Michigan’s public health efforts, largely created through the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), have resulted in the development of a wide array of community-based solutions for complex health system issues and research needs. Thanks to the dedicated network of academic, nonprofit, governmental, and healthcare provider partners, the MPHI has been able to devise innovative solutions for nearly every challenge the citizens and communities of Michigan face.
One such example is Michigan’s Blueprint for Health Innovation, a plan that guides the state as it pursues better coordination of care, lower costs, and improved health outcomes. In fact, Michigan received $70 million in federal funding aimed at supporting innovative health system enhancements such as Blueprint. The public health leaders of the MPHI assisted the State in developing Blueprint by engaging partners and supporting the move to draft the document.
Other valuable MPHI programs involve strengthening the public health system (e.g., Michigan’s Quality Improvement Guidebook), influencing policy and practice (e.g., Parents Partnering for Change), and improving healthcare (e.g., the Michigan Pathways to Better Health).
These programs, as well as the countless others implemented every year, demonstrate the state’s commitment to the health and well-being of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations.
The size, depth, and complexity of many of these initiatives require leaders and groundbreakers in public health. Senior-level public health professionals provide unmatched leadership skills thanks, in part, to a multidisciplinary education in public health achieved through earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.
Master’s degrees in public health are not all created equal, which is why accreditation through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is more important than ever. CEPH-accredited Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs must encompass a multidisciplinary curriculum that prepares students to take on leadership roles in a wide array of settings and sectors.
This guide looks at the benefits and opportunities of a MPH in Michigan and whether going down the path of systemic and wide-reaching changes in public healthcare is the right choice for you. We look at salaries, job growth projections, admission requirements, and the coursework covered with an MPH degree.
Earning Your Master of Public Health (MPH) in Michigan
There are a few steps you need to follow if you’re interested in studying towards your Master’s in Public Health in Michigan. We cover the basics below, but we haven’t mentioned all the universities that offer CEPH accredited courses as these programs differ according to the institution and only you can make the final decision on whether this course is for you or not.
There are currently 32 public health degree programs in Michigan, so you’ll definitely have your pick of schools and programs. Some of the leaders in the public health field include The University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Andrews University. All three schools offer programs in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences, Health Management, and Nutrition and Wellness.
Step One: Know the Basics
Academic overview: Since MPH programs accept individuals from any bachelor’s degree, the program has to fill the gaps by covering a myriad of disciplines. To fully enjoy the course and excel at it and take what you’ve learnt out into the world, you need to understand where your strengths and challenges will lie within the degree. Below, we look at the academic overview for the MPH.
Tuition costs: Tuition costs differ according to the school and as much as you love a program, if it’s not in your financial reach, then putting that extra pressure on yourself might not be worth it. Choosing a program that aligns with your skills and budget can help you breeze through the course and truly enjoy it.
All CEPH-accredited programs must consist of study in the areas of public health identified by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health’s (ASPPH) MPH Core Competency Model. The MPH Core Competency Model consists of five, traditional core areas of public health, as well as seven interdisciplinary/cross-cutting areas of public health:
- Environmental Health Sciences
- Health Policy Management
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
Within these five competencies, there are also seven interdisciplinary areas of focus. The seven areas narrow the focus of a degree that is quite broad. With these narrower focuses, students are better prepared for the practical work.
- Communication and Informatics
- Diversity and Culture
- Program Planning
- Public Health Biology
- Systems Thinking
MPH programs require incoming students to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While some students possess undergrad degrees in areas like public administration, business administration, or a related clinical healthcare discipline, it is quite common for many MPH students to possess undergrad degrees in everything from accounting and finance to human resources and journalism, provided they have completed specific undergrad prerequisites, such as:
- Math course (algebra, statistics, calculus, etc.)
- Biology course
- Health-related science course (physiology, anatomy, nutrition, etc.)
Other requirements for admission into an MPH degree program include:
- Letters of recommendation
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Relevant work experience in public health (usually reserved for candidates of executive MPH programs)
- Minimum GPA score (or other standardized test score, such as the MCAT)
Step Two: Choosing a State Public Health School
There are six universities offering the 32 public health courses in Michigan. Choosing your school will depend on the program that appeals to you, where the university is located, and the tuition fees. Some of the standout schools include Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, and Wayne State University. All the MPH programs at these institutions come with CEPH accreditation.
Getting Your MPH Online in Michigan
Several universities in Michigan offer online MPH courses. Online courses are beneficial in that it can be taken from the comfort of your home, you can choose a schedule that fits into your everyday life, and you can opt for hybrid or fully online courses.
Even with a fully online course, you’ll still receive an education that is engaging and utilizes the latest technology to deliver interesting, interactive lectures and coursework. You’ll also have access to discussion rooms where you can communicate with your fellow classmates and lecturers.
Some interesting options for online courses in Michigan come from The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Ferris State University.
Step Three: Choosing a Public Health Specialization
Although all accredited MPH programs include a comprehensive course of study in the areas of public health within the MPH Core Competency Model, many institutions allow students to personalize their program by choosing one or more focus areas that best complements their professional goals. Most focus areas consist of a plan of courses that total between 10 and 15 credits.
The following, although not available in all MPH programs, are indicative of some of the most popular focus areas for MPH graduate students:
Health communication involves strategically utilizing communications and marketing tools to influence any number of environmental conditions that affect and advance public health objectives.
The MPHI’s work in injury prevention aims to decrease serious injuries and deaths and improve the health of communities. The public health administrators, program directors, and educators involved in injury prevention and control work with national, state, and local coalitions, providing them with data, technical assistance, training, and leadership designed to promote injury prevention programs and partnerships. Projects associated with injury prevention and control includes the Michigan Child Death Review; the Neonatal Fetal, Infant, and Child Death Review Centers, and the National Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Case Registry.
Coursework in a health communication focus area includes:
- Marketing and research for public health
- Social marketing
- Preventing health disparities
- Global health communication interventions
Health policy aims to improve public health and health services by advancing innovative and effective health policy education, research, and services.
The MPHI’s public health professionals in health policy focus on health promotion and disease prevention, managing chronic disease prevention programs that address the circumstances under which people are born, grow up, live, and work and how these circumstances affect their health. The efforts of these researchers and program directors involve translating scientific research and evidence-based interventions into program development and evaluation, social marketing, and coalition development. Associated projects include Michigan’s Pathways to Better Health, the Michigan Healthy Worksite Platform, and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program.
Coursework in a health policy focus area includes:
- Public health and law
- Global health diplomacy
- Leadership seminar
- Qualitative research methods in public health
Program Planning and Evaluation
Program planning and evaluation in public health involves designing and implementing programs and research focused on health promotion and/or disease prevention.
An example of program planning and evaluation among public health leaders is MDHI’s maternal, child and adolescent health programs and initiatives, which focus on improving maternal, child, and adolescent health by identifying health disparities, understanding their causes, and addressing them through evidence-based solutions. Associated programs include the Healthy Native Communities-Healthy Native Babies and the
Michigan Family-to-Family Health Information Center.
Coursework in a program planning and evaluation focus area includes:
- Qualitative research methods in public health
- Researching violence against women and girls
- Marketing research for public health
- Social marketing
Global health professionals in public health focus their efforts on contemporary global health issues, contributing to the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies at the local, national, regional, and international levels.
For example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works with partner organizations worldwide to tackle critical problems in global health, among others. The Foundation’s Global Health division aims to harness advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries.
Coursework in a global health focus area includes:
- Researching violence against women and girls
- Global health diplomacy
- Environmental and occupational epidemiology
- Preventing health disparities
- Program Structure/Design
Accelerated One-Year and Part-Time Options
In addition to the traditional, two-year master’s degree program, many institutions offer flexible scheduling options. For example, many programs allow students to complete the program on a part-time basis, while others offer accelerated programs that condense the program’s curriculum into a one-year track.
Still others appeal to working professionals through executive MPH programs, which offer students a number of unique scheduling options, including distance education and weekend courses, among others.
Overview: Public Health Careers in Michigan
Human connection and our health and wellbeing are two things that link all of us. Careers in public health combine these two elements to provide prevention and protection to communities. As a public health professional, your duty and purpose goes beyond your job – it reaches individuals at the grass roots level.
Michigan needs people who understand the importance of reaching these grass root, underserved communities. Public health is an often misunderstood branch of government – one where environmental factors and socio-economic circumstances join forces to either improve or challenge the health of community members. In 2019, according to the American Health Rankings, Michigan was only the 32nd healthiest state in the country. It’s a dangerous place to be, and some of the challenges – low percentage of high school graduation, high cardiovascular disease rates, and high diabetes and obesity rates – are fully preventable.
There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of work to be done in Michigan. But this work can only be pushed through if government officials are supportive and understand the urgent need for dedicated public health professionals. While in the past, public health has taken a backseat in the state, there have been significant funding changes in recent years that show that everyone is willing to work together to improve the health of the community.
With more than $90 million in public health funding and over 330 projects underway, the state is pushing forward with comprehensive public health campaigns. This push opens a wide variety of jobs for individuals interested in a public health career.
The Benefits & Opportunities of a Public Health Degree in Michigan
When you’re working with a state that faces public health challenges that Michigan does, it’s important to remember that before the benefits of a good salary and job security come into play, your biggest achievement will be helping the community and at risk, underserved individuals.
With this, you also get a competitive income, medical benefits, and the opportunity for growth in numerous areas, as public health careers span over many areas.
Michigan is also a beautiful, peaceful place to live, with an outdoor lifestyle made easy by the geographical diversity. From skiing and hiking to golfing, fishing, and world-class wineries, there’s a little something for everyone.
Job Growth Projections – Master’s-Educated Public Health Professionals in Michigan
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan will see strong job growth in the public health sector during the ten-year period between 2018 and 2028:
- Social and Community Service Managers +16.4%
- Statisticians +32.9%
- Microbiologists +6.7%
- Biological Scientists 0%
- Rehabilitation Counselors +13.4%
Salary Range – Public Health Professions in Michigan that Require a Master’s Degree
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics provided the following figures for public health jobs in Michigan in 2018. The salaries below range from the bottom tenth percentile to the 90th percentile:
- Social and Community Services Managers: $45,760 – $101,880
- Statisticians: $41,010 – $121,860
- Microbiologists: $42,620 – $115,450
- Biological Scientists: $44,640 – $108,300
- Epidemiologists- $47,000 – $102,010
- Social Scientists- $45,20 – $114,250
- Rehabilitation Counselors- $21,600 – $64,350
- Universities and colleges
- Laboratories (public or private)
- Out in the field (collecting data from the community or the environment)
The Jobs & Careers You Can Get with a Public Health Degree in Michigan
Thanks to the multidisciplinary aspect of public health, jobs in this sector are wide reaching. MPH graduates enjoy public health careers in everything from governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations to academia and research organizations.
Although the following job descriptions are not a guarantee of employment in public health, they do provide job seekers with a general idea of the opportunities available in Michigan (Examples shown for illustrative purposes only and not meant to imply a job offer or assurance of employment.):
Manager, Planning and Quality Assurance
Manages and coordinates public health planning and evaluation activities
Reviews and monitors programs, activities, and objectives for maintaining Health Department compliance
Bachelor’s degree in public health, health planning, health administration, or a related health field
Master’s degree in public health, health planning, health administration, or other health-related field preferred
Community Health Coordinator
Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Chronic Disease
Forms collaborative partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders
Coordinates a complex work plan that addresses the prevention and treatment of chronic disease across an eight-county region
Master’s degree in public health, nursing, or a related field preferred
Assistant Project Manager, Health and Wellness
Greater Flint Coalition, Flint
Assists in the coordination of multi-sector committees, task forces, and collaborative projects
Focuses on improving the health behaviors of adults and children in community-based, school, and workplace settings
Bachelor’s degree in health or a related field
Master’s degree (MPH, MHSA, or MS) a plus
Public Health Resources for Students & Professionals
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website has information on health news, upcoming events, programs that are currently running, and legal and regulatory compliant information.
Michigan Department of Education
Anyone looking for information on the various higher educational institutions in Michigan, the courses on offer, and the admission requirements, can refer to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.
State of Michigan: Official Website
The State of Michigan’s official website is a good place to turn to if you’re looking for information on business, health, the government, your safety, and just general advice on living in Michigan.