Are There Private Sector Jobs in Public Health?
By Sam MacArthur

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Public health in the US is complicated, especially because the public health system is a complex web of public and private agencies, organizations, companies, and institutions. There are many public health jobs in the private sector, especially in the following areas.

Education

Public health educators are found in both the public and private sectors. A public health educator works to develop health programs and informative courses that will provide the public at large with what they need to know to be as safe as possible, both within their community and within their homes. Educators who work in this capacity, work for schools, businesses, and other private entities. They can find work in universities or in teaching hospitals where nurses and other medical professionals are learning their trade. Individuals with a public health degree can offer insight into ethics and other non-medical aspects.

When a public health professional works in the private sector as an educator, they work up close and personal with the public. They offer counseling services to members of the community. They can offer services on a personal basis, or they can work within a company setting helping employees make wise healthcare decisions. As an educator, a public health professional is able to perform valuable research and educate public health officials about their findings in an attempt to protect the public from outbreaks.

Administration

Administration positions are often very lucrative for individuals who have a degree in Public Health. Healthcare administrators can find work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and other large organizations that are involved in providing healthcare to the public. Public health administrators oversee the day-to-day operations that provide hands-on care to patients. It is up to them to make sure that the organization continues to function efficiently. Individuals with a public health degree have valuable insight into how public health programs affect large health facilities. Administrators are able to use those programs to provide residents with the highest quality of care possible. 

At the administrative level, public health professionals are able to develop protocols and policies that will allow an organization to move forward and be as profitable and productive as possible. Facilities are able to provide a higher quality of care and also operate more efficiently. With a public health degree, administrators have the skills they need to function in a managerial capacity and provide the guidance the organization needs to be successful. It is up to the administrator to maintain a safe and productive environment for both the employees as well as the patients/residents.

Research

Individuals who are more science-oriented can use their public health degree to pursue careers within the field of research, Principal research associates and clinical trials monitoring specialists are just two of the research areas where a person with a public health degree is most beneficial. There are many areas of research that can benefit from having a public health degree. Clinical trials that involve new medications and how they affect the public are extremely important and require someone who has a sound degree in a health-related field.

Research is performed in many different areas, including how illnesses spread and what types of safety protocols need to be put in place to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Researchers are at the forefront of helping communities remain safe in the face of pandemics or other types of health-related issues. By working to uncover how infectious disease spreads and what can be done to prevent it from being transferred from one person to another, a public health professional understands what to look for and how to evaluate the information they receive.

Environmental/Workplace

Public health professionals can also find employment in organizations that work to reduce risks in both the environment as well as the workplace. OSHA is one of the biggest organizations when it comes to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Individuals who work in these environments and have a public health degree are able to establish safety policies and protocols that help companies keep their employees safe. They can also work as a worksite wellness program coordinator helping employees live a healthier lifestyle.

Public health professionals can also find work in areas that involve the environment, as well. Hazardous waste specialists and individuals who work with the Department of Natural Resources can also benefit from having a public health degree. In this capacity, a person with a public health degree will be able to work with environmental agencies to work on policies that will protect both the public and the environment. In this respect, public health professionals are able to evaluate how medications, run-off from factors and dumpsites are impacting both the environment and the public. It is their job to uncover the issues and then work with environmental agencies to find a solution.

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