Millions around the world are alive today thanks to public health campaigns – clean air and water standards, family planning, road safety laws, vaccinations, family planning, and tobacco regulations are just some of the many. In fact, in the United States alone, these very initiatives have helped increase the country’s life expectancy by nearly 30 years!
Whether you are looking to get started in the public health field, or want to advance in your current career, you may be considering an undergraduate public health degree. There are several reasons to take this dedicated career path, with job security and abundant career opportunities just some on the list. Let’s explore the top five reasons to pursue a public health major today.
- Job security
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a public health major can look forward to a long-lasting career. Public health is an always-in-demand field. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of healthcare professions to grow 18 percent over the next several years, adding about 2.4 million new jobs in the United States!
Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. This projected growth is mainly driven by our baby boomer population, an aging generation with a growing need for more medical attention and quality healthcare services.
- Great Pay
No matter your political stance, we can all agree that there is quite a bit of money in the American healthcare system. As a kid, your parents probably listed “doctor” among their dream careers for you, and with good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations is more than $63K per year. With a public health major, you can land a variety of well-paying careers, such as:
- Public Health Services Manager ($98,350 median annual salary)
- Epidemiologist ($69,660 average annual salary)
- Public Health Educator ($59,010 average annual salary)
Money may not be everything, but it sure can offer a comfortable life with plenty of opportunities. The investment in the public health major is a smart one that will likely pay off shortly down the road.
- Variety is the Spice of Life
Whether your focus is administrative, research, teaching, community outreach or health services, there is a seemingly endless array of career choices available to those with a public health major.
Those interested in a public health career have the luxury of combining their passion for helping others with their personal passions in life. For example, if you love working with children, you might consider a career in child welfare, or a position as a Child Development Specialist. If you are interested in healthy eating and nutrition, you might consider becoming a health promotion specialist or community health worker, helping lower-income communities gain access to proper nutrition. Unlike other professions, the public health field offers a wide variety of specialties and careers within its scope.
- See the World
Thanks to the vast selection of public health careers, this path also offers professionals plenty of travel opportunities. Public health workers, educators, and nurses are needed all over the world. Looking to explore our world beyond America the Beautiful? Doctors Without Borders, the Peace Corps, Red Cross, the U.S. Military, and many other organizations are constantly looking for industry experts. Many of these can be temporary experiences, so you have the comfort of knowing you will return home, or flourish into lifelong journeys overseas.
- A Rewarding Career Path
Public health is a field primarily focused on helping the greater good. For many of those who pursue the public health major, this brings great pride to what they do. Throughout your career, you will work to create healthy environments within communities, workplaces, facilities, and homes. Your purpose is to improve the wellbeing of others, to help them regain the skills needed to live happily and efficiently. You will have a great impact on them and they will have a significant impact on you. Public health nurses, for example, are known as some of the most compassionate, caring professionals in the field. They literally spend their work days putting time and care into others’ physical health. In doing this, however, many nurses can tell you that the job is just as meaningful and rewarding to them as it is to their patients.