South Carolina faces a number of public health challenges. For example, the United Health Foundation reports that 21.5% of the adult population smokes tobacco, significantly higher than the national rate of 15%. As such, there is a strong and growing need for public health professionals in the state. Projections Central (affiliated with the Bureau of Labor Statistics) anticipates that the demand for health educators in South Carolina will increase by 13.3% over the next seven years.

Projections Central (affiliated with the Bureau of Labor Statistics) anticipates that the demand for health educators in South Carolina will increase by 13.3% over the next seven years.

Fortunately, the state’s leading institutions of higher education are working to meet the need for a new generation of public health leaders. Many universities in South Carolina offer high-quality and highly flexible online master of public health programs. Given the urgent nature of public health issues in the state, the mobilization of educational resources to address those issues, and the promise of job security for those working in the field, there has never been a better time to consider embarking upon a career in public health in South Carolina.

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control is responsible for promoting overall public health in the state. The Department’s most recent strategic plan outlined five areas of focus: education and engagement, the use of science and data, collaboration across the public and private sectors, community service, and operational excellence. The state has launched new public health initiatives, including: a food waste prevention campaign; efforts to better prepare citizens for hurricanes and other extreme weather; and mosquito avoidance education to help combat the rise of diseases like the West Nile virus. Due to perennial threats to public health like tobacco abuse, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, and improper waste disposal, the need for well-trained public health professionals is abundantly clear. Graduates of online master of public health programs in South Carolina face both diverse challenges and rich opportunities in the state.
The distinction between a fellowship and internship is somewhat fluid. Generally speaking, internships are more professionally focused, whereas fellowships are generally more prestigious and often combine professional and academic skill development. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Fellowships usually are paid, and may provide scholarships or cover tuition costs. Both, however, are invaluable components of the educational experience. Here are five internships and fellowships currently available to students in public health programs in South Carolina:
Community Impact Initiatives Intern

This internship is offered by the American Heart Association and is based in Cayce, South Carolina. The internship provides students the opportunity to assist with community outreach efforts as part of an antihypertensive initiative.
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Evaluation and Outcomes Monitoring Assistant

This position with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina in Columbia is specifically for graduate-level students who can help track the impact of health-related philanthropic investments in the state.
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SCARNG Warrior Fitness Program / Performance Coach Intern

The South Carolina National Guard Health & Wellness Program offers this internship in its Columbia office. Student shadow a National Guard physical performance specialist.
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Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission Intern

This internship, based in Lexington, provides the opportunity to work directly with elderly individuals by supporting wellness, exercise, and nutrition programming.
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Health Education Intern

The South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association, operating out of Columbia, has an internship opening with the ThinkFirst project, a spinal cord and brain injury prevention program geared toward K-12 students.
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As a graduate of an online master of public health program in South Carolina, you will have diverse professional opportunities. It is difficult to say what kind of salary you can expect after earning your degree, given that this will be dictated by a variety of factors, including your level of previous professional experience, the type of job you choose, and where in South Carolina you opt to work. The table below is intended to provide a rough estimate of the hourly and annual wages of public health professionals in the state.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
South Carolina 860 $25.04 $52,080
United States 63,260 $32.60 $67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in South Carolina

After graduating from a public health program in South Carolina, it is often easiest to find work at a large organization, simply because this is where you’ll find most of the job openings. You can always transition into a more specialized role later in your career. The table below provides three ideal workplaces for recent graduates.

Employers Number of Employees
Greenville Health System 15,000
MUSC Health Medical Center 7,000
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control 3,500

Public Health Research Centers in South Carolina

Some graduates of online master of public health programs in South Carolina may be interested in immediately starting research. Others might want to broaden their understanding of clinical research before transitioning to clinical practice or public health policy. Three centers listed below are invaluable resources, both for the latest research and for public health jobs in South Carolina.

Public Health Professional Organizations in South Carolina

Professional organizations are invaluable when it comes to networking and job hunting. They also help public health professionals and their colleagues to communicate about best practices, collaborate on issues of shared concern, and share continuing education and professional development resources. Here are three organizations you should know about if you plan to become a public health professional in South Carolina:

  • South Carolina Public Health Association: SCPHA is a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for healthier communities, works to provide educational and professional development resources for its members, and acts as a convener in the public health sphere.
  • South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium: SCAHEC works to recruit, retain, and educate public health and healthcare professionals, with a particular focus on supporting rural and underserved communities.
  • Society for Public Health Education: While not based in South Carolina, SOPHE is one of the leading professional organizations for public health educators in the country. The organization provides job listings and professional development resources. SOPHE also works to combat racial and ethnic health disparities and raise awareness about public health issues.
Earning your master’s in public health in South Carolina can qualify you for a variety of jobs. Some positions may require additional licensing. You can find a full listing of professions that require licensure on the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation website.
Although not required, certifications can be advantageous for public health professionals. One such certification is Certified Health Education specialist (CHES). This designation can be earned by completing the CHES exam administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Public health professionals can also earn certification from the National Board of Public Health Examiners. This credential requires that applicants hold an accredited degree in public health and pass a NBPHE exam.
Accreditation ensures that schools are adequately educating their students. Students should be extremely wary of enrolling in a program at an unaccredited school. There are two types of accreditation. Regional accreditation, the more common and generally more prestigious of the two, is done by one of seven regional accreditation bodies. National accreditation is done by one of a number of independent agencies authorized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Students interesting pursuing an online master’s in public health in South Carolina should look for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Students interesting pursuing an online master’s in public health in South Carolina should look for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (the regional accrediting body that operates in South Carolina) or a national accreditor that has been federally authorized. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the leading agency for accrediting programs of public health. You can view a full list of programs accredited by CEPH here.

Malcolm U. Dantzler Scholarship

The Malcolm U. Dantzler Scholarship, offered by the South Carolina Public Health Association, is awarded to aspiring public health professionals who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and community service.
Amount Offered: $500
Scholarship Deadline: March 21
Eligibility Requirements: Member of the SCPHA; Enrolled in a health-related degree program; Minimum GPA of 3.5; Extensive community service activities
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Public Health Scholarship

The Public Health Scholarship, offered by the South Carolina Public Health Association, supports students in an accredited public health degree program who demonstrate academic excellence.
Amount Offered: $500
Scholarship Deadline: March 21
Eligibility Requirements: Member of the SCPHA; Enrolled in an accredited public health degree program; Minimum GPA of 3.5; Extensive community service activities
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Anne Pappas Endowed Scholarship

The Anne Pappas Endowed Scholarship is available to South Carolina residents enrolled in the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Health Professions.
Amount Offered: $2,000
Scholarship Deadline: September 30
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in the MUSC’s College of Health Professions; South Carolina resident; Strong academic record
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College of Health Professions Alumni Association Scholarship

This scholarship is available to students enrolled in MUSC’s College of Health Professions who have demonstrated leadership service at a community organization in the Charleston area.
Amount Offered: $1,500
Scholarship Deadline: September 30
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in the MUSC’s College of Health Professions; Strong record of community service and leadership
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Graduate Incentive Scholarship

This scholarship supports underrepresented minorities with financial need as they seek to finish their studies at MUSC’s College of Health Professions. Recipients must commit to working in South Carolina for one year after graduation.
Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: September 30
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in the MUSC’s College of Health Professions; Underrepresented minority with demonstrated financial need; GPA of 3.0 or better; Must commit to working in South Carolina for at least one year after graduation
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Student Government Association Scholarship

This scholarship is intended to increase the diversity of student life at the MUSC College of Health Professions. It is awarded based on academic merit and community service.
Amount Offered: 1,000
Scholarship Deadline: September 30
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in the MUSC’s College of Health Professions; Minimum 3.25 GPA; Extensive community service
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CCCR's Minority Fellowship

This award is made to an underrepresented minority graduate student whose work is related to cancer research. Applicants must be sponsored by a University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health faculty member.
Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: September 1
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in USC’s Arnold School of Public Health; Underrepresented minority; Faculty sponsor; Work broadly related to cancer research
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C.C. Royal Graduate Fellowship

One of the Graduate School at the University of South Carolina’s trustee fellowships, this award is open to all graduate students. Each graduate program is able to nominate up to two students for consideration.
Amount Offered: $2,500
Scholarship Deadline: TBA
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in graduate study at USC; Excellence in research and scholarship; Graduate program nomination
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George M. Reeves Graduate Fellowship

This award is open to all USC graduate students who demonstrate academic excellence.
Amount Offered: $750
Scholarship Deadline: TBA
Eligibility Requirements: The three trustee fellowships share the following eligibility requirements: Enrolled in graduate study at USC; Excellence in research and scholarship; Graduate program nomination
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Dera D. Parkinson Graduate Fellowship

This award is open to all graduate students at USC. Each graduate program is able to nominate up to two students for consideration.
Amount Offered: $750
Scholarship Deadline: TBA
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in graduate study at USC; Excellence in research and scholarship; Graduate program nomination
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