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Seeking higher positions in public health can be beneficial for people with leadership characteristics. Those in public health who seek to make the most of their degree should consider enrolling in doctoral programs in public health.

A doctor of public health (PhD), or DrPH, is a terminal degree program for a public health professional who has usually already earned his or her master’s degree and wants to pursue a career in public health leadership.

Most people who graduate with a PhD in public health end up working on the front lines of public health practice.

You will learn to integrate and apply a wide range of analytical skills in leadership, policy analysis, practice, professional communication, and program management. You will have the skills and experience to lead all types of public health organizations, from government public health agencies to entire medical systems

Public health is a multidisciplinary field that includes disciplines such as environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology and health management. Professionals interested in a doctorate in public health can obtain a Ph.D, MD/Ph.D, Sc.D or a doctor of public health (DrPH).

A PhD in Public Health program is more practice-based and prepares graduates for leadership roles in public health organizations. The other doctoral options are more academic in nature and prepare individuals for academic teaching or research positions.

While a PhD program in public health prepares graduates to operate at the top of their field, students interested in a more professionally focused public health degree should first consider a Master of Public Health.

Graduates with a PhD in public health generally enter one of two fields: Academic or Research. There is a wide variety within those two fields.

Below, we describe five professions that students pursue after becoming a public health physician:

  • Medical and Health Services Managers: Medical and Health Services Managers are in charge of an entire facility, which could include a clinic, a hospital, or a nursing home. Although a doctorate is not required for this position, students with a doctorate will have an advantage in the hiring process.
  • Professors: Professors conduct research and teach at universities and colleges throughout the country. Most professors need a PhD to qualify for their position, making the profession a strong option for students with a PhD in public health.
  • Epidemiologists: Epidemiologists study the causes and prevention of human disease. They often work in a laboratory or conduct research in the field. Although a doctorate is not required to become an epidemiologist, having a public health physician is an advantage for career advancement.
  • Medical researchers: Medical researchers spend their time in a laboratory conducting clinical trials and experiments. Research is a common career path for students with a PhD in public, and having an advanced degree is valued in this field.
  • Environmental scientists: In the context of public health, environmental scientists work to protect human populations from environmental hazards. Although a PhD is not required, it is a blessing for any professional entering the field of environmental science in terms of starting salary and advancement opportunities.

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