The Utah Department of Health’s mission is to protect public health by avoiding illnesses, injuries, disability and premature death. They have promoted new standards for public health nurses as they are the backbone of the public health care system in the state. To learn more about the role you can play within public health in Utah, contact the schools below for information.
According to the Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN), public health nursing is defined as the "practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social and public health sciences.” Nurses work hard to prevent disease and disability, and they work in a diverse number of settings.
If you are considering getting your public health master’s degree, this may be the perfect time. You may be able to position yourself in an enhanced position that might also offer you a higher income.
Westminster University and the University of Utah are two accredited universities that offer public health nursing degrees.
There are also accredited online programs available, which include Walden University, University of Phoenix and Independence University.
The requirements for admissions to most Master’s in Public Health (MPH) programs include prerequisite courses in college algebra, with a 3.0 grade, and statistics or epidemiology is recommended. Other requirements include a BSN from an accredited college or university, a GPA or 3.0, official transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.
This MPH professional degree requires 45 semester credit hours, which takes approximately two years to complete, attending full-time. The curriculum consists of the following courses:
- Biostatistics I
- Public Health Administration & Policy
- Foundations to Public Health
- Epidemiology I
- Public Health Program Planning, Evaluation & Implementation
- Environmental Public Health
- Public Health & Clinical Research Methods
- Social Context of Medicine & Public Health
- Practicum Hours equals six credits
- Electives 15 total credits
The practicum is designed to give students hands-on experience that would be comparable to a career position in public health nursing. One of the goals of the practicum includes integrating foundational public health knowledge with experience. Students will be working with a mentor that has the academic credentials and experience to oversee and evaluate Master’s level student goals.
The Financial Aid Office at your school can assist students who need financial assistance and provide information on grants, scholarships and loans. Students are typically asked to complete a FAFSA application, which is a federal funding program based on income. The federal government also has a Nurse Corps loan repayment program which requires the graduate to work in a critical shortage facility for two years, and they will receive 60 percent of their total qualified nursing education loan balance.
Graduating with your graduate degree in public health may open the door to an exciting new career, and it could certainly earn you the respect of your peers.
There are variety of roles for you as a public health nurse with a graduate degree, as you may direct and supervise activities of other medical personnel or conduct and coordinate fiscal operations. Public health nurses often work in county facilities, but they may also work for private industry. Opportunities may include teaching in a diverse community that will help prevent disease and generally improve the health of the population.
The median annual income in Utah during 2014 averaged $92,810, according to O*Net Online. There are many opportunities for public health nurses to work in rural communities, in Utah’s local health departments, schools or in private industry. This is an ideal time to get your graduate degree, which will help nursing as a whole due to the shortage of graduate trained nurses.