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Educational: Though public health professionals come from varying academic backgrounds, a Master's in Public Health is the most appropriate educational credential for this field. An MPH degree usually covers courses in various public health specialties such as community health, environmental and occupational health, biostatistics ( the theory and application of statistical science to analyze public health problems), epidemiology (study of patterns of health and illness and associated factors at the population level), health care administration etc. Other than an MPH degree, those interested in public health career can also explore degree programs in health care administration or community health. However, these degrees will be focused on a specific field rather than provide a foundation in all disciplines of public health.
There are many different degree programs for those interested in studying public health. Some of the programs include:
MPH - Master of Public Health
MHA - Master of Health Administration
MHSA - Master of Health Services Administration
MSPH - Master of Science in Public Health
PGDPHM - Post Graduate Diploma in Public health Management
PhD - Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health
There are also dual degree programs for those who are pursuing their degrees or have already completed their degree in disciplines like social work, law, public policy, dentistry, business, medicine, nursing, and veterinary medicine. In most public health schools, candidate with an advanced degree is eligible for an MPH program. A public health degree will help those in other fields understand the principles of public health and apply these principles to their practices.
Another distinction between degrees, is the professional degree versus the academic degrees. Professional degrees generally have a greater orientation towards practice in public health settings. MPH, MHA, DrPH are examples of degrees which are geared towards those who want careers as practitioners of public health in traditional health departments, managed care organizations, community-based organizations, hospitals, consulting firms, international agencies, state and federal agencies, among others.
Academic degrees are more oriented toward students wishing to seek a career in academics and research rather than public health practice. Examples of academic degrees are the MS , PhD, and ScD (stands for doctor of science).
However, each school of public health can tailor their degree programs significantly. Students interested in getting a degree in public health should check with individual schools for more information on specific degree programs.
Personal attributes: Should have service mentality, stamina, patience, power of concentration, emotional stability, logical and analytical mind, problem solving ability, communication skills, leadership quality, ability to take timely decisions, self -motivation etc. They should have the instinct to help and serve without getting sentimentally attached. Apart from all these one must have a pleasant smiling face whatever be the situation.
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