what can I do with a masters in public health

Flash Forward: What Can You Do with a Master’s in Public Health?

If you have a passion for improving communities, one of the best ways that you can invest your skills and dedication is through a career in public health. There are so many angles from which leaders in public health address the issues affecting the population. With the right education, you can help! Flash forward to rewarding careers in this sector, that are achievable with a Master’s in Public Health (MPH).

This career path, as you might guess, is rooted in biology and carefully blended with mathematics. Biostatisticians take data, and using their skills of statistics and analysis, aid healthcare professionals in understanding the “bigger picture” of potential risks and insights. Their job requires that they can speak the language of clinical tests and medical procedures, and that they are well-versed in database systems. Biostatisticians often work for pharmaceutical companies, but may also find jobs in biotechnology companies, in software, or academia.

This is a “back-of-house” role, as biostatisticians do not work directly with patients or data subjects. However, through their work of making risk factor assessments, cataloguing test results, and crunching research, they contribute enormously to the realm of public health. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that statisticians, whether working in business, engineering, healthcare, or elsewhere, made a median annual salary of almost $88k in May 2018. Additionally, the job outlook here is growing at 33 percent, which is nearly five times faster than the national average.

The work setting and day-to-day of an epidemiologist is similar to that of a biostatistician. Epidemiologists also divulge the hidden patterns and results of lab reports and data collections. Although many work for hospitals or in research, academia, or consulting, about half of epidemiologists work for state and local governments. What do they do?

Through skills that combine statistical analysis and disease cause/prevention, epidemiologists investigate public health risks. The data that they survey could be in the format of research studies, biological samples, or the results of community programs such as surveys and interviews. The purpose of an epidemiological investigation is to understand how health is affected by – or related to –environmental contaminants. For instance, these professionals will conduct research in areas that have been affected by heavy metals or pesticides in the environment, the presence of hazardous waste, air pollution, radiation, or asbestos. On the converse, they may investigate concentrated pockets of health-related afflictions found in members of a community, such as autism or cancer, and attempt to find environmental links.

These scientists work between the lines of research, education, and policy. According to the BLS, Epidemiologists make almost $70k annually, and the job outlook is rising at a rate of 9 percent, which is slightly faster than the national average.

Public Health Educator/Public Health Director
Want to work directly with the public, utilizing your interest in teaching? Becoming a public health educator is one way to make an impact at the ground-level of communities. Public health educators implement strategies to incorporate health consciousness at hospitals, nonprofit organizations, doctor’s offices, and at Universities. Not only are we talking about physical health here: educators in this field incorporate strategies for maintaining intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional health, as well. They often address lifestyle components that could be negatively affecting health, and encourage new behaviors through programs that logically consider the culture and resource availability for specific communities. You might enjoy working in this role if you are an excellent communicator, who is interested in grassroots-level change-making. Health educators earn around $46k annually, and the job outlook is growing at 16 percent, or more than double than average.

Becoming a health educator does not require a master’s degree, so with the extra training that you would receive in a master’s in public health program, you may want to strive to become a public health director. Health service managers make almost $100k annually, and with that salary jump comes responsibilities like directing and coordinating health services at an entire facility, in a department, or for a medical practice. To be a manager, you’ll need to have a strong grip on the regulatory and law-making landscape, as well as emerging healthcare technologies. The health service manager or director role is growing at a rate of 20 percent, or much faster than average.

Sanitarian or Public Health Inspector
If you are interested in ensuring that regulations are met by local businesses, you may want to work as a sanitarian or public health inspector for the government. Your job would be to investigate food protection, product safety, housing, recreational areas and waterways, waste management, and general hazardous substance regulation. A true public health “Sherlock Holmes,” your role would include investigation, analysis, reporting, and auditing. Most similar to working in occupational health and safety, the BLS shows that people who collect data and analyze environments towards a purpose such as public health, make around $70k annually. This role is growing as fast as average, at an 8 percent rate.

Disaster Specialist
Maybe you feel inspired to work in public health because of impactful experiences or research involved with public health emergencies. We don’t blame you! To watch individuals helping those most in need, on the front lines of epidemics or natural disasters, certainly can motivate people to jump right into the hot zone. Enter, disaster specialists.

In reality, disaster specialists work in a coordinated effort with government or nonprofit organizations, public safety officials, or potentially hospitals or private companies. Sort of like working in the “ER” of public health, these professionals are required to have advanced public administration and disaster management skills, and they make on average around $74k annually. The job prospects of emergency management directors are rising at 8 percent, about as fast as average.

With so many career options at your fingertips, it’s easy so see how 16 months in Goodwin College’s MPH online program could truly pay off. Reach out for details on how you can start building a bright future in public health. Call us at 800-889-3242 or visit us online to learn more!