The field of public health encompasses disease prevention, methods to prolong life, and the promotion of health through organizational, policy, and community efforts. Graduates of public health programs in Mississippi pursue careers in a variety of roles and settings; earning a master’s in public health positions graduates to become health educators, managers, or researchers.

The BLS projects the number of health educator positions will increase 4% from 2014 to 2024.

Mississippi’s public health challenges include obesity, high smoking rates, and a low average birth weight. Public health workers enact initiatives to improve these issues. Education is crucial to alleviating public health issues, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of health educator positions will increase 4% from 2014 to 2024. Graduates of online MPH programs in Mississippi enter a growing field with plenty of opportunities for advancement.

The Mississippi State Department of Health’s primary goals are to improve maternal and child health, address low birth weights, improve preventative health measures, and reduce environmental health problems.

The department maintains initiatives to address these issues, including maternity services offered through county health departments, improved case management, and health education from a team of nurses, social workers, and nutritionists.

The health department inspects community public water supplies annually to ensure the quality of drinking water. Plans to reduce tobacco use include creating tobacco-free coalitions in each Mississippi county and implementing programs that align with the CDC’s “Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs.”

Students in online MPH programs in Mississippi often pursue internships or fellowships to gain real-world experience. Some online MPH programs in Mississippi require fieldwork, in which case students work with faculty to arrange internships. Internships are paid or unpaid positions for undergraduate students, while fellowships are usually offered to graduate students and involve more responsibility. While pursuing an MPH, Mississippi students may consider the following internships and fellowships.

Mississippi State Department of Health Internship Program

Ideal for Mississippi students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, this internship offers hands-on public health experience in a state-run facility.
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Mississippi State University Dietetic Internship

This program, offered through Mississippi State’s Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion prepares interns for careers in nutrition education. Interns may earn graduate credits.
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Mississippi Rural Health Association Fellow

Applicants should have completed at least 75 hours of education in Mississippi rural health, which may include coursework, internships, and work experience. Fellows complete a project to improve the health of Mississippians in rural areas.
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Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Interns at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, located in Jackson, work in the communications department, the legal center, and public policy.
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Mississippi Public Health Institute

This research institute needs individuals to serve as consultants on various projects. Consultants must complete an application and submit a personal statement.
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Graduates of online MPH programs in Mississippi work as health educators, epidemiologists, and a health services managers. The table below shows the employment, hourly mean wage, and annual mean wage for health educators in Mississippi. A professional’s specific salary depends on factors such as experience, credentials, and geographic location. After earning an MPH, Mississippi professionals pursue research, education, and leadership roles.

 EmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Mississippi590$19.22$39,980
United States63,260$32.60$67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in Mississippi

Graduates of public health programs in Mississippi find the most employment opportunities with the state’s largest employers of public health professionals, such as those listed below. Many graduates of MPH programs work in hospitals or academic environments, which employ large numbers of MPH graduates and often have openings for entry-level positions.

EmployersNumber of Employees
University of Southern Mississippi7,000
North Mississippi Medical Center5,000
Mississippi State University4,000

Public Health Research Centers in Mississippi

Research is a popular career choice for professionals who’ve earned a master’s of public health online in Mississippi. Below are a few of the most prominent research facilities in Mississippi. Some facilities study a variety of public health topics, while others focus on a specific area of public health. Job seekers should identify research centers performing work that aligns with their individual interests and goals.

  • Mississippi Public Health Institute: MSPHI develops partnerships with organizations that promote innovation and improve health resources. The institute educates the public on health-related issues and performs applied research.
  • Mississippi Health Policy Research Center: This Mississippi State University center researches topics related to health policy and health services. Scientists examine the state’s health issues and produce evidence-based data to aid public policy decisions.
  • Mississippi State Department of Health: The Office of Health Data and Research within Mississippi’s health department studies infant and maternal mortality and perinatal health to improve the state’s birth outcomes.

Public Health Professional Organizations in Mississippi

Professional organizations in public health offer students and graduates a professional network and opportunities to pursue internships, certifications, and continuing education. Public health professionals must be informed about current research and best practices to become leaders in the field. The resources and opportunities these organizations provide often lead to employment and career advancement.

  • National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc: NCHEC trains and supports qualified health education specialists. The organization provides certifications, encourages professional development, and offers educational support.
  • Society for Public Health Education: This professional association of more than 4,000 health educators raises awareness of public health issues, creates best practices for building public health knowledge, and educates policymakers.
  • Wellness Council of America: This organization offers memberships for corporations and business that wish to build and sustain healthy workplaces. WIth more than 5,000 corporate members, this organization offers certifications, training, and continued education.

Although few public health positions require certification or licensure, MPH graduates may pursue specialized certifications. Public health professionals with additional credentials have greater employment opportunities and are often viewed as leaders in the field. Earning certification proves commitment to the field and gives professionals an advantage over other job seekers.

  • Certified in Public Health: This certificate is available to graduates of public health programs and to public health professionals with significant experience. The CPH credential illustrates commitment to understanding current public health issues and upholding national standards set by the National Board of Public Health Examiners.
  • Certified Health Education Specialist: This certificate requires MPH graduates to pass an exam and increases employment opportunities for health educators.
  • Wellness Council of America Certification: Candidates must pass an exam that covers topics such as current best practices for forming wellness programs in corporations. Professionals with this credential foster healthy communities.

During the accreditation process, a third-party agency evaluates the academic integrity of a program. The two most common types of accreditation in the U.S. are regional and national. Regional accreditation is more prestigious, and students should choose a regionally accredited school to ensure their degree will be recognized by employers.

National accrediting agencies typically focus on career, vocational, and trade schools. Tuition for nationally accredited schools is often lower, however credits may not transfer to regionally accredited schools. Public health students should also look for accreditation from the Council on Education in Public Health, a field-specific agency that evaluates public health programs. The same accrediting agencies that evaluate on-campus programs also evaluate online MPH programs in Mississippi.

University of Southern Mississippi

Founded in 1910, Southern Miss enrolls more than 14,500 students. The university offers more than 140 undergraduate programs and 200 graduate programs at its Hattiesburg and Long Beach campuses and online.

Southern Miss offers one of the most flexible online MPH programs in Mississippi. The 42-credit MPH is available in three tracks: epidemiology and biostatistics, health education, and health policy and administration. The fully online health policy and administration emphasis examines the responsibilities of public health administrators and relevant regulations.

The core curriculum explores public health disciplines including epidemiology, environmental health, biostatistics, and social and behavioral health. Students learn to use legal and ethical principles in decision-making, to apply performance improvement concepts, and to plan public health strategies for individuals and communities. During their final semester, students undertake an internship comprising 400 hours of fieldwork.

Students can pursue a dual degree option to earn their MPH and MBA simultaneously. An executive MPH is available to clinical and nonclinical healthcare professionals with at least three years of experience. The hybrid program requires students to attend one in-person session per month. Students can complete the program in five semesters.

Applicants to the MPH program must have a minimum 2.75 GPA in their last 60 hours of coursework. Applicants must submit transcripts, a resume, a personal essay, three letters of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores. Online students pay in-state tuition rates.

Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

This scholarship provides financial assistance to minority students in graduate programs related to healthcare management.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a minority student enrolled full-time in the final year of a graduate degree program and must demonstrate financial need.

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Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship

Sponsored by the Guttmacher Institute, this scholarship supports students who aspire to improve policies for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Amount Offered: $15,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: The student must be pursuing an advanced degree in public health or public policy and must demonstrate financial need.

Cathy L. Brock Scholarship

Offered by the Institute for Diversity, this award recognizes future leaders in health administration from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: January 31
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a minority student enrolled in an MHA program or a similar program, must demonstrate financial need, and must have a 3.0 GPA.

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Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship

This scholarship offers financial assistance to first- and second-year minority students in graduate programs related to healthcare management.

Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: January 31
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be in the first or second year of an MHA program or a similar program, must be a minority student, must demonstrate financial need, must show a commitment to community service, and must have a 3.0 GPA.

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MGMA Southern Section Scholarship

This scholarship supports students who demonstrate great potential to contribute to the medical management field.

Amount Offered: $2,500
Scholarship Deadline: May 1
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must reside in a Southern state, such as Mississippi, and must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program related to medical practice management.

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Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

Tylenol awards scholarships to future leaders in healthcare who demonstrate community involvement, leadership, and academic excellence.

Amount Offered: $5,000–10,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be enrolled in a health-related graduate program, must have at least one year remaining in the program, and must submit an essay.

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Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship

The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives created this scholarship to honor Foster G. McGaw, the founder of the American Hospital Supply Corporation. The scholarship supports graduate students in healthcare management programs.

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

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David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship

Annually, this scholarship supports 30 promising leaders in the field of health policy.

Amount Offered: $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: April 2
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be a first-year graduate student at any AUPHA or ASPPH health policy program and must have completed at least five courses.

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Public Health Community Scholarship

Offered by MPH Programs List, this annual scholarship goes to a deserving public health student.

Amount Offered: $2,500
Scholarship Deadline: January 5
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must be enrolled in a public health program and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Extracurricular activities, employment history, and an essay are considered in the selection process.

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National Hispanic Health Professional Scholarship

This scholarship supports Hispanic students enrolled in medical, public health, nursing, pharmacy, policy, and dental schools.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: October 6
Eligibility Requirements: The applicant must have a vested interest in the health of Hispanic communities, must have an interest in joining NHHF Scholars Alumni activities, must be a full-time public health student, and must submit a personal statement.

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