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Public Health Jobs

The field of public health offers a wide range of professions, all of which serve the purpose of promoting wellness in society. That extends to taking a hands-on approach in a first responder capacity while it also involves social work. The public health field is also comprised of nutritionists, occupational health and safety professionals, health educators, restaurant inspectors, community planners and much more. Public health also includes educating society about the importance of health while lobbying against unhealthy practices. It is a broad field with a unified common goal.

Public health often combines human behavior and biology, linking together some of the most integral aspects in society. There is scientific based evidence in public health and there are also many other advocacy areas. That allows public health professionals to attain a multidisciplinary perspective which is truly unique. Public health service aims to establish safety standards, develop nutritional programs and it even protects workers. There are so many endeavors taken on by public health workers and all strive to create a healthier and safer world.

Public health officials may work in the private sector as this area does not always involve lobbying for the public to take necessary health precautions or follow recommended safety practices. Public health is one of the few professions where individuals can work in government, academia or the industry. So many choices open up a vast amount of opportunities for those entering into this profession.

Public Health Job Education

A public health education can result in the awarding of an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree. Some public health jobs require only a two-year education while others call for a Bachelor’s and some demand a post-graduate degree. A public health education starts out by building a basic foundation of knowledge. The initial part of the educational process prepares students for positions in an administrative support role as well as some entry level spots. These positions can typically be attained with an Associate’s Degree in Public Health.

Education goes into more depth in a Bachelor’s Degree program as students learn more about community and behavioral health. A Master’s Degree in Public Health exposes students to specializations, which include biostatistics, environmental health science as well as epidemiology. There is also the option of earning a Doctoral Degree in Public Health as this distinction is very specific and advanced.

In all public health fields, communication remains a key component. Public health professionals spend a good deal of their workday communicating, which has stressed communications in all public health educational programs.

Students looking to study public health at the college level are recommended to gain some real-world experience. Many students volunteer for non-profit organizations during their undergraduate studies. Students have different reasons for choosing this major, although many become passionate about a particular cause. This profession allows them to make a difference in that cause while also earning a comfortable living.

Public Health Salary/Job Outlook

There are a wide range of salaries for public health officials, mainly because there is such a vast array of jobs. For example, a nutritionist takes on an entirely different set of job duties than a social worker does. That has led to a fluctuating scale of annual salaries. A community health worker earns an average of $38,180 per year while an epidemiologist claims an average salary of $70,820 annually, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those working in an occupational health capacity average an income of around $48,000 annually, while those working as a public health educator can expect to earn an annual income of $57,900. However, the determining factors of that salary depend largely on the level of education as well as the specific workplace. It is difficult to pinpoint one average salary because there are so many different roles in public health. Management positions continue to be the highest paying positions in public health, with annual salaries that typically exceed $90,000.

One commonality in the public health profession is that job growth is on the rise across the board. Public health professionals working in a community health capacity are expected to see a 14% increase in their profession by the year 2024. Health educators are expected to see a 9% to 13% increase in jobs during that same time frame.

Where do Public Health Professionals work?

Public health officials have the option of working in many different sectors. There is the option of working in a public capacity. This would include working for a health department, as a research analyst or in disaster relief. Meanwhile, the private sector features many positions, such as consultants for drug companies, insurance companies or healthcare corporations.

The non-profit sector also has a high population of public health professionals. Non-profits typically specialize in helping a certain group of people and public health professionals can align their specific job with their favorite cause. The education sector has the need for public health professionals as teaching positions exist in numerous settings beyond that of academia. Community, nutrition and health educators all in high demand.

Public Health Job Professional Characteristics

A public health official or educator possesses strong communication skills as it is one of the most important aspects of the job. Communication also applies to written form as many public health professionals deal with policies. A premium is also placed on organizational skills as many programs and initiatives need to be properly implemented. Without the proper organizational skills, those tasks become extremely difficult. Public health professionals also work well under duress. Some of these jobs prepare for times of crisis. And it is during those times that public health officers may be counted on the most, which requires them to keep a cool head under pressure.

Resources

American Public Health Association

This association is dedicated to the promotion of public health within the United States and provides numerous online resources.

National Association of Local Health Boards

This association features more than 1,000 local health boards throughout the entire United States.

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

This organization features state councils that represent epidemiologists in the public health sector.

National Institutes of Health

This is one of the nation’s leading medical research organizations that makes recommendations and presents findings on public health.