Public health as a career is becoming more attractive every day. Governments, public officials and healthcare companies now understand that preventative health care can lead to lower healthcare costs. Therefore there is more emphasis today on improving public health to prevent communities from getting sick and suffering from serious diseases.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, many types of public health workers will see strong future demand, such as health educators with 13% job growth by 2024.
If you are interested in a public health career, we recommend that you consider these five public health degree jobs.
Biostatisticians are a critical part of research in public health. Biostatisticians help to design public health experiments, questionnaires, and surveys to gather important public health data. They are responsible for collecting the information and also will analyze it and come up with reports that explain the findings.
Biostatisticians must be skilled in using advanced software to analyze large amounts of public health data. In this analysis, these workers will identify relationships and trends in the data and will conduct tests to determine if the data is valid and to account for any sampling error. Some biostatisticians may create new software to analyze the data in a more accurate fashion.
Biostatisticians often work with public health agencies at the state or local level. They also may be employed by hospitals and even pharmaceutical companies. They might design studies to determine if drugs successfully can treat diseases or medical conditions. Biostatisticians play a very important role to identify any sources of outbreaks of serious diseases in humans or animals.
Most biostatisticians hold a master’s degree in statistics or an MPH with a focus on biostatistics. If you earn a master’s degree in statistics, we recommend that you pair this degree with courses in biology, chemistry and public health to get a good job in public health.
#2 Environmental Scientist
With your knowledge of the natural sciences, you will be able to protect human health and the environment. Many environmental scientists do this through reclaiming lands after industries have polluted it, or developing new regulations to reduce air, water and soil pollution.
Environmental scientists do their jobs by collecting data, developing new environmental impact reduction plans, and sharing results and data with governments, businesses and the public.
Most environmental scientists work for the local or state government, but some also work as consultants.
You can obtain entry level positions in environmental science with a bachelor’s degree and taking courses in biology, chemistry, engineering and environmental science. To earn the maximum salary and have the most responsibility, you will need to earn your Master of Public Health or MPH in environmental health or science.
This occupation will see an 11% increase in job demand by 2024. This is caused by higher public interest in the dangers to the environment, and also the greater demands that are being put on the environment by the growth in population in the US and around the world. Many environmental scientists will be hired by consulting firms that help their clients to monitor and manage their environmental impact.
The median wage in this field is $67,400.
Epidemiologists investigate complex patterns and causes of diseases and injuries in humans. They work to reduce the occurrence and risk of negative health outcomes through detailed research, health policy and community education.
Typical duties of epidemiologists include:
- Planning and directing studies of serious public health problems to determine ways to prevent and treat them as they come up.
- Analyze and collect public health data via interviews, observations and using blood and tissue samples to determine disease causes and sources of other health problems
- Communicate findings to healthcare providers, legislators and public officials
- Manage new public health programs by carefully planning programs and monitoring their level of success
For example, an epidemiologist may collect and analyze data to determine which groups of people are at the greatest risk for a particular disease.
Epidemiologists usually work in a public health or research organization either in the public or private sector. If you are an applied epidemiologist that works for state and local governments, you will be working on addressing public health problems directly.
To become an epidemiologist, you will need to earn your MPH degree. Most epidemiologists will specialize in one or more of these areas:
- Infectious diseases
- Chronic diseases
- Occupational health
- Maternal and child health
- Environmental health
- Oral health
Jobs in this field will increase by 6% by 2024, which is average compared to other job fields. It is expected that there will be stronger growth in state and local governments, however. The median salary is $69,400.
#4 Health and Safety Engineer
Health and safety engineers are responsible for developing and designing systems to prevent people from becoming ill or injured. They combine their grasp of public health and engineering to ensure that chemicals, software, machinery and other consumer products will not cause any harm to the community. Some of the common duties of these professionals are:
- Reviewing plans for new equipment to ensure that they meet public health safety requirements
- Identifying and correcting possible hazards by conducting public health inspections of facilities, safety equipment and machinery
- Ensure that all types of buildings are in full compliance with safety and health regulations
- Review the quality of employee safety programs and recommend any changes that need to be made
Health and safety engineers also are very active in industrial hygiene and occupational hygiene. For industrial hygiene, they are focused on how chemical, physical and biological agents affect humans; they must recognize, evaluate and control how these dangerous agents can get people sick and work to prevent problems.
In occupational hygiene, these workers investigate where people work and then use public health, science and engineering knowledge to recommend changes that can prevent illness.
You can become a health and safety engineer by earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering, but many professionals in this field also earn a master of public health or master’s in occupational and industrial hygiene.
This field will experience 6% job growth by 2024, which is average. However, it is believed that accident prevention in the healthcare space could lead to more job demand, as these organizations are driving to cut costs.
The median salary is $84,500.
#5 Health Educator
Health educators educate people about public health matters, teaching them about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement public health strategies to improve the health of people in local communities that are at risk.
Health educators do some or all of the following:
- Assess health needs of people and communities that they serve
- Come up with public health education programs that teach people about vital health topics
- Teach people about how to manage their existing health conditions
- Assist those in need to find health services information that they need
- Collect and analyze data to learn more about the health needs of certain communities