Master of Public Health (MPH) Degree in New Jersey

Advance Your Public Health Career in New Jersey

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The New Jersey Public Health Association (NJPHA), founded in 1875, is currently the oldest public health organization still active in the United States. It is committed to advocating and advancing public health programs and awareness in New Jersey. Over the past century, they have planned thousands of conferences, symposiums, and networking programs that have helped to form the foundation of New Jersey’s public health system today.

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Earning a Masters Degree in Public Health in New Jersey

The Master of Public Health (MPH) exposes students to a number of key public health competencies, preparing them to design programs, analyze health data, and work with professionals from a variety of different industries to implement policy. This experience is vital in preparing for a future in a field where effective policies and accompanying programs save thousands of lives and improve the quality of life for millions.

New Jersey offers a wealth of public health degree programs and with job the growth projections for the next few years looking extremely promising, it’s also an attractive job market for public health professionals. In this guide, we take a look at the state of public health and public health careers in New Jersey, the journey to getting your Master’s in Public Health in the state, including admission requirements, different specializations, and the benefits and opportunities.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) exposes students to a number of key public health competencies, preparing them to design programs, analyze health data, and work with professionals from a variety of different industries to implement policy. This experience is vital in preparing for a future in a field where effective policies and accompanying programs save thousands of lives and improve the quality of life for millions.

Aspiring graduate students with undergraduate experience outside of health and healthcare administration are still eligible to apply for MPH programs. MHP degree tracks explore a vast array of subjects that build on professional expertise gained from just about any background, from business, statistics, and health administration to psychology teaching and nursing.

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

Undergraduate degrees in public health are a relatively new development, so currently only five institutions in New Jersey offer Bachelor degrees. The bachelor programs are often centered on community engagement, disease prevention, health promotion, and program planning. You don’t need a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health to apply for the MPH.

The MPH works to prepare students for more senior roles and leadership positions in the field. The course often includes internship work and research projects. It’s a more demanding course, but it also allows you to choose more specific specializations, so you can cater to your interests and strengths.

Q: Where do Public Health Professionals Work in New Jersey?

Where public health professionals work depends on their chosen specialization. It can be anywhere from an office job, to laboratory work, field work in the community, or working for a public or private organization.

Most public health jobs start at universities or colleges where there’s ample access to resources and the opportunity for ongoing learning.

Accelerated One-Year and Part-Time Options

Part-time options allow busy students to take as long as four years to complete graduate studies. For students working full time or pursuing other professional and academic goals, this is often the best option for earning a Master of Public Health.

MPH programs also offer graduate students an accelerated one-year option. Students in accelerated programs take on a heavier course load and are able to graduate in as little as 12 months.

CEPH Accreditation

The Council on Education for Public Health is an independent organization that works with the Association of Schools Public Health and the United States Department of Education to ensure that the standards of MPH programs on offer are of the highest quality.

Step One: Know the Basics

MPH programs do not require a matching bachelor’s degree, instead accepting graduates from any previous undergraduate program. Before committing to a program, it’s important to know the academic overview so that you’re adequately prepared for the coursework.

Academic Overview

Most MPH programs are overseen by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). CEPH accredited programs are based on the MPH Core Competency model, which was developed by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). These five competencies are:

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • 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
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Program Planning
  • Public Health Biology
  • Systems Thinking

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements differ depending on the program and institution, but we’ve put together a list of the basic requirements for graduate-level MPH programs. These are:

  • Submission of GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT
  • Submission of official transcripts from all other undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Submission of a 500-1000-word purpose essay
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

Step Two: Choosing a State Public Health School

There are currently six universities offering 36 MPH programs run throughout the state, giving applicants several options to choose from. All programs are CEPH accredited. For working professionals who don’t have the time to commit to full-time studies, there are also numerous online options available.

Getting Your MPH Online in New Jersey

There are hundreds of universities throughout the country that offer outstanding online MPH programs. New Jersey currently does not appear to have any online programs offered by universities there, or if they do, it’s not widely advertised. If you choose to study for an online MPH in New Jersey, you can look at doing a 100% online course with Rutgers or George Washington University and then going on to do an internship to gain the practical experience.

The online MPH programs offer live webcam-based lectures, video tutorials, online discussions with lecturers and classmates, and multimedia learning. Lecturers use the latest technology and a variety of methods to keep the online program interactive and engaging.

Step Three: Choosing a Public Health Specialization

Within MPH programs there are specializations that prepare students to work in a variety of public health positions. These specializations offer an extra 10-15 credits alongside the original courses. The specialization options in New Jersey include:

Health Communication

The NJDH released a comprehensive checklist for injury prevention for Christmas 2015 detailing common household items that have the potential to cause injury or sickness during the holiday season. The document focuses on accidental poisoning, citing a spike each year in unintentional poisonings and choking caused by decorations, toy parts, and alcohol overdose.

Organizing data like this, evaluating the risks it could pose, and then packaging and marketing it effectively to the public and to health administrators, is the foundation of health communications. Their education prepares them for the difficult task of making dense and bland data sheets into engaging campaigns that can educate and inform the public effectively.

Courses within this specialization may include:

  • Leadership Seminar
  • Global Health Communication Interventions
  • Preventing Health Disparities
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing and Research for Public Health

Health Policy

The Rutgers Center for State Health Policy is a segment of the Institute for Health focused around supporting and stimulating health policy discussions in New Jersey. Health policy can seem as bland as it is complex to an uneducated outsider. Health policy experts are responsible for understanding the intricacies of both legal and medical language so that they can effectively educate the public and legislators alike about health policy.

Without health policy experts, developing appropriate health legislation would be a difficult process motivated primarily by budgets and politics. Health policy specialists are able to steer the conversation towards the development of impactful programming and keep tabs on how legislation is affecting the public.

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

Program Planning and Evaluation

The New Jersey Bureau of Evaluation and Planning is currently focusing its efforts towards the reduction of air pollution to acceptable levels throughout the state. Air pollution poses a variety of health hazards and elevated accident risk due to poor visibility.

Keeping tabs on air pollution, its impact on the region, and on the outcomes of programs currently in place to deal with pollution, is the responsibility of program planning and evaluation experts. Specialists in this field of public health are uniquely prepared to analyze mountains of data and generate sustainable and useful information that can be synthesized into impactful programming.

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

Global Health

Clean water, sustainable food supply, and qualified health professionals are all necessary parts of infrastructure in modern society. However, not every community has access to these basics. Due to unforeseeable natural disasters and conflicts, people around the world are subject to shocking epidemics of starvation and disease.

Global health specialists are dedicated to tackling these issues head on. Their job is to analyze at risk communities and build sustainable infrastructure while simultaneously tackling some of the world’s greatest health risks like HIV/AIDS. An MPH program built around global health will focus on educating students about global health risks and ways to improve infrastructure and access to healthcare and clean water and food supplies in foreign communities.

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
  • Global Health Communication Interventions
  • Preventing Health Disparities
  • Global Health Diplomacy
  • Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
  • Climate Change and Social Change

Overview: Public Health Careers in New Jersey

Thanks to advocacy efforts by the NJPHA and public health professionals employed by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDH), $11 million was set aside to support evidence-based home visitation programs that bring nurses and health workers into the homes of families at risk of health and safety issues like lead poisoning. Those funds will also go towards educating mothers in the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program on ways to avoid lead exposure and test their children for lead.

The NJDH is also responsible for a variety of advocacy programs, including the New Jersey Quitline, a smoking cessation support hotline that is part of the NJDH’s nicotine poison prevention campaign. Both the smoking and lead poisoning efforts are part of New Jersey’s Healthy New Jersey 2020 initiative. This disease prevention and health promotion strategic plan is modeled after the federal Healthy People 2020 campaign, which is being used by states across the U.S. as the basis for new health policy and legislation. These efforts have paid off as New Jersey moved up three places in the state health rankings from 2018 to 2019. Their 8th place position is due to a comparatively low obesity rate, a decrease in cancer death rates, and a decrease in air pollution.

The Benefits & Opportunities of a Public Health Degree in New Jersey

Getting a degree in Public Health paves the way for you to do something meaningful and worthwhile by giving you the tools to make a difference in thousands of people’s lives. Its demanding, but rewarding work, and this is reflected in the competitive salaries, job security, and professional growth opportunities.

New Jersey has 28 public health programs available throughout the state. These can be customized to suit your schedule with online, fast-track, and part-time courses available too. Coupled with the mountain ranges offering skiing, fishing, and camping, and the beaches offering lazy days in the sun, and you’ve got a strong competitor for where to study towards your MPH.

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

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

  • Social and Community Service Managers +19.4%
  • Statisticians +30.3%
  • Microbiologists +7.1%
  • Biological Scientists 0%
  • Rehabilitation Counselors +10.4%

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

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

  • Social and Community Services Managers: $41,650 – $106,860
  • Statisticians: $64,650 – $151,180
  • Microbiologists: $43,620 – $115,450
  • Biological Scientists: $46,870 – $134,610
  • Epidemiologists- $50,150 – $102,260
  • Social Scientists- $47,020 – $103,930
  • Rehabilitation Counselors- $21,830 – $55,950

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

The following job descriptions were taken from a survey of job vacancy announcements in New Jersey and offer insight into the type of professional opportunities in public health available in New Jersey. (The following job descriptions are shown for illustrative purposes only and are not representative of a job offer or an assurance of employment.):

Supported Employment Program Advisor

Jersey Cape Diagnostic

Responsibilities

  • Assisting people with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders to find work in the community
  • Identifying consumer’s strengths, interests, and skills
  • Provide support to ensure workplace success
  • Requirements
  • Experience with job development
  • In depth knowledge of mental illness
  • Marketing skills

Requirements

  • Experience with job development
  • In depth knowledge of mental illness
  • Marketing skills

Associate Director of Biostatistics

Sanofi

Responsibilities

  • Provide guidance as lead statistician on a project team within Medical Affairs
  • Assist group heads with the creation and implementation of policy
  • Assist group head in evaluating workload
  • Ensure appropriate resource allocation
  • Global and regional travel
  • Provide statistical support for study design and execution
  • Build relationships with other Medical Affairs and Data Mining groups

Requirements

  • 10 years of pharmaceutical experience and at least three years of experience in Medical Affairs
  • In depth knowledge of ICH guidelines and statistical principles in clinical trials
  • Experience in therapeutic indication, including understanding of key endpoints
  • Potential to serve as statistical consultant for Late Phase activities and life cycle management
  • Ability to effectively represent Medical Affairs and Data Mining Biostatistics group in multidisciplinary
  • meetings involving commercial, marketing, and publication teams.

Associate Microbiologist

AlphaPro

Responsibilities

  • Carry out activities in the support of manufacturing pharmaceutical products
  • Perform environmental sampling and testing
  • Identify microorganisms
  • Provide written and verbal updates on projects and activities
  • Maintain notebooks within GMP standards and SOPs including the accurate reporting of results and detailed record keeping

Requirements

  • 1-3 years of industry experience
  • Working knowledge of aseptic techniques
  • Mathematical and reasoning ability
  • Proficient computer skills

Professional Resources

New Jersey Department of Public Health

The New Jersey Department of Health website has information on health news, upcoming events, programs that are currently running, and legal and regulatory compliant information.

Office of the Secretary of Higher Education – New Jersey

Anyone looking for information on the various higher educational educational institutions in New Jersey, the courses on offer, and the admission requirements, can refer to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.

State of New Jersey: Official Website

The State of New Jersey’s official website is a good place to turn to if you’re looking for information with regards to living in the state – from travel, health, and local news, to recreational activities, government information, and public transport assistance.