Public health professionals can enjoy long and rewarding careers as epidemiologists, healthcare managers, and health educators. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of health educator job openings in Arizona will grow at a rate of 23.2%, while medical and health service management careers will grow by 21% by 2024. Thanks in part to its large percentage of senior citizens, Arizona’s healthcare sector is booming. More than 85% of Arizona’s citizens have health insurance, and many of those enjoy Medicaid coverage.
BLS projects that the number of health educator job openings in Arizona will grow at a rate of 23.2%, while medical and health service management careers will grow by 21% by 2024.
Arizona’s ethnic diversity means students seeking careers in either Hispanic community health or Native American health have special opportunities to explore their interests. Moreover, since the state contains both the city of Phoenix, which is the nation’s 12th-largest metro area, and vast spaces of rural settlement, students interested in either urban or rural health initiatives can benefit from earning an MPH in Arizona. As a border state, Arizona also offers MPH students a rare opportunity to address health issues along the Mexico-U.S. border.
The Arizona Department of Health Services establishes public health goals for the state, and Arizona’s public health officials design initiatives to meet those goals. The state is currently addressing many issues, including bullying, the opioid epidemic, Zika virus, and Valley Fever.
Bullying prevention initiatives include a five-step program to prevent and address school bullies. Additionally, since Arizona’s medical professionals report between 90 and 240 cases of opioid overdoses each week, the Arizona governor has declared a state of emergency to address this crisis. The state also funds public health education campaigns to help people avoid and get early testing for both Zika and Valley Fever. Zika has yet to be detected in Arizona, but state residents who travel to affected areas (such as Mexico) may be at risk. However, Valley Fever continues to threaten the state’s population. Furthermore, Arizona is currently seeking public-private partnerships to help put the Arizona State Hospital property to better use. This facility sits on 93 acres of land and houses inpatient psychiatric services.
Internships typically refer to unpaid professional positions offered to students, while fellowships are usually given to graduate students and almost always come with a stipend or salary. Public health students can apply for internships and fellowships across the country and around the world. The following list shows a few of the fellowship and internship opportunities available to students enrolled in an online MPH in Arizona.
- Maricopa County Public Health Internships
The state’s most populous county offers internships in its public health office. Interested students can apply online. The county even offers dietetic internships that can be completed by distance learners.
- Arizona Department of Health Service (AZDHS) Office of Border Health
The AZDHS accepts applicants for an internship position in its Measuring Impact of Health Border 2020 Community Projects in Arizona-Sonora Border Region program. Interested students can also apply to intern in the Border Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance sector.
- Global Health Institute Summer Program
A project established by the University of Arizona, the Global Health Institute allows students to do laboratory-based biomedical and public health research throughout the summer.
- American Public Health Association (APHA) Internships and Fellowships
Students can apply online for a variety of fellowships and internships, including a public health fellowship in government. This fellow lives and works in Washington D.C.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Fellows Program
The largest private foundation in the world, the Gates Foundation offers fellowship opportunities in Seattle and China. Gates fellows can work in the global development, global health, global policy and advocacy, and U.S. program divisions.
The salary earned by public health officials depends on their experience, credentials, and where they live. Although healthcare in general and public health are fast-growing career fields in Arizona, wages in the state still fall below the federal average. Nonetheless, public health professionals living in Phoenix have access to major employers like Banner Health, EXOS, and the State of Arizona. According to the BLS, epidemiologists in Arizona can expect to earn a mean annual income of $59,700, while health educators earn $55,320 and healthcare managers take home $110,660.
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Public Health Employers in Arizona
Just about every public health profession is growing. Across the nation, epidemiology career openings are advancing at a rate of 9%, while healthcare manager jobs are increasing at a rate of 20%. The state’s large population of senior citizens make it an ideal place for individuals who earned their master’s of public health online in Arizona. Healthcare is one of Arizona’s largest and fastest-growing industries.
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Public Health Research Centers in Arizona
Graduates of online MPH programs in Arizona can seek rewarding careers in public health research. In this professional field, researchers look at public health trends and environmental risks and then share their findings with policymakers and healthcare professionals. Students who intern or volunteer in a research center can use their experience to advance their careers.
- Arizona Prevention Research Center: Researchers at this University of Arizona-based center focus on disease prevention, rural health, and health among Native and Hispanic populations in three border counties.
- Center for Health Information and Research: Headquartered on the campus of Arizona State University, this research center gathers data to learn more about societal determinants that affect health. Researchers track individual, population, and provider data over time.
- Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR): Supported by the National Institute of Health and three Arizona-based higher education institutions, the CAIR welcomes students to participate in community-based research to establish “models of resilience associated with positive outcomes in American Indians.”
Public Health Professional Organizations in Arizona
Public health membership associations advance the field’s goals, promote members’ careers, and influence public policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Recent graduates and students in online MPH programs in Arizona can take advantage of student and early-career membership options at the American Public Health Association and statewide organizations. These organizations offer valuable professional development and networking opportunities, such access to the Arizona Public Health Association’s annual conference and the Arizona Rural Health Association’s online job board.
- American College of Health Care Administrators: The Arizona chapter of this national organization provides statewide opportunities for networking and continuing education. Members can also take advantage of the national group’s events and certification opportunities.
- Arizona Rural Health Association: This membership body acts an advocacy group dedicated to advancing the health and wellbeing of Arizona’s rural residents in the areas of telemedicine, elder care, Native American healthcare, and welfare policy.
- Arizona Public Health Association: The AZPHA provides Arizona’s public health professionals the opportunity to network, advocate for relevant causes, and engage in professional development. The group hosts an annual conference on the University of Arizona’s campus.
Health administrators do not have to earn a state license.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) provides public health licensing services for the state. It ensures the public’s protection by regulating healthcare and child care programs. The AZDHS licenses midwives, medical marijuana dispensers, and speech and hearing professionals. Group homes, child care facilities, and nursing homes must also receive an operating license through the AZDHS.
Most students in online MPH programs in Arizona concentrate in either health administration or epidemiology. Health administrators do not have to earn a state license. They can, however, become board certified through the American College of Healthcare Executives. Epidemiologists also do not have to be state certified, but they may seek private certification through an organization like the Certification Board for Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC) or the Association for Professional in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). These private certifications can improve an applicant’s professional value and lead to better job opportunities.
In the United States, higher education institutions seek accreditation to validate the quality of their programs. Accrediting agencies evaluate a school’s mission, objectives, academic requirements, financial stability, and faculty qualifications. Accreditation can be regional or national. Regional accreditation sets the benchmark for general academic and organizational merit. In Arizona, the Higher Learning Committee (HLC) of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges grants regional accreditation. The HLC reviews its members to renew or revoke accreditation.
National accrediting agencies commonly accredit schools that offer specific programs. For instance, the Council on Education for Public Health accredits colleges and universities that offer public health programs in Arizona and other states. Ideally, students looking for online MPH programs in Arizona should find schools that hold both regional and national accreditation. However, regional accreditation is key to a degree’s academic validity and utility in the marketplace.
- University of Arizona - Tucson
Established in 1885, the University of Arizona in Tucson is a recognized leader in research and a member of the Association of American Universities. UA serves a student body of more than 42,000 through its 20 colleges. One of those colleges, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is the first and only accredited college of public health in the state.
Students interested in earning an MPH in Arizona can pick from three online MPH programs at UA, each of which is designed for working professionals. Learners can choose to focus on applied epidemiology, health promotion, or health services administration. Each track integrates the same core curriculum, which explores the five areas of public health. Participants learn the knowledge and skills needed to help serve individuals across cultural and economic boundaries. Outside of coursework, candidates gain additional experience by fulfilling an internship requirement, which accounts for six of the program’s 42 credits. These internships can be completed in a learner’s local community.
Six courses of comprehensive study comprise each concentration. Classes cover many topics, including methods of disease prevention, the business side of healthcare, the promotion of healthier lifestyles, and best practices for educating underserved communities. Each MPH course lasts just 7.5 weeks, and work is evenly split between the core curriculum and concentration courses. MPH students with a full course load can graduate in two years.
Eligible applicants hold a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Prospective students should also have passed college-level introductory courses in human or general biology and advanced mathematics (college algebra and calculus). Students interested in the health services administration concentration do not need to submit GRE/MCAT scores. Also, for the health promotion concentration, test scores can be waived for any applicant with over five years of paid public health work experience.
- TYLENOL® Future Care Scholarship
The makers of Tylenol provide 30 $5,000 and 10 $10,000 scholarships annually to promising healthcare students. The funder selects winners based on their college GPA, academic records in the field, community involvement, and an essay.
Amount Offered: $5,000 or $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
- Be a resident of the United States
- Enrolled in a public health program with the intention of treating patients
- Have at least one year of school remaining
- Not be an employee or family member of an employee of certain Tylenol-related companies
- Arizona Milk Producers Scholarship
The Arizona Milk Producers organization offers three scholarships to qualified prospects. Applicants take a picture of themselves with a milk mustache and a dairy product, upload it to Instagram, tag @azmilkproducers, and use the required hashtag.
Amount Offered: $8,000 – $12,000
Scholarship Deadline: November 21
- Be 17 years of age or older
- Enrolled in an Arizona college or university and taking at least 12 credit hours per semester
- Not be an employee or family member of an employee of the donor organization and certain affiliates
- Korean American Scholarship Foundation
Korean Americans and Korean nationals who show academic prowess and financial need can apply for a scholarship to attend college or graduate school in one of 13 western states, including Arizona.
Amount Offered: $500 – $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
- Be of Korean heritage
- Enrolled in school in one of 13 designated western states
- Demonstrate financial need and scholastic achievement
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.0
- Walter M. Decker Point Scholarship
Named in honor of radiologist Water M. Decker, this scholarship provides funding to qualifying LGBTQ community members studying in the United States.
Amount Offered: Variable
Scholarship Deadline: January 29
- Be enrolled in a U.S. college or university
- Be an “out” person who identifies with the LGBTQ community
- Show academic achievement and financial need
- Have a track record of supporting LGBTQ betterment
- American Council of the Blind Scholarship
Legally blind, full-time students can apply for one of ACB’s scholarships to help fund their higher education. Recipients also get to participate in ACB’s annual conference and convention in July.
Amount Offered: $1,000 – $3,500
Scholarship Deadline: February 15
- Be legally blind in both eyes
- Maintain a 3.3 GPA or above
- Be involved in school or community activities
- Navajo Nation Graduate Fellowship
Navajo students seeking financial support for graduate school can apply to this fund for assistance. Priority goes to students who attend institutions that give the Navajo Nation matching funds.
Amount Offered: $5,000 – $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: Unknown
- Be Navajo
- Be pursuing no more than one degree at the same level
- Hold a minimum 3.0 GPA per funded term
- Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship
Named in honor of the first African-American member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, this scholarship funds minority students in their final year of graduate school who are pursuing a degree in healthcare management.
Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
- Be a minority student
- Hold U.S. or Canadian citizenship
- Demonstrate financial need
- Florence Young Memorial Scholarship
Honoring an avid collector of native art, this scholarship provides financial support to Native American students pursuing graduate degrees in public health, law, or the arts.
Amount Offered: $1,500
Scholarship Deadline: December 15
- Be a member of a federally recognized tribe
- Have a minimum 2.5 GPA
- Attend an accredited institution full-time
- National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship Program
The National Hispanic Health Foundation awards this scholarship to help increase the representation of Hispanic American students in the health sector. Applicants must submit a personal statement detailing their plans to serve the Hispanic community.
Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: October 6
- Be a full-time student with a 3.0 GPA
- Demonstrate strong academic performance in health-related coursework and a commitment to the Hispanic community
- Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship
The Society for Public Health Education (SPHE) funds this scholarship for students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. Applicants submit a paper explaining the public health issue they intend to address in their careers.
Amount Offered: $1,500
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
- Must have held National SOPHE Membership for at least three months
- Completed one-third of the coursework required for a degree
- Demonstrate financial need