Public Health Policy and Management

When most people think of a career in public health, health policy and management positions are likely to come to mind first. Individuals with degrees in health policy and management will be health care policy analysts, hospital administrators, health care researchers, lobbyist, or a variety of other options. A degree in health policy and management will allow an individual to work in many fields that will influence the lives of many.

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Why Work in Health Policy and Management?

A career in health policy and management is ideal for those who wish to influence individuals lives through developing health programs and policies and analyzing them to ensure they are beneficial and can be accessed by those who need them. Much of this work also involves making sure the individuals served both want and agree to the policies or programs, so working with communities is important.

An education in Health Policy may also lead an individual to a career as a health administrator. This requires someone who is organized, efficient, and who can ensure the the smooth running of a hospital, clinic or organization.

Public Health Policy and Management

When most people think of a career in public health, positions in health policy and management are likely to be the first ones that come to mind. Individuals with degrees in health policy and management might become health care policy analysts, hospital administrators, health care researchers, lobbyists, or a variety of other options. A degree in health policy and management can allow an individual to work in many fields that will influence the lives of many.

Public Health Policy and Management Degrees

A degree in Health Policy, Management, or Administration encompasses almost all topics related to public health. The American healthcare system, health care policies, socio-cultural studies, social justice, and the history of health care and public health are just some of the topics that are studied during a degree program. Additionally classes in environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, leadership and business management are also taken as they relate positions in the field.

Bachelors in Public Health Policy and Management

A bachelor's degree in Health Policy, Management, or Administration will help prepare an individual for the health care economy. Degree programs include courses covering business (management theories, financial management system, business planning, legal issues related to health care) leadership and management (teamwork, organizational behavior, communication skills) and healthcare (epidemiology, health care environments, health policy). These courses assist students in preparing for a wide variety of careers and fields.. Its recommended that students choose electives to focus their efforts on a specific area of health care. Areas might include  health care management, marketing, policy, or many other career fields..

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Masters in Public Health Policy and Management

A masters in health policy, management, or administration will help to concentrate a student’s interest into a specific area of study.. Many Individuals gaining a Master of Science or MPH in health policy and management have an interest in influencing change in public health at a high level. A masters degree will help develop skills in writing, research, advocacy and analysis. These skills are important because careers at this level will help influence policies and regulations that improve the health of others on a large scale.

Courses for the MSPH or MPH will include statistics, academic research, ethics and biostatistics along with courses on the US healthcare system, policy communication, health economics and other policy related classes. The bachelor's degree would have taught theory, so the MSPH or MPH will put the theory into practice and understanding through presentations, papers and applied research.

Also at the master's level, individuals may have the option to further specialize their concentration and focus on public health policy and administration as it relates to social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, healthcare management, and more.

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Doctorate in Public Health Policy and Management

There are two degrees at the doctoral level available to public health students. The Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH). The Ph.D. degree involves a heavy emphasis on  research and is based in academics.. The courses often focus on developing research, organizational financing and planning, and other special topics. Individuals are typically required to develop a thesis with dissertation and/or complete an oral exam. Entrance into a Ph.D. program will often be more rigorous with written or oral exams and interviews. Individuals with a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management might pursue careers in academia, researching public health policy, or work as a high level public health official.

The DrPH, on the other hand, is often curated for the long-standing public health professional. This degree is best suited for the professional who is looking to advance their career after working in their field. Students will utilize previous experience to take an applied approach to studies of population health promotion, disease prevention, social analysis, and health system management. Courses in more advanced leadership and management skills may also be required for a DrPH in Health Policy and Management.

As this degree is often aimed at working professionals, admissions usually only require interviews, limited examinations, and/or a certain number of years experience. A thesis, dissertation, capstone or exam may be required for graduation.

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Public Health Policy Careers and Industries

Careers in health care administration, management or policy can be found in a variety of fields. Individuals with these degrees might be able to pursue jobs  in large and small hospitals, non-profit organizations, health management organizations, consulting firms, government, education, among various others. 

The aforementioned positions within healthcare have several commonalities, including: advocacy for others, management of subordinates, education of communities on health, and status as thought-leaders in the field.

  • serve large populations
  • manage groups of workers
  • are utilized as experts in their field
  • educate the public or communities
  • and advocate for others

Health Policy Management Career Highlight

Medical and Health Services Managers plan, direct, and coordinate medical health services in hospitals, managed care organizations, clinics or public health agencies. This work might include overseeing financial operations, communications, program development, and other tasks. A complete grasp on management, finance, program development, and various healthcare systems is needed for success in this position.. Because of the level of knowledge needed, most jobs require a master's level degree with extensive background experience or demonstrated expertise.. This career (also known as a clinical director, social service manager, or program director) is on the rise with 150,000 projected job openings from 2012-2022.

For those with a bachelor's degree, a career as a market research analyst may be a good option. In this job an individual will collect and analyze data and present it to their client or employer. This can be data on client demographics, utilization, or competitors. Critical thinking, communication (written and oral), and research and data comprehension are among the most utilized skills in this position. A bachelor's degree in health policy and management with classes taken in research and statistics is the first step to prepare a student for a career in the field.. These individuals are also projected to be in demand and make, on average, a median annual salary of $61,000.

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Public Health Policy Associations to Know

Individuals seeking a career in Health Policy and Administration should consider joining an organization that will provide continuing education, networking opportunities and other valuable resources such as job or career pages. Three options are:

Why Work in Health Policy and Management?

A career in health policy and management is ideal for those who wish to influence individuals lives through the development and analysis of comprehensive health programs and policies. Much of this work also involves making sure the individuals served both want and understand the policies or programs, so working with communities is important. 

Pursuing education in the field of health policy may also help lead an individual to a career as a health administrator. Careers in health administration require someone who is organized, efficient, and who can ensure the the smooth management of a hospital, clinic or organization.

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