right information. That’s why behavioral science and health education professionals prioritize educating and informing their communities through teaching about healthy habits, risk prevention, and the importance of regular doctor visits. They may lead community classes on personal health and wellness topics, and are excellent resources for their community in holistically living healthier lives. 

The average salary for behavioral science and health education professionals is $107,215. 

Healthcare Data Analyst 

Healthcare data analysts organize and analyze data to help give the best healthcare possible. They report back to their managers with their findings and work with larger medical teams to improve the patient experience. Their work helps to lower the cost of medical care and remove friction points along the systems of care patients must interact with. 

The average salary for healthcare data analysts is $79,000.

Emergency Management Professional 

Individuals in emergency management help to prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters and community emergencies. They work with public safety officials, local government agencies, and nonprofits to help provide care for people before and after natural disasters and emergencies. 

The average salary for emergency management professionals is $82,250. 

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators mostly interact with doctors, technicians, and other primary healthcare providers. They rarely interact directly with patients themselves. The job of an administrator in this field is to help improve patient care by improving their overall care experience. Administrators may develop plans for improving teamwork among different departments in the hospital, or they might write new policies to help patients receive the care they need. 

The average healthcare administrator's salary is $130,000.

5 Tips for Getting a Public Health Degree While Working Full-time

Pursuing a graduate degree while also working full-time can be a difficult task to manage, but it isn’t impossible, and there are more resources than ever to help you succeed in your studies and career. We’ve collected some of our best tips below:

1. Look for Institutions With Flexible Classes

Your schedule is most likely pretty full with work and life responsibilities, so finding a program for your graduate degree that lets you complete your coursework at a time that works best for you is key. 

2. Get Support in Your Classes and at Your Job

When you start your classes, be sure to know when your professors hold office hours and if your institution provides any support specifically for students who are working full-time. From scholarships to helpful seminars, every institution helps to support students differently. 

You can also ask for support from your employers. Some companies will give you time from your work schedule to complete schoolwork, and others may help you pay for your degree. You never know the benefits available from your job unless you ask, so reach out for support from your superiors.

3. Create a Schedule to Balance Work and School – and Stick to It

It can be hard to find time to get everything done when you’re working full-time and trying to get a degree. Figuring out when you work best, whether that’s doing a lot of your coursework in the evenings or over your weekends, and learning how to fit all of this into your existing work schedule is essential. Crafting a schedule that works best for you is the first step in your success as a student and an employee. 

4. Try to Work Ahead Where You Can

Finding places in your schoolwork where you can work ahead will help alleviate the tension between work and school. You can ask professors for extensions or information on projects coming up ahead of time, too. They’ll want to see you do your best in their class and will work with you to succeed. 

5. Remember Your Long-Term Career Goals

One of the best ways to stay encouraged in your pursuit of a graduate degree while working full-time is to keep your career goals in mind. Remember what prompted you to want to get a public health degree in the first place, and surround yourself with people who will encourage you toward your goals. 

Keeping your sights set on the positive outcomes of your investment will help keep you motivated when the schedule and workload get overwhelming.

Keck Graduate Institute: Fully Asynchronous Master of Science in Community Medicine

At Keck Graduate Institute, we know that finding a balance between pursuing your degree and working full-time can be difficult. That’s why we’ve developed our fully online, asynchronous Master of Science in Community Medicine. Through our program, you will be qualified to work in your community healthcare settings and earn your degree without having to pause your career. 

We offer support to all our students through tutoring and mentorship opportunities, dedicated faculty committed to your success and well-being, and unmatched industry connections. A Master of Science in Community Medicine from KGI prepares you to engage with your community and improve access to and quality of healthcare in just two years. Unlike a general Master of Science in Public Health, an MSCM degree is a focused, skills, and knowledge-based graduate degree that prepares leaders and practitioners who work in underserved and underrepresented communities. 

Want to Learn More About Careers You Can Get With a Master of Science in Community Medicine? 

We have an eBook to answer all your questions about pursuing a career in healthcare and the life sciences. If you’re interested in learning how our community medicine programs can help you make a difference in the life sciences world, access our Master of Science in Community Medicine guide, Improve Health Equity Through Community Medicine: Your Guide to a Master of Science in Community Medicine.

In our guide, you’ll learn all about the degrees you need to get you to your dream job. You’ll also discover how the different industries within STEM, healthcare, and the life sciences interact with and impact each other. 

Don’t miss out on this valuable resource! 


You can also request more information or apply to KGI today!


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