Public health is a quickly growing and diverse field with many intriguing career options. Whether you are passionate about biology, statistics, epidemiology, business, education or healthcare, there is a very good chance that you will find a satisfying career in public health.
Eventually, most workers in public health who want to advance into leadership and management positions will need to earn their master of public health or MPH. With an MPH, you can work in many highly rewarding and exciting careers. Some of the very best career options with an MPH are:
A biostatistician is a public health professional who applies statistics and mathematics to the fields of biology and public health. These highly trained public health workers study the various factors that affect the well being and health of people. The goal is to come to conclusions regarding diseases and disorders so that the health of people can be improved.
Biostatisticians also develop studies to determine the risk factors for various diseases and conditions to determine which elements are relevant and which are important. They also review data that was collected and write reports and papers to agencies and employers on their findings. Biostatisticians will sometimes be used to determine what the factors are that lead to certain medical problems and what the risks are for treatments for those conditions. With statistics and mathematics, they can determine the most likely cause for the problem they are studying.
Pharmaceutical companies commonly use biostatisticians during clinical trials to determine if a drug treatment is effective or ineffective. These workers also will evaluate current data to determine the best ways to mold public health education and policies.
The field of biostatistics is growing quickly, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating job growth at 34% by 2024, and the median salary is $80,500.
An epidemiologist is a public health professional who investigates causes and patterns of diseases and injury in people. Their job is to reduce the occurrence and risk of many negative health outcomes through health policy, community education and research.
Epidemiologists usually have the following roles:
- Direct and plan clinical studies and research of serious public health problems and determine ways to prevent them and treat them as they arise
- Collect and analyze public health data via observations, surveys, interviews, and samples of bodily fluids to determine disease causes and health problems
- Communicate public health study conclusions to doctors, healthcare workers, policymakers and the general public
- Develop and manage effective public health programs, monitor progress and analyze data, seeking ways to improve public health programs
Epidemiologists analyze and collect data to investigate serious health problems. For instance, he or she may collect demographic data to find out who is most likely to be at the highest risk for cancer. Or, they might research and investigate trends in populations who have survived various diseases. Most epidemiologists work in either public health or research.
Epidemiologists will experience a 6% increase in jobs by 2024, which is about average when compared to other jobs. The median pay in this field as of 2016 was $70,820.
#3 Environmental Scientist
Environmental scientists utilize their knowledge of public health and the natural sciences to protect human health and the environment. They often work on such projects as cleaned up polluted parts of the environment, provide advice to legislators on public health and environmental measures, and work with companies to reduce waste.
Environmental scientists usually perform the following duties:
- Determine appropriate data collection methods for research projects, surveys and public health investigations
- Collect and compile data about the environment such as soil, air, water and food samples to conduct scientific analysis
- Perform analysis of surveys, samples and other critical environmental information to assess threats
- Provide guidance and information to businesses and government officials on current environmental risks
- Write technical reports and explain findings to stakeholders and the public
Environmental scientists today perform very important work that is critical to reclaiming lands and waters that have been damaged by pollution. Others may assess risks that new construction may pose to parts of the environment.
This field of public health is expected to grow by 11% by 2024, and the median salary is $68,900.
#4 Health Educator
A health educator provides people with knowledge about behaviors that lead to healthier lives. They are responsible for developing and implementing strategies that can improve the health of communities and individuals. Some of the common duties of health educators include:
- Assess health needs of people and communities in which they work
- Develop innovative events and programs to teach people about healthy habits
- Teach community members about managing their existing health problems
- Evaluate whether programs and educational materials are effective in promoting good health
- Help community members to find the health services and information they need
- Offer training in health promotion for community health workers
- Collect and analyze public health data to learn about a certain community
Health educators may work in healthcare facilities on a one on one basis with families and patients. They will teach their patients about the diagnosis and about any procedures or treatments they need. Some in this work may be called patient navigators as they help patients to learn about their options under their health insurance.
Health educators may also work in colleges as they create materials and programs on topics that are relevant to young adults, such as abusing drugs and alcohol.
They also work in public health departments to administer new public health campaigns on issues including immunizations, emergency preparedness and proper nutrition.
This profession will see strong job growth in the range of 13% by 2024. The median salary is $53,100.
#5 Public Health Nurse
The typical nurse cares for one patient at a time in a healthcare facility. But a public health nurse cares for an entire at risk population. By working with a large group of people, public health nurses can educate people about many health issues and prevent health problems from occurring or spreading.
Common duties of public health nurses are:
- Monitor trends of the public in terms of health risk factors to determine where problems lie
- Set priorities in communities for needed health interventions to provide benefits to large numbers of people
- Advocate with local, state and federal officials to provide better access to health services for those in need
- Design new health education campaigns that will led to better health outcomes, such as immunization programs
A public health nurse must have their RN designation, most commonly by holding their bachelor of science in nursing. Then, they can earn their MPH degree and work as a public health nurse.
The median salary in the field of nursing as of 2016 was $68,450. Nurses in general will experience a 16% rise in demand by 2024, which is much faster than average.
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- Registered Nurses. (2015. Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm