7 Public Health Careers (+ How to Get Started) (2023)



7 Public Health Careers (+ How to Get Started)

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Jobs in public health are in-demand and can be a fulfilling way to earn a living. Here’s how to get started.

7 Public Health Careers (+ How to Get Started) (1)

Public health is a discipline concerned with the health of the population, especially as it pertains to government regulation and support. This career path involves making decisions around hygiene, epidemiology, and disease prevention. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic heightened awareness of the important role that public health professionals play in fostering a safe and healthy society.

Overall, jobs in health care are expected to increase 16 percent from 2020 to 2030 [1]. Public health differs from other health careers in that it focuses on protecting and promoting health in populations, rather than on diagnosing and treating individual patients. Both types of health care jobs will be in high demand in the coming years.

Learn more about the 10 essential public health services:

7 Public Health Careers (+ How to Get Started) (2)



Learn more about the 10 essential public health services

Why pursue a career in public health?

Some people are drawn to public health for reasons other than just money. They might pursue this career to help address health regulations and policies at a broader level and have a positive impact on local or global governance. The pandemic highlighted the importance of health education and preventative health measures, exposing inequities and flaws in these systems.

In education, public health is commonly offered as a master’s in public health (MPH), which can lead to many types of public health careers. Having a master’s can give you a boost in salary and an opportunity to pursue advanced job opportunities.

Learn more: What Is Public Health? Your Career Guide

(Video) 7 Amazing Public Health Jobs You Can Get After Getting an MPH Master’s Degree

Salary and job outlook

While there is a wide range of career options in public health, you can expect to earn an average of $88,580 to $93,910 in the US, particularly in administrative or management roles [2]. With 2.6 million new jobs expected in the next decade, health care is considered the fastest-growing employment sector in the US [1].

7 emerging public health careers

There are many potential roles in this rewarding career path. Here are some emerging public health careers to choose from. Each one of them is growing as fast as or faster than the average employment growth, which is projected at 7.7 percent [3]. The salary information below is for occupations based in the US.

1. Medical and Health Services Manager

As a medical and health services manager, you’re responsible for planning and coordinating services in a health care facility, department, or medical clinic for doctors and nurses. You’ll have to stay up-to-date on changes to health care regulations, laws, and new technologies. This role may involve training staff, developing team goals, and monitoring budgets and performance, so it requires good organizational and communication skills.

  • Median salary: $101,340 [4]

  • Job outlook: 32 percent growth (much faster than average)

  • Typical requirements: Bachelor’s degree, though a master’s is also common, with work experience in hospital administration.

2. Biostatistician

A biostatistician is driven to answer pressing questions in public health and medicine using statistical analysis. They might research what causes cancer, whether a new prescription drug works, how harmful certain chemicals are for the body, or how long a pandemic will last. Using data like disease rates or genetic information, they design clinical trials to evaluate drug or patient outcomes. If you enjoy applying statistics and math to global health, this can be a lucrative path for you.

  • Median salary: $96,280 [5] ($145,170 is the average salary on Indeed [6])

  • Job outlook: 33 percent growth (much faster than average)

  • Typical requirements: Bachelor’s degree at minimum, while master’s and doctorate degrees are often required

Read more: What Is a Biostatistician?

3. Health care consultant

Health care consultants are a specialized version of management consultants or business analysts, hired by health care organizations to focus on examining a medical or pharmaceutical company to improve production, supply chain, and other lean management methods. Using data analysis, you’ll work with the company to prescribe ways to make it more efficient. You’ll often be a contracted employee or independent contractor.

  • Median salary: $93,000 [7]

  • Job outlook: 14 percent growth (faster than average)

  • Typical requirements: Bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level positions, while an MBA or a specialized master’s (such as MPH) will help accelerate your career.

4. Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists investigate patterns and causes of diseases, injuries, and disorders in society. They work to reduce their occurrence and risk with research, education, and health policy, so they might work in governments, in the private sector with health insurance or pharmaceutical companies, or in non-profit organizations. Epidemiologists typically specialize in areas such as maternal health, infectious diseases, environmental health, genetics, emergency response, or mental health. You might consider epidemiology if you feel strongly about one of these subjects.

  • Median salary: $78,830 [8]

  • Job outlook: 30 percent growth (much faster than average)

  • Typical requirements: At least a master’s degree in public health or related field, in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Some jobs might require a doctorate’s degree in epidemiology or medicine.

5. Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

As an occupational health and safety specialist, you’ll collect data and analyze different types of workplace environments to make sure they’re following health and safety regulations correctly. You’re expected to inspect workplace environments and equipment, write up reports, and educate workers with training programs. This can be a great opportunity for someone who is organized and enjoys routines, rule enforcement, and interacting with others.

  • Median salary: $74,870[9]

  • Job outlook: 7 percent growth (as fast as average)

  • Typical requirements: Bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety, biology, or a related field. Some roles may require a master’s in industrial hygiene or health physics.

6. Social and Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers typically oversee teams that provide public services, so those who specialize in public or global health would be involved in health advocacy. You’ll be involved in managing projects and designing programs that address health for a particular group, such as children, or those experiencing homelessness or drug abuse. Skills needed for these roles include communication, analysis, problem-solving, and time management.

(Video) Module 7: Public Health Sustainability and Careers

  • Median salary: $74,000[10]

  • Job outlook: 15 percent growth (faster than average)

  • Typical requirements: Bachelor’s degree in public health, social work, or related field

7. Health Education Specialist

Health education specialists teach people about wellness and how to be healthy. They devise strategies to improve well-being by assessing the needs of individuals and communities, educating them about health, and advocating for public health reform. Health education specialists might work in health care facilities, non-profits, and public health departments to advance society’s knowledge of good health practices.

  • Median salary: $48,860 [11]

  • Job outlook: 17 percent growth (much faster than average)

  • Typical requirements: Bachelor’s degree in health education or related field

Explore public health with Coursera

Earn a master’s degree in public health to fast-track your career in addressing the world’s biggest health challenges. Choose from the Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, the #2 public school of public health, or the Global Master of Public Health from Imperial College London, one of the world’s top 10 universities.

Related articles

  • What Is a Master of Public Health (MPH) Degree?

  • What Can You Do with a Master’s in Public Health (MPH)?

  • What Is Health Care Administration? What You Need to Know

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Healthcare Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

2. Public Health. “Top Paying Jobs in Public Health, https://www.publichealth.org/top-paying-jobs-public-health/.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment Suggestions - 2020-2030, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecopro.pdf.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Medical and Health Services Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Mathematicians and Statisticians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm." Accessed August 5, 2022.

6. Indeed. “Biostatistician salary in United States, https://www.indeed.com/career/biostatistician/salaries.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Management Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Epidemiologists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists-and-technicians.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Social and Community Service Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm.” Accessed August 5, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

(Video) What is Public Health??


Does public health pay well UK? ›

The average salary for Public Health jobs is £51,354. Read on to find out how much Public Health jobs pay across various UK locations and industries. We have 526 jobs paying higher than the average Public Health salary!

What are the five great reasons to consider in starting a career in health? ›

And while a good salary and interesting work are at the top of the list, there are even more reasons to consider a health care career.
  • You'll enjoy job security: ...
  • You will do work that interests you: ...
  • You can live and work anywhere you want: ...
  • You can find a health career that fits your educational plans:

Is public health in demand in UK? ›

Job Prospects after Public Health Course in UK

Some of the highest-paying roles in the public health sector in the UK are as follows: Scientist – £31,805 per year. Social and Health Program Consultant – £92,214 per year. Locum Consultant – £89,627 per year.

Is working in public health worth it? ›

Yes, public health is a good major for many undergraduate students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, community and social service jobs are set to grow at 12% over the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Which field of public health is the best? ›

Being an Epidemiologist is among the most popular Master's of Public Health government jobs. Epidemiologists evaluate and monitor the spread of diseases, work to understand their causes and develop solutions and possible treatments.

What is the highest paid public health job? ›

The public health field has many career options, including several with above-average pay compared to many other occupations.
Highest-Paying Public Health Jobs.
Job TitleMedian Annual Salary
Medical and Health Services Managers$104,280
Emergency Management Director$76,250
1 more row
15 Feb 2022

What are the five public health jobs? ›

Here are five public health careers you might consider pursuing to give you the tools to help your selected community effectively.
  • Health Education. ...
  • Epidemiology and Research. ...
  • Social Work. ...
  • Communications. ...
  • Environmental Health.
14 Jun 2021

Why do I want a job in public health? ›

Improving Communities

Becoming a member of the public health community can be a very rewarding career path. The very essence of your work is involved in the effort to improve the lives of people all around the world. Healthy people in healthy communities lead to a better quality of life for everyone.

What 3 things are most important in choosing a career? ›

Read on to learn some of the key factors to consider when making your choice.
  • Personality. One of the most valuable things to consider is the nature of your personality and the level of satisfaction that you would like to achieve from your work. ...
  • Lifestyle. ...
  • Transferrable Skills.
27 Apr 2020

What are the 5 steps in making a health career plan? ›

  • Self Assessment. Discover your personal strengths through ________________ ...
  • Career Exploration. You can explore different careers and work environments through career fairs, online research, meetings, internships, alumni connections, professional resources.
  • Decision Making. ...
  • Plan of Action.

What is the first thing to do in making a health career plan? ›

The career planning process has four components: (1) Self Assessment, (2) Career Exploration, (3) Career Identification, and (4) Action Plan. If you're driven, you can easily go through these steps on your own.

Is public health hard? ›

Because public health requires undergraduate students to take both hard and soft sciences, it's not one of the easiest majors around. Upper-division core courses, such as epidemiology and biostatistics, can be challenging, especially if science and math are not some of the person's strongest suits.

Does public health have a future? ›

The future public health workforce will be racially and ethnically diverse and include a broader skill set base, such as data analysis expertise and improved ability to connect with and explain concepts to the public. Public health will also be incorporated into K-12 education, creating a career path that begins early.

Is there a future for public health? ›

As the future of public health continues to evolve, the need for passionate, skilled public health professionals is on the rise. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a projected 16% increase in the need for health educators and community health workers between 2016 and 2026.

How do I prepare for a career in public health? ›

Typical requirements: At least a master's degree in public health or related field, in addition to a bachelor's degree. Some jobs might require a doctorate's degree in epidemiology or medicine.

Is public health job stressful? ›

PTSD and Mental Health

More than half of public health workers (56%) reported at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the pandemic. One in four (25%) reported experiencing three or four symptoms, indicating probable PTSD.

Is public health better than nursing? ›

The answer to this question is entirely up to you. If you want a career where you can work directly with individual patients, a career in medicine or nursing might be best for you. If you want to research public health problems and prevent disease, a career in public health may be ideal.

What are the 3 core areas of public health? ›

This page and graphic show how the ten essential environmental health services align with the three core functions of public health (assessment, policy development, and assurance).

What is the highest degree in public health? ›

Doctor of Public Health

The highest level of education in the field of public health is the doctorate of public health. Students enrolled in these programs are required to complete an intensive course of study to prepare them for careers in upper management and academia.

Can you make six figures in public health? ›

The median salary for an epidemiologist is above $60,000, and top salaries can hit six figures. There are jobs in injury prevention advertised at $70,000 to $80,000. Health educators average about $50,000 and the tip-top tier rises above $80,000. Experienced industrial hygienists can make $90,000 and more.

What does a career in public health look like? ›

Public health careers encompass a variety of roles within healthcare that focus on improving the health of entire groups of people. Through education, research, and preventative training, public health workers prepare to protect the health of communities.

What are 7 health professions? ›

Seven categories of health careers
  • Examples: dentists, optometrists, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, podiatrists, and veterinarians.
  • Examples: nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, genetic counselors.

What are the 8 domains of public health? ›

The eight domains are:
  • Data Analytics and Assessment Skills.
  • Policy Development and Program Planning Skills.
  • Communication Skills.
  • Health Equity Skills.
  • Community Partnership Skills.
  • Public Health Sciences Skills.
  • Management and Finance Skills.
  • Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills.

Why am I passionate about public health? ›

Many public health employees become interested in this field to improve the health and well being of other people and communities. One of the most rewarding benefits for public health is knowing that they are making a lasting impression to improve society.

What skills do you need for public health? ›

Skills you need for a career in public health
  • Communication skills.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Technical skills.
  • Knowledge of sociology.
  • Marketing skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Finance skills.
  • A strong work ethic.
1 Mar 2022

How do I prepare for public health interview? ›

Prior to sitting down for your interview for a position in the field of public health, consider these tips for securing the position.
  1. Showcase your education and training. When you walk into an interview, the ball is in your court. ...
  2. Incorporate your professional experience. ...
  3. Be prepared with questions for the interviewer.

What is the most popular career choice? ›

Popular career choices
  • School teacher.
  • Professor.
  • Flight attendant.
  • Sales representative.
  • Physical therapist.
  • Engineer.
  • Database administrator.
  • Registered nurse.

What are the 4 factors in choosing a career? ›

4 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Career Path
  • Employment Opportunities.
  • Interest.
  • Skill Set.
  • Pay Scale.

What are 4 things you should consider when choosing a career? ›

Four Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Career for You
  • 1) Purpose. Most people confuse purpose and passion, but purpose is the philosophical idea of why you are on this earth, what you are here for, and what you are intended to do. ...
  • 2) Passion. ...
  • 3) Gifts. ...
  • 4) Motivation.

What are the 7 steps to choosing the right career? ›

  1. Explore Your Interests, Majors and Careers.
  2. Create a Resume / Cover Letter.
  3. Prepare for an Interview/Negotiate an Offer.
  4. Networking/Career Fairs.
  5. Search for a Job / Internship.
  6. Apply to Graduate School.
20 Jul 2022

What are 3 things you will do to prepare as you begin or extend your career in healthcare administration? ›

These steps may help individuals create a new career path and become a healthcare administrator.
  1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree in a Required Field. ...
  2. Gain Work Experience in Healthcare Administration. ...
  3. Consider an MHA Program. ...
  4. Earn Industry Certifications. ...
  5. Pursue a Job in Healthcare Administration.

How do public health make money? ›

Explore Some of the Highest Paying Public Health Jobs
  1. Natural Sciences Manager. ...
  2. Medical and Health Services Manager. ...
  3. Health Services Administrator. ...
  4. Epidemiologist. ...
  5. Biomedical Engineer. ...
  6. Biostatistician. ...
  7. Infectious Disease Specialist. ...
  8. Health Care Consultant.

What are the disadvantages of public health? ›

Disadvantages of Public Health Care: • Long waits and delays is the major drawback of the public health care. Many patients are delayed the health care services due to long waits. Low quality service.

Is public health better than medicine? ›

The biggest difference between public health and medicine is that public health deals with health from the perspective of populations, while medicine deals with health from the perspective of individuals. In medicine, the patient is the individual person. In public health, the patient is the entire community.

What is trending in public health? ›

Many of the future trends in public health will be focused on addressing two primary concerns: the aging population of the U.S. and the corresponding increase in the rates of chronic disease and the health impacts of climate change.

What are 3 public health obstacles? ›

The field of public health faces many challenges. Some high-level examples are a lack of adequate staffing, a shortage of medical supplies and a deficit in funding. These three elements pose a significant threat to public health and its ability to function efficiently.

What are 4 major factors that affect public health? ›

Health is influenced by many factors, which may generally be organized into five broad categories known as determinants of health: genetics, behavior, environmental and physical influences, medical care and social factors.

Which state is best for public health? ›

California ranks first in the nation for public health. New Jersey places second in this subcategory, followed by New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Learn more about the Best States for public health below.

Why public health is the best? ›

The field of public health plays a critical role in the promotion of health, prevention of disease, and empowerment of individuals to manage illness and disabilities. Every scientific finding, awareness campaign, and new policy has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of people around the world.

How much does a public health officer earn in UK? ›

The average health officer salary in the United Kingdom is £33,280 per year or £17.07 per hour. Entry level positions start at £27,994 per year while most experienced workers make up to £45,032 per year.

How much does a public health graduate earn in UK? ›

The average public health officer salary in the United Kingdom is £34,919 per year or £17.91 per hour. Entry level positions start at £30,214 per year while most experienced workers make up to £44,893 per year.

How much does a public health doctor make UK? ›

Average Public Health England Medical Consultant yearly pay in the United Kingdom is approximately £86,485, which meets the national average.

How much does a public health practitioner make in UK? ›

The national average salary for a Public Health Practitioner is £30,142 in United Kingdom. Filter by location to see Public Health Practitioner salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 7 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Public Health Practitioner employees.

Who is the highest paid NHS worker? ›

Matt Hancock earned £149,400 in 2020/21 as health secretary. Excluding those whose pay included redundancy payments, one of the two highest paid executives was Michael van der Watt, chief medical officer at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

How many years is Masters in public health in UK? ›

Masters in Public Health in UK take a duration of 10 months to 24 months to complete. It is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the general well being of the world by promoting good hygiene and preventing diseases.

Can I get a job in UK after masters in public health? ›

Public Health Masters in the UK is the ideal course for students wanting to have aspecialistial career in the medical field. MSc in Public Health in the UK is your pathway to serve in the medical area without being inside an operating room, dispensing medicine, or taking direct medical care of the patient.

How much is a public health officer paid? ›

The average Public Health Officer salary is $61,175 as of October 27, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $53,699 and $71,259. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Do public health doctors see patients? ›

These professionals are physicians or doctors who are capable of providing medical care to patients, but who generally work to develop policies, provide education, and take other steps that help improve the overall health of a population.

Is a doctor a public health official? ›

A Doctor of Public Health (abbr. DrPH, Dr.PH. or D.P.H.; Latin doctor publica sanitas) is a doctoral degree awarded in the field of Public Health. DrPH is an advanced and terminal degree that prepares its recipients for a career in advancing public health practice, leadership, research, teaching, or administration.

What is the highest paid job in the UK? ›

  • Study in UK.
  • Top 6 Highest-Paying Careers and Jobs in the UK. Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering. Medicine. Law. IT, Computer Science, Big Data & Analytics. Finance, Investment Banking & Risk Management. Sales and Marketing.
13 Sept 2022

How do I write a CV for public health? ›

How to write a public health resume
  1. Include your contact information. ...
  2. Write a professional summary. ...
  3. Provide your educational information. ...
  4. Include licensure and certifications. ...
  5. List your work history. ...
  6. Highlight your relevant skills. ...
  7. Include your awards, accomplishments and memberships.
11 May 2021

How much is a public health nurse paid in UK? ›

NHS Salary FAQs

The average salary for a Public Health Nurse is £46,941 per year in United Kingdom, which is 21% higher than the average NHS salary of £38,687 per year for this job.

What is the highest paid nurse practitioner UK? ›

Highest paying cities for Nurse Practitioners near United Kingdom
  • Northampton. £44,511 per year. 59 salaries reported.
  • Birmingham. £42,002 per year. 332 salaries reported.
  • Doncaster. £41,873 per year. 87 salaries reported.
  • Manchester. £41,782 per year. 314 salaries reported.
  • Kingston upon Hull. £38,296 per year. 113 salaries reported.


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