Public health, as the name implies, is a concern for the health and welfare of people. Those who work in this profession strive to prevent, improve, and promote a healthy lifestyle. Public health workers encourage activities and programs with the purpose of maintaining healthy individuals within a community. Diet and exercise are two components, along with educating the public about smoking and drug addiction. All of these measures save people money, save lives, improve the quality of life, and help children develop in a healthier environment.
We will look at some of the jobs available in public health, as well as the potential salary.
Education is paramount to the promotion of a healthy community. In this role, educators communicate to individuals, families, and groups the necessary steps they need to take to maintain or become a healthier person. One example is forming a cessation program for smokers. The educator would provide assistance and resources for those addicted to cigarettes and other smoking materials.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educators who work in Individual and Family Services are relatively few. In this group, the number is 4,530, whereas there are 13,180 who work in General Medical and Surgical Hospitals. This industry employs the majority of public health educators. By perusing the online employment websites, such as Indeed, there are numerous postings for health educators in hospital systems. These postings also provide a glimpse of the degrees applicable to the profession. One of the standard degrees is in public health.
The BLS reports the salary for the occupation of Health Educators and Community Health Workers at $45,360 (2017) with an expected growth rate of 16%.
Public Health Officer
Other names for this position are Public Health Service Officer and Public Health Information Officer. His/her function is broader than the one above. The job involves being at the forefront when representing a government agency, hospital, university, or community to the media. You are the spokesperson for your employer who delivers information to the public and media about a specific event. The event could be a health crisis or health alerts that the people must be informed.
Health officers, in addition to verbal communication, may also prepare brochures, press releases, and factual materials for distribution. Therefore, the job requires excellent public speaking and technical writing skills. Candidates must have the ability to prioritize several assignments or projects. A background in epidemiology is an asset in understanding research reports on diseases and their adverse effects on the populace. You may also be conferring with nurses and doctors on potential healthcare risks and treatment.
State Departments of Health employ Public Health Information Officers who act as the liaison between the agency and the public. These officers dispense pertinent information to the media in a timely and concise format. Other employers are city and local agencies involved in health pandemics, health hazards, and healthcare research. These professionals may interpret medical information and convey it to the public in non-medical terms for all to understand.
The BLS does not report on this occupation. However, it is likely to be similar in salary to health educators.
Biostatistics combines biology with statistics. There are bachelor’s degrees in this discipline. Some schools offer a Bachelor of Arts in Biostatistics along with a Master of Science in Public Health. The dual degree is beneficial to your employment prospects, although not mandatory. An undergraduate program in biostatistics will provide job opportunities in public health.
The discipline is research-oriented. The profession entails the examination of analytical data to determine the potential health effects of an environmental hazard. They also work scientists to crunch data in clinical trials and other research studies. The degree demands an aptitude for mathematics, the natural sciences (chemistry and biology), and an analytical mind to identify problems based upon the interpretation of various statistics and algorithms.
The BLS reports that Mathematicians and Statisticians have a median pay of $84,760 (2017). The projected job growth is a stellar 33%.
This job may suit individuals who prefer to work within the confines of a laboratory setting with minimal need for addressing groups. Positions are available at public and private research facilities to conduct community-based research on the causes and spread of disease. You may begin as a research associate or assistant reviewing technical reports and research materials. From your analysis of the information, you formulate recommendations and proposals for public health officials.
Some job postings may prefer a master’s degree in public health, sociology, psychology, or a related field. Courses in biology, chemistry, and epidemiology are beneficial for this type of research work.
The BLS states that Research Assistants in the Social Sciences earn $49,030 as of May 2017.