Texas IN PUBLIC HEALTH

Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree in Texas

 

In 2015, the nonprofit health advocacy group, Trust for America’s Health, released the findings of its annual study examining the public health funding sources and allocations in the United States. The report concluded that the total state budget for public health initiatives in Texas during 2014 was $589.9 Million.

 

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In 2014, federal grant money contributed another $967.9 million to the state’s public health programs, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contributing $510 million and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) contributing $457.9 million. The Texas Department of State Health Services distributed this money to the state’s local health departments to help support educational campaigns and the many public health services made available to the residents of Texas.

 

Public health funding in Texas has had a positive effect in combating some of the most preventable diseases. For example, the incidence rate of hepatitis A infections has decreased by 82% between 2003 and 2013, and hepatitis B infections have declined by 85% over the same time period. Because of the tremendous gains that have been made in fighting hepatitis, in 2014 the Texas Department of State Health Services allocated more than $50 million to collectively fund HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STI and TB prevention.

 

The planning, development, and management of public health programs in Texas is the work of master’s-level professionals dedicated to creating health policies and implementing programs to improve the health and welfare of Texas residents.

 

Earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Texas

 

The Master of Public Health (MPH) is a customizable, multidisciplinary degree option that puts professionals in the most advantageous position to dynamic career opportunities in program design and evaluation, policy development, public health marketing and communication, epidemiology and more. The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is ideal for public health professionals seeking career advancement, but also versatile enough to suit the needs of bachelor’s-educated professionals from other backgrounds looking to change careers.

 

Many MPH programs offer an online part-time option in the interest of providing working professionals the flexibility they need to pursue their graduate degree while maintaining employment.

 

Academic Overview

 

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) sets accreditation standards for MPH programs. Programs with CEPH accreditation integrate the five core competencies of the MPH Core Competency Model, which was developed in 2004 by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH):

 

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental health sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Health policy management
  • Social and behavioral sciences

 

The ASPH also recommended the addition of seven interdisciplinary areas of focus for the purpose of giving public health professionals cutting-edge skills that would allow them to be successful in any sector of public health:

 

  • Communication and informatics
  • Diversity and culture
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Program planning
  • Public health biology
  • Systems thinking

 

Focus Areas and Specialization

 

MPH programs frequently include specialized focus areas for the purpose of preparing students to be knowledgeable, effective leaders and advocates in any area of public health. Although the areas of specialization listed below are not universal, they are representative of how the MPH can be customized to individual career goals:

 

Health Communication: Appropriate for professionals interested in learning how to strategically use communication and marketing to advance public health objectives. Programs in Texas like the Glenda Dawson Donate Life – Texas Registry initiative require strong leadership and communication skills in order to be effective in reaching a broad demographic of Texas residents.

 

Specialization courses include:

 

  • Leadership Seminar
  • Global Health Communication Interventions
  • Preventing Health Disparities
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing and Research for Public Health
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Health Policy: Appropriate for professionals interested in advocating for changes to health policy in the U.S. and other countries. In 2013, a new health policy was approved to study morbidity and mortality factors among pregnant women in Texas, and the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force was created to develop and influence policy that would help support the health of pregnant woman and neonates.

 

Specialization courses include:

 

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health
  • Public Health and Law
  • Global Health Diplomacy
  • Leadership Seminar
  • Law, Medicine and Ethics
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Program planning and evaluation: Appropriate for professionals interested in developing goals and objectives for public health initiatives, evaluating health outcomes, and generating new ways to make public health programs more effective. A sampling of public health programs in Texas includes the Asthma Control Program, Breast and Cervical Cancer Services Program, Safe Riders Traffic Safety Program, and the Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program.

 

Specialization courses include:

 

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Researching Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing Research for Public Health
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Global health: Appropriate for professionals interested in confronting global health issues and collaborating with other entities in a multidisciplinary approach to promote health and prevent disease both in the United States and abroad. Global health programs include Roll Back Malaria and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

 

Specialization courses include:

 

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries – 2 credits
  • Researching Violence Against Women and Girls – 2 credits
  • Global Health Communication Interventions – 2 credits
  • Preventing Health Disparities – 2 credits
  • Global Health Diplomacy – 2 credits
  • Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology – 3 credits
  • Climate Change and Social Change – 2 credits
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Accelerated One-Year and Part-Time Options

 

The accelerated one-year option puts students on the fast track to obtaining their master’s degree in public health in as little as 12 months. The one-year option utilizes the same core curriculum as traditional MPH programs. However, the one-year option follows a faster paced and more aggressive schedule.

 

The part-time option offers students a great deal of flexibility in achieving their master’s in public health. As a matter of fact, many schools allow students a maximum of four years to complete the MPH program on a part-time basis.

 

Admission Requirements

 

Each academic institution sets its own specific admission requirements for master’s programs in public health. The admission requirements shown below are not universal to all MPH programs, but they are common prerequisites for most MPH programs:

 

  • Current GRE scores, although applicants with LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT scores or who currently have a graduate degree are not required to produce GRE scores
  • Official transcripts from all educational facilities attended
  • Statement of purpose essay (500-1,500 words)
  • Current resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

 

Job Growth Projections for Master’s-Educated Public Health Professionals in Texas

 

An article published on the Texas Economy, a website controlled by the Texas Comptroller and dedicated to keeping Texans informed about their state’s economic status, reported that from 2006 to 2010, hospitals in Texas created nearly 42,000 jobs. As a result of that tremendous growth, hospitals were identified as the second largest source of job creation in Texas.

 

The upward growth trend in Texas’ healthcare sector is still alive and well today. In fact, data published by the Texas Workforce Commission indicates that the healthcare and social assistance sector alone will contribute more than 430,000 jobs to Texas’ economy between 2012 and 2022. In addition, the home health services sector is slated to be the fourth fastest growing industry statewide between 2012 and 2022 with a 39% increase in the home health workforce.

 

While the demand for hospital services and home health services continues to increase, public health professionals assume a pivotal role in developing and implementing public health initiatives designed to ensure that the most vulnerable and underserved populations have access to the healthcare services they need. The end result is a greater need for talented public health professionals in Texas.

 

The employment projections shown below have been published by the Texas Workforce Commission and are a snapshot of the expected demand for public health professionals in Texas from 2012 to 2022:

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: 22%
  • Statisticians: 37%
  • Microbiologists: 15%
  • Epidemiologists: 18%
  • Sociologists: 23%
  • Social Scientists: 9%
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: 24%

 

Salaries for Public Health Professions in Texas that Require a Master’s Degree

 

In 2014, the Texas Workforce Commission published salary figures for the following public health occupations in Texas. The salary ranges shown here represent entry-level salaries (tenth percentile) and salaries for experienced professionals (90th percentile):

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: $39,762 to $102,604
    • Average in Austin: $69,951
    • Average in Dallas: $73,774
    • Average in Fort Worth/Arlington: $64,984
    • Average in Houston: $67,510
  • Statisticians: $42,815 to $120,586
    • Average in Austin: $83,888
    • Average in Dallas: $89,230
    • Average in Fort Worth/Arlington: $87,015
    • Average in Houston: $79,450
  • Microbiologists: $32,647 to $90,319
    • Average in Austin: $44,819
    • Average in Dallas: $47,493
    • Average in Fort Worth/Arlington: $58,276
    • Average in Houston: $60,513
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: $31,625 to $95,500
    • Average in Austin: $70,151
    • Average in Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington: $88,434
    • Average in Houston: $62,182
  • Epidemiologists: $41,768 to $91,398
    • Average in Austin: $57,014
    • Average in Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington: $71,892
    • Average in Houston: $58,842
  • Sociologists: $17,403 to $84,998
  • Social Scientists: $48,660 to $101,941
    • Average in Austin: $76,198
    • Average in Dallas: $81,440
    • Average in Fort Worth/Arlington: $79,364
    • Average in Houston: $77,235
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $24,707 to $57,193
    • Average in Austin: $42,946
    • Average in Dallas: $46,530
    • Average in Fort Worth/Arlington: $40,389
    • Average in Houston: $40,818

 

Career Opportunities for Public Health Professionals in Texas with a Master’s Degree

 

The MPH is a highly customizable degree that qualifies graduates for jobs in a variety of public health functions, enabling them to succeed in nearly any realm of public health. (The job descriptions shown below are for illustrative purposes and do not imply the assurance of employment or guaranteed job offers.)

 

Health and Human Services Program Coordinator at the City of Austin in Austin

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Develops objectives, goals, policies, and procedures for assigned public health programs
    • Implements assigned public health programs and assesses community response and efficacy
    • Evaluates compliancy of assigned programs with local, state, and federal regulations
    • Leads and promotes various public health programs through media and other outlets
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree with an additional four years of work experience in a public health field with background in planning and program management
    • Master’s degree in public health can be substituted for one year of the work experience requirement

 

Public Health Administrator at City of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Serves as administrator under the Support Services Division of the Public Health Department
    • Serves as administrator over program operations related to accounting, grant administration, health education, and vital statistics
    • Develops policies and procedures and implements public health program operations
    • Directs program operations, evaluates program effectiveness and quality, and develops and implements strategies for program improvement
    • Prepares and manages budgets of assigned public health programs
    • Appropriately allocates funds for public health programs
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree in public health
    • Master’s degree in public health preferable
    • Three years’ similar experience required

 

Public Health and Prevention Specialist II at Department of State Health Services in Austin

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Serves as a team member in the management of HIV investigational data
    • Develops short- and long-term objectives for achieving operational goals
    • Ensures accuracy of data compiled during HIV investigations
    • Investigates reports of HIV and STDs to ensure proper reporting and disease intervention and follow-up
    • Assess and evaluates the efficacy of program systems to ensure complete accuracy of the HIV reporting process
    • Establishes appropriate policies and procedures and assists with program implementation
  • Requirements:
    • Four years of public health experience
    • Bachelor’s degree can be used to substitute two years of the experience requirement
    • Master’s degree can be used to substitute two years of the experience requirement