Public Health Careers

Public Health Career Options

Public health is defined as the science of protecting and improving a community’s health by way of preventative medicine, health education, sanitation strategies, monitoring of environmental hazards and the collection and research of disease and injury data to develop strategies for prevention.

There are many paths for those interested in careers in public health. Epidemiology and biostatistics for those interested in working with numbers and data, environmental health for science oriented individuals, health education for those wanting to work in communities to develop startegies for prevention of disease or disaster, health administration for the business, finance and management interest, and health policy for those that are legally inclined and desiring to create public health policy.

Learn more about the different divisions or Units in Public Health: “Chronic Disease, Health Promotion, and Epidemiology Units: State Health Departments are at the forefront

You may also want to read “Public Health Professionals Working for Health Plans: What is new in the Health Insurance sector?” to see how public health professionals are making an impact in the health plan sector.

Public Health Professional Job Description

The goal of a Public health professional is to prevent public health related problems from occurring or occurring again by implementing health education programs, improving access to health care, developing public health policies, controlling infectious disease, and conducting research that is used to reduce environmental hazards, violence and drug abuse. As you can see there are many specializations within public health but many times a public health professional will incorporate all aspects of the field when working on a project.

With the growing elderly population and the threat of pandemic, there is great opportunity in the public health sector for talented and educated individuals to have rewarding and secure careers. Health sector job opportunities are predicted to grow faster than the national average and predicted to make up the majority of new jobs through 2014 according to the bureau of labor statistics.

Public Health Professional Education

Educational requirements for public health professionals vary due to the nature of the field. Most public health professionals do hold a master’s degree in public health. However, many public health professionals come from diverse backgrounds including teaching, medicine, nursing, researchers, administrators, journalists, lawyers, social workers and environmentalists. A Master’s degree in Publice Health or Health Care Administration are popular degrees for those choosing a career in public health administration.

Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health is designed for those that have recently graduated with an undergraduate degree, those already holding a master degree in another discipline or those individuals with work experience looking to advance their career in public heath. Most public health leadership jobs require individuals to hold a master’s in public health. A master degree in public health wil lhelp prepare you for public health careers in health departments, community-based organizations, managed care organizations, hospitals, consulting firms, international health agencies, state and federal agencies and more.

Public Health Institute careers are another area to explore after earning your master’s. Read “Public Health Institutes: How they operate and could it be the right fit for you?” to learn more.

Throughout the world bioterrorism, HIV/Aids, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, smoking and a multitude of other health threats have created a high demand for individuals with a master’s level education in public health. A master’s of public health degree provides an interdisciplinary education with courses in administration, epidemiology, environmental health, and behavioral health. Students learn to apply their knowledge of science and current health issues/threats to the health challenges facing our world’s community.

Public Health Salary Range and Job Titles

A survey by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) took a look at the most common job titles in public health and reported what new master of public health program graduates made their first year. Health Service Administration: $37,050 – $161,400, Biostatistics $33,000 – $63,000, Epidemiology $38,175 – $136,237, Health Education/Behavioral Science $33,000 – $86,625, Environmental Health $44,550 – $143,700, International Health $31,500 – $86,625, Nutrition $31,500 – $70,875, Public Health Practice/Program Management $41,175 – $102,000, Biomedical Laboratory $31,500 – $78,750.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of public health, a master in public health is a relevant degree for professionals in nursing, medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. Professionals in these areas frequently deal with issues of public health and with a master of public health will be able to apply public health principles to their practice to become more successful.