MPH Salary By State - (Ranked Highest to Lowest Paying)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

The Master’s of Public Health is a multidisciplinary graduate degree that focuses upon implementations used to protect, promote, and improve the overall health of populations within communities. Many specializations are possible within the field, so a graduate degree in public health opens the way to opportunities in an astonishing number of careers within the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. The recent emergence of novel coronavirus as a serious health threat has increased the number of professional prospects available to individuals who hold an MPH degree.

How much can you make with an MPH degree? That will depend upon the demand for your specialization in the locality and state in which you work. This article will primarily explore average MPH salaries state-by-state, ranked in order from highest- to lowest-paying. The article will also explore some of the reasons why MPH salaries are what they are within given states.

Does the MPH Salary Vary by Specialization?

There is no such thing as a typical MPH salary. Salary ranges vary widely according to your specialization within the field of public health. Public health-related jobs fall into five categories, which coincide with the five traditional competencies in the public health field:

• Behavioral science:

People with this MPH specialization become health educators who help develop community wellness initiatives and occupational safety courses. They may also become involved in research that leads to a better understanding of a community’s interactions with existing health care systems. Salaries in this public health specialty vary from $33,000 to $86,000 annually.

• Biostatistics:

MPH-prepared biostatisticians identify health trends within populations and analyze the effectiveness of treatments and programs. Biostatisticians typically make between $33,000 and $63,000 a year.

• Environmental science:

Professionals who earn MPH degrees with an emphasis in environmental science typically work in jobs that mitigate environmental risk factors. Salaries in this public health specialty range between $44,000 and $143,000 a year.

• Epidemiology:

Epidemiology is an MPH specialization that focuses upon the control of disease and injury outbreaks. Some epidemiologists are involved with fieldwork that identifies underlying causes for these outbreaks and which populations are most at risk while others use statistical analysis to predict where outbreaks are likely to occur. Epidemiologists’ salaries vary from $38,000 to $136,000 annually.

• Health services administration:

Individuals who earn MPH degrees with an emphasis in health services administration generally take jobs where they’re charged with managing the fiscal and human resources necessary to deliver high-quality health care. These individuals typically earn between $37,000 and $161,000 a year.

What is the Average MPH Salary in the United States?

On average, the hourly wage for master's in public health professionals is $53.56. This translates to approximately $9,280 per month and $111,410 per year.


Average MPH Salary by State (Ranked in Order of Highest to Lowest Paying)

Based on the average MPH salary, we have ranked the following states in the order of highest to lowest paying.

1. New York:

New York City is the most densely populated metropolitan area in the U.S., so it should come as no surprise that New York is the state where MPH-prepared professionals have the potential to earn the highest salaries. The average salary of MPH degree graduates in New York amounts to $58.75 hourly and $122,201 annually. Epidemiologists and biostatisticians can find employment in New York City’s many medical centers and universities while smaller upstate cities and towns have a pressing need for health educators and community health workers.

Hourly $58.75
Annual $122,201

2. Massachusetts:

Like New York City, the Boston metropolitan area has numerous hospitals, universities, and government agencies that hire professionals with graduate degrees in public health. Massachusetts also has a dedicated Bureau of Community Health and Prevention within its own state government, which oversees a wide range of prevention programs. On average, a professional with an MPH can expect to earn $121,046 a year or $58.20 on an hourly basis.

Hourly $58.20
Annual $121,046

3. Washington:

In the state of Washington, MPH salaries run to about $120,201 a year or $57.79 hourly. Washington’s public health system includes 35 local health departments and districts serving 39 counties as well as a state Department of Health, a Board of Health, and tribal governments. Seattle is a densely populated city that provides employment for numerous community health workers, and the University of Washington and its associated University of Washington Medical Center, which are both located in the Emerald City, employ many epidemiologists and health educators.

Hourly $57.79
Annual $120,201

4. New Hampshire:

New Hampshire has a strong commitment to strengthening the capacity of its local communities to address local public health issues, which is reflected in the creation of an infrastructure known as the New Hampshire Public Health Network. The average MPH salary in New Hampshire is $56.64 an hour or $117,806 per year

Hourly $56.64

5. Hawaii:

A 2018 report sponsored by the United Health Foundation named Hawaii as the healthiest state in the nation. In part, Hawaii owes its ranking to the success of public health educators who have successfully tackled ongoing issues like obesity, smoking, and addiction. MPH graduates in the Aloha State can expect to earn $116,256 a year or $55.89 an hour.

Hourly $55.89
Annual $116,256

6. Maryland:

Maryland’s population spans Baltimore’s inner-city neighborhoods as well as the upscale suburban neighborhoods surrounding the District of Columbia. This degree of population diversity demands the support of a large number of public health services, so the state has many public health-related employment opportunities. There are many federal health agencies located in nearby D.C., including the Centers for Disease Control, which is the premier public health agency in the nation. Maryland-based MPH graduates can plan on earning an average of $112,180 a year or $53.93 on an hourly basis.

Hourly $53.93
Annual $112,180

7. Connecticut:

Connecticut has successfully tackled public health issues such as obesity and smoking tobacco that are still major challenges in many other states. Per capita spending on public health-related education, research, and public policy planning increased nearly 25 percent in the years between 2007 and 2014 because the Nutmeg State is committed to the wellness of its residents. MPH graduates make $53.92 per hour on average, which adds up to $112,145 a year.

Hourly $53.92
Annual $112,145

8. Rhode Island:

Rhode Island is so small that the state doesn’t have local community public health agencies. All public health services are managed through a centralized state Department of Health. Public health professionals earn an average of $111,233 a year or $53.48 an hour, and the most popular public health positions are those in the areas of community health, emergency preparedness, environmental sciences, and data analytics.

Hourly $53.48
Annual $111,233

9. Alaska:

Challenges brought on by overcrowding are not an issue in Alaska where the average population density is one person per square mile. Instead, The Last Frontier must deal with pervasive health disparities that exist between 150,000 Native Alaskans and the other populations that have moved into the state. A public health worker in Alaska can earn up to $53.41 hourly or $111,089 annually.

Hourly $53.41
Annual $111,089

10. Vermont:

In 2018, CNN called Vermont one of the five healthiest states in the U.S. The Green Mountain State still faces challenges, however, in areas like smoking during pregnancy, access to fluoridated water systems, and obesity. As a public health professional in Vermont, you can earn $110,628 per year or $53.19 per hour.

Hourly $53.19
Annual $110,628

11. Nebraska:

In Nebraska, an MPH-prepared professional can earn $53.12 an hour, which adds up to $110,488 per year. Nebraska’s rural, agricultural-based communities present the Cornhusker State with a need for public health professionals in the fields of environmental and occupational health. The state is also battling a major obesity epidemic, which calls for specialists in health education and health promotion.

Hourly $53.12
Annual $110,488

12. Nevada:

Nevada consistently ranks among the bottom five states in terms of the overall health status of its residents. This outcome can be explained by its low high school graduation rate, its low rates of childhood immunization, its high STD rates, and its low levels of state-subsidized public health funding. MPH degree holders who take on the challenge of working in The Silver State can make $110,217 per year or $52.99 per hour.

Hourly $52.99
Annual $110,217

13. North Dakota:

Professionals holding Master’s of Public Health degrees can earn $52.79 per hour in North Dakota or $109,800 annually. Behavioral health has been identified as one of North Dakota’s most significant public health challenges as evidenced by the state’s relatively high rates of smoking and obesity, and its ongoing opioid crisis.

Hourly $52.79
Annual $109,800

14. Wyoming:

Wyoming has relatively few primary care physicians, and this increases the strain on its public health resources. Alcoholism and substance abuse are both on the rise here, as are workplace injuries and deaths. MPH-prepared professionals stand to earn $52.74 an hour or $109,705 a year.

Hourly $52.74
Annual $109,705

15. California:

According to the “U.S. News & World Report,” California ranks number one in the nation for public health. Its three major urban centers, San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, increase the demand for public health workers associated with institutions of higher education, government agencies, and health care centers. In particular, epidemiologists and other professionals involved in disease research and control will find many employment opportunities in California. The salary for MPH degree graduates in California is $109,527 annually or $52.66 on an hourly basis.

Hourly $52.66
Annual $109,527

16. Virginia:

Virginia’s proximity to federal agencies and health-oriented nonprofits throughout the greater metropolitan D.C. area boosts the demand for qualified MPH professionals who stand to earn $52.42 or $109,040 a year. Behavioral issues like obesity, tobacco use, and substance abuse are major challenges throughout the state, which increases the need for activists with a strong background in community health and education.

Hourly $52.42
Annual $109,040

17. Kentucky:

The opioid crisis and obesity are two of the greatest challenges Kentucky faces in the field of public health where professionals holding graduate degrees can earn $51.37 per hour or $106,845 annually. Systemic poverty and habitually low levels of educational attainment both contribute to the state’s many public health-related issues.

Hourly $51.37
Annual $106,845

18. South Dakota:

South Dakota’s priority public health issues include drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, and depression. MPH-prepared community health workers and educators who are prepared to tackle these challenges may make as much as $106,594, which breaks down to $51.25 an hour.

Hourly $51.25
Annual $106,594

19. New Jersey:

Nearly 90 percent of New Jersey’s population lives in the densely populated cities that are associated with the metropolitan New York City and Philadelphia areas. This strengthens the demand for public health workers within the Garden State. New Jersey also has one of the oldest populations in the U.S. More than 17 percent of its public health workers are older than 60, and this increases the number of job openings in the public health sector. Epidemiologists, community health workers, and other MPH-prepared professionals can expect to earn $51.14 on average hourly; this calculates out to $106,363 a year.

Hourly $51.14
Annual $106,363

20. West Virginia:

In 2017, when Research!America commissioned a survey on the subject, West Virginians identified the opioid crisis as the number one public health problem facing their state. MPH-prepared epidemiologists who can verify the extent of the problem and community health workers who can assist in recovery efforts have the potential to earn $106,233 annually or $51.07 hourly.

Hourly $51.07
Annual $106,233

21. Pennsylvania:

The salary for MPH degree graduates in Pennsylvania is $50.83 per hour or $105,720 per year. Pennsylvania includes densely populated cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as well as small towns located in rural areas, and each of these settings faces its own unique set of public health challenges. The keystone state has many job openings for epidemiologists, health services administrators, and community health workers and educators.

Hourly $50.83
Annual $105,720

22. South Carolina:

More than a quarter of South Carolina’s population is clinically obese, which fuels a demand for public health educators and biostatisticians who can track the links diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases linked to obesity. The Palmetto State’s other public health issues include opioid addiction and tobacco use. MPH degree graduates in South Carolina make $105,173 a year or $50.56 hourly.

Hourly $50.56
Annual $105,173

23. Minnesota:

State and local public health agencies throughout Minnesota have forged a strong partnership, which has created a lot of jobs for graduate-level-degree public health professionals. Binge drinking is one of the greatest public health-related issues faced by the North Star State. Minnesota also attracts immigrants from many parts of the world such as Mexico, Laos, Somalia and Vietnam, and balancing the health needs of these diverse groups is an ongoing challenge. Epidemiologists, health educators, environmental analysts, and other MPH graduates in Minnesota make $50.52 hourly and $105,076 a year.

Hourly $50.52
Annual $105,076

24. Oregon:

In Oregon, MPH-prepared professionals can earn as much as $104,822 in a year or $50.40 hourly. The Beaver State has identified obesity, alcohol and substance abuse, and tobacco use as its most serious public health problems.

Hourly $50.40
Annual $104,822

25. Delaware:

Delaware’s public health challenges include a disproportionately high rate of violent crime, high infant mortality, and a paucity of primary health care providers. MPH degree holders can expect to earn $50.39 an hour or $104,808 per year.

Hourly $50.39
Annual $104,808

26. Tennessee:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Tennessee lags way behind many other states when it comes to obesity prevention and discouraging tobacco use. In fact, The Volunteer State has one of the highest incidences of childhood obesity in the nation. This creates numerous openings for MPH-prepared epidemiologists and health educators who will earn $50.35 per hour on average or $104,734 in a single year.

Hourly $50.35
Annual $104,734

27. Colorado:

The control of infectious diseases like hepatitis A is one of the biggest public health care challenges confronting Colorado, and is one of the reasons why epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and health educators earn $50.32 an hour or $104,668 a year in The Centennial State. Many children in the state also exhibit elevated levels of lead in their blood, which emphasizes the need for the services of public health professionals whose expertise is in environmental science.

Hourly $50.32
Annual $104,668

28. Montana:

Montana’s public health system prioritizes the management of preventable chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and forms of cancer that can be traced to environmental exposures. MPH-prepared professionals in Montana earn $104,591 a year or $50.28 an hour.

Hourly $50.28
Annual $104,591

29. Ohio:

Ohio’s public health issues include substance abuse, comparatively high infant and maternal mortality rates, and lead poisoning; these issues are intensified by the fact that they affect poor people and people of color disproportionately. The salary of MPH degree graduates in Ohio is $49.99 or $103,979 annually.

Hourly $49.99
Annual $103,979

30. Wisconsin:

The multi-campus University of Wisconsin system has created numerous positions for MPH graduates throughout the Badger State. Public health agencies are also anxious to effect positive changes in Wisconsin’s rates of obesity, alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking, which are higher than analogous rates in many other states, so public health educators are in high demand. MPH graduates earn approximately $49.87 an hour or $103,731 on an annual basis.

Hourly $49.87
Annual $103,731

31. Arizona:

One in four Arizona adults meets the criteria to be categorized as “obese.” Arizona’s other public health challenges include tobacco use, binge drinking, suicide, and teen pregnancy. The Grand Canyon State continues to make significant strides in improvement in these areas, thanks to its professional public health workforce. MPH-prepared professionals here make $49.77 on average and $103,515 per year.

Hourly $49.77
Annual $103,515

32. Kansas:

The opioid crisis is one of the top public health issues in Kansas along with obesity-linked diabetes and suicide. Public health workers in The Sunflower State make $103,069 annually or $49.55 hourly.

Hourly $49.55
Annual $103,069

33. Utah:

According to a report from the United Health Foundation, Utah is one of the five healthiest states in the union. A large part of the credit for that is due to its excellent public health workforce. Epidemiologists, health educators, environmental researchers, and other MPH-prepared professionals here make $49.53 an hour, which adds up to $103,023 a year.

Hourly $49.53
Annual $103,023

34. Indiana:

Indiana faces a raft of public health challenges that range from smoking and drug abuse to obesity-related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Air pollution in cities like Indianapolis is also a major problem. The health educators, administrators, and environmental scientists who are trying to help Hoosiers up their wellness quotient stand to earn $49.45 an hour or $102,851 a year.

Hourly $49.45
Annual $102,851

35. Oklahoma:

Obesity, cancers that are related to smoking and other lifestyle choices, and substance abuse and addiction have the biggest impact on public health in the state of Oklahoma. Pubic health professionals who can help Oklahomans make healthy lifestyle choices a priority stand to make as much as $102,689 a year, which works out to $49.37 an hour.

Hourly $49.37
Annual $102,689

36. Idaho:

Nearly two-thirds of Idaho adults are overweight, which means that many people living in The Gem State are at risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions associated with obesity. Public health officials in Idaho make $49.23 an hour or $102,398 per year.

Hourly $49.23
Annual $102,398

37. Maine:

More than half of all Maine residents depend upon wells, which means that maintaining the safety of groundwater is one of the most important public health challenges in The Pine Tree State. Environmental scientists and other MPH degree graduates in Maine make $49.19 an hour or $102,321 a year.

Hourly $49.19
Annual $102,321

38. Louisiana:

Although most parts of Louisiana are rural, its most famous city, New Orleans, faces all the public health issues you would expect to find in a densely populated city with a disproportionate number of impoverished residents. The Pelican State leads the nation in obesity and infant mortality rates. Public health professionals willing to meet the state’s challenges can make $48.99 an hour or $101,905 per year.

Hourly $48.99
Annual $101,905

39. Iowa:

Tobacco use, substance abuse, obesity, suicide, and other mental health issues are all challenges that confront public health officials in Iowa. MPH-prepared activists and scientists on average earn $100,856 per year here or $48.49 an hour.

Hourly $48.49
Annual $100,856

40. Georgia:

The central headquarters for the Centers of Disease Control is located in Atlanta, and the CDC is the largest employer for public health-related jobs in the U.S. This is one of the reasons why public health analysts, epidemiologists, community health researchers, and other MPH-prepared professionals are able to earn an average hourly rate of $48.01 and an annual rate of $99,860.

Hourly $48.01
Annual $99,860

41. Texas:

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified tobacco use, illnesses linked to environmental conditions, and inadequate access to primary and preventative care as The Lone Star State’s highest public health priorities. Obesity is also a major issue, as are communicable diseases carried by individuals who cross the border the U.S. shares with Mexico here. The salary for MPH degree graduates in Texas is $47.46 an hour or $98,714 a year.

Hourly $47.46
Annual $98,714

42. New Mexico:

New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the nation and moreover, is home to a population with unique cultural and linguistic needs. The state’s biggest public health challenges include substance abuse, obesity, and access to primary care. MPH-prepared professionals make $98,500 a year or $47.36 an hour in The Land of Enchantment.

Hourly $47.36
Annual $98,500

43. Michigan:

In 2015, Flint, Michigan became the site of one of the nation’s biggest 21st-century public health crises when its municipal drinking water was contaminated with lead. Obesity is also a major problem in The Wolverine State, accounting for as much as $3 billion in medical costs every year. MPH degree graduates in Michigan make $47.24 an hour or $98,250 a year.

Hourly $47.24
Annual $98,250

44. Arkansas:

Public health professionals can make $47.20 or $98,178 a year in Arkansas. Arkansas has relatively high rates of obesity and tobacco use, and these conditions are associated with a host of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Hourly $47.20
Annual $98,178

45. Illinois:

In Illinois, MPH salaries are $46.94 an hour, which adds up to $97,644 a year. Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, presents all the public health challenges a densely populated metropolitan area might be expected to contend with. The state also has 44 Superfund sites, which increases the demand for public health professionals who specialize in environmental health issues. The University of Illinois, University of Chicago, and Loyola University are noted research centers that offer job opportunities for epidemiologists and biostatisticians.

Hourly $46.94
Annual $97,644

46. Alabama:

The United Health Foundation has dubbed Alabama one of the least healthy states in the U.S. because of its high prevalence of smoking, obesity and drug-related deaths. MPH-prepared graduates can make $97,524 a year, which works out to $46.89 an hour.

Hourly $46.89
Annual $97,524

47. Mississippi:

Public health professionals have their hands full in Mississippi, which has been singled out as one of the least healthy states in the nation due to obesity, smoking, and infant mortality rates. MPH-prepared educators and community health workers make an average annual wage of $96,537 here, which comes out to $46.41 per hour.

Hourly $46.41
Annual $96,537

48. Missouri:

According to an analysis from Trust for America’s Health, nearly one-third of Missourians are clinically obese. Other public health challenges with which the state is grappling include smoking, drug abuse, suicide, and gun violence. On average, public health professionals make $46.30 an hour or $96,310 a year in The Show-Me State.

Hourly $46.30
Annual $96,310

49. Florida:

The salary for MPH degree graduates in Florida is $94,120 or $45.25 an hour. Public health concerns in The Sunshine State include food insecurity, access to primary care services, and access to mental health services for suicide and substance abuse interventions. Florida also has an unusually high incidence of new HIV cases.

Hourly $45.25
Annual $94,120

50. North Carolina:

The most urgent public health issue in North Carolina is obesity, which is linked to a number of chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Nearly two-thirds of all adults in The Tar Heel State are clinically obese. Health educators, community health activists, and biostatisticians in North Carolina can make $89,623 or $43.09 an hour.

Hourly $43.09
Annual $89,623

What are the Exact Reasons Behind some States Paying Higher MPH Salaries while some are Paying Lower?

The amount public health professionals make depends upon the demand for their services, and this demand may vary from locale to locale. Since public health is concerned with the overall health status within populations, it makes sense that the demand for public health services will be highest in densely populated locations. There will also be a higher demand for services in areas that are facing a public health-related crisis such as an epidemic or a toxic environmental event. Finally, the demand for public health professionals will be affected by the demographics of a locality’s working MPH population: In areas where the current public health workforce is close to retirement age, the demand for fresh public health professionals will be higher.


As this analysis shows, there exists a great deal of variance in the typical MPH salary from state to state, and that variance doesn’t always reflect the need for health care professionals within a given state. Salary, of course, is only one of the considerations for young professionals who are just starting to chart a career course. One thing’s for certain: Earning a Master’s degree in Public Health is a gateway to many exciting and worthwhile opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Which state pays the highest MPH salary?

New York pays the highest average salary for MPH graduates in the Nation - $122,201 a year.

Which State in the Northeast pays the highest MPH salary?

New York pays the highest average salary for MPH graduates in the Northeast region - $122,201 a year.

Which State in the Southeast pays the highest MPH salary?

Virginia pays the highest average salary for MPH graduates in the Southeast region - $109,040 a year.

Which State in the Midwest pays the highest MPH salary?

Nebraska pays the highest average salary for MPH graduates in the Midwest region - $110,488 a year.

Which State in the Southwest pays the highest MPH salary?

Arizona pays the highest average salary for MPH graduates in the Southwest region - $103,515 a year.

Which State in the Western Region pays the highest MPH salary?

Washington pays the highest average salary for MPH graduates in the Western region - $120,201 a year.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.