Public Health Schools and MPH Programs in West Virginia

If you live in West Virginia and want to pursue a career in public health, there are currently several Master of Public Health (MPH) programs available at universities in the state. The education offered in these programs can set you on the path for a career involved in the research, development and implementation of public health agendas, programs and policies at various agencies throughout the state.

Public Health Schools and Highlights in West Virginia

The state of West Virginia currently has three universities offering Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)-accredited MPH programs. Those schools and programs are listed below.

American Public University’s School of Health Sciences

111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 

The American Public University System (APUS), which comprises American Military University and American Public University, offers the only online MPH degree program in West Virginia. The mission of APUS, founded in 1991, is “to provide high quality higher education with emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities by offering respected, relevant, accessible, affordable, and student-focused online programs that prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse, global society.”

APU does not offer specialization options for the MPH degree, but they do provide a tuition discount for students who are active-duty members of the U.S. military. The 8-week program offers monthly course start dates. Students earn 47 credits upon program completion. 


Marshall University’s College of Health Professions

One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 

Marshall University, founded in 1837, is one of West Virginia’s oldest public universities. It has four campuses throughout the state. Marshall offers a 44-credit on-campus MPH degree program. Students may pursue a concentration in either Global and Community Health or Research, Evaluation and Policy. An accelerated MPH program is also available for students currently in a BS program in their Health Sciences Department. Alternatively, students with a special interest in pharmacology may pursue the PharmD/MPH combination program.


West Virginia University’s School of Public Health

64 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, WV

The West Virginia University School of Public Health bills itself as the first and only school of public health in the state. It’s known for its wide range of research by faculty and students on topics affecting population health, including diabetes self-management, occupational injuries, racial disparities, self-injury mortality and more. WVU’s on-campus MPH program offers five majors to choose from: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Policy, Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Every MPH student at WVU completes at least 180 applied practice experience hours and 44–47 credits, depending on their major, over the course of the two-year program.


Online MPH Programs in West Virginia

As an alternative to an on-campus MPH program that offers in-person classes, some students may choose to pursue their MPH degree online since these programs can provide more flexibility and work-life balance. 

It’s important to note that many MPH programs—online and in person—require the completion of in-person public health practicum hours. 

The only online MPH program available in West Virginia is from the American Public University. Their online MPH program is CEPH-accredited and offers monthly start dates. If you are looking for more options, check the list of online MPH programs in the United States.

Public Health Careers Outlook in West Virginia

West Virginia has one of the highest populations of people age 65 or older in the United States. With an aging population facing many health-related challenges, the focus on public health as a primary means for protecting citizens is vital. These challenges may present an opportunity for public health experts with a passion for helping people live healthier lives. 

For public health career opportunities in West Virginia, view the table below for salaries and projected job growth data provided by O*NET OnLine.

Job TitleAvg. Salary in WV (Yearly)Avg. Salary in U.S. (Yearly)Projected Job Growth in WV, 2018–2028Projected Job Growth in U.S., 2019–2029
Health Specialities Professors
Environmental Health Specialists
Medical and Health Services Managers/Healthcare Administrators
Health Educators
Occupational Health Specialist
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Health Informatics Specialists 

*Data not released by O*NET OnLine.

Specializations to Consider in West Virginia

While nearly all of the public health jobs listed above are growing in West Virginia, there is a particularly bright outlook for biostatisticians. The projected job growth for biostatisticians between 2018 and 2028 is 36% percent in West Virginia and 35% in the United States, much faster than average for all other occupations. Specializing in biostatistics may equip you to apply data analysis techniques to identify the causes of public health issues and develop solutions to them.

There is also an opportunity for medical and health services managers in West Virginia. Job growth for this position in the state is projected to be 15% from 2018 to 2028. These professionals plan, direct or coordinate medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations and public health agencies.

Organizations to Work for with a Public Health Degree

Career opportunities for public health graduates vary. Check out the following organizations for information on public health careers and opportunities in West Virginia:

  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources: Provides a wide range of services to West Virginia residents and comprises several bureaus that work with public health professionals.
  • West Virginia Department of Education: Works with public health professionals on initiatives like ReClaimWV, which is a collaborative response to the opioid epidemic that focuses on the physical, social-emotional, behavioral and mental health needs of students.
  • West Virginia Center for Local Health: West Virginia has a state public health system to work in conjunction with local boards of health to provide basic public health services to encourage healthy people in healthy communities.
  • West Virginia Bureau for Public Health: Works with people, families and partners to help assure and advance safety and health for the state. The Bureau for Public Health embraces the values of community, science and evidence-based decision making, health equity, prevention and wellness, as well as the protection and improvement of the health of the community.
  • USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Office: Committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in all of rural America, the Rural Development State Office provides information about rural development programs and applications for financial assistance.
  • West Virginia Public Health Association: Promotes health and the prevention of illness for all residents of West Virginia.
  • WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health: Coordinates rural health education and service opportunities for West Virginia University Health Sciences schools and programs, with a focus on improving the health status of rural populations within the state. 
  • West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services: Focuses on the needs of older citizens of the state with programs that promote health, dignity and independence. Some senior programs and services that are offered throughout the state of West Virginia include transportation, meals, exercise classes and in-home services.

State Health Information

If you are getting ready to enroll in a graduate level program in public health, you may want to consider some of the reasons why public health plays a significant role in this state.

West Virginia faces several widespread public health challenges. For example, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s health status report on West Virginia, of the state’s 1.7 million citizens:

  • 16% currently live under the federal poverty line
  • 6.6% do not have health insurance
  • 24% smoke
  • 40% are obese
  • 16% have been diagnosed with diabetes
  • 12% have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease

According to West Virginia’s tourism website, it is the only state located entirely in the Appalachian Mountain range, earning it the nickname “the Mountain State.” Nearly 80% of the state is covered in forests, and it’s known to attract those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or camping. Much of the state is within driving distance of several cities, including Washington, D.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, and New York City. 

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

Last updated February 2021