Improving public health has been a focal point in North Dakota for more than 70 years. In recent years, officials determined that the state needed more public health programs and public health education programs to address rural populations settled throughout the region. This inspired public health associations to promote improved public health awareness and to create more job opportunities for public health professionals. The combined effort improved healthcare outcomes throughout North Dakota, ranking it in first place three times over the last decade in Gallup-Healthways’ State of American Well-Being ranking for statewide health assessments.

North Dakota’s diverse population is ideal for students pursuing an online MPH.

The professional field of public health has grown steadily in North Dakota. Careers for professionals with public health degrees, such as master’s degrees in public health (MPH) or in health education, are projected to grow at about 13%, a faster growth rate than the national average. North Dakota’s diverse population is ideal for students pursuing an online MPH. With growing cities, American Indian reservations, small pockets of agricultural communities, and ever-fluctuating rural populations, aspiring public health professionals gain a wide range of public experience.

In 2002, North Dakota’s governor John Hoeven introduced Healthy North Dakota, a public health initiative challenging citizens to exercise more, eat healthier, and reduce their tobacco and alcohol consumption. Consisting of more than 400 committee members, Healthy North Dakota also supports worksite wellness and provides resources for people hoping to improve their health.

The North Dakota Department of Health developed a strategic plan to better protect and enhance the health of North Dakotans. The department’s’ four main initiatives are: improving the overall health status of citizens, improving the access to and delivery of health and wellness services for everyone, preserving the quality of the environment, and promoting a state of emergency readiness program.

Even though internships and fellowships are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two terms. While an internship is generally held by a junior student in exchange for school credit, experience,or pay, a fellow is almost always a graduate or postgraduate student focused on research and professional development. Fellowships consist of a full-time workload and pay better than an internship. The following list highlights some of best internships and fellowships available to students in online MPH programs in North Dakota.

Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board

The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board internship is available to public health students interested in working with Great Plains tribal nations. Interns must have a 3.0 GPA to be eligible. The internship is hosted in Rapid City, South Dakota.

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Health Communication Fellowship

Master’s students in public health programs are eligible for the fellowship at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. There are various CDC departments and branches that take in fellows each year, including the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

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Oak Ridge Environmental Management Science Education and Internship Program

Oak Ridge Environmental Management is a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy. The internship is hosted in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and eligible public health interns receive the opportunity to work in the Occupational Safety and Health division.

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Sanford Health Internship

Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota grants public health students the opportunity to work in a quality and safety position at the hospital.

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World Health Organization Internship Programme

The WHO Internship Programme provides public health students with a work environment that enhances their educational experience. Internships last from six weeks to six months.

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The earning potential for graduates of a master public health online North Dakota program depends largely on experience, education level, credentials, and location. In North Dakota, health educators earn an annual mean wage of more than $50,000, higher than the national average for the profession. Nationwide, the health educator field is projected to grow at about 16%, almost twice as fast as the average.

A second popular profession for graduates of public health programs in North Dakota lies in epidemiology. While the field is not projected to grow as much as health education, the financial rewards are substantial. The annual median pay for epidemiologists is more than $70,000. Because both of these fields change and adapt to technological advancements, new graduates will likely continue to be in demand across the country.

  Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
North Dakota 220 $24.22 $50,370
United States 63,260 $32.60 $67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in North Dakota

One of the best places to start a job search is with North Dakota’s largest employers. North Dakota’s public health sector offers many employers from which to choose, including North Dakota’s Department of Health, which looks for public health professionals from online MPH programs in North Dakota. Additionally, the two largest health and medical centers in the state, Sanford Health and St. Alexius Medical Center, both seek public health professionals to fill their health educator positions.

Employers Number of Employees
North Dakota Department of Health 200-500 employees
Sanford Health 28,000 employees across nine states
St. Alexius Medical Center 1,800 employees

Public Health Research Centers in North Dakota

Research centers have some of the most desirable positions for public health graduates. Health centers with active research departments and projects prefer new graduates with research experience. When preparing for life after graduating from one of the online MPH programs in North Dakota, students should take note of research centers with research priorities similar to their own. The following list contains some of the largest and most active research centers in the state.

  • Center for Rural Health – University of North Dakota: The Center for Rural Health performs research supporting the rural and tribal communities in North Dakota and examines existing healthcare issues.
  • Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center: The Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center is operated by the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Currently, the center hosts research projects within several research units, including genetics, breeding, animal health, nutrition & environmental management, and meat safety and quality.
  • Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health (CRCAIH): CRCAIH is a collaboration between tribal communities and health researchers working to address health disparities in American Indian communities. Current research projects include emergency department use and American Indian children care, pediatric asthma, and culturally targeted education on kidney donation.

Public Health Professional Organizations in North Dakota

Industry professionals, organizations and associations are some of the most valuable resources available for those new to the industry. Most professional organizations provide benefits for members, including access to professional development courses and programs, industry events, industry resources and publications, and networking opportunities. Many organizations also offer job boards, career services and assistance, and research tools.

  • North Dakota Public Health Association: Since 1944, the North Dakota Public Health Association has been dedicated to improving the health of all North Dakotans. Members have access to resources, professional development opportunities, and networking events with public health officials.
  • Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS): Through educational and training opportunities, networking, and workforce development, CHAMPS strives to improve the community health centers throughout the region and better serve the citizens of the mountain and plains states.

Professional certificates in healthcare are available in addition to a degree from one of the online MPH programs in North Dakota. The Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential goes to students that pass the examination offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Public health programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CHES) help eligible graduates pursue this professional certification. For many public health positions, including many in North Dakota, the CPH credential is a requirement because it demonstrates that graduates have met a national standard in public health. Additionally, the credential shows employers that the certified student has an understanding of current public health practices and a commitment to public health.

…the CPH credential is a requirement because it demonstrates that graduates have met a national standard in public health

Another certification available to public health graduates is the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). This credential demonstrates to employers that the certified student has met the industry standards of a health educator. While not always necessary for employment, the CHES and CPH put students ahead of their competition.

Accreditation comes in two major forms: regional and national. Regional accreditation typically refers to a college or a university’s governing body. In North Dakota, the regional accrediting body is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC oversees all degree-granting colleges and universities in the North Central region and ensures that each school and program meets educational standards.

National accreditations are equally important but vary widely. For aspiring public health professionals, the most important national accreditation comes from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The CEPH approves public health programs that meet the national standards of the public health field.

North Dakota State University

NDSU has one of the best public health programs in North Dakota. The fully online MPH program includes specializations in American Indian public health, community health sciences, and the management of infectious diseases. Students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful research that advances the public health field.

Because North Dakota is largely a rural state, the program places significant focus on the unique public health challenges of people in sparsely populated areas. The state’s high American Indian population has led to the program becoming a national leader for public health issues in native communities. The program also has a diverse faculty. Instructors have extensive experience in microbiology, nursing, social science, medicine, and pharmacology, along with other relevant subjects.

The curriculum requires 42 credits, including foundational courses in biostatistics, public health policy, community health leadership, and environmental health. Once these foundational classes have been completed, students move into more specialization coursework. Example specialization courses include American Indian health equity, advanced topics in food safety microbiology, and managing chronic illness. Students must also conduct original research and complete a master’s paper incorporating what they’ve learned through their studies. There is also a three-credit internship or practicum. In most cases, full-time students can graduate within two years.

To be eligible for admission, prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants also must submit a written statement of purpose, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Students may enroll part-time or full-time.

This MPH is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The university’s 258-acre campus is located in Fargo, a community on the North Dakota-Minnesota border. NDSU is a public research institution founded in 1890.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota’s master of public health program is one of just a handful in the country that places a strong focus on big health data analytics. Students learn how to use data for sound policy and decision-making. The program imparts important skill set in a public health field that’s increasingly driven by data.

As one of the top online MPH programs in North Dakota, this degree also offers a high level of flexibility in terms of course delivery. Students may take some or all of their classes online, while still having access to on-campus instructors, peers, and other key resources. UND encourages students to collaborate with faculty members on original research projects.

The MPH program includes two specializations: population health analytics and health management and policy. Both tracks emphasize the use and analysis of health data. Before graduation, students must complete a practicum at an approved site. This experience gives individuals real-world experience in the field and an opportunity to learn directly from established professionals.

To be eligible for this master of public health online in North Dakota, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Applicants must also take the GRE, GMAT, or a similar exam. Other application requirements include a resume, a written statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all colleges or universities previously attended. While there are different tuition rates for resident and non-resident students, learners from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming have access to in-state tuition.

TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to healthcare students pursuing a degree focused on patient treatment. TYLENOL awards students who showcase leadership, academic proficiency, and dedication to healthcare.

Amount Offered: $5,000 – $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
Eligibility Requirements: Must have at least one year of school remaining and demonstrate academic excellence.

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HOSA Scholarships

HOSA and STEM Premier have partnered to offer student members from a variety of fields 15 scholarship opportunities. Each scholarship prize is contributed from one of HOSA’s sponsors.

Amount Offered: $1,000 (15 prizes)
Scholarship Deadline: March 15
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a STEM Premier member and be enrolled in one of the eligible programs.

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Marion B. Pollock Award

Awarded by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) on behalf of the Foundation for the Advancement of Health Education (FAHE), this scholarship is given to a student committed to health education.

Amount Offered: $3,000
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be enrolled in a health education program and have completed at least six credits.

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NEHA/AAS Scholarship

To stimulate education in health sciences and environmental health, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and the American Academy of Sanitarians (AAS) created this scholarship to assist promising students in the field.

Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
Eligibility Requirements: Graduate students must be working toward a career in environmental health sciences and have completed at least one semester of study.

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Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

Created in honor of Albert W. Dent— the first African-American Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), this scholarship is awarded to minority students working toward a healthcare management graduate degree.

Amount Offered: Up to 15 awards of $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a minority student in the final year of a full-time healthcare management program.

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National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program

Awarded by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to students pursuing a career in primary healthcare, this scholarship looks to promote improved healthcare services in underserved communities.

Amount Offered: Payment of all tuition-related costs for up to four years.
Scholarship Deadline: April 27
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in one of the eligible programs.

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JCC Association Graduate Scholarship

Created to help enhance the education of future and current Jewish Community Centers (JCC) professionals, this award is given to those who enrich the JCC programs of the future.

Amount Offered: $10,000 for up to two years
Scholarship Deadline: October
Eligibility Requirements: Must be a master’s student willing to commit to two years of work at JCC.

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The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

The Truman scholarship is a merit-based national prize awarded to academics looking to serve the public. The award is given to students who hope to pursue graduate school.

Amount Offered: Up to $30,000 for graduate studies
Scholarship Deadline: February 6
Eligibility Requirements: Students must still be in graduate school and looking for a career in public service.

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IHS Scholarship Program

Funded by the Indian Health Service (IHS), this scholarship is awarded to American Indian and Alaska Native students in a health profession program.

Amount Offered: All tuition-related costs
Scholarship Deadline: March 28
Eligibility Requirements: Must be enrolled in a health profession program and take on a two-year commitment of service at an American Indian health facility. Applicants are ranked on academic performance, workplace references, and an essay component.

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Cobell Graduate Student Summer Fellowship Program

The Cobell Graduate Student Summer Fellowship awards a research stipend to American Indian and Alaska Native graduate students.

Amount Offered: $5,000 research stipend
Scholarship Deadline: January 10
Eligibility Requirements: Must be an American Indian and Alaska Native graduate student with a 3.0 GPA and have completed research covering the Elouise Cobell and The Cobell Settlement prior to applying.

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