Online Community Health Degree Programs

Community health is a very important field that focuses on preventing diseases and promoting health and wellness of the public. Online community health degree programs prepare students to work with individuals, families, and groups in promoting health in a variety of settings. Students will develop the essential skills in planning, teaching, assessing, and counseling to promote community health. The programs help students develop the expertise to recognize and address the variety of community health needs and to use the available resources to create, implement, and maintain effective health programs to resolve current issues. Read more about online community health degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there 974 bachelor degrees, 219 master degrees, and 4 doctorate degrees conferred in community health services/liaison/counseling and 360 bachelor degrees, 185 master degrees, and 34 doctorate degrees in community health and preventative medicine (1). In 2006, health educators held 62,000 jobs with 53% working in the health care and social assistance industries (2).

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook for community health jobs varies depending on degree and position. Employment of health educators is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 26% and adding 16,000 new jobs (2). Community health advocates with 1 to 4 years experience earned average annual salaries between $28,050 and $34,493 (3).

Specialties

Community health is a large field that focuses on a wide variety of areas. Students can choose a specialty to lead a meaningful career. Community health specialties include occupational health, disease and illness prevention, environmental health, health administration, epidemiology, health education, breast health, prenatal care, immunizations, family counseling, birth control options, behavioral health, health inspection, mental health, health policy, biostatistics, and disaster management. There are a variety of specialties and students interested in a specific specialty should choose a school that offers a strong program in that particular area.

What to Expect

Community health programs address the relationship between communities and health. Undergraduate degree programs require general education courses in English, composition, mathematics, science, history, art, and electives. The core coursework varies by program, but many community health programs require courses in biology, chemistry, psychology, statistics, community health practices, community health policies, healthcare systems of the United States, health administration, epidemiology, public policy, and communicable diseases. Many programs also include lab coursework and field research to enable students to gain practical experience. Graduate degree programs focus more on specialties and prepare students for more advanced positions.

The End Result

Community health degrees open the door to a wide variety of career opportunities in many different fields. Community health professionals often work in healthcare facilities, community health centers, business settings, government agencies, and educational settings. Graduate degree graduates will be able to transition into upper-level positions. Careers for community health graduates include:

Community Health Educator
Community Health Advocate
Community Health Center Administrator
Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Athletic Trainer
Community Outreach Coordinator
Environmental Health Specialist
Health Promotion Specialist
Mental Health Counselor
Physical Therapist
Recreational Therapist
School Health Educator
Wellness Coordinator

A career in community health will be rewarding for individuals who are interested in promoting the overall health of communities. Community health professionals use their knowledge and expertise to create public health policies and plan, execute, and maintain prevention programs. They evaluate and regulate the needs of a community in a specific area and focus on the availability of healthcare. Community health professionals make a difference in the health of people and communities.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition
(3) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey Report

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