Flash Forward: What Can You Do with a Public Health Degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of healthcare positions in the United States will grow 19 percent by the year 2024. The healthcare and social assistance services sectors, they say, are projected to experience more growth than any other industry out there today.

Healthcare is a vast field full of opportunities for those looking to pursue a rewarding and influential career. And this industry isn’t only for aspiring nurses and doctors. Healthcare expands much beyond medical practice—today, there are researchers, educators, social workers, and advocates who maintain a strong presence in the healthcare field, specifically, the Public Health sector.

Public Health is a field for individuals who are passionate about the health and well-being of others — individuals, communities, and around the globe. While doctors treat people who are ill or injured, public health workers try to prevent people from getting sick or hurt in the first place. They encourage healthy behaviors, lifestyles, and promote wholesome environments for the greater public.

If you are interested in nutrition, medicine, safety, and most importantly, helping others, a career in Public Health may be for you. The following positions represent just a fraction of the careers one can pursue upon completion of a Bachelor’s Public Health degree. The following careers represent just a handful of the many public health jobs that will see consistent growth over the next decade.

Health Promotion Specialist

While health promotion specialists exist to improve the health of others, their position isn’t exactly how it sounds — they do not solely promote nutritious eating habits or work with individuals to better their health. Health promotion specialists, rather, take an integral role in developing the strategies behind Public Health policy. They work directly with organizations, populations, and communities (e.g. hospitals and schools) to make to make them aware of the importance of their roles in promoting good health.

Health promotion specialists advise organizations and communities at all stretches – locally, regionally, and nationally. They may work on larger campaigns such as smoking cessation, obesity, and sexually transmitted diseases with the greater public, or take on more specific, hands-on work such as researching and producing publicity materials, or organizing exhibitions and events.

If you are interested in becoming a health promotion specialist, you will need to be a strong communicator, motivator, and project manager. For the best career outcomes, you should hold a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health.

Health Educator / Public Health Educator

Much like health promotion specialists, Public Health educators focus on helping individuals, communities, and populations improve their overall health. They assess the health needs of those they serve, develop strategies and programs to improve their health, teach people how to manage existing conditions, and evaluate the effectiveness of their educational efforts. Health educators also help people find the services or information they need to improve health. They develop training programs for other workers in the field, supervise health education events and campaigns, and advocate for improved policies and resources that promote healthy living.

Unlike health promotion specialists, however, health educators take on much more of a research-oriented role. Rather than working face-to-face with populations, health educators work on the backend to analyze data, identify needs within demographics, and plan, implement, and monitor programs based on their findings.

Public Health educators today must hold a Bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This qualifies aspiring health educators for many entry-level positions within the community.

Community Health Worker

Community health workers are seen as the link between health educators, health promotion specialists, other health workers and the greater community. These workers are the frontline of Public Health, who have a valued relationship with the communities in which they serve.

Community health workers work directly with the community to assist, encourage, and discuss healthy behaviors. They conduct outreach for organizations and implement programs that promote, maintain, and improve good health, as well as enact counseling, social support, education, and advocacy for others. Community health workers also facilitate access to resources and improve the quality of those health services within the community. Sometimes, these workers even perform certain health services such as first aid and blood pressure monitoring.

Within this position, there are many titles that one can assume. If you choose to become a community health worker, you may also become a health coach, community health advisor, family advocate, liaison, outreach worker, health counselor, public health aide, and more.

There are many areas of employment within the public health sector that you can pursue, from community health to global health, health education to epidemiology and research, public policy to social science, and more. You may pursue a position in a non-profit, government, educational, or local health organization, as well as clinical or managed care facilities.

The above three careers represent only a few of the many careers available to those who have completed a Bachelor’s Public Health program.  Whether you enjoy collecting and analyzing data, developing health programs, providing informal health counseling, or conducting outreach programs, there is undoubtedly a Public Health career for you.

Interested in learning about Public Health courses at Goodwin College? Call us at 800-889-3282 or visit www.goodwin.edu/landingpages/public-health to learn more.