Public Health Administration Career Field
Earning a degree in public health administration is crucial to an individual’s future in this field. Administrative and leadership skills are developed in a public health administration program and these assets are prerequisites to holding a leadership
position in public health. Having formal training in public health administration means that you will be properly address the areas that impact this career field, such as ethics, law, planning, and financial management in the public arena. Other skills that are commonly acquired in this program include negotiation skills, teambuilding, and conflict resolution. Obviously, you will also understand how to effectively employ the resources at your disposal in order to promote public health.
The Masters of Health Administration (MHA) degree, like those offered at UNC Charlotte, is the degree to earn if you are interested in acquiring the aforementioned skill set for this career field. These programs are interdisciplinary in design, and serve as the valuable education necessary for managing a healthcare environment.
The degree provides all the necessary training in finance, accounting, and epidemiology along with strategic management, marketing and quantitative methods. Rounding out the education, individuals learn effective management of services, resources and individuals. This high-level leadership program fully prepares an individual to effectively manage health service facilities, organizations and medical care in both the public and private sectors. These management skills are effective for post-acute, acute, and long-term managed care.
Public Health Administration – A Typical Day
The daily work life of individuals involved in public health administration usually focuses on health promotion and the prevention of disease. Typically, public health administrators work to enhance the community’s welfare by disseminating crucial health information and by running organizations. Also, administrators are often involved heavily in community events.
The majority of public health administrators are hired by health agencies at every government level (federal, state, county, city, and community). Part of the administrator’s duties includes community health issue assessments and how to alleviate many of the health problems in the community. Rose (2011) explained that, “[d]iversity in American society has made it necessary to understand the healthcare needs of various groups in an effort to provide optimal services and to understand health-seeking behaviors, attitudes, cultural nuances, and perceptions about health” (p. 11). Being a country that is made up of so many different cultures, diversity will continue to be an ongoing focus in the public health administration field.
To be an effective administrator of public health requires one to delicately balance highly restrictive budgets and provide the necessary basic care of health to the community. Critical thinking ability and having a keen eye for public welfare observations are two other important abilities for individuals in the field of public health administration. With the ability to promote health issues at every level of government, they can make a huge positive impact on the community at large. As Novick, Morrow, and Mays (2008) pointed out, this focus has paid off significantly, resulting in “major gains in our nation’s health over the last 125 years. Life expectancy has increased by greater than 30 years, and the quality of life has remarkably improved” (p. 12-13). The ongoing dedication of public health administrators should, without a doubt, continue to positively impact our overall welfare.
To obtain an MHA degree in public health administration requires completion of undergraduate work with a bachelor’s degree. A current resume and a goal statement focusing on a future career are highly recommended. Typically, a 3.0 GPA or higher is required to be accepted into the Master’s program.
Novick, L.F., Morrow, C.B., & Mays, G.P. (2008). Public Health Administration: Principles for Population-Based Management (2nd ed). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers (www.jblearning.com).
Rose, P.R. (2011). Cultural Competency for Health Administration and Public Health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.