Public health is a broad discipline that aims to improve an entire population’s overall health by ensuring the provision of essential healthcare services to people. The population’s overall health is enhanced by promoting lifestyle changes, prolonging life, preventing diseases and injuries, protecting against environmental health hazards, and detecting, preventing, and controlling infectious diseases.
The best thing about public health is that it combines many different disciplines and fields. Therefore, there are numerous career options for public health graduates. Because it is not the kind of field that limits you to one particular department, public health graduates can find careers in many areas, such as medical research, government or non-government settings, hospitals, scientific research, etc. Let’s discuss some career options you can take up if you have a degree in public health:
Choosing epidemiology as your area of specialization while pursuing your degree in public health is an excellent step for several reasons. But before that, you should research and understand the role of epidemiologists. They are often termed “Disease Detectives” and the term speaks for itself but let’s dig deep into it.
An epidemiologist’s duty as a health care professional is to identify the cause of disease outbreaks and people at risk, followed by formulating the steps that will aid in controlling or preventing the disease. To start your career as an epidemiologist, you will have to complete a bachelors and a master’s in public health. Those interested to pursue a career as Epidemiologist, but employed full-time can enrol for an online master of public health, and study as per their schedule.
If you are interested in medicine rather than becoming a healthcare provider, you can opt to become a biostatistician. A biostatistician applies statistical methods and mathematics in medicine, public health, and similar fields. They help formulate public health strategies and data-driven decisions through mathematical and statistical analysis. Biostatisticians use data to design clinical trials to assess whether a particular drug is effective or not, based on the evaluation of a patient’s outcome.
Bachelor’s in public health is the minimum requirement to become a biostatistician. However, you may also consider a master’s degree after some experience in the field.
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Public health graduates can also opt to pursue a role as occupational health and safety specialist. Their job role includes analysing workplace environments based on collected data to ensure the employers adhering to health and safety regulations, as per the government’s set standards. They ensure the safety, comfort, and overall better health of employees by educating them through different training sessions. In addition, these specialists ensure that employees are fairly treated and are provided with all the important safety gears.
An occupational health and safety specialist job is best suited for well-organized individuals, who love working and interacting with many people around.
- Health Education Specialist
Health education specialists promote significance of health in the general population. If you are a public health graduate, you can work as a health educator and spread awareness to people about good health, diet, and exercise. One of the main responsibilities of health education specialists is to formulate strategies for better well-being of individuals and communities. They can do so by evaluating their needs and educate them accordingly about their health.
Some other responsibilities of a health promotion specialist include the following:
- Devising and promoting health improvements plans and policies
- Managing projects related to health improvement
- Advising members of a particular community
- Writing reports
They can opt to work in public health departments, non-profit organizations and health care facilities to promote good health practices.
- Environmental Health Scientist
Environmental health scientists study the impact of natural and manmade environmental issues on humans. For instance, they develop strategies to minimize the effect and risks that may result from climate change, air pollution, etc.
Environmental health scientist, is an ideal role for those passionate to save the planet and the people from issues that can lead to health hazards at large.
Environmental health scientists often guide environmental stakeholders and develop plans to solve environmental problems such as pollution, global warming, etc.
- Community Health Worker
Another fantastic career opportunity for public health graduates is that of community health workers. As a community health worker, you will provide quality healthcare to the local community. This career path is best suited to those who love to socialize and have good communication skills. To pursue a career as a community health worker, minimum degree requirement is a bachelor’s degree in public health.
Community Health workers discuss the concerning points related to health with the community members and try to improve them by taking essential steps, for instance, educating the community, conducting outreach programs, managing care and care transitions for vulnerable groups, and more such actions. Community Health workers are paid well worldwide. According to Bureau of Labour Statistics, the employment rate is expected to grow about 21 percent for community health workers from 2020 to 2030.
- Health Services Administrator
Many public health graduates also choose to become health services administrators. Health administrators deal with operating a healthcare facility such as a hospitals and private medical centres. Health administration includes the management of all non-clinical operations, such as hiring healthcare professionals, doctors, budgeting, and more. All of these day-to-day operations play a significant role in the successful provision of healthcare services.
If you have exceptional leadership and management skills, you can choose a career in health administration. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), the employment rate of health administrators is expected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031.
Public health is an ever-growing discipline with career opportunities in various fields. As a public health graduate, you can work for the welfare of the entire population and still have a gratifying career, both in terms of salary and personal satisfaction. Public health does not cage you in any boundaries because you have many career options. You can either be an epidemiologist, biostatistician, health administrator, or community health worker or choose any similar career path.