Kansas is the 35th most populous state in the country with a population of 2,907,289 residents. This Midwestern state’s capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. According to a 2011 report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 13.8% of the state’s population was in poverty and 13.5% was uninsured. In addition, the leading causes of death in Kansas in 2016 were infectious disease (like pneumonia or influenza), cancer, heart disease, external causes (accidental injury, car accidents, and falls), and suicide. Many of these causes can be attributed to public health issues in the state.

…job opportunities are estimated to increase by 16% for health educators and 9% for epidemiologists

The public health sector is currently growing to address these issues. Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that job opportunities are estimated to increase by 16% for health educators and 9% for epidemiologists between 2016 and 2026. Given the demand for public health professionals in the Kansas market, this may be a good time to pursue a master’s in public health online in Kansas.

Kansas public health agencies work to provide programs and services to address community needs. The Kansas Foundational Health Services Model seeks to improve and expand programs in the areas of communicable disease control, health promotion and chronic disease and injury prevention, environmental health, maternal and child health, and access to clinical care. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is also working to decrease infant mortality and improve birth outcomes, identify mortality trends, control the spread of infectious diseases, and support overall community health assessments.

Among the many statewide health initiatives, a few notable ones include the oral health program and the tobacco use prevention program. The oral health program seeks to implement statewide oral health screening, where dentists provide dental checkups at schools and community centers. Additionally, the tobacco use prevention program provides resources to discourage youths from trying tobacco and assisting tobacco users who want to quit.

Internships and fellowships provide students with opportunities to obtain work-related experiences. An internship is usually an arrangement with an employer where an individual trades work for experience or credit instead of a wage. While paid internships do exist, the pay tends to be minimal and far below that of an average employee. Alternatively, fellowships are usually available to students at the graduate or post-graduate level; these positions supplement a student’s regular studies and prepare them for work in their field. Many fellowships award a stipend to participating fellows.

The list below contains five fellowships/internships available to students enrolled at online MPH programs in Kansas:

University of Kansas Master’s of Public Health Internship

The University of Kansas’ MPH internship is a 192-hour program of service in the local community. It provides master’s of public health students with hands-on experience in public health practice.
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Kansas Department of Health and Environment Fellowship

This is an eight-month fellowship with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It is open to individuals interested in better understanding the Kansas public health system. The program consists of a series of live events and webinars, culminating in a public health conference where all fellows make a presentation.
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APHL-CDC Infectious Diseases Laboratory Fellowship

This is a one-year fellowship for master’s degree level scientists who wish to pursue a career at a public health laboratory. This program provides training to fellows on infectious disease testing, control measures, and surveillance.
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ASPPH Fellowships and Internships

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health hosts a variety of fellowships and internships for public health master’s students, doctoral students, or program graduates.
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University of Kansas Post-Residency Public Health Fellowship

This fellowship is designed for physicians who have recently terminated their residency program and wish to obtain public health training. This program covers a range of topics, including biostatistics, epidemiology, health services, health disparities, and public health challenges.
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Public health careers tend to be financially stable and top positions can be especially lucrative. According to the BLS, health educators in the U.S. make a median annual salary of $44,390 and epidemiologists make a median annual salary of $70,820. However, these salaries vary depending on an individual’s specific position, experience, credentials, and location. Kansas has a fairly large market for public health professionals. As an example, in the health education field, the state has 370 positions which earn a median annual salary of $51,830. Employment and wage numbers are even higher for epidemiologists living in Kansas. Job prospects for graduates of public health programs in Kansas are generally positive.

The table below features some statistics related to the employment and average wages for public health professions in Kansas and in the United States.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Kansas, Health Educators 370 $24.92 $51,830
Kansas, Epidemiologists 600 $44.27 $92,080
United States, Health Educators and Epidemiologists 63,260 $32.60 $67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in Kansas

While looking at job prospects in the public health profession, it is good practice to become familiar with large employers in the field to prepare yourself for applying to jobs upon graduation. It is prudent to determine which companies, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other institutions are currently hiring public health professionals. Below is a list of three of the top employers of public health professionals in the state of Kansas.

Employers Number of Employees
Kansas City Public Schools 2,000
Supplemental Healthcare 501-1000
Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center 200-300

Public Health Research Centers in Kansas

Familiarizing yourself with public health research centers is another way to prepare for the job market after graduation, especially if you want to conduct research within the field of public health. These institutions may have jobs or internships available for recent public health graduates.

The list below contains three public health research centers in Kansas:

  • Kansas Health Institute: The Kansas Health Institute is a nonprofit health policy and research organization dedicated to providing credible information and the latest research in public health to policy leaders to help them make informed health policy decisions.
  • Children’s Mercy Division of Health Services and Outcomes Research: The HSOR, based at Children’s Mercy Hospital, is dedicated to scientific discovery that optimizes patient care and patient outcomes, addressing topics like barriers to care, chronic disease, and health disparities.
  • Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development Center: The WRHR, based at the Kansas University Medical Center, provides training in epidemiologic and translational research for medical professionals seeking to specialize in women’s reproductive health.

Public Health Professional Organizations in Kansas

Individuals pursuing an MPH in Kansas may want to consider joining a public health professional organization. These professional organizations offer opportunities for networking, research collaboration, and professional development. Many organizations host conferences or publish academic journals, where a graduate student or researcher may submit their research for presentation or publication. In addition, membership in a professional organization connects you to hundreds of individuals in your field. These groups also provide information that can help you become a better public health researcher, advocate, professional, and/or practitioner.

Below are three professional or student organizations for those in the public health field:

  • Kansas Public Health Association: The KPHA is a professional association comprised of public health professionals and practitioners. This association is dedicated to improving the state of public health in Kansas. The KPHA hosts conferences, award ceremonies, and events to work toward this goal.
  • Health Occupations Students of America: HOSA is an international student organization dedicated to providing accessible healthcare for all populations and supporting students who want to enter the healthcare industry. This group hosts a variety of scholarships, conferences, leadership events, and competitions.
  • Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco: This professional organization is dedicated to supporting researchers, educators, treatment professionals, and governmental staff working in the field of nicotine and tobacco research. It focuses on disseminating nicotine-related research and hosts an annual conference.

The CPH requires that candidates be graduates from a master’s of public health program and successfully complete the CPH exam.

While there are no required public health credentials, there are certifications a public health professional can obtain to specialize in a particular career path and/or demonstrate their expertise. Certifications can also distinguish professionals from their peers, giving them an advantage while searching for work. In general, public health certifications are offered by national organizations and require applicants to hold a degree and pass a certifying exam. The National Board of Public Health Examiners offers the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential, which verifies an individual’s public health-related skills and elevates their professional status. The CPH requires that candidates be graduates from a master’s of public health program and successfully complete the CPH exam. Other certifications include the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS), and Certified Public Health Administrator (CPHA).

Accreditation ensures that a school has a certain standard of quality and intellectual rigor. Attending an accredited university or online program is beneficial in many ways. For example, accredited programs are regarded as more prestigious by employers. Many scholarships also require attendance at an accredited institution in order to be eligible for aid.

In the United States, a university or college program can be regionally or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation is more widely recognized and allows for easier transfer of credits between institutions. However, this also means that regionally-accredited programs have higher admission requirements than nationally-accredited programs. National accreditation tends to focus more on professional or vocational programs. The regional accreditation agency responsible for Kansas is the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Prospective students should look for online MPH programs in Kansas that hold accreditation from this agency and/or from a reputable national accreditation agency.

The tables below discuss 10 scholarships available to public health graduate students in Kansas:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation provides scholarships to dietetics students at all levels and hopes to promote further education in the fields of nutrition and dietetics.

Amount Offered: $500-$10,000
Scholarship Deadline: April 17
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be enrolled in a bachelor’s program in dietetics, a dietetic technician program, a dietetic internship program, or pursuing graduate study in a related field.

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Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) offers this scholarship in honor of the first African American Fellow in the ACHE. The scholarship is meant to assist minority students in healthcare management graduate programs with their tuition and other expenses.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be a minority student enrolled in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program, such as an MPH program, and demonstrate financial need.

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Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Fellowship

The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) offers this scholarship to provide financial assistance to graduate students in healthcare management programs.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be enrolled in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program, such as an MPH or MBA in healthcare administration.

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Bill and Mary Russell Healthcare Scholarship

The Heartland Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and the quality of living in the Midwest. This scholarship provides financial aid to students pursuing a career in nursing or a healthcare field.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: April 15
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be accepted to or enrolled full-time (undertaking at least 12 hours of study) in a nursing or health-related program. They must also reside within the service region of the Heartland Foundation.

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The Christie Foundation Health Education Scholarship

The Christie Foundation offers this scholarship to students interested in a healthcare profession, including pharmacology, medicine, nutrition, public health, and related fields.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 21
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be enrolled full-time in an approved health profession program at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, or graduate level. They must have attended high school or established residency in an eligible county in Illinois, although their institution of higher education can be located anywhere in the U.S. Applicant must also meet minimum GPA and ACT/SAT requirements.

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Cori L. Richards Memorial Scholarship

The Guttmacher Institute offers this scholarship for graduate students in the health professions who plan on working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Amount Offered: $15,000
Scholarship Deadline: February
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be enrolled full-time in a graduate program at an accredited U.S. institution in a healthcare field, particularly public health or public policy.

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Florence Young Memorial Scholarship

The Association on American Indian Affairs offers this scholarship to students of American Indian heritage pursuing master’s degrees in public health, law, or art.

Amount Offered: $1,500
Scholarship Deadline: December 15
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be an enrolled member in their respective tribe. They must also be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited institution and seeking a master’s degree in public health, law, or art.

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HOSA Scholarships

The Health Occupations Students of America offers this scholarship to its members to provide financial aid for educational costs in a health services occupation program, including public health, audiology, nursing, therapy, dentistry, and more.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be a member of HOSA and enrolled in an accredited university program in a health services field.

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National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship Program

The National Hispanic Health Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to improving health education and opportunities for Hispanic Americans. It provides this scholarship for Hispanic students pursuing a healthcare profession.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: October 6
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be enrolled full-time in an accredited graduate program in dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, or health policy.

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NEHA/AAS Scholarship

Sponsored by the National Environmental Health Association and the American Academy of Sanitarians, this scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in environmental health or public health.

Amount Offered: $1,000-2,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Applicant must be at least a junior in college enrolled in an environmental health program or public health program at a school approved by the NEHA or Environmental Health Accreditation Council.

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