Like other states, Idaho struggles with obesity rates, diabetes, tobacco, and providing basic care and health education to its rural population. As as solution, Idaho is pursuing several large-scale public health initiatives that promote health and well-being, resulting in the state’s Department of Labor expecting jobs in healthcare and social assistance to grow by 27%.

Graduates with MPH degrees earn a healthy living in Idaho – mean average salaries for health educators nationwide is almost $60,000…

Idaho’s public education system, particularly at Idaho and Boise State universities, is working to improve consumer health by offering exceptional graduate-level study in public health. With accreditation from the Council for Health Education Association, both universities are strong online MPH programs in Idaho. Graduates with MPH degrees earn a healthy living in Idaho – mean average salaries for health educators nationwide is almost $60,000 – and enjoy fostering the wellbeing and standard of living of their neighbors.

In 2015, Idaho’s Department of Public Health launched a new five-year plan called Get Healthy Idaho. Public health officials based the plan on the results of several statewide studies, identifying four target areas around which they built initiatives: access to healthcare, diabetes, tobacco cessation, and obesity— particularly in children.

Get Healthy Idaho uses state and federal grants to address each of these issues. The state recruits paramedics to serve rural areas with critical care by establishing regional health collaboratives and setting up primary care clinics in underserved areas. Additionally, Get Healthy pushes education for diabetes health by offering a series of classes dedicated to diabetes self-management. The plan also aims to both increase education about nicotine replacement therapies and to encourage exercise and dieting aimed at childhood obesity. This task will take people holding a master’s degree in public health to get the job done.

Students in public health programs in Idaho use internships or fellowships to gain experience in a profession. Internships amount to trial periods at an organization, opportunities for students to determine whether a particular job or company is for them. They generally have starting and ending points and may or may not include a stipend. Fellowships are paid appointments that give graduate students a chance to practice the skills they’ve been learning; many master’s programs require fellowships as part of a student’s training process. Students seeking online MPH programs in Idaho will find a list of both internships and fellowships below.

Eastern Idaho Medical Reserve Corps

Established by the Eastern Idaho Public Health District to provide medical assistance in times of need, the EIMRC is comprised of health professionals and volunteers. Volunteer students in public health receive valuable experience in emergency response, promoting health literacy, and community service. The program is entirely voluntary. Students apply at the link.

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David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship

Available to students at Idaho State University graduating with a master’s degree in public health, this fellowship immerses participants in the healthcare policy debate in Washington, D.C. Students in the one-year program receive a stipend, and anyone in the public health field may apply. Administrators give priority to students who have no previous experience in the nation’s capital.

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The Central District Health Department (CDHD)

Based in Boise, the CDHD hosts internships of varying lengths in oral health, communicable disease control, health promotion, and reproductive health. The department encourages applications by students in biostatistics, epidemiology, health assessment, community education, website development, and marketing.

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Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board

A nonprofit organization representing 43 tribes across the Northwest, the board sponsors internships in public health dedicated to native populations. Interns participate in research, surveys, and training that improves the quality of life for Native Americans. These internships fulfill practicum requirements for most schools. The board prioritizes applications by American Indians but also considers non-Native candidates.

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Panhandle Health District Internships

One of the seven statewide public health agencies, the Hayden-based Panhandle district offers several internships designed to prepare students for careers in public health. These are typically unpaid positions, and prospective interns send resumes to the link on the district’s website for consideration.

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Employment opportunities for people in public health vary widely depending on experience, level of education, and location. Thanks to several statewide initiatives, Idaho’s health initiative provides health educators with job options at local, state, federal, or even tribal agencies, in schools, and in the private sector. Well-trained educators are in high demand, and people with experience find positions more easily. While positions have expanded, wages in Idaho fall below the national average for public health educators. This fact, however, is mitigated by Idaho’s lower cost of living.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Idaho 460 $27.87 $57,970
United States 63,260 $32.60 $67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in Idaho

Students graduating from public health programs often secure employment at Idaho’s larger healthcare organizations. Large corporations like St. Luke’s employ thousands; it’s also the state’s only nonprofit, and it’s nationally ranked. St. Luke’s has a variety of openings in public health, whether in training and education, clinical health education, or research. Other big health systems like St. Alphonsus in Boise also hire recent public health grads. The state’s own department of public health is a good place to turn, ranking among the top 15 largest employers in Idaho.

Employers Number of Employees
St. Luke’s Health Systems 12,000+
St. Alphonsus Health Systems 4,000+
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare 2,000+

Public Health Research Centers in Idaho

Many recent public health grads find work in research at big, university-affiliated centers. The Idaho Center for Health Research studies ways to improve the health and wellbeing of Idahoans. Boise State has its own Center for Health Policy, which conducts health science research and hires students and recent graduates. Entry-level positions at health research centers are ideal for new grads with an interest in research or as a transitionary occupation that builds their resumes.

  • Idaho Center for Health Research: A unit of the Idaho State’s Division of Health Sciences, the center undertakes clinical research and strategic planning, often working with state and local governmental agencies on big statewide initiatives.
  • Center for Health Policy (CHP): Located at Boise State, CHP conducts research into health science and policy. Staffed by students, faculty, and researchers, the organization partners with public and private sectors on grant-funded, health-related projects.
  • Idaho Public Health Districts: Idaho Public Health Districts sponsor a number of data-driven, research projects every year as part of their mission to promote healthy living. Seven districts spread across the state collaborate to study the best ways to protect the public health.

Public Health Professional Organizations in Idaho

Joining a professional organization can be one of the best steps a recent grad can take towards a fulfilling career. Organizations of like-minded people pursuing public healthcare provide exceptional networking possibilities. New grads can make friends, contacts, and even find mentors in their chosen fields— which can help not only with finding a job but with career advancement. Professional organizations often sponsor annual conferences, host workshops, seminars, forums, and continuing education opportunities, and provide members with career services and access to job boards.

  • Idaho Public Health Association (IPHA): Affiliated with the American Public Health Association, IPHA is the oldest nonprofit organization devoted to public health in Idaho. The association supports efforts to promote health and wellbeing by providing a forum for information exchange where members have access to educational opportunities, professional networking, and access to the latest publications.
  • Idaho Association of District Boards of Health: (IADBH): A professional association comprised of the members of the state’s district boards of health, the IADBH hosts an annual conference and disseminates information useful to the promotion of public health. Most of the major players in Idaho’s public health system participate with this organization.
  • Idaho Healthcare Coalition: Part of Idaho’s Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan, this collective of healthcare professionals aims to improve the overall health of the state. The coalition invites volunteers, and it’s a good place to network, to keep up-to-date on the latest initiatives, and to participate in workshops.

While the Gem State does regulate medical and dental practice, optometry, nursing, psychology, therapy and counseling, and a variety of other disciplines, it doesn’t require licensing for many public health positions. Biostatisticians and health educators, for example, can practice without having to pass certification exams. On the other hand, practitioners in environmental health must hold a license. Students should check on the licensing requirements at prospective employer locations before entering a program. Whether or not licensing or certification is actually mandated, credentials look good on a resume, and they can give candidates an employment advantage.

Prospective students should ensure that the programs to which they apply are accredited by reputable agencies. While virtual education is now considered standard, student should still use caution while looking at online programs. Find a program accredited by a national, or better yet, regional, agency, to know that your degree is safe. Regional agencies tend to accredit the best online MPH programs in Idaho. As a rule, the largest and most selective public and private universities carry regional accreditation by agencies like the Higher Learning Commission. Tech schools and programs designed to prepare students for specific occupations generally earn national accreditation. Either is fine, and the U.S. Board of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee the accreditation process. For help determine which colleges and universities are accredited, see the federal government and CHEA databases.

Regional agencies tend to accredit the best online MPH programs in Idaho.

Many industries or disciplines have their own accreditation aimed at raising the level of education. The Council on Education for Public Health, for example, is the national standard-bearer for public health programs. It accredits the best public health programs in Idaho, including the master’s degree in public health at Idaho State.

Idaho Public Health Association Scholarship

Offered to both undergrad and graduate students, this scholarship goes to student members of the IPHA (and it’s easy to join).

Amount Offered: $500
Scholarship Deadline: January 3
Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be student members of the IPHA.

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NEHA and AAS Scholarship

Offered by the National Environmental Health Association and the American Academy of Sanitarians, these nationwide scholarships go to public health graduate students in an environmental health program. Boise State is one of the awards’ recognized schools.

Amount Offered: $2,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Graduate students must have a full year of study remaining.

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Idaho Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care Grant Writing Scholarship

This scholarship helps Idahoans attend the grant proposal writing course at Fort Hayes State University.

Amount Offered: Covers the entire course.
Scholarship Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be employed in an Idaho rural healthcare clinic, at federally qualified health centers, at nonprofit agencies, and be rural health grant writers.

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Caldwell Memorial Hospital Employees and Friends Health Services Scholarship

Administered by the Idaho Community Foundation, this scholarship goes to students, often from the hospital’s service area of Canyon and Owyhee Counties, studying in a healthcare related field.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: The foundation gives preference to students from the hospital’s service area, but others are welcome to apply.

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Albert M. Johnson Scholarship

Administered by Idaho State, the scholarship is awarded annually to students in the health sciences.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Rolling
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in ISU’s College of Health Professions.

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Idaho Institute of Rural Health Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

Offered based on need, the SDS awards go to students studying in healthcare fields at the Institute of Rural Health.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Early August
Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be studying in a qualifying field.

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Galen Louis Endowment

This grant is awarded to master’s students in public health at Idaho State University and is typically used to fund research and thesis projects.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Rolling
Eligibility Requirements: Awards are granted upon the recommendation of faculty.

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Boise State Environmental Health Scholarships

Awarded to students at Boise State’s Department of Community and Environmental Health.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 3
Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be pursuing their master’s or a graduate certificate in health sciences.

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HOSA Scholarships

In partnership with STEM Premier— an organization that promotes STEM education, HOSA – Future Health Professionals offers scholarships to both graduate students and undergrads studying public health and other fields.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be members of HOSA.

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Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarships

Administered by the American College of Healthcare Executives, this scholarship for students in MPH programs honors the legacy of Albert Dent, the first African-American fellow of the ACHE.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Recipients must be minority students in master’s level healthcare programs. Priority is given to student associates of ACHE.

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