Editor's note: Military Times is supplementing our Best for Vets series of survey-based rankings with themed computer-based rankings from College Factual. College Factual uses public databases to evaluate colleges. These rankings were not compiled by Military Times.
Although more people have access to health care every day, costs continue to escalate, and many in the U.S. and around the world go without adequate medical care. Studying public health in college puts you in a position to educate the public on crucial health issues as well as develop and administer policies and come up with new ideas on reaching people and improving the quality of life of vulnerable populations. Once only thought of as a master's degree, a bachelor's in public health is growing in popularity. An undergraduate degree can set you up for entry-level positions in hospitals, research centers, government agencies and charities, as well as prepare you for further study.
Veterans interested in public health often have keen insight into these issues, as they have had exposure to diverse locations and communities. If you're interested in the health care field and looking to make a difference in your work, this could be the career for you.
College Factual has put together a ranking of the top colleges for veterans and active-duty military students pursuing a bachelor's degree in public health. These are schools that score highly both in the quality of the public health programs and in how the schools support veterans.
Factors measuring the strength of the program include the salaries of graduates, the popularity and strength of the major at the college, the availability and strength of related majors, accreditation and overall quality of the school. Salaries are estimates with data provided by Payscale.
In order to determine if this is a good choice for veterans and active-duty students, College Factual also includes factors such as affordability to those using the GI Bill, size of the veteran population at the college, availability of online classes, acceptance of ACE-recommended college credit, membership in government veteran agencies, and support for veterans on campus. You can read more about how College Factual measures support for veterans here.
1. University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.
South Florida USF offers a bachelor's in public health as well as an online master's degree plus many other related majors. The school also has a nursing program that is highly ranked for veterans. Those who graduate from the University of South Florida with an undergraduate degree in public health report average early career earnings of $37,000 and mid-career earnings of $74,000. USF has a large veteran population and has committed to four federal programs that set standards in education for veterans and active-duty military students.
2. Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Brunswick, N.J.
Rutgers University is a well-ranked and diverse public school. The public health major is popular, with graduates of the program reporting average early career earnings of $45,000. Rutgers has committed to four programs that set standards for education for veterans. The school offers a variety of career counseling and help with students in accessing their benefits. Rutgers offers undergraduate as well as graduate degrees in public health.
3. George Washington University,Washington, D.C.
George Washington University offers several strong majors in the health professions, including public health. Graduates from GWU with a bachelor's in public health report average early career earnings of $50,000. GWU participates in four federal programs for veterans and offers numerous support services for their veteran and active-duty military students. GWU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in public health.
4. University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
The University of Arizona offers a popular public health undergraduate program as well as an online option for a master's in public health. Graduates of the public health program from the University of Arizona report average early career earnings of $45,000. UA participates in three federal programs for veterans and keeps costs affordable for those using their GI Bill benefits.
5. The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
The University of Texas offers a Bachelor of Science in public health as well as nursing and several other related subjects. Students who graduate with a public health degree from UTexas typically earn $46,000 a year on average in their early career. The university has a large population of veterans and participates in the DoD Memorandum of Understanding and Vet Success on Campus. Costs are quite affordable for students making use of the GI Bill.
6. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
The University of Florida offers a variety of health degrees, including bachelor's and master's programs in public health. Students who graduate from the University of Florida with a bachelor's in public health report average earnings of $44,000 in the first five years of their career. UF participates in three federal programs for standards in veteran education and offers counseling and other support services.
7. University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif.
Berkeley is known as one of the top-ranked public colleges in the world. It is a diverse and selective school, but still affordable, especially for in-state students. Graduates of the public health program earn average starting salaries of $48,000. Berkeley participates in the federal program the Principles of Excellence as well as the Yellow Ribbon program with some limitations.
8. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Ind.
In 1969, Indiana University and Purdue University merged to become Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPU). This large and diverse public university offers a wide range of programs and offerings to its students. IUPU offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Health as well as an accelerated bachelor's to master's program in public health and master's degree programs. IUPU is part of three different federal programs ensuring high standards in education for veterans. The university also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, though there are some limitations on the awards it grants.
9. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
The University of Arkansas is a large public university that is considered to be a great value for the money. Public health graduates from the University of Arkansas earn an average of $40,000 yearly in their early career. The university participates in four federal programs important to veterans and keeps costs affordable for all their students, including those making use of the GI Bill.
10. George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
George Mason University offers several different majors in the field of health professions, with nursing and public health being their most popular. Graduates from this program earn $47,000 a year on average in their early career. GMU participates in three programs, setting standards for veteran education, and keeps costs affordable for all students, especially veterans.