California has a low prevalence of smoking and low rates of infant mortality and preventable hospitalizations. However, residents in California experience high levels of air pollution, a high incidence of pertussis, and a sizeable disparity in health status based on their level of education. To improve health outcomes, multiple colleges and universities in California offer postsecondary degrees in the field of public health, which can be earned online and on campus. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 25.6% increase in the number of health technologist and technician jobs in California between 2014 and 2024. This is just one of many positions in the field of public health that is projected to add jobs in the coming years.

BLS projects a 25.6% increase in the number of health technologist and technician jobs in California between 2014 and 2024.

Students interested in earning degrees that prepare them to enter this growing field should consider pursuing a master’s in public health online in California.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) hopes to make California the healthiest state in the country by 2022. Toward this end, the CDPH operates numerous programs to promote public health. Champions for Change is a network of nutrition and obesity-prevention programs that works in conjunction with the WIC (a nutrition program for women, infants, and children) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). There are also many resources available for pregnancy and reproductive health needs, such as prenatal screening, perinatal substance abuse screening, a prevention of substance-exposed pregnancies collaborative, and the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, which promotes healthy pregnancies for women with diabetes. Other programming includes services for emergency preparedness, vaccinations, cannabis safety, disease and injury control, gambling addiction support, genetic disease screening, communicable disease control, refugee health, and a healthcare-associated infections program. Recent efforts have also focused on public health and safety with respect to wildfires in California.

Internships and fellowships typically involve brief work commitments where individuals gain experience in their field. However, fellowships are often restricted to graduate or postgraduate students, while internships are usually available to undergraduate students. Internships may be paid or unpaid, while fellowships are usually paid. Additionally, fellows are generally considered senior to interns. The following internships and fellowships are available to students in online MPH programs in California.

California Epidemiologic Investigation Service Fellowship

Offered by the California Department of Public Health, this fellowship places epidemiologists who have recently graduated from master’s programs into local or state health departments to gain hands-on experience for one to two years. Applicants must complete an application form and submit a statement of purpose and a curriculum vitae.
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FUSE Fellowship

The FUSE fellowship is offered by the California Healthcare Foundation. FUSE fellows enter executive levels of local government to develop and implement programs to address community needs. Applicants must have at least 15 years of experience in the field, ideally in the private sector.
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Health Career Connection Internship

This internship is provided by Health Career Connection, which is a nonprofit organization that places underrepresented or disadvantaged college students or recent graduates as paid interns in hospitals, healthcare centers, and government agencies.
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P.D. Soros Fellowship

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans is available to immigrants or children of immigrants attending graduate school in the U.S. Fellows must attend a conference where they can meet and network with their peers. Awards are merit-based and fellows must remain in good academic standing throughout their two years of active fellowship.
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SAMHSA/CSAP Prevention Fellowship

This fellowship is offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Fellows work in state agencies and receive training in behavioral health.
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Public health officials work in many different fields and specialties across California. The industry and position held by a public health professional affects their salary. A worker’s level of education and credentials can also impact their income. As public health workers gain more experience, they can expect to see an accompanying increase in their wages. Public health officials employed by private or public employers may also be compensated differently. Finally, a worker’s geographic location likely impacts their salary; the cost of living varies widely throughout California.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
California 8,740 $38.50 $79,025
United States 63,260 $32.60 $67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in California

Graduates from online MPH programs in California have many career options available to them upon graduation. Applying to one of the largest public health employers in the state can increase their chances of securing a position in their field of choice. The following table lists the top three employers for public health in the state of California.

Employers Number of Employees
UCLA Health System 35,543
Cedar-Sinai Medical Center 11,246
Scripps Clinic 10,000

Public Health Research Centers in California

Students in online MPH programs in California may opt to pursue research-oriented careers in the field of public health. These students should be aware of the prominent research centers located in the state. Students earning their MPH in California may want to tailor their studies to increase their chances of finding employment at these institutions.

  • Berkeley School of Public Health: The Berkeley School of Public Health conducts research in the field of public health in areas that can be easily translated into action that directly benefits society.
  • UCLA Center for Health Policy Research: The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research hosts the California Health Interview Survey and is affiliated with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. This center focuses on research areas that include healthcare reform, health economics, health insurance, health disparities, and chronic disease.
  • San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health: Four GSPH-affiliated research centers in the San Diego area conduct community-based clinical research and support the education and training of public health students and professionals.

Public Health Professional Organizations in California

Earning a master’s in public health online in California is an excellent step toward a fulfilling and lucrative career in the public health field. Membership in a professional organization may also net valuable benefits. These institutions endeavor to promote the public health industry and the success of their members. Organizations may offer networking opportunities, continuing education programs, annual conferences, career services, and job boards. The following is a selection of professional organizations to which public health workers in California can apply as well as a brief description of their member benefits.

  • American Public Health Association: The APHA works to influence public policy, support the field of public health, and promote good health for all people. Members gain access to educational and training materials, networking opportunities, and continuing education seminars.
  • Association of Public Health Laboratories: The APHL represents state and local governmental health laboratories and facilitates their role in promoting public health and emergency response. APHL members have access to online resources and job postings, conferences, and collaboration tools.
  • California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators: The CAADE is involved in creating accreditation standards for the addiction studies programs of higher learning institutions and the licensure standards for addiction services professionals. It promotes public awareness and contributes to policy changes. Members benefit from continuing education and professional development opportunities.
  • California Hospice and Palliative Care Association: The CHPCA gives members technical and administrative support, patient referrals, discounts on educational materials, and legislative advocacy and representation. Members may also take advantage of an annual conference and continuing education credits.

Many public health positions in California require a license or certification.

Many public health positions in California require a license or certification. These requirements ensure that professionals in the healthcare field have the proper education and training and adhere to health and safety codes. Some jobs that require licensure or certification include home health aides, certified hemodialysis technicians, nursing home administrators, doctors, nurses, chiropractors, dentists, marriage and family therapists, and physical therapists.

Patients and the general public should seek out healthcare practitioners who hold a license and/or certificate to obtain peace of mind and ensure that they are receiving high-
quality medical care. For the practitioners themselves, earning a license or certificate can lead to advancement within their field and a higher salary. These designations also signify to an employer that the license or certificate holder has participated in specific forms of education and training, accumulating the experience that qualifies them to hold more senior positions in an organization.

Accreditation means that a school or program has met certain educational standards and passed inspection by an approved agency. There are two types of accreditation: national and regional. National accreditation agencies typically work with trade and vocational schools and may utilize less rigorous standards than regional accreditation bodies. Employers often look for regional accreditation when evaluating a prospective employee’s education. Additionally, professional licensure in many fields lists a degree from an accredited institution among the requirements. Students should also favor regional accreditation status when choosing a college or university to avoid potential difficulties when transferring credits or applying for jobs.

Students who wish to attend a regionally-accredited online college in California should verify that their school has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. Public health majors should also look for accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health.

CANFIT Scholarship

CANFIT offers scholarships to minority students in California who demonstrate financial and are pursuing careers that promote the nutrition and fitness of adolescents.

Amount Offered: Amount varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited university in California in an approved master’s or doctoral graduate program in nutrition, public health, or physical education. Applicants must also be of African-American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, or Latino/Hispanic descent.

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Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship

This is a merit-based award given to a female graduate student pursuing a health-related career. The winner also receives a one-year complimentary membership to Women Health Care Executives.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: TBD
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate degree program at a university in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship

The Chicana/Latina Foundation awards scholarships to help Chicana/Latina students complete their education.

Amount Offered: $1,500
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a woman of Chicana/Latina heritage enrolled in or accepted to an accredited graduate studies program in one of several counties in Northern California. Students must also have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

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Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship

This scholarship provides aid to graduate students in healthcare management programs to help offset tuition costs, student loans, and other expenses.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in the final year of a healthcare management graduate program and demonstrate financial need.

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Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program

This is a need-based grant program awarded to spouses and dependent children of law enforcement and firefighting personnel who have been killed or totally disabled in the line of duty.

Amount Offered: $100-$12,192 for up to four years
Scholarship Deadline: Applications accepted throughout the academic year
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be the spouse or dependent child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter in California who was killed or totally disabled in the line of duty.

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Nisaburo Aibara Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is sponsored by the Japanese American Citizens League and provides financial aid to students of Japanese descent.

Amount Offered: $1,000 – $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: April 1
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a graduate student and a member of the Japanese American Citizens League.

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Western Regional Graduate Program

The WRGP helps students in master’s, graduate certificate, and PhD programs attend member schools in other states and pay in-state tuition.

Amount Offered: Amount varies
Scholarship Deadline: N/A
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must live in one of the 16 states that participate in the program. Students must meet all eligibility requirements for the school to which they are applying and must specify on their applications that they are WRGP applicants.

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JVS Scholarship Program

The JVS scholarship program awards financial support to qualifying Jewish students living in Los Angeles who demonstrate financial need.

Amount Offered: $500 – $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must live in one of the 16 states that participate in the program. Students must meet all eligibility requirements for the school to which they are applying and must specify on their applications that they are WRGP applicants.

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Sally Casanova Scholarship

The Sally Casanova scholarship was created to encourage economically and educationally disadvantaged students at California State University to pursue doctorate-level education at a school in the University of California system.

Amount Offered: $3,000
Scholarship Deadline: February 24
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a junior, senior, or graduate student at any California State University campus in a degree-seeking program and planning to pursue doctoral studies.

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Allied Healthcare Scholarship

This scholarship is sponsored by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to incentivize healthcare professionals to work in underserved communities in California.

Amount Offered: Up to $8,000
Scholarship Deadline: Application period not yet open
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled or accepted into one of several specified healthcare degree programs, have a GPA of 2.5 or greater, and be willing to work in an underserved area for 12 months at a qualified facility in California.

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Dr. James L. Hutchinson and Evelyn Ribbs Hutchinson Medical School Scholarship

This scholarship was established to assist students with demonstrated financial need who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in medical school.

Amount Offered: Up to $2,000
Scholarship Deadline: May 9
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be graduates of high school in either San Mateo County or Santa Clara County in California. Students must be a college senior and accepted to medical school or enrolled full-time in an accredited medical school program. Applicants must also submit evidence of financial need.

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