Embarking on a career in the public health sector offers a vast landscape of opportunities.
With choices ranging from grassroots work in small communities to spearheading global health and wellness campaigns, the possibilities are truly wide-ranging.
But what careers await after obtaining a public health degree? Our guide provides insights, breaking down the potential paths based on education level and specialty.
For those aiming to delve deeper into this domain, the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a beacon, furnishing candidates with the nuanced knowledge essential to thrive in this dynamic field.
What Is Public Health?
Public health focuses on keeping whole communities healthy. Instead of just treating one person, it looks at everyone. Its goal is to stop diseases and encourage healthy living for all. Here’s what public health does:
- Setting up programs to lower disease risks
- Studying disease patterns to find the best solutions
- Helping people adopt healthier ways of living
People in public health often work for the government or charity groups. Here are some jobs they might have:
- First responders: they help during emergencies
- Nutritionists: they give advice on good food choices
- Health educators: they teach about different health subjects
- Policymakers: they create rules to make communities healthier.
Types of Public Health Degrees
Public health professions typically need advanced education, but the specific degree depends on the job. Those aspiring to further their expertise in this field can opt for an online MPH degree. Let’s look at some usual public health degrees.
Associate Degree in Public Health
This two-year degree is often a foundation for a bachelor’s. It’s more affordable than a four-year course. Many programs provide practical internships.
With just an associate degree, some become health educators or medical transcriptionists.
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health
Earning this degree requires a choice between a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA). B.S. courses lean towards sciences like biology, while B.A. focuses on social sciences like community health. Typically, these degrees need 120 credits, with half dedicated to public health.
Master of Public Health
Those aiming for specialized roles or research often get a master’s. These programs cover data interpretation, study management, and various health aspects. Depending on the format and enrollment type, it can take 16 months to four years.
Doctorate in Public Health
Those seeking doctorates usually aim for academic or leadership positions. Before applying, a relevant master’s degree and some experience in the field are often needed. These programs generally span three to four years, starting with courses on leadership and concluding with dissertation work or a residency in public health.
Key Skills Acquired from a Public Health Degree
With a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, numerous paths are open to you. However, it’s not mandatory to delve into a specific public health profession post-graduation. Your undergraduate journey will likely equip you with valuable skills applicable across multiple job roles.
Skills you might acquire in a BSPH program are:
- Critical thinking
- Planning and organizing
When considering various career paths or potential job roles, it’s beneficial to reflect on the knowledge and abilities you’ve amassed during your studies. Contemplate the broader range of your capabilities and how they might be relevant across different sectors.
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What Jobs Can You Get With a Public Health Degree?
Healthcare managers, policy drafters, and patient representatives are essential in public health sectors, along with roles focused on clinical care and community engagement. The following compensation figures were obtained from Payscale.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|Job||Median Annual Salary||Minimum Qualification|
|Community Health Worker||$46,190||High School Diploma|
|Community Outreach Coordinator||$46,100||Bachelor’s Degree|
|Environmental Health Scientist||$76,480||Bachelor’s Degree|
|Health Coach||$52,900||Associate Degree|
|Health Services Manager||$104,830||Bachelor’s Degree|
|Health Education Specialist||$59,990||High School Diploma|
|Medical Transcriptionist||$34,730||Postsecondary Non-degree Award|
|Medical Office Coordinator||$38,500||Associate Degree|
|Health Policy Analyst||$128,020||Master’s Degree|
|Social or Community Service Manager||$74,240||Bachelor’s Degree|
|Patient Services Coordinator||$42,000||Associate Degree|
|Public Health Specialist||$58,500||Bachelor’s Degree|
|Public Health Professor||$100,300||Doctoral Degree|
1. Community Health Worker
Community health advocates support the health needs of community members. They might offer interpretation services during medical consultations, influence policy formulation, and educate marginalized communities about essential health knowledge.
In the realm of public health, biostatisticians turn vast health data into actionable insights. They study public health and biological data, employing statistical tools to monitor and identify health patterns. They might contribute to clinical trial data analysis or assess the effectiveness of new drugs.
3. Community Outreach Coordinator
Working for entities like government agencies, nonprofits, or health institutions, these coordinators may organize health-centric events or collaborate with educational institutions and businesses to guide community members to essential resources. Effective communication is crucial in this role to bridge those in need with appropriate solutions.
Epidemiologists don’t just study infectious diseases; their scope covers various chronic diseases, ailments, and injuries. They might interpret research to guide health policymakers, study disease impact across demographics, and analyze data to anticipate the spread of emerging diseases.
5. Environmental Health Scientist
These specialists play a pivotal role in ensuring public health safety, from food sanitation to responding to environmental hazards. They monitor adherence to environmental regulations, oversee waste management, and liaise with communities to enhance water quality or advocate for advanced waste treatment plants.
6. Health Coach
Wellness coaches aid individuals or groups in enhancing their physical well-being. Many acquire additional certifications and apply behavioral change techniques tailored to each client’s health aspirations. They can operate in community hubs, private settings, or medical facilities.
7. Health Services Manager
Tasked with manifold responsibilities, these managers ensure smooth operations within their departments. They typically handle staff recruitment, budget management, and strategize patient care enhancements. Their work settings range from hospitals to private health clinics.
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8. Health Education Specialist
These experts educate communities on health and injury prevention. Much like community health advocates, they build strong community bonds to disseminate crucial health safety information, offering workshops and linking individuals to health resources.
9. Medical Transcriptionist
Medical professionals rely on these individuals to document patient care plans, medical histories, or diagnoses. They must be proficient in medical terminology and able to discuss the content they transcribe.
10. Medical Office Coordinator
These coordinators ensure a seamless healthcare office experience and are the primary contact for patients upon their arrival. Their tasks encompass patient registration, schedule management, and liaising with external services such as insurance firms.
11. Health Policy Analyst
Predominantly employed by government bodies or nonprofits, these analysts shape public health priorities. They might assess existing policies, draft new ones, or gauge community health requirements to influence future policy directions.
12. Social or Community Service Manager
These managers conceive and roll out public health initiatives, connecting individuals to health aids. Their roles involve:
- Identifying critical community health needs.
- Pushing for enhanced health policies.
- Managing team and financial resources.
13. Patient Services Coordinator
Bridging healthcare providers and patients in medical settings, they handle appointment scheduling patient records and cater to patient inquiries. Proficiency in customer relations, technology, and communication is key.
14. Public Health Specialist
These specialists design public health policies and strategies. Some might concentrate on specific interventions, like addressing healthcare disparities, while others might handle expansive public health programs, such as combating smoking.
15. Public Health Professor
After attaining a doctorate in public health, many opt for academia. These educators might teach broad subjects or delve into niche areas like environmental health. Common responsibilities encompass delivering lectures, curriculum development, and conducting unique research.
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Jobs Outside of Public Health After BPH or MPH
Public health degree holders gain skills useful in many fields. They can communicate, analyze, make policies, find solutions, research, and lead. Here are some jobs where this degree is helpful:
Medical writers, skilled in public health, simplify complex topics. They write research papers, news, web content, and more. They might work for pharmaceutical firms, communication groups, or media outlets.
Also known as health science librarians, they work in diverse places like universities and drug companies. They guide people to correct medical information, handle digital resources, and manage I.T. Having a library science degree and public health knowledge is beneficial.
Healthcare Public Relations or Fundraising Manager
PR managers uplift their client’s image. They handle media releases and interviews. Fundraising managers raise funds through strategic campaigns and donor meetings. A public health degree can help in these health-related roles.
These researchers create and study surveys. They make surveys on various topics, including health, using interviews or questionnaires. While some roles need advanced degrees, a public health background is a plus.
Health Care Compliance Officer
With health laws becoming intricate, experts are needed to ensure organizations comply. These officers check if institutions follow rules about patient privacy. They make compliance plans, train staff, monitor and fix errors, and assess risks.
These experts study politics. They research ideas, assess policies, and write articles. A public health background can lead to a focus on health policies. Most roles need advanced degrees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is public health a good career?
Public health is a rewarding career where you can earn well and help communities. People in this field love supporting those in need and guarding everyone from sickness.
What can I do with a public health degree?
With a public health degree, you can explore jobs like biostatistics, environmental health, or epidemiology. You can pick roles in clinics or focus on community work and policy-making.
What are the most in-demand jobs I can do with a public health degree?
The most sought-after jobs with a public health degree include community health workers, health service managers, and various social workers. Our research shows these careers will grow rapidly from 2020 to 2030. Community jobs will grow by 12%, while other health jobs will grow by 16%.
What can you do with an MPH?
With an MPH, you can become a public health educator, epidemiologist, or health promotion specialist. You might also explore roles like community health specialist or public health administrator, which usually need at least a bachelor's in public health.
What are the five highest-paying jobs in public health?
In 2023, the top-paying jobs in public health were Health and Safety Engineers, Medical and Health Services Managers, Biostatisticians, Public Health Attorneys, and Computer Managers in healthcare. These roles had better salaries compared to other public health positions.
Which are the highest-paying locations for public health jobs?
In big cities like New York and California, public health jobs often pay well. However, specific jobs pay more in certain places. For example, Hawaii pays health education specialists and medical managers well, while Colorado pays environmental scientists top rates.
What are the public health jobs most in demand?
The public health jobs with over 10% expected growth from 2023 to 2033 include community health workers, medical managers, health care social workers, mental health social workers, and counselors for substance abuse and behavioral disorders.
Do you need a Master of Public Health (MPH)?
Many students with a BSPH choose to get a Master of Public Health (MPH) as it opens doors to advanced jobs. In an MPH program, you can focus on areas like epidemiology or global health. While not always required, an MPH can help you get specific roles. We've listed some jobs MPH graduates often pursue.
What are the factors that affect public health salary?
Public health salaries can change based on the job type, location, workplace, experience, education, skills, job growth, and industry. It's key to consider all these when picking a public health position.
A public health degree offers a range of rewarding careers. Roles include studying diseases as epidemiologists, shaping health policies, or ensuring communities receive adequate nutrition. Health services administrators ensure smooth operations, while community managers address wider societal concerns.
The global rise in health issues highlights the importance of public health professionals. Choosing a public health career means actively bettering community well-being. So, select your career thoughtfully and create a positive change.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Introduction to Public Health
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Public Health
- American Public Health Association, What is public health?
- The American Journal of Public Health, R H Elling, and WP Shepard, 2011, A study of public health careers: hospital administrators in public health.