Degree Information

Introduction

The Certified Public Health (CPH) credential is a graduate level certificate. While this certification is not required to work as a licensed public health professional in the U.S., many organizations consider the CPH as a gold standard in the field. Alumni and current students of public health programs at the post-bachelor’s level are eligible to sit for this certifying exam through the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE).

Passing the CPH exam demonstrates knowledge in five core areas: biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and social and behavioral sciences. Questions are also designed to test competencies required to apply this core knowledge in the field. These include leadership, systems thinking, programs planning and communication and informatics.

Educational requirements to qualify for this exam are rigorous. For now, only three types of candidates are eligible for certification:

  • Alumni of master’s or doctoral public health programs accredited by the CEPH (current students can sit for the exam to earn a provisional CPH until graduation)
  • Professionals with a minimum of five years of experience in public health
  • Candidates who hold a relevant graduate degree (relevancy determined by NBPHE)

After earning initial certification through the exam, CPH professionals must earn 50 CE credits every two years to maintain their credential.

Accreditation

While some fields rely on multiple accreditation agencies to evaluate programs, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the primary national agency that issues accreditation to public health programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. CEPH evaluates the standards, outcomes, and quality of applicant schools and programs, based on objectives defined by its parent organization, the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA).

The CEPH Accreditation Process

Schools or programs must first apply for accreditation, conduct an internal review of their own performance and then subject themselves to a CEPH peer review and on-site inspection. Next, CEPH collects public opinions regarding the school or program, publishes a report on the total findings, hosts an evaluation review meeting, and then issues an accreditation decision.

Once a program or college becomes accredited, they are subject to ongoing reviews to ensure they meet CEPH standards, outcomes and objectives.

Schools vs. Programs

Due to academic and administrative differences, public health schools and public health programs are measured by different CEPH criteria:

  • Schools of public health offer diverse undergraduate and graduate programs spanning the field of health and medical disciplines. For instance, a school of medicine might offer graduate degrees in public health, clinical research, biomedical science, and healthcare administration.
  • Public health programs on the other hand, are narrower in scope. Students may still choose specialties like public policy or statistical research within these programs, but the degree conferred is standardized.

As of June 2013, CEPH instituted a process for granting accreditation to standalone bachelor degree programs, or degree programs that are not affiliated with a larger School of Public Health or graduate program in public health. Undergraduate students should note that public health minors, associate degree programs, and professional certificates are not accredited by this agency.

Application Process

Those who qualify for the CPH exam may apply and register online. There are two application formats, one for graduate students from CEPH-accredited programs and one for public health professionals who hold relevant graduate degrees. In order to request an invitation to sit for the exam, applicants must:

  1. Create a user account at the CPH Registration Center
  2. Fill out the CPH Application, detailing all relevant coursework and professional experience
  3. Submit the application with an online test registration fee of $385 (check reduced fee eligibility)

Once application materials are submitted, the NBPHE will confirm academic and employment records and declare eligibility. From there, candidates can schedule the date, time, and location of their exam.

NOTE: Fees are non-refundable. Confirm eligibility for this exam before applying.

Concentrations

Public health education programs are growing quickly in popularity. Overall, annual graduates from U.S. schools of public health rose 69 percent between 2000 and 2011. As the field expands, degree concentrations available to students at all levels are growing. Here are the most common and high-demand focuses in public health today:

  • Finance: These degrees prepare students for managing the large-scale budgetary needs for public health delivery systems. Potential subjects include healthcare finance, health economics, and nonprofit accounting.
  • Marketing: Social media communications, grassroots organization, and media relations tie public health efforts together, creating strong bonds between stakeholders, administrators, and the public.
  • Organizational Management: Prospective healthcare leaders delve into managerial decision-making strategies, governance, performance analytics, and stakeholder awareness in organizational management concentrations.
  • HR Management: Students starting out in public health thrive when they are able to recruit effective and qualified talent. MPH students who pursue this specialization delve into employee selection, conflict management, labor laws, and staff retention.
  • Gender and Sexuality: This specialization focuses on the concerns of the LGBT community, often an underserved population across public health initiatives.
  • Research Methods: This specialization takes a research-intensive approach to crafting future public health policies and programs. Prospective courses prepare students to conduct targeted community surveys, statistical analyses, and ethnographic research.
  • Family Health: Students in a family health specialization examine how family units influence health, development, and nutrition in individuals. Possible topics covered include divorce, domestic abuse, and childhood development.
  • Health Education: Students who pursue this specialization plan, implement, and evaluate educational outreach programs for target demographics. Class topics include social media communications, community organization, and community nutrition.
  • Biostatistics: The public health sector has a strong need for biostatistics researchers who can identify community health needs based on collected data. Statistics must also be monitored in order to assess the continued effectiveness of a given program. Possible subjects include clinical trials, probability theory, regression analysis, and statistical theory.
  • Environmental and Occupational Health: Professionals with a background in this specialization ensure that schools, workplaces, and public facilities meet safety and environmental guidelines. Potential courses include workplace hazards, pollution assessment, chemical cleanup strategies, climate change research, and hazardous waste management.
  • Epidemiology: This specialization prioritizes disease prevention and treatment efforts across environments with a variety of economic resources, cultures, government infrastructures, and communities. Professionals in this field often become experts on vaccinations, infectious diseases, and cancer prevention.

Degree Finder

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  • 287 Degree Programs

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  1. Johns Hopkins University

    Private Certificate 36 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 615 North Wolfe St.
    • Baltimore, MD
    • (410) 955-3540

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Adolescent Health +O
    • Certificate in Bioethics and Health Policy
    • Certificate in Community-Based Public Health
    • Certificate in Gerontology
    • Certificate in Health and Human Rights
    • Certificate in Health Communication
    • Certificate in Health Disparities and Health Inequality
    • Certificate in Health Education
    • Certificate in Humanitarian Assistance
    • Certificate in Maternal and Child Health +O
    • Certificate in Public Health Preparedness
    • Certificate in Vaccine Science and Policy
    • Certificate in Demographic Methods
    • Certificate in Environmental and Occupational Health +O
    • Certificate in Epidemiology and Public Health Professions
    • Certificate in Food System, Environment, and Public Health
    • Certificate in Global Health +O
    • Certificate in Global Tobacco Control
    • Certificate in Health Finance and Management
    • Certificate in Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Prevention and Control
    • Certificate in Humane Sciences and Toxicology Policy Certificate
    • Certificate in Injury and Violence Prevention
    • Certificate in Mental Health Policy, Economics and Services
    • Certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety Certificate
    • Certificate in Population and Health
    • Certificate in Public Health Economics
    • Certificate in Public Health Informatics +O
    • Certificate in Public Health Training Certificate for American Indian Health Professionals
    • Certificate in Public Mental Health Research
    • Certificate in Quality, Patient Safety, and Outcomes Research
    • Certificate in Risk Sciences and Public Policy
    • Certificate in Tropical Medicine
    • Training Certificate in Public Health +O
    • Training Certificate in Public Health Practice
    • Training Certificate in Quantitative Methods in Public Health
    • Training Certificate in the Business of Healthcare
  2. Medical College of Wisconsin

    Private Certificate 1 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
    • Milwaukee, WI
    • (414) 955-8201

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Public Health +O
  3. Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine

    Private Certificate 3 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • One Gustave L. Levy Place
    • New York, NY
    • (212) 241-7941

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Global Health
    • Certificate in Public Health
    • Certificate in Outcomes Research
  4. National University

    Private Certificate 1 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 11255 North Torrey Pines Road
    • La Jolla, CA
    • (858) 642-8801

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Clinical Informatics -C
  5. New Mexico State University

    Public Certificate 1 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • P.O. Box 30001
    • Las Cruces, NM
    • (575) 646-4300

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Public Health -C +O
  6. New York Medical College

    Private Certificate 5 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 40 Sunshine Cottage Rd.
    • Valhalla, NY
    • (914) 594-4531

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Global Health -C +O
    • Certificate in Emergency Preparedness -C +O
    • Certificate in Health Education -C +O
    • Certificate in Public Health -C
    • Certificate in Industrial Hygiene -C +O
  7. New York University

    Private Certificate 1 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
    • New York, NY
    • (212) 992-6741

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Public Health -C +O
  8. Northern Illinois University

    Public Certificate 2 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • Wirtz Hall 227
    • DeKalb, IL
    • (815) 753-1900

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Public Health -C
    • Certificate in Health Education -C
  9. Nova Southeastern University

    Private Certificate 4 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 3200 South University Dr.
    • Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • (954) 262-1613

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Public Health -C +O
    • Certificate in Health Education -C +O
    • Certificate in Public Health Informatics -C +O
    • Certificate in Biomedical Informatics -C +O
  10. Oregon State University

    Public Certificate 3 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 123 Women’s Building
    • Corvalis, OR
    • (541) 737-3220

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology
    • Graduate Certificate in Public Health +O
    • Graduate Certificate in Health Management and Policy +O
  11. Pennsylvania State University

    Public Certificate 3 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • Department of Public Health Sciences, A210
    • Hershey, PA
    • (717) 531-1502

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Clinical Research -C
    • Certificate in Public Health -C
    • Certificate in Translational Science -C
  12. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

    Public Certificate 6 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 683 Hoes Lane West, P.O. Box 9
    • Piscataway, NJ
    • (732) 235-9700

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Clinical Epidemiology
    • Certificate in Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Certificate in General Public Health
    • Certificate in Global Public Health
    • Certificate in Public Health Preparedness
    • Certificate in Public Policy and Oral Health Services Administration
  13. Saint Louis University

    Private Certificate 2 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 3545 Lafayette Ave., Suite 300
    • St. Louis, MO
    • (314) 977-8100

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis +O
    • Certificate in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness +O
  14. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

    Public Certificate 1 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • Pulliam Hall 307 – Mail Code 4632
    • Carbondale, IL
    • (618) 453-4331

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Gerontology -C
  15. Stony Brook University SUNY

    Public Certificate 2 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • Health Sciences Center Level 3, Room 071
    • Stony Brook, NY
    • (631) 444-2074

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Health Communication -C
    • Certificate in Health Education and Promotion -C
  16. SUNY Downstate Medical Center

    Public Certificate 1 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 450 Clarkson Avenue
    • Brooklyn, NY
    • (718) 270-1056

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Advanced Certificate in Public Health
  17. Temple University

    Public Certificate 2 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
    • Philadelphia, PA
    • (215) 204-8726

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Global Health -C
    • Certificate in Construction Safety Management -C
  18. Texas A&M Health Science Center

    Public Certificate 2 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 1266 TAMU
    • College Station, TX
    • (979) 845-2387

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Health Systems Management
    • Certificate in Public Health
  19. Thomas Jefferson University

    Private Certificate 5 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 1015 Walnut St., Suite 115
    • Philadelphia, PA
    • (215) 503-0174

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Public Health -C
    • Certificate in Health Policy -C +O
    • Certificate in Health Quality and Safety -C +O
    • Certificate in Applied Health Economics and Outcomes Research -C +O
    • Certificate in Population Health -C
  20. Tufts University School of Medicine

    Private Certificate 2 Programs Available

    Address & Contact Info

    • 136 Harrison Ave.
    • Boston, MA
    • (617) 636-0935

    Degree Programs Available

    -C Non-Ceph Certified +O Available Online

    Certificate

    • Certificate in Digital Health Communication -C
    • Certificate in Advanced Study in Pain Topics -C