Research centers and universities, large urban populations, and numerous healthcare systems contribute to New Jersey’s strong public health industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for health workers in New Jersey are expected to rise, with health educator jobs projected to increase 8.4% and medical and health services manager jobs projected to increase 13.8%. According to America’s Health Rankings, New Jersey ranks 11th in the country in public health, earning positive marks based on low infant mortality and a high concentration of dentists. Despite this, the state faces challenges such as low immunization coverage of children and a large disparity in health status.
According to the BLS, job opportunities for health workers in New Jersey are expected to rise, with health educator jobs projected to increase 8.4% and medical and health services manager jobs projected to increase 13.8%.
Students interested in pursuing a master’s in public health can receive a number of benefits in the state of New Jersey. Public health workers in the state earn a higher annual mean wage than in the country as a whole. Job opportunities abound since the state hosts several large healthcare systems. Online MPH programs in New Jersey lead to a meaningful career improving lives.
The health improvement plan in New Jersey, Healthy New Jersey 2020, was created by the New Jersey Department of Health in partnership with health providers, county public health departments, and public health professional organizations. The plan outlines 20 different initiatives involving health concerns such as asthma, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke, nutrition and fitness, and tobacco use. The state’s DOH website outlines and addresses additional health concerns such as workplace health, environmental health, food safety, and communicable diseases.
The state is also reaching the end of their 2013-2018 Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Plan. The report states that in 2009, 59% of deaths in the state were caused by heart disease, cancer, stroke, or diabetes. The two leading causes of death in the state were heart disease and cancer. Efforts to prevent chronic disease include prioritizing increased activity, better nutrition, smoking cessation, improved environmental health, early disease detection, and improved access to healthcare. Additionally, the Population Health Action Team named childhood lead exposure and nutrition and fitness as areas to improve.
Students in online MPH programs should pursue internship and fellowship opportunities. Internships usually involve completing tasks to earn experience. They may be paid, unpaid, or completed for college credit. Internships can be performed by high school students, college graduates, or professionals interested in a career change. Fellowships are more academic in nature and may involve completing research or managing projects. They often apply to students working on their master’s or doctorate. Fellows usually receive a stipend in exchange for their work. Below are some of the internship and fellowship opportunities available to students in online MPH programs in New Jersey.
- New Jersey Department of Health Internship
Located at the state DOH in Trenton, these internships are designed to expose students to state careers and DOH work. Applicants are encouraged to email the DOH for more information.
- Middlesex County Office of Health Services Internship
Health services internships can be completed in fields of nursing, emergency preparedness, and inspections. Internships are offered three times per year. Students gain real-world experience, networking opportunities, and access to training courses. Students should complete the application and submit their cover letter and resume for consideration.
- New Jersey Poison Information & Education System (NJPIES) Internship
Located in Newark, NJPIES offers two internships. Interns work with health educators on health promotion efforts. Students may write press releases, assist with events, and create their own lesson plans and activities. They will work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
- Burlington County Health Department Internship
Located in Mount Holly, the Burlington County Health Department accepts interns for spring, summer, and fall semester. Applicants should complete the online application and attach their unofficial transcript, a resume, and a writing sample.
- Jersey City Medical Center Fellowship
This administrative fellowship focuses on the planning and operations of an urban hospital. Fellows will coordinate with multiple departments and work on project management with the senior leadership of the hospital. Applicants for the one-year fellowship should submit a cover letter, personal statement, Powerpoint, transcript, resume, and two letters of recommendation.
Factors that affect the salaries of public health officials include experience, education, and the city and state where they live. While New Jersey health workers earn a higher hourly mean wage and annual mean wage than the United States average, New Jersey is an expensive state with a high cost of living. Additionally, salaries of health workers can vary widely, with epidemiologists in the state earning an annual mean wage of over $100,000 per year, and health educators earning an annual mean wage of just under $60,000 per year. Salaries increase with the level of experience. Large metropolitan areas and healthcare systems in New Jersey provide strong job opportunities and often higher wages.
|Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
Public Health Employers in New Jersey
According to the BLS, 15% of epidemiologists and 23% of health educators are employed at hospitals. Students in online MPH programs in New Jersey will benefit from the fact that some of the largest employers in the state are hospitals and healthcare systems. Large employers in the field, including those below, will make it easier for MPH New Jersey students to find a job after graduation.
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|Virtua Health System||8,700|
Public Health Research Centers in New Jersey
Graduates of online MPH programs in New Jersey may be interested in working in research centers. New Jersey is home a number of research centers focusing on topics including infectious diseases, tobacco cessation, and alcohol treatment. Below are some of the state’s top research centers.
- Public Health Research Institute (PHRI): PHRI is part of the New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Services. It operates 21 independent labs with a research budget of over $21 million. The institute focuses on infectious disease programs through the research of more than 130 scientists and staff members.
- New Jersey Public Health Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN): The NJ PBRN is a collaboration between the NJ Department of Health, Rutgers, and the New Jersey Association of County and City Health Officials. The NJ PBRN studies public health delivery methods and is led by the state’s assistant commissioner for epidemiology, environmental, and occupational health.
- Rutgers School of Public Health (SPH) Centers & Research Programs: Rutgers SPH operates several centers related to public health. Centers include the Center for Tobacco Studies, Center for School and Community-Based Research and Education, Alcohol Treatment and Research Program, and the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies.
Public Health Professional Organizations in New Jersey
New Jersey offers several organizations for public health professionals and students, including the NJPHA, the oldest public health organization in the country. Members of these organizations can take advantage of professional development opportunities which not only enhance knowledge, but are often required to maintain certifications. These organizations distribute public health information, host events, promote advocacy, and often include job boards. Students in online MPH programs in New Jersey should consider joining professional organizations, including the ones below.
- New Jersey Association of County and City Health Officials (NJACCHO): NJACCHO is an organization comprised of municipal and county public health professionals who work to improve the health of New Jersey citizens. Members can serve on a committee, help on positions papers and influencing the legislature, and participate in workshops. Members and the public can also sign up for the organization’s eNews.
- New Jersey Public Health Association (NJPHA): NJPHA is the oldest public health organization in the United States. Members can take advantage of professional development opportunities at a discount and network with other public health professionals. Graduates of public health programs in New Jersey may be particularly interested in the job-seeking tips and job postings.
- New Jersey Society for Public Health Education (NJSOPHE): NJSOPHE is a professional organization for health educators in the state. Members can receive newsletters and legislative alerts, take part in professional development opportunities and networking, view current job opportunities, and access a member database.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health, health officers and registered environmental health specialists employed by local health departments must be licensed.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health, health officers and registered environmental health specialists employed by local health departments must be licensed. The New Jersey Local Boards of Health Association also has an online training and certified board of health member certification program for their board members.
The industry also has some optional certifications. Certifications to consider include the National Board of Public Health Examiners’ Certified in Public Health (CPH) for public health workers and the NCHEC’s Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) for health educators. Public health professionals might consider these certifications because they are indicators of significant knowledge in the field and dedication to public health. These credentials can set certified applicants apart from other job seekers when applying to public health positions in New Jersey and across the country.
Accreditation can be granted to both universities and specific programs. A college or university might be nationally or regionally accredited. The regional accreditor for New Jersey institutions is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Regional accreditation is very standardized, and some doctoral programs might require that applicants have attended a regionally-accredited college for their master’s degree. If not regionally accredited, a New Jersey institution may be nationally accredited. National accreditation agencies review colleges who all share a common trait, such as a specific trade or field. Credits earned at a nationally accredited college might not transfer to a regionally-accredited institution. Students at both types of accredited institutions are eligible for financial aid, and both types of institutions can have online programs.
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits public health programs and schools, including master of public health online programs in New Jersey. Several of the public health certifications mentioned above require that students have attended a CEPH-accredited program in order to sit for the exam. Those who have not attended a CEPH-accredited program may have to provide transcripts that indicate they have completed specific coursework.
- The Lew Williams & Leila Sulkes Scholarships
The Freehold branch of the American Association of University Women awards this scholarship to female residents of certain NJ cities who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs.
Amount Offered: $2,000
Scholarship Deadline: July 31
Eligibility Requirements: Women must be 25 or older, have completed at least six credits at the graduate level, have maintained a “B” average, and be a resident of Freehold Borough, Englishtown, Colts Neck, Freehold Township, Farmingdale, Manalapan, Howell, Marlboro, or Morganville.
- HRET of NJ Scholarships
The Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) of New Jersey awards these scholarships to encourage New Jersey residents to pursue careers in health. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply for the scholarships.
Amount Offered: $2,000
Scholarship Deadline: September 18
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible students must be New Jersey residents who have been accepted to a hospital or healthcare administration program. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and submit FAFSA documentation.
- Rutgers National Service Scholarship Program
The National Service Scholarship Program is for Rutgers School of Public Health master’s or doctoral students who have completed a U.S. federal service program such as the Peace Corps or military service.
Amount Offered: Partial tuition
Scholarship Deadline: At time of application
Eligibility Requirements: Students must provide evidence of completing a U.S. federal service program and, if accepted, enroll in at least six credits per semester for two years.
- Karen Denard Goldman Academic Scholarship Award
Awarded by the New Jersey Society for Public Health Education, this award is given to a student or recent graduate who has demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to health education.
Amount Offered: $500
Scholarship Deadline: October 20
Eligibility Requirements: Award is based on GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statement, professional background, and commitment to health education.
- Montclair State University Graduate Assistantships
The Graduate School at Montclair State offers 200 graduate assistantships for master’s students. These assistantships can involve working with faculty on research, assisting with teaching, and performing field work.
Amount Offered: Tuition and fee remission for up to 24 credits per academic year, plus stipend payment.
Scholarship Deadline: N/A
Eligibility Requirements: Students must have a 3.0 GPA, be a full-time student, and agree to work at least 20 hours per week.
- EOF Graduate Grants
The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund provides graduate scholarships to students from backgrounds of poverty. Grants can be renewed as long as the student remains eligible.
Amount Offered: $200-$4,350
Scholarship Deadline: N/A
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible students must have lived in New Jersey for at least one year, be a full-time graduate student, meet financial eligibility requirements, and be attending an institution in New Jersey.
- Andrew K. Ruotolo, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Awarded by The County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey Foundation, this scholarship is for a New Jersey graduate student who demonstrates a commitment to child advocacy.
Amount Offered: $2,500
Scholarship Deadline: June 15
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be New Jersey residents accepted to graduate school, have a commitment to child advocacy programs, and demonstrate financial need.
- Margaret Yardley Fellowship
The Margaret Yardley Fellowship is awarded by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs to a female New Jersey resident pursuing post-graduate education.
Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 1
Eligibility Requirements: Students are evaluated based on academic achievement, career potential, and charitable efforts. Applicants must be New Jersey residents.
- KASF NERC College/Graduate Scholarship
The Northeastern chapter of the Korean American Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students attending institutions in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Amount Offered: $500-$5,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be full-time graduate students with Korean heritage and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must demonstrate financial need and be attending an institution in an eligible state.
- Robert L. Schattner Scholarship
Administered by the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. in Cherry Hill, this award is for a Jewish student who is a resident of Burlington, Camden or Gloucester Counties. The organization gives special consideration to students pursuing business or health-related fields.
Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Student must have a 2.5 GPA, be a resident of Burlington, Camden or Gloucester Counties, and demonstrate financial need.