Best Online Bachelors in Public Health Degrees for 2023

Bachelor's Degree in Public Health Career Options & Salary

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Overview of a Bachelor’s in Public Health

Public health is a field the promotes well-being and disease prevention in the US as a whole. While a medical professional might treat one or more patients for a disease or condition, the goal of public health professionals is to prevent diseases, infections, and other types of illnesses and to use health communication techniques for health promotion of symptom-free living by identifying health issues and encouraging healthy behaviors. Because this is not a clinical program, there are fewer hands-on learning requirements, which means that it is easier to move to an online learning platform. Students who wish to be a part of the new public health movement, but cannot attend in person, should consider looking for an online degree option.

The public health field involves research, gathering data on population health, analysis of findings, and community health education. Public health also involves health policy and broad steps like vaccinations of children and adults to maintain emergency preparedness and prevent the spread of communicable diseases like influenza or measles. Public health promotes education to help people stop using tobacco and end excessive use of alcohol while also taking into account various health disparities among populations. It is also tied to other health-related fields through the support of nutrition standards for school lunch programs and helping to set safety rules for occupational groups that may be exposed to health risks.

A bachelor’s in public health can provide a basis for further study or equip the graduate to enter the workforce. Students may choose a Bachelor of Science (BS in Public Health) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) public health program, which each have very similar core requirements.


A BA or BS in public health degree is a full entry-level educational achievement. The public health field is broad and includes public, non-profit, and private employers. A bachelor’s degree in nearly any field will raise one’s earnings above the level of persons with a high school education. Over the course of a lifetime, a bachelor’s can add as much as $1 million to total earnings when compared to a high school graduate. And a bachelor's in public health degree gives graduates access to a field with very high job growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Not to mention the fact that students who attend online can save money while earning their degree.

Graduation from an accredited school and CEPH-accredited public health programs can prepare students for new occupational categories and improve promotion potential in a present occupation. A bachelor’s in public health also adds professional options such as certifications for skill areas and knowledge such as health education, emergency preparedness, health promotion, healthcare management, as a community health worker or certified health education specialist, and more. Many certifications require both education and experience in addition to passing exams, but these are also available online in manay situations.


Completing a bachelor’s in public health program is the minimum health education requirement for most public health professionals, as employers prefer this degree for entry-level positions. Employers in the technical side of public health such as medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics prefer the Bachelor of Science public health program's curriculum and core requirements as preparation for their positions. Clinical occupations will require a Bachelor of Science in Public Health program as preparation. In a similar way, some technical public health roles need specialization and the bachelor’s degree will not qualify for these types of roles with some employers such as large organizations and critical public health infrastructure. A master’s public health program may be required for these, and students should consider a combined bachelor and master’s program, graduate study, or continuing education to qualify beyond the BA or BS in Public Health, especially if they are looking to work as a healthcare administrator.

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What are the Best Online Public Health Bachelor's Programs?


San Diego State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,136
    • Out-of-State: $20,016
  • Net Price: $6,867
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 76%
  • Total Enrollment: 36,334
  • Undergrad Students: 31,491
  • Graduate Students: 4,843
  • Diplomas Awarded: 104
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 27:1
  • San Diego State University

University of South Florida

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,410
    • Out-of-State: $17,324
  • Net Price: $11,419
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 50,626
  • Undergrad Students: 38,582
  • Graduate Students: 12,044
  • Diplomas Awarded: 218
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 22:1
  • University of South Florida

University of Arizona

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,736
    • Out-of-State: $37,258
  • Net Price: $17,242
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 45,601
  • Undergrad Students: 35,357
  • Graduate Students: 10,244
  • Diplomas Awarded: 221
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • University of Arizona

Arizona State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,348
    • Out-of-State: $29,438
  • Net Price: $14,934
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Total Enrollment: 74,795
  • Undergrad Students: 63,124
  • Graduate Students: 11,671
  • Diplomas Awarded: 22
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Arizona State University

University of Cincinnati

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,598
    • Out-of-State: $27,932
  • Net Price: $20,827
  • Retention Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Total Enrollment: 40,826
  • Undergrad Students: 29,933
  • Graduate Students: 10,893
  • Diplomas Awarded: 44
  • Grads Salary: $72,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • University of Cincinnati

American Public University System

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,360
    • Out-of-State: $7,360
  • Net Price: $11,916
  • Retention Rate: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Total Enrollment: 50,047
  • Undergrad Students: 40,362
  • Graduate Students: 9,685
  • Diplomas Awarded: 122
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 23:1
  • American Public University System

Louisiana State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,958
    • Out-of-State: $28,635
  • Net Price: $21,010
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Total Enrollment: 34,285
  • Undergrad Students: 27,825
  • Graduate Students: 6,460
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $70,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 22:1
  • Louisiana State University

Saint Francis University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $39,502
    • Out-of-State: $39,502
  • Net Price: $28,883
  • Retention Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,769
  • Undergrad Students: 2,279
  • Graduate Students: 490
  • Diplomas Awarded: 7
  • Grads Salary: $71,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Saint Francis University

University of North Dakota

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,596
    • Out-of-State: $15,037
  • Net Price: $17,425
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 13,615
  • Undergrad Students: 9,796
  • Graduate Students: 3,819
  • Diplomas Awarded: 17
  • Grads Salary: $71,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of North Dakota

The University of Texas at Arlington

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,727
    • Out-of-State: $29,299
  • Net Price: $15,301
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Total Enrollment: 48,072
  • Undergrad Students: 35,064
  • Graduate Students: 13,008
  • Diplomas Awarded: 159
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 24:1
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
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Certificate Vs. Bachelor’s Degree

What Public Health Bachelor’s Degrees are Available Online?

  • The Online Bachelor of Arts Degree:
    This is a liberal arts degree, and the typical course of study includes a wide range of general education courses. Liberal arts education seeks to expand the depth of knowledge beyond the technical areas of study. The Bachelor of Arts in Public Health is an excellent degree for students that wish to enter the educational, administrative, management, or developmental type of public health service. The Bachelor of Arts in Public Health is an ideal platform for master’s or doctoral level studies and specialization at the graduate level. Arts degrees are the most likely to be found through online learning since they require little in the way of hands-on experiences, such as labs. An online bachelor of arts degree is still a great way to get into the field.
  • The Online Bachelor of Science Degree:
    The typical course of study for a bachelor of science degree has more technical, scientific, and math-based course work than a comparable bachelor of arts degree. The clinical or science-based public health occupations may also pay more on average than the non-clinical. This may be attributable to chronic shortages in medically trained personnel and experts in biostatistical analysis. Despite the likelihood of hands-on science requirements, these degrees may still be available online from some schools, or with a mix of online and in-person components.
  • Applied Science Degrees:
    Some schools offer a vocational or career type of degree. These schools typically are for-profit schools that equip graduates for specific types of work. The applied science degree in public health may focus on a certain type of public health practice, including government policy or health administration.

Admission Requirements

An online bachelor’s degree program in public health is open to high school graduates and associate degree holders. The typical requirement for admission to an accredited public health degree program are high school completion, a substantial number of courses in math and science, and strong test scores on the ACT or SAT exams. Schools typically wish to have students that demonstrate some inclination and dedication to a science-based curriculum and recommendations from teachers and counselors. The field of public health is broad and expanding as the population grows; other drivers of growth include public attitudes, expanding public policy, and technical advances to increase the effectiveness of protective and preventive activities.

Completion degree programs are not for high school grads. Completion programs require two years of community college. Some programs may ask for an associate degree in a related field. These programs may or may not provide online learning options.

How long does it take to earn a Public Health Bachelor’s online?

The usual course of study for on-campus or online study is four years or eight semesters. If a school requires an internship-type assignment, then the course of study may be longer to accommodate the external practical setting. Students may be able to accelerate the program by taking an additional course each semester and taking online classes during the summer session. By doing so students can reduce the time required by one full semester.

Online students can have the greater flexibility for reducing the completion time. Some online schools grant credit for life experience and other public health experience. With online or remote learning, some students can add courses during the regular semesters and additional work in summer sessions to reduce the completion time by as much as one full year.

Potential Careers in Public Health with a Bachelor’s

The field of public health is broad and it consists of some large-scale participants such as the US government’s Public Health Service. The major fields within public health are also broad and extensive; they include epidemiology, biostatistics, and vaccinology. The below-listed occupations are typical of the clinical and non-clinical public health professions. Experience and advanced education can play a substantial role in salary. The below-listed ranges do not account for senior levels and extensive levels of experience.

  • Epidemiologists are highly specialized professionals that investigate the causes of disease and patterns of occurrence. They work in settings like hospitals, government organizations, and research laboratories.
    The average salary for epidemiologists is about: $64,700.
  • Clinical Social Workers (Medical Social Workers) have specialized training that equips them to work with families, individuals, and communities that must manage illnesses. Their work can involve decisions to make interventions, and they must have skills at managing details and working with case files in collaborative environments.
    The average salary for clinical social workers is about: $58,700.
  • Health Educators and Community Health Workers work with hospitals, medical facilities, and wellness organizations. They provide public information, including medical, prevention, and wellness education. Some states require licenses for this and similar occupations.
    The average salary for health educators and community health workers is about: $46,200.
  • Medical and Health Services Managers play key roles in healthcare organizations, including hospitals, clinics, and medical care facilities. They often maintain human resource processes, manage payroll, and create critical business reports.
    The average salary for Medical and Health Services Managers is about: $69,400.
  • Dietitians and Nutritionists work to promote health, prevention, and wellness through the science of nutrition. They promote healthy lifestyles, and using food, nutrition, and diet to remain active and symptom-free.
    The average salary for dietitians and nutritionists is about: $50,600.

Options to Advance

Students can advance by getting graduate degrees such as master’s and doctoral level degrees. They can advance through additional graduate level coursework. As undergraduate and graduate students, they can develop concentrations and expertise. Concentrations and specializations offer abundant opportunities to advance, gain promotions, and open new occupations in the field of public health. Concentrations include Global Health, Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, and Vaccines. Some non-clinical areas include Environmental Health, Community Health Services, Health and Policy Management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a bachelor’s in public health worth it?

Many who earn a bachelor’s degree in public health go on to earn a master’s as well. So, you might wonder, is the bachelor’s degree even worth it? If you’re going to need a master’s anyway, then maybe you should earn your undergraduate degree in another field. However, there are plenty of good reasons to earn an undergraduate degree in this field. For starters, most entry-level roles in this field only require an undergraduate degree, though a master’s can help you gain promotions and higher pay. Given the fact that the BLS predicts that community and social service jobs will grow 12% over the current decade, this may mean that you will have a great chance to earn good money with just an undergraduate degree. Additionally, the healthcare field is unlikely to shrink any time soon, even if growth slows. And healthcare administration roles can pay significantly more than some other roles in the business field, so this is an excellent option for those who are interested.

Is a public health degree difficult?

Public health degrees require students to take some hard and soft sciences, so it may not be the easiest degree for everyone. Indeed, some upper-level courses are particularly difficult science courses that can take multiple tries to pass, especially if science and math aren’t your best subjects. It’s important to take a look at the course catalog for your chosen school so that you know what you’re getting into. An advisor may also be able to help you decide if this is the program for you based on your previous experience in similar classes.

Would you like public health better than nursing?

This is, of course, dependent on your personality. However, if you want to work directly with patients, you will probably prefer nursing and, if you would prefer to study public health issues and disease, and not work directly with patients, you might want to consider something like public health. It really is up to your preferences which you would prefer.

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