A recent study by U.S. News & World Report ranks Rhode Island number eight on a list of the healthiest states in the nation. The 2017 survey ranked states for factors like smoking, obesity, mental health, infant mortality, and suicide. The state boasts one of the nation’s best on-campus master’s in public health programs and is home to several groundbreaking public health research centers and institutes.

The BLS projects that jobs in health education will rise 7%, and that positions in community health environmental health scientists will grow 15% and 11% respectively.

Careers in Rhode Island’s field of public health include environmental health, health education, and epidemiology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for grads of public health programs in Rhode Island will rise in a number of fields. The BLS projects that jobs in health education will rise 7%, and that positions in community health environmental health scientists will grow 15% and 11% respectively. Not only can you make a comfortable living in a growing field, you can feel good about doing it.

Governor Gina Raimondo put together a work-group to study healthcare innovation. Her new initiative has three broad aims: improve the health of Rhode Islanders, enhance the quality of care, and reduce per-capita costs. In conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health, Rhode Island has implemented a five-part strategy: promote lifelong healthy living, ensure access to safe food and water through environmental health, prevent and control emerging health threats, promote a comprehensive and easily navigated health system, and analyze relevant data to improve public health. Today, Rhode Island needs public health graduates to help people in the state lead healthier lives.

Rhode Island’s commitment to public health has led to a variety of internships and fellowships for students. Internships typically offer students resume-bolstering experience in the workplace — often without pay, however. Fellowships provide graduate students with intensive, paid immersions in a field — often as research associates. The following internships and fellowships are all available to public health students in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Department of Health Internships (DOH)

The DOH has several internship programs for students, offering the opportunity to work in Lyme surveillance, assist the State Laboratory, design and administer surveys, and evaluate health promotion efforts. Internships run eight to 12 weeks in the fall and spring and four weeks during winter break. Students apply at intern@rilegislature.gov..
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Clean Water Action (CWA)

A national environmental organization dedicated to clean drinking water, CWA offers students in Rhode Island public health master’s programs an internship opportunity out of its Providence office. Interns write blogs, work in social media, and research campaign issues. Students can apply through the link.
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4-Safety Internship

A collaboration between Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence and Dunkin Donuts, 4-Safety educates the public on ways to prevent injury and lead safe, healthy lives. Interns work through the summer developing new safety topics and making public appearances. Students in Rhode Island are welcome. Students can apply through the link.
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University of Rhode Island Coastal Fellows (URI)

URI’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences offers several fellowships every summer to students. Students join teams and research environmental and marine-related topics, including public health issues like clean drinking water and Lyme prevention. Students can apply through the link.
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Childhood Lead Action Project

This Providence-based public health organization offers internships to students who help with outreach, training, and advocacy to prevent childhood lead exposure. Students can apply through the link.
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Public health officials earn a good living in Rhode Island. Health educators, for example, make seven dollars more per hour than the national average. The amount anyone earns depends on their level of education, experience, and location. The Ocean State’s commitment to public health puts students in online MPH programs in Rhode Island in a position to receive good jobs.

 EmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Rhode Island260$35.25$73,320
United States63,260$32.60$67,810

Source: BLS

Public Health Employers in Rhode Island

Both community health employers and public health companies hire in Rhode Island. Big public health companies hire the most employees and often offer internship opportunities that help students get a foot in the door. Below, we’ve listed the three largest public health companies in Rhode Island.

EmployersNumber of Employees
Rhode Island State Government14,904
Lifespan11,869
Care New England5,953

Public Health Research Centers in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to several nationally known public health research centers, good places to send resumes upon graduation. These large organizations help students find jobs in research careers.

  • Rhode Island Public Health Institute: On Brown University’s Ivy League campus, the RIPHI partners with Brown and the Rhode Island Department of Public Health to conduct policy research and provide educational training in community health.
  • Rhode Island Public Health Research Laboratory: Part of the state Department of Health, the lab undertakes studies and collects data and searches for innovative solutions to public health problems. The Providence-based facility works closely with Rhode Island’s integrated public health agenda and the state’s academic research community.
  • Rhode Island Hospital Center for International Health Research: A Lifespan institute based in Providence, the center uses grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation, the Thrasher Research Fund, and the National Blood Foundation to conduct epidemiological research, particularly in tropical infectious diseases.

Public Health Professional Organizations in Rhode Island

Because of its collaborative nature and research focus, the public health field benefits from an open exchange of information. Graduates of online MPH programs in Rhode Island likewise benefit from networking, and public health professional organizations provide these events and networking opportunities. These like-minded people offer mentorships, continuing education, career services help, job boards, and annual conferences.

  • Rhode Island Public Health Association (RIPHA): A nonprofit, professional organization, the RIPHA promotes the advancement of community health in the state. The group engages in advocacy, sponsors research, disseminates information, and offers opportunities for networking at its annual meeting.
  • Rhode Island Environmental Health Association: A membership organization devoted to the promotion of public health through a clean environment, this association hosts cleanup events, wine tastings, nutrition classes, and annual fundraisers. Networking opportunities abound for those in environmental health, and the group offers career guidance and training to members.
  • New England Rural Health RoundTable: A public health advocacy organization for the six New England States, the RoundTable includes several members from Rhode Island’s public health community. The organization sponsors forums, hosts an annual conference, and publishes the Rural Data for Action report.

Licensure is not required in many of Rhode Island’s public health fields.

Licensure is not required in many of Rhode Island’s public health fields. Health educators and environmental health researchers can practice without a state license. The state does, however, license medical and dental practitioners, hearing aid professionals, podiatrists, and other healthcare practitioners. Licenses are also required for asbestos abatement, lead professionals, and lactation consultants. Licensing for epidemiology is typically covered by the facility or by the fact that many epidemiologists are MDs.

While not always required, certification enhances a resume and adds to the professional appeal of graduates hailing from one of the online MPH programs in Rhode Island. The National Board of Public Health Examiners offers a certification test that sets the national standard – the Certified Public Health (CPH) exam. The CPH credential shows potential employers that you have mastered public health science. Similar programs are available for specialized fields in public health. Health educators can take the Certified Health Education Specialist or the Master Certified Health Education Specialist exams, both offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. The National Environmental Health Association provides an array of credentials in specialized fields as well.

When narrowing down your search for an online public health master’s program in Rhode Island, ensure that programs carry accreditation from reputable agencies. Accreditation comes in two forms: regional and national. Regional accreditation covers most colleges and universities. In Rhode Island, accreditation is most often provided by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, one of the seven regional accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. National accreditors tend to focus on vocational and technical colleges and schools that teach in specialized fields or single industries.
The best online public health master’s programs in Rhode Island also carry accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, CEPH accredits programs at the graduate level and establishes the criteria by which colleges are evaluated.

Public Health Scholars

The Rhode Island Department of Health places students attending MPH Rhode Island programs into a specific research area for a semester for academic credit. At the end of the semester students present their research at a variety of venues.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Rolling
Eligibility Requirements: Students in master public health online Rhode Island programs should submit a cover letter, resume, and area of interest.
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Black Philanthropy Bannister Scholarship

The Rhode Island Foundation offers this scholarship to black students pursuing degrees in healthcare. Based on financial need, the grant may be renewable for up to four years.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: April 14
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be African American and enrolled in a post-secondary healthcare program.
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Masters of Public Health Scholarships

Brown University offers scholarships to highly qualified students in its masters of Public Health program— one of the best in the nation.

Amount Offered: Covers 25% of tuition
Scholarship Deadline: February 1
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have financial need and advanced qualifications for the program.
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B. Jae Clanton Scholarship

Sponsored by the Urban League of Rhode Island, the Clanton scholarship is a need-based grant that goes to Latino students in postsecondary programs.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Rolling
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be qualified Latinos with a demonstrable need for financial aid.
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Betty and Tom Shreve Scholarship Endowment

Administered by the University of Rhode Island, this scholarship goes to students studying food and nutrition in the health sciences department.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Rolling
Eligibility Requirements: The grant goes to deserving students during the enrollment process.
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Brown University Biostatistics Partial Master’s Scholarship

Brown’s prestigious School of Public Health offers a scholarship to a deserving student in its biostatistics program.

Amount Offered: Covers 25% of tuition costs
Scholarship Deadline: February 1
Eligibility Requirements: The award is granted to a student in need through the enrollment process.
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Marjorie Ellis Endowed Scholarship

Awarded to deserving students in the Environment and Life Sciences department at the University of Rhode Island, this scholarship gives preference to students in food and dietetics studies.

Amount Offered: Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Awarded during the enrollment process
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be an undergrad or graduate student at URI.
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Eckenfelder Scholarship

Named after environmental trailblazer Wesley Eckenfelder, this scholarship goes to students in environmental programs, including environmental health.

Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: August 15
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled full-time in their final undergraduate year or in graduate school and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
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Society for Public Health Education Student Fellowship in Unintentional Injury Prevention

SOPHE provides grants to graduate students pursuing projects in unintentional injury and violence prevention.

Amount Offered: $2,000 stipend
Scholarship Deadline: Rolling
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be enrolled full-time in a master’s or doctoral program in health education, health promotion, or behavioral science.
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Delbert Oberteuffer Scholarship

Presented on behalf of the Foundation for the Advancement of Health Education, this scholarship goes to meritorious students interested in working to advance the health of children and youth.

Amount Offered: $1,500
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be enrolled in a doctoral program in health education and have completed six credit hours of study.
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