MPH online programs can be rather costly, especially when you add in their cost with your other expenses and student loans. You do have several options when trying to find an affordable MPH program or are simply trying to lower your costs across the board. Choosing a regional public university or college is a great way to earn your degree without going into deeper debt. There are also scholarship programs that can help to defray the cost of your classes. Scholarships and grants are offered by many larger companies and corporations to students who are willing to continue working within their chosen career field. Some may offer to send you back to school or to pay for your classes if you choose to enroll in a graduate program.
Another way to defray educational costs is to learn more about employer reimbursement programs. If you already have experience and are employed by a company that is willing to reimburse you for your education, then most of your educational costs may be covered. In most cases, an employer will offer to cover your educational expenses if you commit to working with their company for a set number of years after graduation. This allows them the benefit of your advanced services while you receive the benefit of earning your MPH.
Our Method: Ranking the Best Affordable Online MPH Programs
To rank the most affordable online MPH programs, Best Health Degrees editors sought out accredited colleges and universities that provide top-quality education at reasonable prices. For the purposes of the ranking, however, only one factor determines the order: tuition price, according to IPEDS data.
1. New Mexico State University
When you’re looking for the best affordable MPH programs to reach your long-term goals, the online MPH program at New Mexico State University is a good option for your situation. The degree program focuses on two concentrations: Health Behavior and Health Promotion or Health Management, Administration and Policy. Students can focus on an area of public health that fits their personal interests and goals.
New Mexico State University stands out by working around the needs of adults. It recognizes that adults who have responsibilities and obligations to loved ones or an employer may not be able to attend traditional classes during the day. That is why it offers a fully online program as well as night classes on campus for student flexibility.
Favorite Facts: New Mexico State University offers different start-dates for courses based on whether the student is taking online or on-campus classes.
Degree: MPH – Health Behavior and Health Promotion or Health Management, Administration and Policy
2. University of Montana
The University of Montana offers one of the most affordable online MPH programs for students who are planning to study public health. The degree program takes a multidisciplinary approach to study to prepare students to handle different situations that may arise when they are working in the public health industry. It emphasizes collaboration to resolve health concerns in large populations.
The University of Montana allows students to complete the online course material at an accelerated rate. Students are able to take as many as 21 credits through the online program and can work at their own pace to finish their degrees. It is also possible to slow down when obligations and responsibilities limit student time for the master’s program.
Favorite Facts: The University of Montana offers scholarships to students in the online MPH program.
3. University of Nevada, Reno
The Master of Public Health from the University of Nevada at Reno takes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to public health. It recognizes that physical health is only one aspect that may impact individuals and their communities, so it strives to clarify other factors that contribute to population-wide concerns associated with health. It also ensures that students have a wide array of skills and training to address different details related to the public health industry.
The University of Nevada at Reno stands out by focusing on quality education. Students are not required to provide a GMAT or GRE score, and it is classified as a National Tier One University by U.S. News and World Reports. The program emphasizes the importance of comprehensive education when working on public health and addressing the needs of a large population.
Favorite Facts: The University of Nevada at Reno offers multiple start dates for the online MPH program.
4. University of West Florida
The University of West Florida offers one of the best affordable online MPH programs for students who want to specialize in a specific area of public health. The school offers three concentrations for MPH students: Global Health; Generalist; and Health Promotion, Education and Behavior. Students can select the concentration that fits their personal goals for a career and specialized skills.
The University of West Florida stands out by giving students hands-on experience within the public health industry. Students must complete a practicum that takes two semesters to graduate from the program. The practicum ensures that students gain experience that helps with their goals. It is specialized based on the concentration students choose to emphasize their skills.
Favorite Facts: The University of West Florida is CEPH accredited for the public health degree program.
Degree: MPH – 3 concentrations
5. San Jose State University
San Jose State University offers one of the most affordable online MPH programs for students who have a strict budget. This affordable MPH degree program uses web conferencing and session recordings to help students succeed while working on their course material. As an online program, it offers flexibility that allows students to continue working or maintaining personal obligations while they are completing a degree program.
San Jose State University stands out by emphasizing student engagement with peers and professors. It helps students maintain a traditional classroom environment from the comfort of home through conferencing and related tools. The ability to communicate with peers and professors helps students discuss concerns or gain new insights that may help in their careers.
Favorite Facts: San Jose State University requires students to visit the campus once per year for four or five days, depending on the cohort and the type of online class set-up.
6. Florida A&M University
Florida A&M University offers a Master of Public Health that focuses on leadership, competence, and technical skill. The degree program takes an innovative approach to education and ensures that students are fully able to handle challenges that may arise in their careers. Students can expect to learn about different factors that may contribute to health concerns among different groups within the population, and they learn to be culturally sensitive when working with different communities.
Florida A&M University emphasizes the value of a strong foundation in public health studies. It ensures that students develop relevant skills that are designed to address problems of public health that may arise over time. The program also teaches students the basics they need to understand in relation to public health as it applies to specialized fields and skills.
Favorite Facts: Florida A&M University requires online students to have at least three years of experience working in a health-related field or industry.
7. East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University offers an online MPH program to students that offers the opportunity to gain specialized skills. The school offers five concentrations within public health for online students. Students can study Community Health, Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Public Health Administration. Four of the programs are fully online, while Environmental Health is a hybrid online program that may require students to spend some time on campus.
East Tennessee State University stands out by offering multiple areas of study for students who want to gain specialized skills. It allows students to focus on their career goals and learn the skills that are most relevant to their plans. When students are looking for a program that is affordable and allows them to work on specific areas of public health, the university offers a solution to fit student goals.
Favorite Facts: East Tennessee State University is a Coverdell Fellows Partner University.
Degree: MPH – 5 concentrations
8. University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska at Anchorage offers an MPH program for students who want to work in the public health industry. The degree program emphasizes the promotion of health, equality, and well-being by providing students with the right educational tools. It strives to improve community health through proper education and access to information.
The University of Alaska at Anchorage stands apart by taking an ecological approach to public health and the different determinants of health. It recognizes that public health is a complex field and that students must recognize that multiple factors may contribute to problems within a population. The program prepares students to evaluate different factors that contribute to problems with community health to find creative solutions to address the underlying concerns.
Favorite Facts: The University of Alaska at Anchorage requires students to communicate with an MPH academic advisor on a regular basis throughout the online program.
9. University of Nebraska Medical Center
Students who are looking for an online degree program that offers specialized skills will want to consider the MPH program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The online degree program offers students the opportunity to study six different concentrations in public health. Since students can choose from six different specialized areas of public health, they are able to focus on the type of skills they want to offer employers.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center gives students an in-depth education in a specialized field of study. That focus on providing students with an in-depth look at public health and certain demographic details can help students learn proper ways to advocate for the needs of others. It also ensures that students are able to take on a leadership role by emphasizing the skills that are most appropriate for a specific area of public health.
Favorite Facts: The University of Nebraska Medical Center is CEPH accredited for the MPH program.
Degree: MPH – 6 concentrations
10. University at Albany (SUNY)
The University of Albany offers an affordable MPH program that helps students with their goals for a career in public health. The degree program emphasizes disease prevention across populations and strives to teach students different ways to limit the risk of disease when working with large groups. It also focuses on helping students with their goals for a career through a comprehensive education program.
The University of Albany differs from other programs by focusing on providing maximum flexibility to students. Since the program is designed around the needs of working adults who may have complex obligations, it allows students to work at their own pace and to focus on their own goals. Students can take classes part-time or full-time, as it fits their schedules. It also allows students to focus on studies and course material when they have time and are available for the class.
Favorite Facts: The University of Albany requires students to obtain a professional internship to gain hands-on experience in public health.
How is the Job Market for Public Health?
The public health job outlook has steadily gained momentum over the past few years. In 2016, the field had a growth percentage of almost 16%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed that the number of nurses working in the public health area also saw a dramatic increase. Individuals with a Master’s in public health had more opportunity to choose from several different types of employment due to the excessive growth in that area. Changes in the economy may cause the numbers to shift slightly but public health is an industry that will always maintain some type of consistent growth simply due to the nature of its business.
The job market in the public health sector included openings for sanitarians, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, and laboratory workers. These jobs represent employment outside the scope of actual healthcare but also provided one of the biggest areas for growth. Individuals who have chosen to continue to pursue a Master’s degree will see many doors open for them as many current employees start to “age out” and retire. This will keep the industry growing through the next decade. Because of these factors, the opportunity for advancement will also continue to expand.
Do I Need the GRE to Get an Online MPH?
Many universities use the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) to determine if a student has analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills that are needed to enter a post-graduate degree program. While many schools prefer to use the GRE resource, there are a few that do not. Instead, these schools prefer to have stricter standards within their undergraduate degree programs that are designed to ensure preparedness by the time the student reaches graduation.
Colleges and universities will sometimes waive GRE for work experience if the student already has an extensive resume. Online MPH programs that require no GRE will often go over the students’ transcripts and work history extensively prior to making a decision. Their final decision will be based on the student’s overall GPA and the number of years they have worked within their chosen career field. Allowing this type of information to be used to admit them to an online program can actually make their learning experience more affordable and much easier to complete in a timely fashion.
How Much Can I Make with an Affordable MPH?
Depending on the type of work you want to do, your pay will vary. A person with a MPH degree can expect to earn around $40,000 on the low side (public health generalist) and as much as $120,000 for a public health salary in the nursing field. An epidemiologist can expect to start out at approximately $63,000. Environmental health specialists can earn as much as $120,000 a year, while someone who works in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness can upwards of $134,000 on the high end of the scale. If you are just starting out in either area, you can approximate your beginning salary to be around $30,000 to $50,000.
It’s essential to remember that your geographic location, level of education, and the number of years of work experience will play a role in what you are initially offered in terms of starting pay. As you gain experience and your hands-on knowledge increases, your potential for growth will increase dramatically. Public health salary options will increase along with the field as it grows. With more and more people entering the public health workforce, higher salaries will be offered to those with the most actual experience and education.