Trends in Degree Conferrals, Degree-Associated Debt, and Employment Outcomes Among Undergraduate Public Health Degree Graduates, 2001–2020

Jonathon P. Leider, Emily Burke, Ruby H.N. Nguyen, Christine Plepys, Chelsey Kirkland, Beth Resnick, Laura Magaña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. To characterize the trends in degree conferrals, degree-associated debt, and employment outcomes among undergraduate public health degree (UGPHD) graduates. Methods. We reported administrative data on degree conferrals from 2001 to 2020 from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). For alumni graduating from 2015 to 2019, we also reported degree-associated debt and earnings 1 year after graduation compiled by NCES. Finally, we utilized a data set on 1-year postgraduation employment outcomes for graduates from 2015 to 2020 from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. Results. As of 2020, more than 18 000 UGPHDs were awarded each year, more than 140 000 in total over the past 20 years. UGPHD graduates are highly diverse, with more than 80% being women and 55% being individuals from communities of color. We find alumni worked mostly in for-profit organizations (34%), health care (28%), nonprofits (11%), academic organizations (10%), government (10%), and other (6%). Degree-associated debt was $24 000, and the median first-year earnings were $34 000. Conclusions. While growth in UGPHD conferrals has slowed, it remains among the fastest-growing degree in the nation. However, the limited pathways into government remains a significant challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume113
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

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© 2023 American Public Health Association Inc.. All rights reserved.

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