Public health is one of the most important and impactful career fields, especially in the nation’s current climate. It is public health professionals who have brought us to the brink of overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, as they continue to research diligently, implement safety measures, and increase the public’s access to resources and vaccinations. But this isn’t all. For years, public health workers have also helped to implement clean air and water standards, improve road safety laws, combat the drug overdose epidemic, and increase access to healthcare for afflicted communities. As you can see, a public health career comes with great meaning—as well as diversity. There are many different paths you can take, and places you can work, within the field of public health.
If you are looking to contribute to the greater health and well-being of populations, public health is the place to be. Your first step to launching a career in public health, however, is to earn a college degree. Most public health careers require at least a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. Some advanced positions, such as in Epidemiology or Biostatistics, require a master’s in Public Health. Your level of education will dictate where you can work with a public health degree.
Career Paths Within the Public Health Field
In general, there are various fields or specialties you can work in with a public health degree in hand. These include, but are not limited to:
- Environmental Health
- Occupational Health
- Health Education
- Health Promotion and Advocacy
- Health Administration
- Public Health Policy
- Emergency Management
- Infectious Disease
- Global Health
- Behavioral Science
- Maternal and Child Health
However, as noted above, your job title and qualifications will depend on the type of public health degree you’ve completed. For example, those with a master’s degree will be suited for leadership and supervisory positions within the above areas.
Where Can I Work with a Public Health Bachelor’s Degree?
With a bachelor’s degree in Public Health, you can find a variety of careers where you can respond to emergencies, infectious disease outbreaks, and other health threats to the community. You will learn how to collect and analyze health data, deliver interventions, provide health counseling, and more. With these skillsets and your degree in hand, you can pursue careers in the following workplaces.
Clinics and Hospitals
When we think of health-related workplaces, the hospital setting comes to mind. Although public health majors don’t typically provide patient care, they can take on a variety of jobs within the hospital walls. For example, with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health, you can become a:
- Regulatory Compliance Specialist, working to ensure hospitals are following the proper safety measures, privacy guidelines, health standards, and complying with regulatory paperwork.
- Health Promotion Specialist, working directly with hospitals to develop strategies that promote health campaigns and access to resources. For example, a Health Promotion Specialist might help their hospital develop a strategy to better combat opioid overdoses in the community. They may also develop promotional materials for the hospital, such as informational brochures about a specific health initiative or program.
Much of public health work relies on research. Public health workers are often responsible for collecting health data, surveying populations, and analyzing results in order to develop public health initiatives and policies. Much of this work is done in research facilities. Within these settings, you can hold titles like:
- Public Health Planner, where you will gather health-related community statistics for analysis. This data will then be used to develop plans and policies for safer, healthier communities.
- Public Health Research Associate, which entails investigating trends, data, and science as it relates to public health concerns. You may research a specialized area in public health, such as disaster preparedness, infectious disease, bioterrorism, mental health, environmental health, and more.
Health Organizations and Agencies
Many public health specialists are employed by health-related organizations, agencies, and departments. These can include government agencies, where you work to develop campaigns and policies at the local, state, or national level, or non-profit organizations, where you work on specific health initiatives to meet organizational goals. In most of these positions, you are not bound to within the walls of the organization. Many public health workers get out in the field, and the community becomes their true place of work. For example, with a public health degree, you can become a:
- Health Education Specialist, creating and organizing programs that teach populations about good health and wellness. You may teach children about the effects of drug use and secondhand smoke, or educate a community about the importance of wearing masks during a pandemic. Health education specialists may work for health organizations like non-profits, but can also find work in schools, health clinics, government agencies, and more.
- Public Health Advocate, supporting populations who need help in accessing proper healthcare and resources. Public health advocates address hurdles to good health in communities, and advocate to ensure that community has what it needs to thrive.
- Disease Prevention Specialist, helping to manage, control, and prevent diseases in communities. You can do this by creating campaigns to prevent disease, implementing processes to improve treatments, and surveying communities for infectious disease.
- Emergency Response Planner, coordinating plans to respond to emergencies within your community. This might mean setting up plans to respond to a natural disaster, or even the outbreak of a pandemic.
These are just some of the many examples of where you can work with a public health degree at the undergraduate level. As implied, you may also find impactful work in schools, community settings, and even companies or businesses that require health and safety intervention.
Where Can I Work with a Master’s Degree in Public Health?
A master’s in Public Health (MPH) can advance your career prospects and grow the diversity of workplaces available to you after graduation. Many career titles in public health require a graduate level degree, including that of the Epidemiologist, Health Administrator, Biostatistician, and Emergency Management Director. These careers involve leadership skills as well as technical skills in advanced areas of public health. An MPH program will equip you with specialized knowledge needed to land these roles. The question remains, “Where can you work with a public health degree at the master’s level?”
With a master’s in Public Health, you will be well-equipped for advanced leadership roles in any of the above settings, and more. You may work in healthcare and government agencies, hospitals, health departments, school systems, research facilities—but take on advanced roles where you have an even greater voice. Examples of career titles you can earn are listed below, broken down by some of the different specializations you can pursue with an MPH degree.
- Health Program Coordinator
- Community Outreach Director
- Public Health Educator
- Global Infectious Disease Analyst
- Global Health Policy Analyst
- Global Health Educator
Public Policy and Administration
- Public/Healthcare Policy Analyst
- Health Services Manager
- Non-Profit Executive Director
- Public Health Administrator
Biostatistics and Informatics
- Systems Analyst
- Health Informatics Specialist
- Emergency Management Director
- Disaster Preparedness Coordinator
- Program Manager
Epidemiology and Research
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- State or Federal Environmentalist
- Public Health Engineer
- Environmental Health Officer
- Industrial Hygienist
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Public Health Professionals are Needed Everywhere
The importance of public health is undeniable, and the work of these professionals is highly respected, valued, and utilized across populations and organizations. In fact, public health expertise is needed in a wide range of businesses, agencies, departments, clinics, and facilities. Anywhere that concerns the health and wellbeing of others–from patients to employees–could employ a public health professional.
It is no wonder, then, why the job outlook for public health is so bright. Even before the spread of COVID-19, public health professionals were in demand. Now, we can expect employment growth across job titles, including Public Health Educators, Health Services Managers, Epidemiologists, Emergency Management Directors, Research Analysts, Community Health Workers, Health Promotion Specialists, and more. If you are considering launching a career in public health, now is the time to get involved.
Your first step towards a successful career in this field is a public health degree. Today, you can earn a public health degree online or in a hybrid format, making it easier to finish your education. Learn about Goodwin’s bachelor’s in Public Health and master’s in Public Health programs by calling 800-889-3282 today.