Students pursuing a career path in public health may do so in a number of ways. Working in the public health field means that a person contributes his or her expertise to industries and groups that work toward furthering the public’s ability to live happy and healthy lives, and public health professions can be performed in or out of a hospital setting.
Understanding the Public Health Career
The CDC has outlined some services that can be performed by someone with a public health job description, and these include:
- Helping to monitor and solve public health outbreaks
- Performing research to eradicate health hazards that affect the community
- Educating the public about health issues and empowering them to aid in the prevention of spreading diseases
- Aiding in the development of plans and policies that address public health concerns
- Acting as liaisons between people and the networks that provide assistance
- Evaluating existing protocol to ensure the highest level of quality and effectiveness
It is also possible for public health workers to be employed in government, academia and in various industries and for them to manage public health issues through vaccinations and by analyzing trends regarding the health of certain populations and demographics. Their research may also include comparing information to that of a different geographic location to look for clues and risk factors, and they may work in clinical trials, performing experiments and recording their observations.
Public health professions can also be involved in reducing the impact of health hazards related to the environment, and they can do so in a number of ways. Often, they will tackle problems like air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, and they will work in fields related to climate change science and the study of electromagnetic fields. They may also study phenomena, such as rising sea levels, acid rain, and how greenhouse gases are negatively affecting our planet and people’s health.
Public Health Professions
Careers that fall under the auspices of public health are biostatistician, epidemiologist, environmental scientist and engineer, project manager, director of environmental health, health educator, water quality specialist, public health officer, community health workers, health and safety engineer, and patient advocate. Salaries for public health workers can vary, and the average annual wage is between $38,180 and $74,120.
Public Health Certification Programs
Students interested in working in public health can obtain certification and training in the specialized skill set of their choosing. Public health certification programs exist for those pursuing jobs related to health management and policy, preparedness in disasters and emergencies, and health education and communication. If you decide to pursue a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, your credits will often be transferrable toward that end.
Certification programs are particularly conducive to those interested in working in management or in an administrative capacity, and they can also provide training in health regulations, policy making, law, business, and finance. Grant writing is another important skill offered in many public health certification programs as is learning the sociology behind the public’s perception and behavior during disasters. Students can also work in the public health industry in various capacities, moving up in the field as they accumulate further training, such as their two-year degree, bachelor’s, master’s or PhD.