Public Health Schools and MPH Programs in California

With 20 universities offering a total of 128 CEPH-accredited public health degree programs in California, students can choose from a diverse range of concentrations and degree levels. Many California universities also offer dual degree programs, allowing students to earn diplomas in two fields of study at the same time. 

Both online and on-campus programs are available from accredited institutions, with eight universities offering online MPH programs in California.

California is an excellent choice for epidemiologists, health educators and other public health professionals seeking advanced degrees and growing employment opportunities. Read on to learn more about MPH programs in CA and career information.

The list above includes CEPH-accredited MPH programs in California with a variety of concentrations and educational formats. Though it does not reflect joint or coordinated degree options, several of the universities shown may offer dual degrees with their MPH programs, such as MPH-MBA, MPH-PharmD, or MPH-RD. If you are interested in earning a second degree in parallel with your Master of Public Health, we have compiled a helpful guide to assist you in finding a dual degree program that fits your areas of focus. There is also a list of online MPH programs with no GRE requirement for you to browse.

Overview of Public Health Degrees in California

California is home to more than 39 million people. With continuous growth projected over the next decade, the need for health professionals is expected to increase as well.

The rate of uninsured people throughout the state of California is 7.2% (PDF, 1.1 MB), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With the state’s poverty percentage at 12.8%, public health concerns are a high priority, especially since individuals living in impoverished communities are at a higher risk for adverse health outcomes. If you are seeking a career path that allows you to play a role in improving the health and overall quality of life for individuals, communities, and even global populations, a degree in public health is a great place to start. 

California offers students more than 100 degree options with various specializations in the public health field. Nearly two dozen institutions throughout the state offer MPH programs, so you can earn your Master of Public Health from a conveniently located university or enroll in one of many accredited online MPH programs available from California schools.

Public Health School Highlights in California

As seen in the chart above, the University of Southern California has the most CEPH-accredited online MPH programs in the state. Considering many graduate degree-seeking individuals have full-time jobs, these solutions are outstanding for employees. USC Public Health and Administration programs are also ideal for recent undergraduate students with a public health or related degree.

Additionally, the California State University System has a number of public health programs available at their Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge and San Bernardino campuses. The University of California, Berkeley’s public health program, particularly its MPH program, is highly regarded.

BPH and DPH in California

If you are just beginning your academic journey in public health, you may need to find a bachelor’s degree program to fit your needs. There are nine BPH programs with CEPH accreditation in California, allowing students to choose from a variety of concentrations, including Urban Health Disparities and Community Health Education.

There are doctorate programs in public health in California, too. Loma Linda University, Claremont Graduate University, and University of California, Berkeley, all offer CEPH-accredited DPH programs in California.

Online MPH Programs in California

If the added convenience of online education is what you seek, from looking at the chart above, California has 12 great options for you to choose from. MPH programs focusing on Community Health Education, Geohealth, Population Medicine, Community and Public Health Practice, Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Global Health are available through online degree programs. 

Online degree programs are taught by the same professionals as traditional classes, and can match them in quality. Online MPH programs provided by the University of Southern California, San Jose State University, University of San Francisco, California State University and Loma Linda University are accredited by the CEPH, making them an excellent choice for your higher education.

Public Health Careers Outlook in California

Already the most populous U.S. state, California has a growing number of job opportunities for individuals entering the public health field. Considering the overall diverse and growing population, it is one of the top states to work as a public health official. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California has the highest employment level for many public health occupations, including medical and health services managersdietitians and nutritionists, and health education specialists. It ranks second in employment levels for health and safety engineers, epidemiologistscommunity health workers and others. 

Specializations to Consider in California

Public health extends beyond the traditional scope of health care. Professionals in this vertical focus on a wide range of public health issues such as disease prevention, nutrition, education, public policy, food security, health care access and outcomes, and more. With so many possible areas of specialization, you can pursue several ventures in your career and have an impact on many diverse areas in society.

A few of the public health careers expected to grow rapidly in California include:

Health educators and community health workers: The job outlook is projected to increase 11% from 2018 to 2028, significantly outpacing the average growth rate of 5%. The average salary for health education specialists in California is $64,790, while community health workers in the state earn $49,480, the BLS reports.

Dietitians and nutritionists: The job outlook is projected to grow by an above-average rate of 11% from 2018 to 2028, with an average annual salary of $77,040 in California.

Epidemiologists: The job outlook is projected to grow by 5% by 2028, which is consistent with the average growth rate across all occupations. The average annual salary for epidemiologists in California is $91,800, according to BLS data.

Organizations to Work with a Public Health Degree

Having a public health degree in California opens the door to a variety of career paths that allow you to combine a passion for health care and science with the desire to improve society, business, law, pharmaceuticals, technology, the environment and more. 

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is a popular employer among MPH degree-holders. The CDPH website provides an easy way to view public health career opportunities by occupational area. 

Hospitals and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are also major employers in the public health field. Alameda Health SystemKaiser Permanente and Dignity Health are just a few of the health care organizations hiring people with a degree in public health.

Other websites where you can explore job opportunities for public health professionals include: 

Local State Public Health Resources

California’s public health programs aim to advance the well-being of the Golden State’s diverse population. Some useful tools and data for research and study include the California Health and Human Services Open Data Portal, which aims to increase public access to non-confidential health and human services data. The state fully expects public health professionals to continue to better the health of the entire state. Learn more about these programs by viewing the following list of public health resources in California:

  • California Department of Public Health: Fundamental responsibilities of the CDPH include infectious disease control and prevention, food safety, environmental health, laboratory services, patient safety, emergency preparedness, chronic disease prevention and health promotion, family health, health equity, and vital records and statistics.
  • Public Health Advocates: Formerly known as the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, this organization works with communities to challenge the social, political and economic conditions that perpetuate health inequities in California. 
  • California Department of Health Care Services: DHCS offers programs and services that help low-income and disabled Californians get access to affordable, integrated, high-quality health care.

Information updated as of May 2020