Online PhD in Health and Safety

Online PhD programs in Health and Safety are professional degree programs designed to provide higher education to individuals looking to work in public and organizational policy as it relates to general health and well-being. Because of this, many online doctorate degrees in health and safety fall under the disciplines of public safety, health services, and public policy and administration. Health and safety programs generally take about four to five years to complete and often require extensive residency components on top of coursework and dissertation research. Depending on specializations, students may focus on health and safety within government at the local, state and federal levels, or they may focus on health and safety consultation and advocacy within businesses and organizations. Students also often pursue an online PhD in Health and Safety in order to work within a healthcare environment and be able to accurately evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare policy and procedures. Either way, students will learn about current risks to the safety and health of constituents and ways to design, implement, manage and influence public health policy to create safer working and living environments. Students will also learn how to implement evidence-based approaches to the promotion of positive health outcomes.

About Online PhD Programs in Health and Safety

In order to apply for an online doctorate in Health and Safety, students must have a master's degree in a related area. Degrees in disciplines such as social work, nursing, health administration, community safety, occupational health and safety, environmental health and safety, human services, and public health administration. Online PhD programs in Health and Safety are meant to expand on these areas and prepare students to work in a leadership role or at a higher level within an organization or government structure. Online programs will differ from traditional programs in the way information is shared. Students will watch lectures through online streaming video or downloadable video files and they will participate in course discussion through live chat, email and discussion boards. Many online programs offer electronic textbooks, and reading often takes place online, as well. Doctoral programs are designed to be heavily research-based, so independent research will be a major aspect of online programs. Online Health and Safety PhD candidates will research by examining peer-reviewed journals in public policy, health services and safety. Many peer-reviewed journals are accessible online, and students will have the ability to access many materials through online libraries provided by their school of choice. Group projects for health and safety students can also be completed online, and group members have the opportunity to communicate in real time through chat and streaming video, or create documents that can be viewed by all members and added to at any time.

There are many areas of specialization within a health and safety program. Every school differs as far as the particular concentrations offered, but some examples of possibilities include health education, disease prevention, public health, nursing, counseling, health administration/health management, human services, social work, environment, safety and health, health promotion/behavior, international health, and occupational health and safety.

Students will have the option to take courses that reflect their particular interests and career goals and create a program tailored to their needs. The following is a sampling of potential course requirements for a PhD in Health Services with a concentration in Public Health Policy through Walden University:

Year One:

  • Foundations of Graduate Study in Health Services . Students will explore the history of health services studies and prepare themselves to utilize core principles in a modern context.
  • Research, Theory, Design, and Methods. Examination of the theory of different research methods and how to design research that is unbiased and effective.
  • U.S. Healthcare Delivery System . Overview of how healthcare systems in the United States are structured, and the means by which health care is delivered to the general public.

Year Two:

  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis . Covers research and analysis techniques that measure behavior, need and effectiveness by using complex mathematical and statistical measurement. Students will learn how to assign a numerical value to variables in order to measure real-world issues in mathematical terms.
  • Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis . Covers research and analysis techniques implementing collection and measurement of information that is not mathematical in value, but usually can only be depicted through words.
  • Organizational Development and Leadership . Exploration of the dynamics of large and small organizations and the leadership techniques applicable within those settings.

Year Three:

  • Health Economics . Students explore the economics of health care, taking into account for-profit health systems, government-run systems and the monetary concerns and constraints associated with wide-scale health care.
  • Health Policy . Study of the creation of health care goals and plans for achievement of specific goals. Students cover the history of health policy and current issues in the field.
  • Healthcare Financial Management . Covers financial planning and budgeting committed by health care organizations and government agencies in the development of healthcare plans and procedures.

Year Four:

  • Health Law and Ethics . Students review past issues and legal debates within the area of health care and the ethical ramifications of legal decisions and procedures. Students explore the ethical questions that must be weighed when creating healthcare policy and the legal issues that can arise.
  • Health Policy and Management . Covers the ways health care policy and management intersect in businesses, healthcare organizations and government organizations. Students learn how to manage effectively while creating effective health policy.
  • Public Policy and Evaluation . Centers on the empirical evaluation of public policy procedures.

All online Health and Safety doctorate programs will require completion and defense of a dissertation. Students must first nominate a three-person supervisory committee to guide them in the process of dissertation work. Then, students prepare a dissertation proposal and submit it to the committee. If their idea is approved, students begin research and data collection. They report the results of the study in their dissertation. This writing and research can take two to three years of part-time work. Upon completion, students must present an oral defense of the dissertation to a committee of professors. If their dissertation is accepted, they will graduate from the program with a doctoral degree.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Health and Safety

An online PhD in Health and Safety from an accredited school is an excellent choice for students who want to serve the public good. This online doctorate will qualify students to serve in many different health and safety related fields, or to teach others how to service public health and safety needs. Choosing a career in health and safety indicates that a student cares about his or her community, and an online PhD in Health and Safety will help him or her live out that caring attitude while earning more than ever before. The benefit of completing this type of program online is the fact that students are able to work full-time and apply their studies to their current careers. Students do not need to lose time in the industry in order to gain a higher degree and are better able to take on positions of greater responsibility and pay directly after graduation. However,online PhD programs in health and safety often have rigorous residency requirements. If residencies and internships do not fit with a students' work schedule, it may be difficult to pursue an online degree, and students may be better off taking a short sabbatical while pursuing their doctoral degree.

Application & Admission Requirements

Most online doctoral degrees in Health and Safety require candidates to have attained a master’s degree in a health services or public administration discipline in order to apply. Students will need to provide an outline of their employment history. Work experience is not a requirement for admission to an online PhD Health and Safety program, but experience will most likely be a plus in acceptance. Students must submit a statement of purpose that details their personal and professional goals, relevant academic, research and work experience, and how they will benefit from a doctoral program in Health and Safety. This is an opportunity for students to display aspects of their personality and personal goals that may not be clear from viewing transcripts and employment history. Students will also need to provide any applicable transcripts and a list of credits that they would like to transfer in to the program.

Career Options & Job Market

With a doctorate in health and safety, a graduate can rise to the top of his or her profession. Common career choices for a student who holds an online doctorate in Health and Safety are teaching at the college and university level, health care administration, lobbying and community health education. A Health and Safety PhD online qualifies students to teach in a university setting, passing of their skills and expertise to others. College professor salaries vary with location and experience but can range from $40,000 to $144,000 annually, according to Health care administrators work in hospitals or public health settings, and salaries can range from $30,000 to $98,000 according to Payscale. Lobbyists advocate for health and safety causes with lawmakers and can make from $32,000 to $97,000, according to Payscale. Community health educators help people learn how to care for themselves and the general state of well-being in their communities. Salaries range from $28,000 to $61,000, according to Payscale.

Where to Find Information

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Government organization formed to ensure safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards for workplace safety. The organization also provides training, outreach, education and assistance in meeting specifications.
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk ManagementPersonal membership group of the American Hospital Association. Members include professionals in healthcare, insurance, law and related professions. The aim of AMSH is to promote effective risk management strategies through education, recognition, advocacy, publications and networking.
  • American Public Health AssociationThe APHA is one of the oldest professional public health organizations in the world. The organization strives to protect Americans from preventable disease and promotes community-based awareness and treatment programs.
  • American Journal of Public HealthPeer-reviewed academic journal which includes the most current and important papers published by health agencies, universities, government agencies. The goal of the journal is to publish the best scientific research in public health and to serve as a forum for diverse viewpoints.

How to Get Funding

Students of online PhD Health and Safety programs usually fund their education expenses by applying for federal aid, seeking out scholarships and grants, and taking out private education loans. Tuition costs of online doctoral programs in Health and Safety generally vary from school to school. Online PhD degrees in Health and Safety at Walden University cost $470 per credit hour. Students need 99 to 101 total credit hours in order to complete the degree, so the entire program ranges from $46,530 to $47,470. Students must also pay four residency fees of $1,050 each during the program. The Health and Safety PhD programs online through Capella University cost $600 per credit hours. The total program requires 92 credits, so that comes to $55,200. Students must also pay $3,000 for their dissertation quarter and $1,985 for their dissertation writer's retreat.

  • Association for Women in Science Scholarship. Award may be used to women students at all levels of study, from undergraduates to doctoral candidates, who are enrolled in the life sciences, physical sciences, or engineering program leading to a PhD. Students are awarded scholarship amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000.
  • Fellowship on Women and Public Policy. Fellowship of $9,000 applicable to women students in public policy, including non-profit and public management provided by the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fellowship .Open to students at the graduate or doctoral level of study who can demonstrate a connection between their current work and future goals and the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. Recipients are awarded an average of $46,000 per year.

Essential Advice

  • Get a master's degree first. There are many doctoral programs that allow students to enter directly after receiving an undergraduate degree. However, many programs that offer Health and Safety doctorate degrees online prefer students to hold a master's degree before acceptance. A master's degree will prepare students for the high level of writing and research required in a doctoral program.
  • Have a passion for the public interest. Regardless of which field a Health and Safety doctoral candidate chooses to enter, the best way to ensure a fulfilling career is to have a passion for protecting the well-being of the public. Students can use their degrees to enter a number of fields, but most fundamentally stem back to safety and protection.
  • Do internships in career-specific areas. Internships are a part of many Health and Safety doctoral programs online. Rather than solely choosing an internship related to your dissertation research or specific coursework, it is helpful to consider which types of career opportunities one would like to expand and go for internships in those areas. Even if the internship is in a field somewhat unrelated to your coursework, you will be able to make connections and broaden your point of view while securing career possibilities.
  • Speak with current students. The best way to learn about how the top online programs work is to speak with current students. It is helpful to get an insider's perspective on the ins and outs of online coursework before commuting to a program that works so differently from traditional courses.