According to the United Health Foundation, Utah is the eighth healthiest state in the nation. Much of this progress is due to the great strides made by state health organizations, such as the Utah Public Health Association and the Utah Department of Health, which promote quality public health and advocate for better healthcare practices. The Beehive State’s higher education system has also had a hand in promoting and delivering public health education by attracting and educating aspiring healthcare professionals through its many programs, such as the master’s degree in public health (MPH).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that Utah will have the third highest projected growth rate in health educators and related fields in the country over the next 10 years.
While many areas of public health in Utah are performing exceedingly well, such as tobacco use, which is the lowest in the country, and diabetes which is second-lowest, there is still much work to be done. Drug use and vaccination are some of the state’s primary areas of concern, and Utah’s public health associations and higher education institutions are making a concerted effort to address these issues as quickly and effectively as possible. Already a healthy state, public health is still one of the most promising career paths professionals can take in Utah. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that Utah will have the third highest projected growth rate in health educators and related fields in the country over the next 10 years, as demand for public health professionals to run new and long-standing health programs in the state increases.
Promoting and improving a healthy way of life has been a focus in the state since the Utah Public Health Association was founded in 1916. The desire to provide all Utahns with the tools and resources to live happy and healthy lives has helped make Utah one of the healthiest states in the country. State residents are generally healthy and physically active, perhaps in part because the Department of Health still actively promotes better public health through various programs, such as Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Statewide Health Improvement Plan. These initiatives do not seek to merely maintain current health levels but to improve upon them, delivering information, resources, and tools for better nutrition, mental and physical health, and state-wide collaboration.
With only the 27th largest public health budget in country, funding alone is not the reason the state’s citizens are so healthy. Utah continues to excel in the field of public health because of the relationship between the state’s citizens, its higher education system, and the public health organizations. The colleges and universities in the Beehive State continue developing and fostering the interests of aspiring health professionals. For example, the University of Utah School of Medicine has a division dedicated to public health. The state’s many public health programs, including online MPH programs in Utah, offer many options for students considering a career in public health.
Internships and fellowships are similar in some ways but there are differences between the two. Undergraduate and graduate students can gain job experience and course credit through internships, which are often either part-time or seasonal and can be paid or unpaid. Fellowships are generally taken on by graduate students or postgraduates. These positions are often full-time and require a significant workload in return for a stipend or salary. For students earning their master’s of public health online in Utah, there are many internships and fellowships available to help them gain experience and earn credit toward their degree.
- Division of Health Promotion at the Weber-Morgan Health Department
Hosted by the Division of Health Promotion, interns at the Weber-Morgan Health Department gain experience as a community health educator. Interns work within several available public health initiatives, including tobacco prevention and teen pregnancy prevention.
- Huntsman Cancer Institute
Interns at the Huntsman Cancer Institute apply their classroom knowledge to cancer-related issues and programs in the community. Primary duties include program planning, service delivery, and needs assessment. Eligible students should apply through the University of Utah healthcare department.
- Molina Healthcare Internship Program
The Molina Healthcare Internship Program is designed to help train and attract talented public health students to Molina Healthcare. Through experiential learning, students develop their skills and integrate themselves into the healthcare environment. Interested students should apply through the Molina Healthcare website.
- American Public Health Association
The American Public Health Association offers a variety of internships and fellowships in several different areas. Aspiring public health professionals are most likely to be interested in the opportunities in public health policy, public health campaigns, and the Center for School, Health, and Education.
- The Global Health Fellows Program
Offered through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), this program provides participants with experience in developing and implementing health programs as well as monitoring and reporting on global health developments. Applications are available through USAID’s recruitment portal.
Like many careers, the public health profession in Utah varies greatly depending on location, experience, and education level. The urban areas of Utah typically offer the greatest demand for public health officials and the highest compensations, but the financial rewards in Utah are promising overall as well. Even though Utah’s public health professionals receive lower mean wages than the national average, the field presents great career opportunity, as the BLS projects that job opportunities for public health professionals will grow more than 29% by 2024. Aspiring professionals in the field should also consider that the cost of living in Utah is 7.2% lower than the national average.
|Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
Public Health Employers in Utah
The largest employers within each state are always a great place to start a job search after graduation. These organizations typically post many entry-level positions hoping to attract the brightest minds coming out of school. The employers on the following list have thousands of employees and a range of positions available for students with an MPH in Utah who aspire to become public health professionals.
|Employers||Number of Employees|
|University of Utah Health||7,800|
|Arup Blood Services||2,700|
Public Health Research Centers in Utah
For graduates from one of the public health programs in Utah looking for entry-level careers, research centers offer some of the best options. Since many academics gain in-depth research experience while in school, health centers are a logical next step after graduation. In Utah, there are several public health research centers for graduates to consider in their job search.
- Rocky Mountain Center for Translational Research in Public Health Informatics: The Rocky Mountain Center (RCM) collects and translates raw public health research for other professionals and uses in the various levels of public health practice. The RCM is housed within the University of Utah and is governed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
- University of Utah Health: The University of Utah Health is the only academic medical center in the Mountain West. There are several affiliated research facilities, centers, and programs included under the name University of Utah Health, many of which hire qualified researchers with public health degrees.
- Advanced Clinical Research: Advanced Clinical Research (ACR) was founded in 1984 to manage a variety of clinical studies. ACR has managed more than 700 studies, providing Utah’s healthcare professionals and citizens with the information to better detect, treat, and prevent illness.
Public Health Professional Organizations in Utah
In nearly every professional industry, associations help professionals develop their careers. By providing networking opportunities, training resources, and access to industry events and publications, professional organizations offer great benefits to members, allowing them every chance to enhance their careers. Organizations, such as those listed below, provide students and new graduates with an effective way to integrate themselves into the field of public health and ensure that they do not miss an important event or opportunity.
- Utah Public Health Association: The Utah Public Health Association is dedicated to improving public health in the state, advocating for improved healthcare practices, and providing benefits to members, such as professional development and workforce support.
- Rural Health Association of Utah: The Rural Health Association of Utah (RHAU) strives to be the collective voice of rural health professionals. Through promotion, advocacy, collaboration, and education, the RHAU seeks to change rural healthcare policy in the state for the benefit of all Utahns. Member benefits include educational opportunities, access to industry events, and up-to-date job postings.
- Association for Utah Community Health: The Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) is the unified voice of the various health centers in Utah. By promoting better health, engaging with and educating the public, and analyzing policy, AUCH seeks to make healthcare more available to areas with limited access to hospitals and primary care. Members gain access to industry events and conferences, networking and training opportunities, and several public health programs and resources.
The CHES certification, which is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, validates that the graduate has met the industry standards and is familiar with the current practices of a healthcare educator.
In addition to the various online MPH programs in Utah, the field of public health offers certifications, such as the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential and the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). The CPH credential is awarded by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Public health candidates that graduate from one of the Council on Education for Public Health accredited public health programs in Utah are able to pursue this professional certification. While this certification is not required to be employed in the field of public health in Utah, it demonstrates to employers that the student met the national standards of the certification.
Similarly, the CHES certification, which is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, validates that the graduate has met the industry standards and is familiar with the current practices of a healthcare educator. Both of these certifications serve graduates well when exploring careers in the public health workforce.
When choosing a school for online MPH programs in Utah, be sure to consider accreditation. There are two major types of accreditation: regional and national. The most important accreditation in this case is regional because it ensures that the higher education institution and its degrees have met the standards of the U.S. Department of Education. In Utah and the six other states that make up the Northwest region, the regional accreditor is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Another regional accrediting body that oversees the public higher education institutions in the state is the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).
The other form of accreditation is national, and this typically refers to program accreditation. For online MPH programs in Utah, the relevant accreditation to look for is the Council on Education for Public Health. This accrediting body works under the U.S Department of Education, ensuring that the nation’s public health programs meet the public health field’s national standards.
- HOSA Scholarships
The Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) scholarships are awarded through a partnership between HOSA and STEM Premier. Future healthcare professionals receive awards from one of HOSA’s 27 sponsors.
Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must be graduate students that demonstrate academic excellence with at least one year of study remaining.
- Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship
The Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship is awarded to minority students that are enrolled in a healthcare management degree. The award is granted by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is named in honor of this institution’s first African-American Fellow.
Amount Offered: $5,000
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must be minority students in their final year of study working toward a healthcare management degree.
- TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship
The TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship is awarded to students working toward a degree in the healthcare field. The award is granted to students who demonstrate leadership, academic excellence, and dedication to the healthcare field.
Amount Offered: $5,000 – $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: June 30
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must have one year of study remaining and showcase academic excellence.
- Marion B. Pollock Award
The Society for Public Health Education gives this award to an elementary, middle, or high school teacher that demonstrates commitment to the field of health education. The award is donated on behalf of the Foundation for the Advancement of Health Education.
Amount Offered: $3,000
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must be currently enrolled in a health education program and must have earned a minimum of six credits in their chosen program.
- Cathy L. Brock Scholarship
The Cathy L. Brock Scholarship is awarded to a single recipient that demonstrates leadership in the healthcare field and represents an ethnically diverse background.
Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: October 31
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must be enrolled in an MPH program or a related field, demonstrate financial need, and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
- Cooley Scholarship
The Cooley Scholarship is awarded at the SHAPE America convention and given to students that demonstrate commitment to the field and potential for leadership.
Amount Offered: $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: October 15
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a health education program and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better.
- David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship
The David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership in a health-related graduate degree.
Amount Offered: $10,000
Scholarship Deadline: April 1
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must be first-year graduate students who have completed five or more courses in any AUPHA or ASPPH member program.
- Dr. Alma S. Adams Scholarship
This award, sponsored by the Truth Initiative, is given to students pursuing a health-related degree who have completed community service that combats tobacco use by raising awareness about tobacco-related health issues.
Amount Offered: $5,000 (two awards)
Scholarship Deadline: April 30
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible applicants must demonstrate creative community service that educates the public about the harmful consequences of tobacco use.
- Westminster Graduate Student Scholarship Fund
Established by the Utah Public Health Association, this scholarship is available to Westminster graduate students in a public health program.
Amount Offered: $200
Scholarship Deadline: N/A
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be members of the UPHA and demonstrate leadership in the field.
- University of Utah Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship Fund
Established by the Utah Public Health Association, this scholarship is awarded annually to a single University of Utah public health graduate student.
Amount Offered: $500
Scholarship Deadline: Provided upon request for application
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be members of the UPHA and maintain a grade of B or higher.