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Top 10 Best Cities for Public Health
By Staff Writer

With the growth of the US population and the growth of the public health system, every city and metropolitan region in the US will have an abundance of public health jobs. In fact, many regions have a shortage of qualified, experienced public health professionals to meet the needs for research, administration, education, and direct care that the system needs. The public health sector is becoming one of the strongest in the nation, with need and demand far outpacing people who are able to take on the jobs.

But that doesn’t mean that every city is equal, for ambitious public health professionals who want to advance in their career. Cities with a robust budget for public health, an abundance of jobs, a diverse population, and opportunities for public health research are difficult to find – very few metro regions fit the bill on all the factors that make a strong public health job market. That’s why MPHOnline editors have studied the best cities for public health jobs in the US.

How We Selected the Best Cities for Public Health Jobs

Choosing a city to work and live in is a highly personal decision, full of considerations well beyond simple questions of job availability and salary. But MPHOnline isn’t about choosing the best public school system, coolest night spots, or most exciting outdoor adventure towns – it’s about a career in public health. To choose the best cities for public health jobs, MPHOnline editors took two factors into account, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data: job availability, and salary expectations. Our research centered on three typical public health occupations: Community Health, Health Education, and Epidemiology.

1. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

More than 2,090 public health professionals are employed in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these professionals are employed in research-related occupations, although some are employed in community health functions. The focus on research-based public health professions in the Durham-Chapel Hill area leads to high average salaries for public health workers. Research positions generally pay more than community health positions. The relatively high salaries and abundance of jobs make Durham-Chapel Hill, NC one of the best cities for public health jobs70.

The primary factor in this area being so good for public health jobs is the presence of the “Research Triangle.” This refers to the nearby campuses of Duke University, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. These schools offer many excellent programs for public health students. Also, they provide many public health professionals with highly-paid positions.

Epidemiologist: $105,510
Community Health Professional: $64,580
Health Educator: $61,310

2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria

Some 9,590 public health professionals are employed in the Washington D.C. area, making it one of the highest-ranking metropolitan areas in the country. Many of these individuals are employed by the federal government in a wide variety of different capacities. The sheer number of public health jobs is the biggest factor in making Washington D.C. one of the best cities for public health jobs.

In addition to a large number of public health jobs, Washington D.C. offers a diverse selection of positions in all areas of public health. Also, the potential for advancement is quite high as many of the highest-ranking government public health positions are based in the Washington D.C. area. Finally, local universities like Georgetown University offer prestigious public health programs.

Epidemiologist: $91,940
Community Health Professional: $52,610
Health Educator: $88,460

3. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

The Bay Area employs 5,050 public health professionals. This area has many opportunities for public health professionals in a variety of different occupations. As with many areas of employment in the San Francisco area, salaries are relatively high. The combination of a high number of jobs and lucrative salaries makes San Francisco one of the best cities for public health jobs.

San Francisco has many universities, such as San Francisco State, that offer well-regarded public health programs. These universities support many research-based public health jobs. The large and diverse population in the Bay Area also ensures that there are many community health-based jobs.

Epidemiologist: $100,300
Community Health: $61,320
Health Educator: $55,910

4. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

The Atlanta area is another good place for public health professionals, as there are 4,710 public health positions in the region. Many of the public health opportunities in the Atlanta area are in the community health area. There aren’t as many public health positions in research fields. The average salaries of public health professionals in selected occupations in the Atlanta area are quite high. The sheer number of jobs available make Atlanta one of the best cities for public health jobs.

Georgia Tech is responsible for research-related opportunities in the area, while the Centers for Disease Control headquarters makes the city a destination for administrators and managers. Also, the diverse population presents a unique challenge to public health professionals. This may make the Atlanta area an appealing choice for public health professionals across the sector.

Epidemiologist: $62,560
Community Health Professional: $45,350
Health Educator: $96,880

5. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

The greater Boston area has 12,120 public health positions, ranking it very high in this category among American metropolitan areas. Many of the public health opportunities in Boston are research-based due to the concentration of universities in the area – more than 60 colleges and universities call greater Boston home, making it one of the nation’s top destinations for educators. The high pay and very high number of jobs make Boston one of the best cities for public health jobs.

The Boston area includes universities like Boston College, Harvard, MIT and many more. This means there are many strong public health academic programs in Boston. Also, these universities support many research-focused public health jobs.

Epidemiologist: $94,560
Community Health Professional: $44,410
Health Educator: $58,280

6. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

The Los Angeles area is home to some 12,470 public health professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This makes Los Angeles one of the top entries on this list in sheer numbers of public health positions. The varied institutions and organizations in this megalopolis ensure a balance between research and community health positions. As with all healthcare jobs in the state, public health positions in Los Angeles have higher average salaries than jobs in most other cities. The extremely high number of public health positions in Los Angeles and the high average salaries make L.A. one of the best cities for public health jobs.

Los Angeles is home to universities like UCLA and USC. Both of these universities have noted public health programs that train some of the leading professionals in the sector. These institutions also provide funding and employment for many established public health professionals. A large, diverse population make LA an exceptional place to practice public health.

Epidemiologist: $97,790
Community Health Professional: $41,120
Health Educator: $58,500

7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

The Seattle area has 4,200 individuals working in public health professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals work in every area in the public health sector. The salaries for public health professionals in Seattle are fairly high, as evidenced by the average salaries of epidemiologists, community health workers, and health educators.

The high salaries are the biggest factor in Seattle’s inclusion on this list of the best cities for public health jobs. With the massive growth and development of the tech industry in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and its larger metropolitan area attracts residents from all over the world, creating a population that is incredibly diverse and rich for public health research. The Pacific Northwest is also known for active lifestyles and health-conscious culture, making it prime for public health professionals.

Epidemiologist: $88,780
Community Health: $39,230
Health Educator: $57,320

8. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

The New York City area employs a massive 27,490 public health professionals, making it the leader in this area. The economic and demographic diversity of New York City creates a large demand for public health professionals in all occupations. The salaries for public health workers in the New York City area are higher than average. The sheer number of jobs, as well as the variety of advancement opportunities, make including New York City on a list of the best cities for public health jobs an absolute must.

The large number of universities, as well as organizations like the United Nations, support many public health positions and provide a great deal of funding. The large and diverse population of New York City also creates a high demand for community health-based positions. A public health professional in New York City can conceivably have any career path they choose. All things considered, New York City has a good case to be ranked higher on this list of the best cities for public health jobs.

Epidemiologist: $85,510
Community Health: $41,930
Health Educator: $55,490

9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

The Detroit area is home to 5,260 public health jobs. Most of these positions are in the community health area with government agencies. The average salaries for public health positions in Detroit are a little lower than some of the other entries on this list. Detroit is facing many public health challenges, making it one of the best cities for public health jobs that will have a real, positive impact on the lives of its residents.

Those who are in the public health sector primarily to help out rather than make money may want to consider a career in Detroit. The socioeconomic challenges faced by Detroit’s residents lead to the need for many community health-based positions. There are some research-based positions supported by universities like Wayne State University. Wayne State University also has several well-regard public health programs. These programs train much-needed public health professionals for the Detroit area. The University of Michigan-Dearborn, which is in the Greater Detroit area, also trains many future public health professionals.

Epidemiologist: $79,480
Community Health: $46,940
Health Educator: $52,660

10. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

The Chicago metropolitan area, commonly known as Chicagoland, is home to 10,640 public health positions. Chicago is another city that offers public health professionals a diverse selection of opportunities in many different areas. The average salaries of public health professionals in the area is a little lower than the average salaries in other areas.The number of positions, variety of professions, and good average salaries make Chicago an obvious choice for a list of the best cities for public health jobs.

Chicago is home to many universities that support public health research positions and train prospective public health professionals. The University of Chicago is widely considered to be the leader in this area among Chicago schools. There are also many non-profit organizations in the area that employ public health professionals in both research and community health positions.

Epidemiologist: $85,540
Community Health: $41,280
Health Educator: $53,770

Will I Need to Move for a Public Health Career?

Throughout cities and towns around the nation, more and more public health jobs are opening up. Before deciding to choose to relocate, individuals should review entry-level local public health job openings. Entry-level public health jobs can be found everywhere and can be useful for gaining experience in the field. A masters in public health salary is competitive in any region since jobs are plentiful throughout the industry. Entry level public health careers salaries can start at $46,080 annually, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Review masters in public health salary averages in a city before relocating. In cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, the public health careers salaries will be higher than the money made in rural and suburban areas. However, the cost of living is much higher in these cities and should impact the decision on whether to move or not. Relocation costs should be another consideration prior to moving for a public health career. Expenses include buying and selling property, travel fees, and the cost of movers. The American Moving and Storage Association estimates that the average cost for an intrastate move is $4,300. If expenses are too high for a person’s budget, it may make the most sense to wait until the mid-point of a career before relocating.

What Makes a City a Good Choice for a Public Health Career?

When researching cities for public health careers, the professional will want to look at key features of the area. Although average salary is important, the job seeker wants to ensure that the area has numerous opportunities for advancement in the field. For instance, a city with high public health funding will automatically create more job openings. Cities with large universities and research centers will also make the perfect place to launch a public health career. Areas with large, diverse populations will always be in need of community health officers, health educators, epidemiologists, and human service workers. The following are a few cities that make a good choice for job seekers:

Public Health Jobs in Charlotte NC: The University of North Carolina is located in Charlotte NC as well as the college’s Department of Public Health Sciences. The school assists with preparing top practitioners for public health jobs in Charlotte NC and surrounding areas.

Public Health Jobs in Washington DC: The nation’s capital is a top choice for entry-level public health job seekers. The densely populated area is home to federal agencies in need of qualified public health officers.

Public Health Jobs in Raleigh NC: North Carolina State University is just one example of employers of public health educators. Raleigh is part of North Carolina’s “research triangle,” an area known for having a number of research and educational institutions.

Public Health Jobs in Atlanta GA: Public health jobs in Atlanta GA is plentiful since the CDC is headquartered here.

Public Health Jobs in Durham NC: As the location for Duke University, professionals will have no issue finding public health jobs in Durham NC. Duke University is a private research university with one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. Research expenditures each year typically surpass $1 billion.

What Public Health Jobs Can I Get Anywhere?

Entry-level job titles include social service assistants, community health workers, and human service assistants. Any type of regional government or medical offices will have these positions available. Jobs in public health nursing will focus on providing nursing care for a public institution. Specialized jobs in public health nutrition feature assisting at-risk populations with eating correctly. Jobs in public health administration will be an appropriate choice for those who have earned a masters in public health. Local medical facilities, colleges, municipal government agencies, and community centers are also areas where public health jobs are available.

Related:
Best States for Public Health Jobs
The State of Public Health