Public health is a top priority for Montana’s government and is of special concern in the state, as Montana has a high proportion of aging baby boomers. This, along with a growing population, means that public health professionals will be in high demand for the foreseeable future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that positions as health educators alone will grow by 14.6% over the next six years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that positions as health educators alone will grow by 14.6% over the next six years.

An online master’s degree in public health can be a flexible and affordable path towards an exciting career in public health. There are a range of public health programs in Montana to choose from, making it a great place to earn an MPH degree.

Montana oversees dozens of new and ongoing public health programs to keep its residents healthy and well-educated. Through the HELP Plan, low-income Montanans have access to subsidized health care, as well as to programs that promote an understanding of nutrition, disease, and general wellness. HELP’s fitness program provides members access to 8,000 fitness centers nationwide. The state also offers programs meant to help Montanans quit smoking or lose weight through online coaching and in-person support.

Additionally, Montana’s Department of Public Health and Health Services offers a wide array of resources for the elderly. The elderly are encouraged to take advantage of programs that deliver meals, provide nutrition education, and offer companionship. Also, the Big Sky Rx program helps Medicare clients pay for prescriptions. The state’s deep investment in the health and wellness of its residents means that you should strongly consider getting your MPH in Montana.

Though they are often confused with one another, there are actually a few key differences between internships and fellowships. Internships are generally for students and recent graduates from high school or college; these positions can be paid or unpaid. Fellowships, by comparison, are almost always for graduate students, usually include a stipend, and are often offered in conjunction with a university program. Read on for a list of some opportunities available to students working towards a master in public health in Montana.

Quality Improvement Plan Practicum

The Toole County Health Department is hiring a public health student to assist in drafting a quality improvement plan to streamline the department’s operations. The student will receive a stipend of $1,000.

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Access to Healthcare Practicum

The chosen graduate-level public health student will work at the Toole County Health Department, assessing the population’s access to healthcare and making recommendations on how to improve access. This internship is offered by the Montana Public Health Association and involves a $1,000 stipend.

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Community Health Assessment Practicum

The Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Public Health Department is hiring an intern to work on a new community health assessment and to help analyze the results. The department will award a $1,000 stipend.

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Department of Environmental Quality Internship

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality hires interns to help with its mission of ensuring a clean and healthy environment. Interns gain valuable experience in the environmental side of public health.

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Salaries for public health officials vary greatly depending on their credentials, experience, and where they work. For example, epidemiologists, who typically have advanced degrees, earn a median pay of $60,000 per year. By comparison, community health workers usually need only have a high school diploma or some college experience, and earn around $35,000 annually. Experience also matters – entry-level epidemiologists earn $57,000 per year, while those with 10-20 years of experience can expect make almost $90,000. The table below compares the nationwide public health salaries with those in Montana.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Montana 310 $21.54 $44,800
United States 63,260 $32.60 $67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in Montana

If you’re considering a career in public health, and want to learn more about job opportunities in the field, check out the following list of the top employers in Montana.

Employers Number of Employees
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services 3,000
U.S. Military 9,005
Montana State University 3,333

Public Health Research Centers in Montana

Students enrolled in online MPH programs in Montana should know about research centers that do work in public health. Rather than scrambling after graduation, prepare for your job search by consulting the following list of public health research centers and institutes in Montana.

  • Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity: This Montana State University research center conducts research to ensure that Montana’s rural and tribal communities stay healthy. Its goal is to improve Montanans’ quality of life and to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Center for Environmental Health Sciences: Researchers at this University of Montana institute study the many ways that the environment impacts human health. They aim to better understand the causes of cardiovascular and other diseases so that these illnesses can be treated and diagnosed more effectively.
  • University of Montana School of Public and Community Health Sciences: Faculty of the School of Public and Community Health Sciences conduct research in a variety of public health-related fields. Research specializations include childhood obesity, Native American issues, and environmental science.

Public Health Professional Organizations in Montana

Professional organizations provide useful benefits to workers in any industry. Because public health is such a research-intensive field, professional organizations like the Montana Public Health Association offer immense value, bringing together professionals to share findings, collaborate, and learn new techniques. For example, members who attend MPHA’s annual conference learn how to access, visualize, and use local public health data for research and advocacy. A few of Montana’s public health professional organizations are listed below.

  • Montana Environmental Health Association: This organization is for professionals who study the ways in which food, water, and air affect human health. It hosts webinars and training sessions with the aim of improving standards for environmental health professionals in Montana.
  • Montana Public Health Association: Founded in 1918 as an affiliate of the National Public Health Association, this organization brings public health professionals together for education opportunities, advocacy programs, and networking through its career center.
  • Montana Health Care Association: This professional association serves Montana’s long-term care facilities, such as nursing and assisted living homes. Members have access to conventions and courses meant to enhance their work with the elderly.

While some states require certain public health officials to be licensed or certified, Montana does not have such regulations. This simplifies a student’s entry into the workforce, and reduces the amount of hoops they need to jump through to begin successful careers in public health. The fact that graduates can find employment directly after completing a master’s program is just one of the reasons that Montana is an ideal place to pursue an online master’s in public health degree.

While no certifications are required in the state of Montana or in the United States., there are national certifications that can give recent graduates from online MPH programs in Montana an advantage over other job seekers. For example, the Certified in Public Health certificate is only available to MPH graduates and shows employers that a student has demonstrated key public health knowledge. Additionally, becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist indicates a mastery of health education standards and practices.

When choosing between online MPH programs in Montana, you should take into account the immense benefits of attending an accredited program. Accredited programs are regularly reviewed for their academic quality by other institutions and accrediting bodies.
Regional accreditation is typically awarded to traditional four-year colleges, while national accreditation is usually given to career-focused vocational institutions. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities oversees the regional accreditation process for Montana and its neighbors. You should also search for programs that have been accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The CEPH is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit public health schools and programs.

University of Montana

Founded in 1893, UM is the second largest institution of higher learning in the Montana University System. Enrollment at UM stands at more than 13,000 students, and the university continues to expand its reach through distance learning options. UM Online offers degrees and certificates at all levels, including master’s programs in educational leadership, curriculum studies, public administration, music education, and public health.

One of the best public health programs in Montana, the 42-credit MPH prepares graduates to improve the health of people living in rural areas. Upon program completion, graduates are ready to influence change, apply qualitative and quantitative problem-solving, and develop collaborative strategies for public health programs and initiatives. A nine-credit capstone concludes the program. Students complete a 160-hour practicum, a professional paper, and a portfolio presentation. Learners take 27 credits of core courses, including the fundamentals of biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences in public health, and introduction to epidemiology. A class on rural health issues in a global context explores trends in global health, global health policies, health equity, and vulnerable populations. Full-time students can complete all requirements in two years, while part-time students usually take more than three years.

A new degree option from UM is the hybrid MPH-CHPS. This dual program integrates concentration courses in community health and prevention science with the core content of the general MPH. Courses are delivered in a prescribed sequence and blend online and in-person meetings. The MPH-CHPS emphasizes health promotion, health education, program planning, and program evaluation.

The UM admissions committee meets twice a year to consider new students. Prospective students must submit three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a resume or CV. Applicants should also submit a personal statement explaining their interest in public health and why they are pursuing a graduate degree. UM waives the GRE requirement for applicants who have already obtained a terminal degree.

Cooley Scholarship

This scholarship, offered by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), is for master’s level students enrolled in a health education program. As part of their award, the winner will receive a one-year student membership to SHAPE America.

Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a master’s student at an accredited university studying health education and must have a 3.0 GPA to be considered.

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ACMPE Scholarship Fund

Offered through the Medical Group Management Association, these scholarships are meant for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees relevant to medical practice management. These fields include public health and health care administration.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: May 1
Eligibility Requirements: Must be enrolled in a program for the coming year and must be pursuing a major related to medical practice management.

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HOSA Scholarships

HOSA-Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, gives its members access to a variety of scholarships in health disciplines.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a HOSA member.

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JCCs of North America Graduate Scholarship Program

This scholarship is for Jewish students who are pursuing master’s degrees in subjects that would help the JCC enrich the Jewish community. A variety of degrees are accepted, including public policy, health education, and public health.

Amount Offered: $10,000 per year
Scholarship Deadline: Applications are closed for the coming school year, check here for details.
Eligibility Requirements: Must be pursuing first master’s degree full time, and must commit to working two years at a JCC after graduation.

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Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Fellowship

This scholarship was established in honor of Foster G. McGaw, the founder of the American Hospital Supply Corporation. The scholarship, organized by the American College of Healthcare Executives, aims to help students in health-related programs pay for tuition, loans, and other costs.

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

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Indian Health Service Scholarship

The Indian Health Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, organizes this scholarship for American Indians or Alaskan Natives pursuing degrees in health-related fields.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 28
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a member or descendant of a recognized American Indian Tribe or Alaska Native Village, and must have a 2.0 GPA to be considered. Applicants must also commit plan on serving Indian people in their chosen field.

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Harry S. Truman Scholarship

The Harry S. Truman scholarship is a highly prestigious federal scholarship awarded to college students who demonstrate leadership ability and commitment to public service

Amount Offered: $30,000
Scholarship Deadline: February 6
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a college junior intending on pursuing a graduate degree in public health or a similar field.

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Donald G. Willems Scholarship

Awarded jointly by the Montana Section of the American Water Works Association and the Montana section of the Water Environment Federation, this scholarship is for students pursuing a career in the water or wastewater industries.

Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Must be enrolled in a college or university in Montana and must have at least a 2.0 GPA.

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Pride Foundation Scholarship

The Pride Foundation offers scholarships to LGBTQ students and students interested in LGBTQ issues in the Northwest. The scholarships are for students who are economically or socially disadvantaged and who demonstrate significant financial need.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: January 18
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a resident of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington. Must have an interest in LGBTQ issues.

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KASF Scholarship

The Korean American Scholarship foundation offers scholarships each year to Korean American students who reside in the Western U.S. Non-Korean descendants of Americans who served in the Korean War may be eligible.

Amount Offered: $500-$5,000
Scholarship Deadline: July 16
Eligibility Requirements: Must be of Korean descent, be a full-time student, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 to apply.

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