Top 10 Government Agencies for Public Health Jobs
By Staff Writer

The role of government in healthcare is one of mass importance, as there are numerous federal public health agencies founded for the protection and quality control in public health and population health. In order to ensure that the best health care practices are being utilized and provided to citizens, at the federal level, there is a list of federal public health agencies that are expected to monitor and utilize these services across the nation, ensuring that the same service provided in South Carolina is also made available to someone in California. It is essential that the same healthcare is maintained and offered for citizens across the nation, despite their social or economic status. There are also state-level public health agencies that report to the federal divisions and assist with the monitoring and regulating that is required.

When seeking out government jobs in public health, it is important to search the local job boards found online with the agency. Know which agencies are listed as public health agencies. They offer a variety of job positions from staff options to more specialized positions depending on education and certifications. Most state government jobs in public health will have the postings directly on their site. Some of the highest-paying jobs in public health are in the federal government.

Readers may also be interested in jobs with the CDC and the World Health Organization.

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1. Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

One of the divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families offers assistance regarding economic and social growth of our children and families. Founded in 1991, is the United States’ largest division regarding human services on the federal level. From working with minority groups across the nation to those in impoverished living conditions, this agency is home to over a dozen programs that protect individuals in situations such as human trafficking and refugee settlement among others.

In this agency, there are over 1200 staff members currently employed across the United States. When seeking government jobs in public health, the jobs with this agency include Victim Assistance Program Specialist, Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist, and other specialist areas that require public health education. In addition to the specialist, positions are also the standard staff positions that include Program Coordinators, counselors, and Advocates for each program that also require some form of public health education.

2. Administration on Aging (AoA)

The Administration on Aging is an agency found within the Administration for Community Living. This program is designed specifically for aging senior citizens who require assistance and care, giving them a voice at times when they may not otherwise have one. This agency works as an advocate for these individuals, coordinating either community based or home-based care for these citizens with the use of grants awarded to this program for those who may not have proper care or unable to afford it. A visit to their website will allow patrons to seek and search out caregivers within their area if they require assistance.

This agency offers government jobs in public health that range from nursing positions public health administrators. Advocates, policy advisors, and counselors are also a part of this agency, working to provide the right assistance to their communities. All of these positions are senior citizen care focused.

3. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality focuses on the research necessary for caregiving and materials used in healthcare to ensure the quality and safety of health practices. Gathering data and measuring them to track and test everything from new performances to materials is the foundation behind the agency. Whether it is new technological materials and equipment being used or practices taught with education, their mission is to find what is not working and replace it with a method or option that is working based on statistics.

Because there is so much research involved with this agency, the government jobs in public health that they employ include research specialists in a variety of areas. Whether it is a disease specialist or an IT specialist designed to operate specific types of equipment, they all have a place with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. If a public health professional finds data and measurements engaging, they should consider this agency for employment.

4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Based in Atlanta GA, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is another agency division of the US Department of Health and Human Services. When a community is at the risk of being exposed to a toxic environment or health threat, this agency works to ensure that they are protected against the harmful exposure that can be due to natural disasters or those man-made in the area. Some of the most toxic substances that this agency works with is lead, arsenic, aluminum, and benzene.

The government jobs in public health found at this agency are more of a scientific nature, as many scientists are needed to determine toxicity levels in communities and determine whether or not an evacuation is necessary. They also employ advocate and community managers that have a degree in public health, allowing them to be the face of the agency when it is time to notify members of a community about local toxicity scares.

5. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration is one of the largest agencies with government jobs in public health. This agency has been fighting to protect consumers since 1848 as a way to protect all citizens that will have access to these products publicly. The FDA is known for product regulation to ensure that it is safe and these products include the following:

  • Animal and Veterinary
  • Cosmetics
  • Food
  • Medical Devices
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Radiation-Emitting Products
  • Tobacco Products
  • Vaccines, Blood, and Biologics

In order to maintain these regulations before they are made available for purchase, this agency hires a variety of job types that relate to public health. They include everything from investigators and inspectors that meet with the companies generating the product. Also, they employ research analysts, specialists, and scientists to evaluate and determine the authenticity of the products found. Some employees gain full-time employment after completing an internship which is available to those studying public health.

6. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

The Health Resources and Services Administration is a public agency that provides local communities the access they need to health centers and workforce options. Annually, millions of Americans are able to gain assistance and health care services through this agency thanks to the use of grants for those who are unable to access other healthcare facilities. Many of these individuals that utilize these services are located remotely and unable to access regular healthcare due to their location or their medical vulnerability. This has been the mission of the agency since 1943, and was further enforced in 1982 as it became a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

This agency not only employs nurse and other healthcare staff, but they also offer government jobs in public health by offering program coordinator positions in these areas and administration positions that require an understanding of the public and working with their health needs.

7. Indian Health Service (IHS)

The Indian Health Service agency, a division of the US Department of Health and Human services, works with reservations and other Native American communities across the United States to ensure that the Native American population, most of which live in poverty, have access to equal healthcare as other American citizens. Many of these citizens are not only impoverished, but many are located in remote areas, making standard access to healthcare much more difficult to reach, as well. The employees with this agency works to ensure all of their health needs, whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, or even social health to ensure they have a standard quality of life.

The IHS employs a significant amount of government jobs in public health, that range from public health lawyers and counselors, to a staff that is well versed in culturally appropriate practices and interactions with the Native American population. From an administrative position to coordinators, this agency is looking for employees with a background in public health.

8. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The National Institutes of Health is a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services and is the leader in medical research for the nation. Their mission is to test and determine safer and better medical practices to be used in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the nation. Since 1887, the mission to save lives and employ the best medical practices has been the goal of scientists and analysts employed with this agency, with many employees going on to receive the Nobel Prize during their career based upon their research and their discoveries.

Presently, the National Institutes of Health employees a number of government jobs in public health that range in different specialties for their research facility. They also hire public health inspectors to visit local healthcare facilities ensuring proper use of these developments and meet with developers regarding new practices.

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9. Office of Inspector General (OIG)

Being established in 1976, the Office of Inspector General was founded with a mission to protect the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as those receiving benefits from practices and services offered by this agency. The investigation is central to this agency and their goal to fight those who are taking advantage of programs such as Medicaid and other programs offered by the HHS. Because many of these programs have a significant impact on the federal budget, it is essential that it is thoroughly reviewed and monitored with consistent inspection.

Because of their central mission to investigate, many of these government jobs in public health refer the employees’ ability to know and understand how public health works in the community, and how to take that education and use it to investigate cases of fraud, misuse, or even a lack of funding release.

10. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

An agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration centers its mission around Americans who are suffering from a growing crisis of substance abuse and providing resources that assist with this abuse, as well as mental health services for American citizens. It was founded in 1992 and is working daily in its facilities across the nation to assist those through programs such as the National Suicide Hotline, National Helpline, and Disaster Distress Helpline.

In order to maintain and service these thousands of Americans daily, this agency employs government jobs in public health that range from mental health counseling and specialists to Public Health administrators who are needed in each of these agencies for the success of their programs and services.

What is the Government’s Role in Public Health?

The history of healthcare and regulation is not one that has always been intact, and because of this, regulations began coming into effect beginning in the nineteenth century. With operations, drugs, and services not being regulated, many citizens were not able to receive the care they needed, and this was rectified with the development of these different agencies. As these needs have continued to grow throughout the nation, so has the agencies to match the demand and ensure the proper regulation of what is being provided, from health care to food and drug standards that are made available to citizens on a daily basis. Each division has a mission that circulates around a specific area of health care or the products and services used in public health daily as a way to regulate and maintain them.

Many American citizens are unable to afford some of the same care practices and services based upon their financial income and economic status. Because of this, many of these agencies are funded by grants that allow these individuals who are economically deficient the ability to receive equal health care, whether it be general services, mental health, or substance abuse. Because these grants are funded with taxpayer money, they are dispersed to these agencies based upon federal or state tax money. Some of these programs such as Medicaid and Medicare involve a significant percentage of the federal budget, so they are federally regulated, and a part of the role of government public health.

Where Do I Find Government Jobs in Public Health?

When searching “public health agencies near me” the search will filter both local and federal agencies. Choose standard search engines to search for “department of health job openings.” Local workforce centers will also offer information regarding federal and local government jobs in public health for those who are seeking that specific career.

If someone is seeking job openings on the federal level, they will need to visit USAJOBS.GOV for a list of positions. They can search by the agency and by location to find those closest to them. If the candidate is willing to relocate for a position, then they can search by the agency to see what is available across the nation. The candidate will even have the ability to search by job title if there is a specific job that they are seeking.

How Can I Find Government Public Health Internships?

For students who are looking to obtain a substantial career in public health, it is essential to secure an internship in a public health agency. Whether it is an NIH internship, WHO internships, FDA internships, or health and human services internships, they are available often on the agency’s website.

National Institute of Health (NIH) offers annual internships for students pursuing a career in public health. NIH internships descriptions and availabilities are found online at their website.

On an international level, the World Health Organization (WHO) offers WHO internships for students who are seeking to learn about governmental health on both a national and international level.

The Food and Drug Administration also offers federal FDA internships that invite students who are interested in research and the analyst aspect of regulations for products, food, and drugs that are purchased in the public, daily.

Health and Human service internships are made available through the US Department of Health and Human Services and through each of the 11 divisions that make up the agency. Those interning are often experiencing a more hands-on experience with public clients and the inner workings of the office dynamics.

Some of the government public health internships offered can also be found at the state and local levels. Like the federal agencies, state level and local level agencies desire internships to seek out potential candidates who are pursuing a career in public health.