How to Earn a Public Health Certificate in 7 Easy Steps

Several occupations in the wide field of public health could help the health of your community. Obtaining a public health certificate will help you learn more about the subject and may increase your chances of finding employment in the sector. Understanding the prerequisites and fundamental procedures might help you finish a program if you’re interested in obtaining a public health certificate.

In this post, we go through the definition of a public health certificate, some of the most common varieties, and how to obtain one for yourself.

What does a public health certificate entail?

A public health certificate is a professional certification that proves your comprehension of specific public health-related ideas. To complete the public health certificate, you frequently need to take more classes or succeed on a formal test. Having a public health certificate helps demonstrate to other experts and prospective employers that you are competent for a position in the field.

Public Health Certificates and Certifications Types

In the field of public health, there are three different kinds of credentials available:

Credential certifications

Credential certifications are courses developed by nonprofits or for-profit businesses that impart knowledge about a certain area of the public health sector. They frequently demand that you apply, go through a series of classes, and then complete an exam. These certifications’ completion shows that you are informed about the public health subject they cover.

Completion certificates

A university or other academic establishment will typically award you a completion certificate as proof of your understanding of public health. A completion certificate does not need you to take any extra courses, in contrast to the other 2 kinds of public health certificates. After earning a degree in public health, you can apply for this kind of certificate, though you might also be required to take an exam to demonstrate your proficiency in the field.

Certificates for graduate students

Public health certificate courses offered by schools or universities that provide a Master’s in Public Health degree are known as graduate certification courses. In addition to teaching advanced public health topics, these courses may concentrate on a specific specialization or line of work. They typically require a year or shorter to complete and are generally intended for applicants with previous public health certificates or experiences.

What advantages come with obtaining a public health certificate?

The following are some advantages of obtaining a public health certificate:


Having a public health certificate might demonstrate to a prospective employer that you are knowledgeable about the subject area of the public health certificate. By doing so, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition and possibly land a job. If you are employed, having the extra qualification might help you bargain for a higher salary based on your experience.


You can find a variety of careers in the wide field of public health. A specific specialization is featured on a lot of public health certificates. You can get specific expertise in a particular public health field by learning more about this specialty. Additionally, it can help you get ready for a position in that field.


You can obtain useful data on a specific area of public health or career by enrolling in a public health certificate program. They frequently cover cutting-edge subjects, recent developments in science, and sometimes first aid or surgical treatments. Your general understanding of public health can be improved by this information, which may also help you comprehend ideas linked to the public health profession you’d like to pursue.

How to obtain a public health certificate

You can follow the steps below to get a public health certificate:

1. Examine possible public health certificates

You can choose from a variety of public health certificates, each with a unique focus and amount of reputation. Additionally, they might have distinct standards and impart different content. Knowing what program you wish to take part in can help you determine what qualifications in terms of work experience or education you would need to be eligible for the course. Consider doing some research on the certification courses you are interested in, including the subjects covered, prerequisites, length of the courses, and costs.

2. Obtain a college diploma

Although the criteria for each public health certificate program vary, the majority of them demand that you earn a bachelor’s degree or above. Although it’s not necessary, the majority of students in certification courses select public health or a closely related subject as their major. This is because public health certificates frequently ask for extra criteria, including job experience in the field of public health or a statement of purpose, for applicants with degrees unrelated to public health.

3. Amass professional experience

A public health certificate program may require you to work a specific number of years as a public health practitioner if your major is not in the health sciences. Depending on the course’s level, you may be required to submit a different quantity of work. To assist you to obtain experience in the sector, think about either looking for a career in public health or submitting an application for an internship. Gaining work experience in the sector may improve your application and improve your chances of admission to a certification program, even if you decide to major in public health.

4. Request a certificate.

Once you have earned your college degree and have some job experience under your belt, you can register for the public health certificate program of your choosing. Filling out an application form is typically required, and some programs may also request further information before accepting you. Official transcripts, a resume or CV, recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose are typical components of an application.

5. Finish your courses

Several courses are typically available as part of public health certificate programs so that you can learn more about the specific public health topic. You can take these classes at any time; they are typically offered online. You can find out beforehand the number of classes required for each credential program and what kinds of classes are offered. The majority of the time, you must pass these classes to obtain certification.

6. Complete the certification evaluation

You might be needed to take an exam or assessment after completing the prerequisite courses to demonstrate that you comprehend the fundamental skills taught by the public health certificate. The majority of these exams are multiple-choice and accessible online through the particular program, though the duration may differ depending on the credential. You are eligible for that certification program if you pass this test.

7. Make an advanced certificate application

You might need to finish another public health certificate before enrolling in some certification programs. These credentials typically cover more difficult subjects and courses. After earning your first public health certificate, you can apply for a course if you choose to enroll in one of the following advanced courses.

What does a public health bachelor’s degree entail?

Students who earn a bachelor’s public health degree have learned about infectious illnesses and the healthcare system over their four years of study. Coursework for degrees often includes more clinical topics like epidemiology as well as topics like public health policy. Graduates of this bachelor’s program will have a fundamental clinical grasp of infectious illnesses and their prevention, as well as a comprehension of the policy concerns influencing the healthcare system.

What makes public health crucial?

Since professionals who work in the sector educate communities about ongoing health concerns and inspire people to adopt healthy decisions that promote well-being, public health is crucial. Public health professionals frequently organize community outreach programs and make sure that crucial healthcare is provided.

Research in this area also has the potential to alter healthcare regulations. For example, researchers may utilize data to examine societal health patterns or local healthcare requirements. Those who are involved in public health may also make an effort to recognize and respond to problems within the healthcare system. For instance, their research may indicate that a clinic is needed in a certain location since it is presently underserved.

How useful is a B.A. in public health?

An individual with a bachelor’s degree in public health has a wide range of job options, including:

Education in community health

People in the field of health education frequently concentrate on community outreach. Professionals in the field of health education inform the public about basic wellness habits and behaviors, like eating a healthy diet, which can help them prevent diseases. Health educators are employed by a range of public healthcare systems, including universities, community health clinics, hospitals, charities, and governmental organizations.

For a hospital or clinic, a community health educator might plan outreach activities. They can also collaborate with neighborhood community organizations, including schools, to plan and organize educational health events about topics important to the neighborhood, like the benefits of getting the flu shot.

Environment protection

Environmental safety specialists in public health focus on designing hygienic environments. Many professionals in this industry are employed by governmental organizations, like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A professional in this kind of position might ensure workplace security and monitor compliance with health regulations by firms. In other cases, it can be their responsibility to determine whether a given environment constitutes a risk to human health. For instance, they might offer advice on how to keep a location, such as a school, clean. They might also cooperate with authorities to clean up an asbestos-contaminated area so that it is safe for the general public.

Public health standards

An individual involved in public healthcare policy does study concerns and promotes particular amendments to existing laws or policies to solve such issues. They can be tasked with gathering information, researching a problem in the neighborhood, and producing a report with solutions. People in this sector typically work for a school, government department, or charitable foundation.

A person in this sector might research healthcare system disparities and observe health trends. For instance, they might investigate any substantial health hazards associated with vaping and suggest rules or laws. On the other hand, they can discover via their research that something previously thought to be harmful isn’t. They might then suggest altering the messaging and the rules.

Preventing disease

With a B.A. in public health, one can study the transmission of diseases and work on preventing disease. They might also inform the public about measures to stop the disease from spreading in this type of function.

For instance, in the event of a measles epidemic, a public health expert would collaborate with nearby schools to control the disease’s spread and raise the possibility of immunization. In another instance, to enhance the general health and well-being of a society, public health specialists may disseminate information about a possible disease-causing behavior, like smoking.

Emergency response

Responding to emergencies is the responsibility of some public health experts. A public health expert might, for instance, track the disease during a pandemic and devise plans to impede or halt its spread.

In a similar vein, a public health professional might come up with plans to address the medical requirements of a disaster-affected population. These tactics can entail organizing relief efforts, guaranteeing cleanliness, and granting clean water access.

Public health preparation

Planning for public health entails gathering information, researching problems, and developing solutions. For instance, a professional in planning for healthcare could identify urban areas with poor access to healthcare and suggest solutions, such as the establishment of free clinics.

Health planners frequently work for academic institutions or hospital networks. They might put their suggestions in writing for laws or how to handle a health problem. Additionally, these experts might create grant proposals to request funds for a plan or undertaking. Additionally, by giving information that supports a nonprofit’s objective and the needs it is working to address in the community, public health planners occasionally organize fundraisers for that organization.

Administration of public health

With administrative duties like funding requests and care planning, public health managers typically work in a clinic or hospital system. They may decide on what services to offer, what outreach initiatives to start, and how to approach potential donors.

A public health manager may also assess requests for financial assistance or grants while working on government initiatives. The administrator in this position collaborates with private NGOs on grant proposals and may suggest funding sources.

Who might be drawn to this line of work?

For an individual who wishes to work for a school, government department, medical system, or charitable organization, this career path can be an excellent option. This may be satisfying for someone looking for a career where they can positively impact people since they can deal closely with the community by providing healthcare services. They might also take pleasure in working on projects that benefit communities more generally, such as research, policy, or health care management.

The following qualities could help you succeed in a public health profession:

  • Data research: Being comfortable gathering data, comprehending data, and spotting trends in data might be beneficial for someone who wants to work in public health.
  • Public speaking: Many careers in public health require you to advise decision-makers or communicate with the general public. In the field of public health, it’s important to be confident when communicating knowledge to others.
  • Writing: Reports on health trends, requirements, or risks may be written by public health professionals. Writing these summaries of findings in reports is a useful skill.
  • High moral standards: Gaining the public’s trust is a frequent requirement of public health work. This position might be filled by a person of great moral character who conveys information honestly.
  • Clinical expertise: Data analysis and information delivery are typical tasks for public health professionals. You can better understand the medical problems you’re studying and discuss if you have medical experience.

What are the duties of those in public health?

The public health industry offers a variety of job paths. The following are typical careers in public health:

  • Dietitians
  • The social workers
  • Nurses in public health
  • Managers of community services
  • Epidemiologists
  • Medical instructors
  • Microbiologists
  • Specialists in occupational safety and health
  • Manager of cases
  • Clinical trial researchers
  • Infection prevention specialists
  • Water quality specialists
  • Administrators of health

Many public health specialists work in a specific area, including epidemiology, behavioral science, or health education. A public health worker’s main objective is to enhance society’s overall health through preventive medicine, the development of healthy habits, and the management of infectious diseases. The following are typical duties for public health practitioners, though duties will vary depending on the particular public health job:

  • Keeping an eye on and addressing public health emergencies like disease outbreaks
  • Pursuing studies aimed at eliminating hazards to public health
  • Educating the public on problems relating to health
  • Encouraging the prevention of common illnesses
  • Attempting to lessen the effects of environmental risks on human health, like air pollution
  • Helping to draft and implement laws addressing issues of public health

Depending on their expertise, public health practitioners may operate in a variety of settings. Public health practitioners typically work in non-profit organizations, colleges, businesses, government organizations, labs, and state medical centers.

Education alternatives for those working in public health

For people who are interested in a public health career health, there are various educational alternatives available. The public health majors that people in this field typically pursue are as follows:

Bachelor’s degree in public health (BPH)

The majority of public health practitioners have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. Degrees in public health are offered as both Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. A BA degree often concentrates on non-clinical public health issues, whereas a BS degree is more concentrated on the clinical facets of the field. The fundamentals of public health, diseases, and health services are typical courses in bachelor’s programs in public health.

With a bachelor’s in public health, one can work in the following fields:

  • Social workers in healthcare
  • Medical instructors
  • Workers in community health
  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Managers of health services
  • Medical directors
  • Public health master’s degree (MPH)

Most people who want to work in public health already have a master’s degree in the field. Students who pursue a master’s degree in this profession often have the most employment opportunities and gain comprehensive training and knowledge in a range of public health-related subjects. Degrees in public health are offered in a variety of fields, including public health policy, public health biology, and the environment and health. The most typical degree in this area is the Master of Public Health.

With a master’s degree in public health, one can work in the following fields:

  • Epidemiologists
  • Engineer for health and safety
  • Healthcare advisor
  • Educator in public health
  • Expert in health informatics
  • Study scientist

Public health doctorate (DrPH)

Those who want to work in advanced research techniques or as professors at universities or colleges frequently need a Ph.D. in public health. The duration of a Ph.D. in this discipline might exceed four years, and courses like health informatics, research techniques and design, and extensive secondary data analysis are frequently taken. Public health offers a variety of doctoral programs, including the DrPH in Community Health Sciences, the DrPH in Epidemiology, and the DrPH in Environmental Medical Sciences.

With a Ph.D. in public health, one can work in the following fields:

  • A public health lawyer (law degree necessary)
  • Professor
  • Nurse Educator
  • Biostatistician
  • Environmentalist
  • Behavioral scientist
  • Policy maker
  • Expert in tropical diseases
  • Vaccine specialist

Public health careers

The study of public health encompasses a wide range of topics about societal wellness. Most people who pursue careers in public health want to focus on a particular sector of this industry. The most popular fields of study in the area of public health are:

  • Community health: This area of public health study focuses on the different elements that affect a society’s general health. Health educators and healthcare administrators are professionals in this field of public health. These experts could create and carry out community health education initiatives or start wellness programs, among other things.
  • Epidemiology: To track, stop, and cure the transmission of infectious diseases, epidemiology blends public health with biostatistics. Typically, epidemiologists are employed by governmental organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health departments.
  • Informatics and Biostatistics: This branch of public health focuses on the analysis of population-level health data and the application of the results to contemporary medical practice. Biostatisticians, experts in health informatics, and managers of healthcare and medical services are common positions in this field.
  • Environmental health: The public health field of environmental health is mainly concerned with environmental issues that affect societal well-being. These issues include electromagnetic fields, water quality, air pollution, and climate change. Environmental scientists, engineers, and quality investigators are among the professions in this field of public health.
  • Global health: One of the 10 core public health specializations, global health is concerned with conducting research and delivering education to support the health of populations all over the world. The majority of career chances in this industry are located abroad, with the Middle East, Africa, and Asia frequently hosting these opportunities.


Even while it is feasible to get work experience, many public health occupations necessitate a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree for entry-level positions and advancement within the field.

Your public health degree can be put to use in a variety of ways, and there are as many different public health occupations as there are public health specialties, whether you earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Frequently Asked Questions about public health certificates

  • What is public health defined as?

The science of safeguarding and enhancing the health of individuals and their communities is known as public health. To accomplish this effort, healthy lifestyles are encouraged, illness and injury prevention research is conducted, and infectious disease detection, prevention, and response are studied.

  • What function does public health serve?

Public health works to advance the general welfare of the community, protect it from environmental risks, infectious disease transmission, and other threats, and ensure that all members of the community have access to reliable and safe medical care.

  • Which three objectives define public health?

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the purpose of public health is to prevent illness, improve health, and extend life for the entire community.

  • What can you study in a degree course in public health?

Public health degrees give students a strong foundation in topics including environmental health, illness prevention, health information management, public health, ethics, and cultural and behavioral challenges, whether they choose to complete their studies on campus or online.