Public Health Career Education in Nevada


Bordered by Oregon, Idaho, and California, the Silver State of Nevada is largely desert, and mostly arid land. With over three million residents, most of whom reside in the Clark County area, Nevada is one of the most densely populated states in the country.

Maintaining an adequate public health system can be challenging in an area with a climate like Nevada’s, a place where millions of tourists from all the over the world flow through every day, and a place where most of the residents are concentrated in a specific area. Nevada’s 38th position in the American Health Rankings doesn’t bode well for the state, but efforts are being made to improve its public health system.

There are countless examples of effective public health policy in action, starting with those sponsored by the state’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH). Some of the DPBH’s initiatives can be found in its environmental section, which includes food regulation to protect against harmful contaminants or bacteria, testing to ensure residents have access to safe drinking water, and regulation of the hospitality industry to ensure a hygienic environment in the state’s hotels and motels.

The US Department of Labor identifies a master’s degree as being the standard educational requirement for leadership positions in public health policy, program development and evaluation, as well as public health marketing and communication. The interdisciplinary Master of Public Health (MPH) combines essential core competencies with the option to specialize in diverse areas, from program administration to epidemiology.

This guide is designed to provide you with the tools and information you need to decide if pursuing a master’s in public health in Nevada is the right path for you. We’ll look at the current state of public health careers, the job growth and salary projections, the various MPH programs on offer and additional helpful resources.

What is CEPH accreditation?

The CEPH is the Council of Education for Public Health. It’s an independent agency that works with the United States Department of Education to ensure that the MPH programs meet the educational standards and requirements. It may be smart to check if the school of interest in Nevada is CEPH accredited

Earning a Master of Public Health in Nevada

The University at Nevada Las Vegas offers a 45-credit degree program that consists of 18 credits of core classes and a 27-credit concentration. The concentration includes an internship and research project. Some of the concentrations you can choose from include Social and Behavioral Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Healthcare Administration and Policy, Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

The University of Nevada at Reno offers a 42-credit course with a core curriculum and a three specializations to choose from: Epidemiology, Health and Administration Policy, and Social and Behavioral Health.

There are also online courses available for anyone wishing to study for their MPH, but lack the time and space to dedicate to on-campus classes. While most people choose to do online studying with universities in their state, expanding your options to other institutions increases your admission chances and gives you a chance to work with some of the best schools. The University of Nevada at Reno offers a 100% online course that can be completed in 24 months.

Step One: Know the Basics

If you intend on studying for your Master’s in Public Health, there are a few basic steps that you need to cover. Since you don’t need a matching four-year degree, almost anyone with a valid undergraduate degree is eligible for admission into the MPH program. You do need to adhere certain admission requirements, which differ according to the program or institution. We’ve included a list of the basic admission requirements below.

In addition to getting all your admission documents together, its important to look at the academic overview. Getting an idea of the coursework you’ll be covering better prepares you for any challenges you might face and gives you a chance to think about what specialization you might be interested in. We’ve covered the general academic overview below, although since this differs depending on the institution and program, its best to do additional research.

Academic Overview

Accredited MPH degree programs are required to comply with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Core Competency Model. The Core Competency Model requires that students gain competency in five traditional areas and seven interdisciplinary areas of public health. The required five traditional areas of public health are as follows:

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy and Management
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

The seven interdisciplinary areas are as follows:

    1. Communication and Informatics
    2. Diversity and Culture
    3. Leadership
    4. Public Health Biology
    5. Professionalism
    6. Program Planning
    7. Systems Thinking

Core coursework for MPH programs will likely include these topics:

  • Applied Biostatistics
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social and Behavioral Factors and Health
  • Health Systems, Management and Policy
  • Public health Administration
  • Ethical and Political Issues

Admission Requirements

MPH program admission requirements vary by school, but most MPH programs require the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA in undergraduate study
  • Official GRE scores
  • Personal essay
  • Three letters of recommendation

Step Two: Choosing a Public Health School in Nevada

Since there is only one school offering a CEPH accredited MPH, you don’t really have much choice here. However, if you decide to invest in an online program, then you’ll have a pick of several great schools.

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Getting Your MPH Online in Nevada

The University of Nevada at Reno offers an online public health course with a curriculum that covers public health policy, finance and budget, health informatics, epidemiology and biostatistics, and social and behavioral health. The course is 100% online with no residency requirement and has multiple start dates throughout the year.

Step Three: Choosing a Public Health Specialization

In addition to the core-competencies and MPH crosscutting domains, programs also give students the option to specialize in a specific area of public health. The following are examples of some of the most important areas of specialization within the field of public health:

Health Communication

Students choosing this specialization learn the strategic value of communications and marketing when attempting to achieve public health goals. State public health officials working in this field are responsible for putting together the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health’s Ebola Toolkit. This provided the public with factual information with the goal of keeping fear and panic to a minimum.

Topics covered within this specialization include:

  • Leadership
  • Social marketing
  • Disparities in public health
  • Research and marketing for public health
  • Global health communication interventions
  • 10-15 semester credits total

Health Policy

Students choosing this specialization attain the knowledge and skills necessary to form effective public health policy. This includes its formation, development, marketing, and analysis. The Nevada Public Health Association (NPHA) is a good example of the type of place where health policy specialists work. As of January 2016, the NPHA was advocating enhanced local, state, and federal investments in public health.

Topics covered within this specialization include:

  • Leadership
  • Public health law
  • Medicine, law, and ethics
  • Global health and diplomacy
  • Qualitative research methods for public health
  • Evaluation and monitoring of contagious diseases
  • 10-15 semester credits total

Program Planning and Evaluation

Students choosing this specialization graduate with a deep understanding of the development, planning, assessment, implementation, and management of public health campaigns or programs.

Carson City’s Well Child Checks program is a good example of an initiative that involves the skills obtained by graduate students within this concentration. The goal of Carson City’s Well Child Checks program is to help ensure the health of the city’s children through regular physical screenings, nutritional assessments, hearing exams, and the dissemination of educational materials.

Topics covered within this specialization include:

  • Social marketing
  • Marketing research for public health
  • Conducting domestic violence research
  • Qualitative research methods in public health
  • Monitoring and evaluation of transmittable diseases
  • 10-15 semester credits total

Global Health

Global Health: Students who choose this specialization learn the relationship between local, national, and international public health threats.

Topics covered within this specialization can include:

  • Global health diplomacy
  • Climate and social change
  • Prevention of disparities in health
  • Occupational and environmental epidemiology
  • Researching violence against girls and women
  • Evaluation and monitoring of contagious diseases
  • Communication during global health intervention
  • 10-15 semester credits total

Accelerated One-Year and Part-Time Options

Many of today’s MPH programs provide students with a number of options for completing their course of study:

Part-time MPH programs: Unlike a traditional, two-year MPH degree program, part-time programs provide students with a more flexible schedule. Many programs allow students up to four years to complete their MPH.

Executive MPH programs: Executive MPH degree programs, designed for professionals already working in public health, provide students with flexible program options, such as web-based and weekend courses.

Accelerated MPH programs: Accelerated MPH programs provide students with an accelerated course of study that allows them to complete their MPH program in about a year.

Q: What’s the Difference Between Bachelor Degree & Master Degree for Public Health?

Although our main focus with this guide is the Master’s in Public Health, we can give some information on the Bachelor’s Degree. It’s not as widely offered and it doesn’t have specializations. Rather, it focuses on the 4Ps of Public Health: Prevention, Promotion, Planning, and Population-based care.

The Master’s in Public Health is offered at many more institutions across the country. You don’t need a matching Bachelor’s to qualify for the program as they accept individuals from any previous bachelor’s background. The Master’s program is more demanding, but it does allow you to choose a specialization unique to your skills and preferences. As an MPH graduate, you’ll be in a position to command a better salary, more benefits, and you’ll have job security.

Q: Where do Public Health Professionals Work in Nevada?

Public Health professionals can work in hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, offices, or out in the field collecting data samples and liaising with community leaders.

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Overview: Public Health Careers in Nevada

When a state is facing the health issues that Nevada faces – which includes high cardiovascular death rate, low immunization rates, only a percentage of the population that’s insured, and high obesity rates, it puts primary care physicians and public health workers in high demand. Unfortunately for Nevada, the amount of primary care physicians hasn’t kept up with the growing population. It puts the state in an even more vulnerable position as health care workers battle to treat the expanding community.

To combat this, officials have allocated over $115 million to the public health sector. The funds are meant to open up more jobs in public health, provide funding for various campaigns and initiatives, and support underserved communities.

The planning, development, and management of public health programs in Nevada falls within the domain of dedicated professionals committed to creating health policies and implementing programs designed to improve the health and welfare of the state’s residents. Nevada’s need for educated public health professionals puts graduates and potential employees in a secure career position. You’ll no doubt be dealing with unique challenges, but a large part of the appeal of working in public health is the ability to make significant changes that affect the community in a positive way. Below, we’ve put together a report on the job growth projections and the salary expectations for Nevada over the next few years.

Opportunities of a Public Health Degree in Nevada

Although Nevada doesn’t have many universities offering public health degrees, the two institutions that do offer MPH programs – the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and the University of of Nevada at Reno – both have strong, excellent CEPH accredited programs. In total, these universities offer 12 MPH programs with a variety of concentrations and specializations.

Living in Nevada is also quite a treat. The state has perfect seasonal weather and a great climate. Its surrounded by stunning natural scenery – yellow, dust covered desert contrasted with striking green, years old vegetation. The clear skies and low lying landscapes give way to picturesque, purple, blue, and orange sunsets that turn the sky into something that looks like it’s from a different planet.

Due to the rise in public health concerns, job opportunities are ample and the market offers strong, competitive salaries, job security, and additional benefits. Perhaps the biggest benefit of a public health degree in Nevada is the opportunity to help communities and individuals at both a broader and grassroots level.

Job Growth Projections – Master’s-Educated Public Health Professionals in Nevada

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nevada will see strong job growth in the public health sector during the ten-year period between 2018 and 2028:

    1. Social and Community Service Managers +23.5%
    2. Statisticians +55.6%
    3. Microbiologists +28.6%
    4. Biological Scientists 23.8%
    5. Rehabilitation Counselors 18.8%

Salary Range – Public Health Professions in Nevada that Require a Master’s Degree

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics provided the following figures for public health jobs in Nevada in 2018. The salaries below range from the bottom tenth percentile to the 90th percentile:

    1. Social and Community Services Managers: $45,200 – $122,560
    2. Statisticians: $57,120 – $35,990
    3. Microbiologists: $45,750 – $101,420
    4. Biological Scientists: $51,100 – $92,650
    5. Epidemiologists- no data
    6. Social Scientists- $51,090 – $107,620
    7. Rehabilitation Counselors- $17,560 – $74,750

The Jobs & Careers You Can Get with a Public Health Degree in Nevada

The following job descriptions and related requirements were found in a survey of job vacancy announcements for master’s-prepared public health professionals in Nevada (shown as illustrative examples only and do not represent job offers or the assurance of employment):

Infection Prevention Specialist

The Valley Health System in Las Vegas


  • The Infection Control Specialist is tasked with implementing a hospital-wide infection control program.
  • Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a health science field like clinical microbiology or nursing. Preferred applicants have a master’s degree in any of the following:
    • Public Health
    • Microbiology
    • Epidemiology
    • Nursing
    • Education

    Manager of Employee Health

    Renown Health in Reno

    • This professional works within Renown Health to promote health and safety among all its employees. This includes developing and disseminating resources for diseases prevention, detection, and treatment.
    • Preferred applicants hold a master’s degree with a background in public health, and must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
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    Public Health Resources for Students & Professionals

    The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Information about health news, upcoming events, programs that are currently running, and legal and regulatory compliant information.

    State of Nevada Department of Education Anyone looking for information on the various higher educational institutions in Nevada, the courses on offer, and the admission requirements, can refer to the Nevada State Department of Education.

    State of Nevada Nevada’s official state website is a good go-to place for information on business, health, the government, your safety, and general advice on living in the Silver State.