Washington IN PUBLIC HEALTH

Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree in Washington

 

Between 2013 and 2014, the Washington State Department of Health increased its state public health budget by nearly 21% from $207.4 million to $262.6 million, according to data published in 2015 by the non-profit group, Trust for America’s Health.

 

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The report also revealed that Washington received the 10th highest payout of federal public health funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at $237.8 million. The balance of federal grant money came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which contributed $151 million to public health programs in Washington.

 

The scope of the public health system in Washington is massive, supporting everything from zoonotic disease research and biomonitoring to communicable disease surveillance and injury prevention.

 

In Washington, heart disease is the second leading cause of death, and one that public health professionals are working hard to combat. In fact, in 2014, the Washington State Department of Health spent more than $21 million on chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs. The effect over time has been subtle but substantial. Between 1980 and 2011, deaths in Washington related to heart disease decreased by 67%, and the rate of heart disease-related deaths in Washington has remained lower than national averages for the last 35 years.

 

Graduate-educated public health professionals are tasked with the tremendous responsibility of developing, implementing, and managing cost-effective, goal-specific public health programs, which serve to improve the overall health and quality of life of Washington residents.

 

Earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Washington

 

The Master of Public Health provides a highly customizable curriculum that supports career opportunities in public health policy development, program planning and evaluation, public health campaign marketing and communication, epidemiology, and more. Earning an MPH helps put public health professionals on a path to career advancement, but it’s also equally suited to helping bachelor’s-educated professionals from other backgrounds pursue a new career in public health policy development and program administration.

 

MPH programs offer a part-time online option that gives working professionals the freedom and flexibility to earn a graduate degree on their own time.

 

Academic Overview

 

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency that establishes accreditation standards for MPH programs. Programs with CEPH accreditation incorporate the five core competencies of the MPH Core Competency Model that was created by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) in 2004:

 

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

 

The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) further supplemented the MPH Core Competency Model with the addition of seven interdisciplinary areas of focus. These cross-cutting competencies have become foundational to effective public health practice and also a part of accredited MPH programs:

 

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

 

Focus Areas and Specialization

 

Most MPH programs incorporate a variety of focus areas and specializations into their curriculum, which allows students to focus on the area of public health that interests them most. The specializations shown below are not universal to all MPH programs, but they are representative of key specialty tracks commonly available in MPH programs

 

Health Communication: Ideal for those interested in learning how to effectively use communication and marketing to influence public health policy. Washington’s Health Education Resource Exchange (HERE) is an example of a health education campaign dependent upon the leadership and marketing skills of public health professionals.

 

Courses within this specialization may include:

 

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

 

Health Policy: Ideal for those interested in health policy development and working to improve health outcomes both in the U.S. and abroad. One of the most influential and effective health initiatives in Washington is the Washington CARES About Cancer Partnership, which was formed in 2001 and was originally known as the Comprehensive Cancer Control Partnership.

 

Courses within this specialization may 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: Ideal for those interested in planning and implementing health programs and subsequently evaluating their effectiveness in achieving defined program objectives. A sampling of the public health services available to Washington residents includes Access to Baby and Child Dentistry Program (ABCD), Tobacco Prevention Program, Nurse-Family Partnership, and the Healthy Aging Partnership.

 

Courses within this specialization may 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: Ideal for those interested in developing strategic, successful health policies directed at preventing disease and promoting health at both the national and global level. CDC-sponsored global health programs include the Global Disease Detection Program (GDD) and the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP).

 

Courses within this specialization may 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

 

Accelerated – Many MPH programs offer an accelerated one-year option that affords students the opportunity to earn their master’s in public health in only 12 months. While the one-year, fast-track option encompasses the same course material and utilizes the same curriculum as traditional MPH programs, it is much more fast-paced and time consuming.

 

Part-Tem – Many MPH programs also offer a part-time option that provides students with a certain degree of latitude and flexibility in completing their degree. In fact, a lot of schools allow students up to four years to complete the MPH program using the part-time option.

 

Admission Requirements

 

Admission requirements for the master’s degree in public health frequently vary between educational institutions. The list below is not universal in nature but does list some of the admission requirements common among MPH programs:

 

  • Official, current GRE scores; students who have taken the LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT or who currently hold a graduate degree do not need to provide GRE scores
  • Official transcripts from all educational institutions 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 Washington

 

In March of 2005, an article was published in the Seattle Times detailing the growing demand for public health jobs in Washington. The role of public health professionals in creating programs designed to help manage chronic diseases is an important one. The push toward a more health-conscious populace is also accelerating the need for public health professionals in Washington, according to the Times piece.

 

In 2015, the Washington State Employment Security Department released the following employment projection numbers for public health professions in the state for the ten-year period leading up to 2023:

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: 23%
    • Olympic Consortium: 26%
    • Pierce County: 23%
    • Seattle/King County: 24%
    • Spokane: 22%
  • Statisticians: 26%
    • Pierce County: 11%
    • Seattle/King County: 31%
    • Spokane: 16%
  • Microbiologists: 12%
    • Benton/Franklin: 13%
    • Pierce County: 7%
    • Seattle/King County: 13%
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: 7%
    • Seattle/King County: 11%
  • Epidemiologists: 15%
    • Pierce County: 26%
    • Seattle/King County: 15%
  • Sociologists: 16%
    • Seattle/King County: 19%
  • Social Scientists: 7%
    • Olympic Consortium: 13%
    • Seattle/King County: 9%
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: 17%
    • Olympic Consortium: 23%
    • Pierce County: 13%
    • Seattle/King County: 18%
    • Spokane: 15%

 

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

 

In March of 2015, the following salary figures for public health occupations in Washington were published jointly by the Washington State Employment Security Department and the United States Department of Labor. The salary range for each occupation spans from entry level (tenth percentile) to the most experienced (90th percentile). Average salaries are also included for various cities throughout Washington:

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: $40,610 to $102,860
    • Average in Bellingham: $59,530
    • Average in Bremerton/Silverdale: $63,464
    • Average in Kennewick/Pasco/Richland: $63,292
    • Average in Longview: $68,778
    • Average in Mount Vernon/Anacortes: $73,340
    • Average in Olympia: $73,290
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $71,647
    • Average in Spokane: $60,189
    • Average in Tacoma: $67,520
  • Statisticians: $51,040 to $119,450
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $87,404
    • Average in Spokane: $74,527
    • Average in Tacoma: $76,778
  • Microbiologists: $41,150 to $109,200
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $70,846
    • Average in Spokane: $72,225
    • Average in Tacoma: $63,079
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: $43,020 to $112,680
    • Average in Olympia: $75,997
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $78,491
  • Epidemiologists: $51,510 to $130,560
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $95,100
    • Average in Tacoma: $88,428
  • Sociologists: $42,240 to $90,430
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $67,084
  • Social Scientists: $43,560 to $97,000
    • Average in Bremerton/Silverdale: $74,425
    • Average in Olympia: $53,436
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $67,916
    • Average in Tacoma: $73,584
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $25,320 to $58,170
    • Average in Bellingham: $43,945
    • Average in Bremerton/Silverdale: $32,335
    • Average in Kennewick/Pasco/Richland: $45,213
    • Average in Longview: $38,987
    • Average in Mount Vernon/Anacortes: $41,806
    • Average in Olympia: $44,716
    • Average in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett: $41,289
    • Average in Spokane: $40,386
    • Average in Tacoma: $35,570

 

Career Opportunities for Public Health Professionals in Washington

 

The Master of Public Health is an innovative and customizable degree that puts students in the advantageous position of being prepared to work in nearly any area of public health. (The job descriptions shown here are included only for informational purposes; they don’t convey an assurance of employment or guaranteed job offers.):

 

Project Coordinator – Epidemiologist at Urban Indian Health Institute in Seattle

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Performs core epidemiologic functions including disease surveillance, data collection and analysis, and interpretation of public health data
    • Identifies disease trends affecting the American Indian/Alaska Natives population
    • Participates in grant writing and funding proposals
    • Develop quality improvement measures to improve the quality and clarity of public health data obtained
    • Provides leadership and assistance to project staff
  • Requirements:
    • Graduate degree in public health or epidemiology
    • Two to three years’ experience in epidemiology and/or research role

 

Senior Public Health Officer, Diagnostics Development, at PATH in Seattle

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Assumes role as Senior Public Health Officer of the Dx Program, participates in neglected tropical disease (NTD) focused grants in support of World Health Organization (WHO) goals laid out in the London Declaration
    • Strategizes and develops initiatives and programs to enhance Dx adoption at district and country levels
    • Designs and implements qualitative and quantitative research studies in relation to public health
    • Designs and implements field studies for the purposes of determining the efficacy of diagnostic prototypes in developing countries
    • Monitor implementation of field studies
  • Requirements:
    • Master’s degree in public health or epidemiology

 

Health Services Consultant 3 – Emergency Preparedness Specialist at Washington State Department of Health in Tumwater

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Develops strategies and implements objectives which increase public health and medical response capabilities statewide based on program goals and within the parameters of available funding
    • Participates in development and completion of yearly grant application and associated requirements
    • Continuously assesses program outcomes to ensures program objectives are being met, follows strategic plan as assigned
    • Serves in a command staff position during emergency responses
    • Works with team members and partners to improve performance of emergency preparedness response
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree or higher in public health and/or emergency management
    • Two years’ experience working within an emergency response program