Public health is a fast-growing industry that constantly needs new professionals. You can find a variety of career positions within this industry that you can work in, depending on your interests and skills. Some people only get a bachelor’s degree in this field, but the best careers are for those who hold a master’s degree, or MPH. The MPH degree program focuses on practical application of public health issues within the industry. It prepares students to be leaders in their communities and work to increase social awareness and perform various duties in relation to public health, depending on their specialty.
Choosing a Specialty in Public Health
There are many areas of public health where you can work. Jobs are typically divided up into a few separate categories, making it easier for you to narrow down the potential careers that you want. When you are researching in-demand public health careers, you will find them in areas like:
- Public Policy
- Administration and Management
- Environmental Health
- Behavioral and Social Sciences
- Statistics and Biostatistics
If you have a passion for one of these areas or your skills are more honed toward one of them, it will be easy for you to find the perfect career within that area. You might need to do a little research in each area to determine where you want to work.
SEE ALSO: 9 Highest Paying Public Health Jobs
Furthermore, if you already know the job title you want, you should figure out which category it falls into so that you can get the information that you need about your career choice.
The Most In-Demand Jobs
#1 Health Educator
Health educators teach people about the many aspects of behavior that promote health and wellness. They develop programs to encourage people to make good health decisions.
People in this profession:
Assess needs of the community and its people
Come up with programs to teach about good health
Create/distribute health materials
Assist people in finding needed health services
Median salary: $45,800
#2 Public Health Officer
Public health officers focus on the health of communities, rather than individual patients. They are educators of the public on serious health risks and how to live in a healthy way. Public health officers typically work in:
Local and state government
Median salary: $42,200
An epidemiologist looks into the causes of diseases and other public health issues to keep them from spreading or recurring. They then report the findings to public health officials and to the public.
These public health professionals usually work in:
Median salary: $63,100
A biostatistician uses mathematical techniques to analyze and interpret public health-related information and then draws conclusions from it. Some of what they do includes:
Determines public health problems to be addressed
Decides which data is needed to answer the problem
Determine the best methods for collecting the data
Come up with surveys and/or experiments to collect the data
Analyze and interpret the public health data
Median salary: $71,500
#5 Director of Environmental Health
Directors of environmental health educate, give training and regulate environmental practices of the government in both private and public operations. These regulations ensure the quality of water, food and air in a given area. To become a director of environmental health, you should have:
A bachelor’s degree in environmental health
A master’s degree in environmental law, public health or environmental health science
Median salary: $64,500
#6 Clinical Research Coordinator
A clinical research coordinator typically works under the direction of a clinical principal investigator. The CRC will usually support, facilitate and coordinate clinical trial activities and has an important role in all clinical studies at the site. Essential duties include:
Coordinating with PI to ensure clinical trial activities are done according to federal regulations.
Help PI develop material and tools needed to train people working on the study.
Assist PI in assuring that all personnel in the project meet training requirements.
Median salary: $31,700
#7 Nonprofit Coordinator
You will develop programs and oversee staff and volunteers for a public health cause. One of the advantages of working as a nonprofit coordinator is that you will have the chance to wear many hats. The budgets for many of these organizations is not high, so the employees typically have to perform many related functions. This can help you to learn new skills and to keep the job exciting.
Median salary: $40,500
#8 Nonprofit Executive Director
The executive director of a nonprofit organization will oversee the heads of every department in a nonprofit, such as marketing, program development, fundraising, HR and accounting. Executive directors also can oversee various lower level executives.
Median salary: $71,500
#9 Research Assistant
Research assistants typically work in laboratories and analyze clinical trial and survey data. In a public health setting, you may work on research projects that are directly related to public health, such as water pollution or the spread of diseases.
Median salary: $28,400
#10 Healthcare Consultant
A healthcare consultant is a management analyst that is typically employed in healthcare. However, these professionals also can be employed in public health. A public healthcare consultant typically does the following:
Researches data related to an identified public health problem.
Collect the data and provide the information to the public health official.
Work with public health officials to come to an agreement on potential solutions.
Median salary: $64,300
#11 Hospital Administrator
A hospital administrator plans, directs and coordinates medical and health care services in a hospital. This professional can manage a whole facility, a specific clinical area or also a practice within a hospital. You may:
Boost efficiency in delivering hospital health care services
Stay up to date on any new laws so that your facility is in compliance
Supervise hospital staff on public health issues
Manage the finances of the hospital
Median salary: $83,200
#12 Clinical Trials Analyst
A clinical trials analyst works on medical and public health studies that are designed to measure how effective a drug treatment is. The clinical research is usually done in a hospital or medical facility. Responsibilities include:
Coordinate the clinical research study
Track product inventory
Collect data and oversee protocols
Act as a liaison between doctors and other medical staff
#13 Director of Industrial Hygiene
Directors and managers of industrial hygiene work in the field of environmental health and safety. This is a high paying field for those who can handle the educational requirements, which generally are an undergraduate degree in engineering or chemistry, and also a master’s degree in industrial hygiene. They can work in a number of areas, but the most common are:
Public health organizations
Hazardous waste firms
Colleges and universities
Median salary: $111,000
#14 Industrial Waste Director
Industrial waste directors usually will work in local government, water, sewage and related facilities to promote public health. They will typically oversee employees who work in removing solid and liquid waste, and ensuring that the public health is not compromised.
Median salary: $86,000
#15 Infection Control Officer
An infection control officer spends much of their time doing surveillance of medical problems and reports in a public health setting. This is usually done by monitoring the state of:
An infection control officer also can monitor patient diagnoses, review medical conditions during a hospital stay and also ensure that doctor and nurse care does not spread disease, thus affecting public health.
Median salary: $56,000
#16 Project Manager
A project manager in a public health facility is usually responsible for overseeing health services and facilities above all else. As a project manager, you might have projects that fall into either the clinical or health information section, depending upon which kind of public health organization you work in.
Median salary: $59,400
#17 Director of Epidemiology
A director of epidemiology works on the causes of diseases and various public health problems to prevent them from recurring. A director in this field typically has several epidemiologists working under him or her.
As a director you will:
Direct the study of key public health issues to find a way to treat vulnerable populations.
Direct the collection and analysis of data
Have junior epidemiologists communicate findings to appropriate professionals in the government.
Median salary: $98,000
#18 Radiation Safety Specialist
Develops, implements and monitors environmental and safety programs in a variety of public health-related facilities to make sure they are compliant with all federal, state and local laws. Job duties can include control of hazardous materials, emergency preparedness, radiological safety and prevention of accidents.
Median salary: $84,000
#19 Director of Municipal Water Treatment Plant
A director of a water treatment plant deals with all of the functions of a water treatment as it pertains to public health. This includes water storage, treatment and delivery. Note that because of strict water treatment regulations, a director or management position in this field requires at least a master’s degree and various certifications.
Median salary: $79,000
#20 Director of Operations for Public Health Offices
A director of operations for public health is a very important role for the protection of county, state and national public health. These professionals help to prevent epidemics and stop the spread of disease. Some of the diseases that many in this type of position often combat include SARS, West Nile Virus, and influenza pandemics.
Median salary: $102,000
#21 Water Quality Investigator
A water quality investigator investigates various water problems and issues that afflict communities in various towns, states, counties and countries around the world. They will often deal with various water measuring instruments and machines to treat and test water. They also monitor operating conditions with the local water supply with assorted meters and gauges.
Median salary: $41,000
#22 Survey Statistician
These professionals apply various statistical methods and mathematical theories to write, organize and collect surveys that relate to public health. They then do an analysis of this survey data to provide useful information to a public health agency. Many who work in this field specialize in various subfields, such as biostatistics, business statistics and agricultural statistics.
Median salary: $59,500
#23 Public Health Nurse
Most nurses care for their patients one at a time, but a public health nurse provides care for an entire population. In working with the entire community, a public health nurse can educate the needy about the most important health issues.
Median salary: $55,000
A nutritionist in public health is a registered dietician that coordinates and implements nutrition policies and programs for various local, state, federal and even international public health organizations.
Median salary: $44,000
#25 Behavioral Scientist
A behavioral scientist combines their complex knowledge of sociology, psychology and anthropology so that they can help people in vulnerable public health settings live healthier lives. Behavioral scientists can work in a variety of public health organizations, such as community health clinics.
Median salary $47,600
Choosing Your Career
Look around to see what careers are available locally. Make sure that you take the time to explore these in-demand careers and see which ones best suit your passion and your skills. More importantly, make sure that you have access to the careers that you want, even if that means moving to find the best work. It’s going to be up to you to get the career that you want in public health and with so many options to choose from, it won’t be hard to find what you need.