Mentor Advice ForumIs a masters degree worth it?
Kaitlin Stallard asked 2 years ago

Hi guys! I am thinking of getting a Masters Degree in Public Health, just in case I ever need to get out of clinical practice due to injuries. I will have a bachelors degree in Dental Hygiene. Would a bachelors be enough to do other things, such as work in government in the public health sector or should I get a masters degree? 
Thank you! 

4 Answers
Christine Nathe, RDH, MS Staff answered 2 years ago

I  always think earning advanced degrees is a plus!

Dolores M. Malvitz, RDH, BA, MPH, DrPH Staff answered 2 years ago

Using a graduate degree in public health as an “insurance policy” in case one becomes unable to work clinically seems a poor strategy.  Disability insurance would solve.

Helene Bednarsh, BS, RDH, MPH Staff answered 2 years ago

A bachelor’s degree would not give the leverage for management and other higher levels of jobs. I would recommend an MPH in a broad area of public health.

Christine M. Farrell, RDH, BSDH, MPA Staff answered 2 years ago

I am glad you are thinking about broadening your professional goals and how to use your dental hygiene degree beyond clinical practice. I think you need to explore what your goals and aspirations are for your career. What are your interests and passions? What makes you feel fulfilled? There are many avenues that you can pursue with a bachelor’s degree. Some of can be work in the government, public health, corporate and business, and education sectors. If your passion and interest lead you into public health, then attaining a master’s in public health may be worth it to you.
I cannot put a monetary value on its worth because there is a wide variety of roles and salaries through the public health sector. I can tell you that a master’s degree was worth it for me since that is where my passion is. I was always interested in serving underserved populations, preventing disease from a population perspective, and working within the government sector. My career has been very fulfilling and rewarding. The monetary value of the position in public health was secondary to why I chose this path. I think you have to explore your goals, passions, and interests to determine your path, so that you can decide whether an advanced degree will be worth it to you.