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Public Health Certificate Program

Program at a Glance

  • Complete in 12 months
  • 4 online courses
  • $9,996
  • Eligible for VA Benefits

Get Advanced Training to Enhance Your Public Health Career

The Public Health Certificate Program, developed in partnership with the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, provides the foundational public health knowledge you need to advance in your career or gain the competitive advantage necessary to be accepted into a master’s in public health program. This online certificate program covers core topics in public health science, including biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, and health services administration. You will gain theoretical knowledge of public health concepts around social determinants of health, as well as applicable skills for epidemiological investigations, navigating the US healthcare system and working with biostatistics to measure the burden of diseases, illnesses and injuries. This public health online certificate is designed to help working professionals like medical and health services managers, health education specialists and community health workers develop or increase their expertise in the field. The graduate-level coursework of this program also serves as a post-baccalaureate for competitive MPH programs, and 12 of the 14 units may be applied toward the UC Davis Master’s in Public Health Program, a Council on Education for Public Health accredited program.

What You’ll Learn

Upon completion of this certificate in public health, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain and describe basic epidemiologic concepts and approaches to epidemiologic research using examples from human medicine
  • Understand theories and strategies of health behavior change at the individual, group, community and environmental levels
  • Apply the transtheoretical model, social network theory and social marketing theory to solve common public health problems
  • Explain the structure and function of public and private medical care
  • Describe trends in medical spending, predictors of patient use, causes of death, managed care and costs of technology
  • Apply evaluation methods and measures to public health interventions
  • Employ statistical methodology to health care data

What You’ll Get

Our program offers:

  • Graduate-level coursework that aligns with the UC Davis MPH program, ranked 22nd in the U.S.
  • Online and primarily asynchronous format so working professionals can increase their skills while maintaining full-time employment
  • Preparation for certification in public health with relevant coursework that fulfills the educational requirements to sit for the National Board of Public Health Examiner’s Certified in Public Health Exam
  • If accepted, matriculation to the UC Davis MPH program with 12 transferable credits. For a list of all requirements, please visit the UC Davis Masters in Public Health admissions page.
  • Courses taught by experienced faculty from the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences and industry experts
  • Strong networks in the public health world due to our unique geographic location near the California Department of Public Health, one of the largest and most innovative public health agencies in the United States, and our close proximity to local health departments, community clinics and other advocacy groups
  • Unique networking opportunities with instructors and fellow students that can help advance your career
  • Engaging, innovative online format that facilitates active learning and retention

Projected growth (2021-2031) for the public health workforce:

  • Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers: 12% (much higher than average)
  • Epidemiologists: 26% (much higher than average)
  • Medical and Health Services Managers: 28% (much higher than average)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

This program requires the successful completion of four courses for a total of 14 academic units. Course content is frequently revised to ensure that the program is up to date with the latest industry standards. For this reason, you must complete all the course requirements of your certificate with a "C" or better and within five years from the day you enroll in the first course. A certificate will not be awarded if the requirements are not completed and your application for candidacy is not received within this timeframe. Completion of the certificate does not guarantee acceptance into MPH programs. Please refer to the admission requirements for the program you are applying for.

Recommended Prerequisite: It is strongly recommended, though not required, that students have a bachelor’s degree and basic introductory level statistical knowledge prior to applying. Familiarity with SAS Programming is also recommended.

Courses can be taken in any order.

Required Courses

Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health
Quarter Academic Credit

Social determinants of health are conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age, that have profound effects on health and health outcomes. Through online instruction, applied learning activities and assigned readings, you’ll explore major concepts within social and behavioral aspects of health that are used in public health practice and research. We will examine how an interconnected web of factors—from social identities such as race and ethnicity to social networks and neighborhoods to institutions and policies—can affect the health of individuals and communities. 

This course is ideal for anyone interested in working in the public health field, and it can be taken as part of the Public Health Certificate Program or as a standalone course.  

Learning Outcomes 

  • Understand the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities  
  • Gain familiarity with fundamental canonical theories, concepts and models from social and behavioral disciplines that are used in public health research and practice 
  • Discover how structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and systemic levels 

Skills You'll Gain 

  • Ability to use social and behavioral models in public health practice, research or policy  
  • Familiarity with relevant public health literature and scientific publications  
Course Code
Introduction to Health Science Statistics
Quarter Academic Credit

Health statistics are used to understand risk factors for communities, track and monitor diseases, see the impact of policy changes, and assess the quality and safety of health care. This course introduces data analysis for public health, including the essential tools: descriptive statistics, statistical inference and the probability concepts on which these tools are based. Through online instruction, applied learning activities and assigned readings, you’ll learn how to identify appropriate statistical analyses to answer basic public health questions, analyze realistic datasets and provide a written interpretation of the results considering the original public health question. 

This course is ideal for anyone interested in working in the public health field, and it can be taken as part of the Public Health Certificate Program or as a standalone course.  

Learning Outcomes 

  • Explain the role of evidence for public health research, policy or practice. 
  • Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context 
  • Analyze quantitative data using biostatistics and statistics software 
  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice 

Skills You'll Gain 

  • Basic statistics software skills, including how to create common data visualizations.  
  • Data organization and analysis skills 
  • Research queries about groups 
Course Code
Health Services Administration
Quarter Academic Credit

Health administrators manage and lead hospitals and other healthcare and public health organizations. Through online instruction, applied learning activities and assigned readings, this course will help you understand the American healthcare system so that you can contribute to its evolution. You’ll begin with a broad identification of the main components and issues of the structure/organization, financing and delivery of health services and public health systems. You’ll examine the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services in the US. and learn essential skills and concepts to lead and manage a health service organization. 

This course is ideal for anyone interested in working in the public health field, and it can be taken as part of the Public Health Certificate Program or as a standalone course.  

Learning Outcomes 

  • Describe the organization, structure, and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings 
  • Explain and apply the roles of planning, directing, controlling and organizing for managers 
  • Become familiar with the basic principles and tools of budget and resource management 

Skills You'll Gain 

  • How to navigate healthcare systems and organizations 
  • Budget and resource management  
  • Essential management and leadership practices in health organizations 
Course Code
Epidemiology for Health Professionals
Quarter Academic Credit

Gain an introduction to foundational epidemiologic concepts and approaches to population health issues in public health. Learn what epidemiology is and how it relates to other disciplines. Through online instruction, applied learning activities and assigned readings, you will examine a broad spectrum of topics, including the major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the U.S., outbreak investigation, epidemiologic study design and properties of tests. You’ll also understand the role of epidemiologic methods in describing and assessing a population’s health. 

This course is ideal for anyone interested in working in the public health field, and it can be taken as part of the Public Health Certificate Program or as a standalone course.  

Learning Outcomes 

  • Explain what epidemiology is and how it relates to other disciplines.  
  • Explain and be able to utilize frequently used terms and methods of epidemiology 
  • List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in California, the U.S. and globally 
  • Analyze quantitative data for measures of disease occurrence, mortality, standardization of disease and mortality rates, measures of effect, summary measures of effect, screening and diagnostic testing accuracy and performance  

Skills You'll Gain 

  • Ability to analyze strengths and weaknesses of different study designs. 
  • Use rates, ratios and proportions to understand health data 
  • Data analysis skills 
Course Code

Required Courses

Required Courses Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
Epidemiology for Health Professionals 4 Online
Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health 3 Online
Introduction to Health Science Statistics 4 Online
Health Services Administration 3 Online
  • Program cost: $9,996 or $2,499 per course
  • A one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $125 must also be paid in order to receive your certificate.
  • Discounts available: organizations enrolling three or more students, or individual students enrolling and paying for the full program at one time, are eligible for a 10% discount. Contact Student Services at (800) 752-0881 to request this discount.

Get information about financing your education and about scholarships and grants.

Ready to advance your career? Pick the option that best suits your needs and your lifestyle:

  • Apply to the certificate program. Completion of a brief questionnaire is required before enrolling in your first course.
    In order to register for the certificate program, fill out a brief form and pay the $125 registration fee. Registering for the certificate program ensures that you have access to the most up-to-date information about the program and courses, as well as permission to request the Academic Certificate upon successful completion.
  • Enroll in an individual course. Check out individual courses that are currently open for enrollment. Courses will be applied to the program if you later decide to complete the certificate program.
  • Sign up for an information session. Learn more about the program by registering for a free info session. If an information session for this program is not currently open for enrollment, click on “notify me,” and we’ll contact you when then next one becomes available.
  • Questions? We’re here to help.
  • Contact our Enrollment Coach, Kristy Craig, if you would like to schedule an appointment. She can speak with you about our program, answer your questions and help ensure it’s the right fit for your goals. Schedule your 30-minute conversation with Kristy.
    You can also email us or call (530) 757-8777.
  • Access free career resources. Our students have free access to tools for career planning, resume writing, interview practice and more.