While every industry has progressed rapidly in the last few decades, the advancements made in healthcare remain unmatched. Today, this field has moved beyond primary care and conventional jobs and has opened doors to several new career pathways. One such discipline is that of public health.
A public health degree encompasses various fields and subjects related to a community’s health and well-being. It’s the science and practice of preventing illnesses in a society or prolonging the life of its individuals. By playing a crucial role in the welfare and prosperity of a community, it allows its people to live healthier lifestyles. Besides raising awareness and building appropriate policies, public health officers conduct scientific research to better understand a disease or prevailing health concerns. Additionally, public health professionals identify causative agents during disease outbreaks or pandemics and design strategies to protect the public.
But while prospective students pursuing a Master’s in public health (MPH) know its importance, they don’t fully understand the many employment opportunities it provides them. And so, if you, too, want to pursue a career in public health, we’ve listed the seven best job prospects you can take up once you graduate.
As an epidemiologist, your training will require you to study patterns or frequency of recurrent diseases in a particular population. By identifying and collecting scientific evidence, you can define the cause and effect of an illness and make the community aware of potential health risks. Although epidemiologists have always remained a popular career choice, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought them under the spotlight even more. Moreover, with the feasibility of online epidemiology programs, you no longer have to worry about work-life balance and can pursue your Master’s at your own pace.
Whether you decide to work in the public or private sector, your job as an epidemiologist can be highly lucrative. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for such public health professionals is around $78,000.
2. Healthcare administrator
If you enjoy working in healthcare but don’t want to deal with patients directly, a career as a healthcare administrator or manager may be the right choice for you. Healthcare administrators must work with doctors, nurses, or technicians to run a medical facility smoothly. Any healthcare department will face turmoil without a relevant director to shape hospital policies, maintain schedules, manage finances, and work on continuous improvement. And so, their role is fundamental in routine operations.
Fortunately, your MPH degree provides the training and education for handling day-to-day managerial responsibilities while ensuring primary care remains at the forefront. This profession also includes room for career growth, allowing you to explore your capabilities and enjoy better benefits.
A career as a biostatistician offers you various choices in exploring several topics related to health, research, and statistics. If you enjoy working with numbers and doing analytics, becoming a biostatistician is an excellent option. This profession is especially for those professionals who don’t want to get employed in a clinical setting. They can instead look for employment opportunities at federal or state government positions, private institutes, or even in non-profit organizations.
Since the role and responsibilities of a biostatistician are so diverse, they have plenty of professional pathways they can pursue. And while their salary may vary depending on their workplace and experience level, a biostatistician typically makes around $75,000 per year.
4. Health educator
Since the public is often unaware of everyday risks and potential habits that may harm them, the role of a health educator is crucial to mitigate this problem. Health educators may work with individuals or specific groups to help them understand and make better health decisions for themselves. Their education and training in public health allow them to raise awareness and spread knowledge regarding prevailing chronic concerns in a particular community. They also design and implement programs that promote well-being and evaluate each program’s effectiveness. Using the data and information they collect, they can cater to the needs of particular demographics and make healthcare more accessible for all.
The BLS estimates that health educator job opportunities are likely to increase 12 percent more by 2024. On average, you can earn an annual salary of $62,120, with the potential for better benefits and even lucrative pay as your experience grows.
5. Public health analyst
Although healthcare policies and programs are for helping communities, they’re not always effective in achieving this goal. Whether it’s due to poor implementation, lack of resources, or some unforeseen circumstances—a particular strategy doesn’t always work. But with no one to identify these disparities, governments and communities will continue to lose money on supplies that provide no beneficial outcome. To combat this problem, a public health analyst critically analyzes and studies each policy or program that is supposed to help the public. They collect accurate data to support their claims so that the relevant authority can revise the guidelines and make them more effective for the community.
If you want to work as a public health analyst, gaining experience in data acquisition, analysis, interpretation, and management may prove beneficial. And for this reason, your MPH degree can make this career path a guaranteed success.
6. Environmental scientist
Scientists and researchers are quickly discovering the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations across the country and worldwide. For instance, many recent studies have emphasized the impact of environmental factors and surrounding hazards on public health. From chemical pollutants to problems related to climate change, you can no longer ignore the effects of ecological variables. Therefore, a career as an environmental scientist is fast gaining popularity. And with an MPH degree to guide you through how these changes negatively impact well-being, you will be well-equipped to help protect the environment and human health.
Many public health issues stem from poor dietary habits and nutritional deficiencies among communities. With the ease and feasibility of frozen, processed, and packaged foods, people are quickly moving away from consuming nutrients essential to staying healthy. And so, to counsel individuals or communities on what to eat, nutritionists are needed more than ever. More importantly, with healthcare treatments becoming more personalized, a nutritionist can provide tailored dietary plans for each client or patient.
As a nutritionist, you can work toward health improvement by advocating for nutritious diets, addressing food shortages, and creating relevant policies. Besides getting employment opportunities from various workplace settings, you can also do private consultations if you want to take on a more autonomous role.
If you’re pursuing your Master’s in Public Health but are unsure of what career pathway you want to take, don’t worry. With employment opportunities like the ones listed above, you will likely find something that best aligns with your interests. But regardless of the profession you choose, your influence as a public health worker will remain crucial.