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Advice for non clinical MPH

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by panderso, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. panderso

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    Hello everyone. I'm getting ready to apply for an MPH but need some advice. I did my undergrad in political science and I have a couple of years of work experience in that field (consumer advocacy/legal but I am sure as hell not going to law school in this climate). I also have some work experience in clerical/admin in a clinic.

    Considering my background, I think I would be best off using my MPH for project management. I don't think I have a strong enough science background for epi or biostats, and I'm concerned there aren't enough lucrative jobs in global health/community health. Policy would be cool it looks like jobs are only in D.C. or a state capital. Based on my research project management looks like the most widespread career available. It looks like the job track is project assist. --> project coordinator --> project manager ---> management/administration.

    However I'm not sure which MPH focus is most practical for this. Management/policy would be great and lists higher salary stats but I'm concerned I don't have enough relevant job experience to make it useful. Would I be better off with a generalist MPH? Health promotion? Or maybe I can transfer into epi after I've taken some science classes? Whichever MPH I get, I plan to pair it with a project management certification. Has anyone done that?

    The second issue is working while enrolled in a program. I'm keenly aware of the opportunity costs of school and I know job opps for someone with just an MPH are not necessarily fantastic ... I want to keep my $40k/year day job if at all possible. I'm in San Diego so my first choice is SDSU - - I have heard several MPH grads say they did it while working and it was fine. Has anyone else done this? If that fails, does anyone had experience with partial online programs?

    And any general advice on how to maximize a non clinical MPH would be great. Thanks guys!
     
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  3. ChasinButterfly

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    I'm strongly considering pursuing MPH and I will be on a non-clinical track as well. My track of interest will be more technical (considering I have a hard science PhD) but I plan to pair it with some policy and management development.

    Have you considered healthcare management consulting? The track you described sounds almost exactly like that. It would likely involve taking a major study focus in healthcare admin (at some schools, an MHA degree). This is a lucrative field, especially at the top firms, and provides a more than livable salary at boutiques. During your program of study, network like crazy, practice cases, and demonstrate a business accumen. This is perhaps more important than prior work experience, although from where I sit I feel that your prior experience is relevant. If you go the management and project certification route also be sure to seek out opportunities that will showcase your leadership skills. These are some general pieces of advice I got from students where I did my postdoc, where this career track is popular for both business students and scientists.

    Hope this helps at least a little and gives you some ideas. Best of luck to you. :luck:
     
  4. panderso

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    ChasinButterfly, thanks for your response. What technical track are you thinking of pursuing? Management consulting would be excellent; I always assumed that I would need a plethora of experience for that but perhaps I'm selling myself short.

    At one point I was considering an MBA and heard from a lot of folks that it's pretty useless unless you already have significant experience to back it up. I feared it would be the same with a MPH management track, but I have heard from a few people now that it isn't so.
     
  5. ChasinButterfly

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    I'm wanting to pursue environmental/occupational health and hope to end up either consulting in that area or in management consulting myself. What you need for management consulting in particular is a resume that shows a steady amount of achievement commensurate with your number of years "experience" (includes school and/or work) but they don't necessarily expect you to have work experience. Numbers are also important as well, GRE scores, GPA, and prestige of school (esp. for bigger firms).

    I definitely agree experience to back up an MBA is useful, but I've known people who've come into one after, say, a few years of postdoctoral experience and have done well and landed jobs, as they went in with a strong focus in the first place and networked like crazy. So it can be done.
     

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