If you're interested in a career related to public health, you will likely have job security and solid salary potential. However, several health crises beyond the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the need for well-trained professionals in the public health sector.
A degree in public health provides graduates with an excellent opportunity to enter what some are calling "the hottest field in healthcare."
What Does Public Health Encompass?
Public health seeks to help people stay healthy through preventative measures instead of treating them when they're already sick. For example, the field focuses on:
- tracking and preventing disease outbreaks (like COVID-19)
- educating the public about vaccinations
- administering vaccinations to both children and adults
- informing people of the dangers of tobacco, illicit drugs and alcohol
- developing nutrition programs in schools
- promoting safety measures in schools/workplaces
- identifying why specific populations have high rates of illness/injury
In short, the American Public Health Association states that "public health saves money, improves our quality of life, helps children thrive, and reduces human suffering."
The Path to a Public Health Career
As stated, the need for public health professionals is increasing rapidly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that some jobs stemming from a bachelor of science in public health (BSPH) degree will increase by 30% (or more) by 2030.
Some BSPH programs offer an accelerated path to graduation, making it that much easier for individuals to earn their degrees. Students can complete The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) BSPH program in as few as 22 months. It's completely online with multiple start dates, accommodating personal schedules, and affordable, with per-course payment options available.
Coursework is comprehensive of the public health field, covering topics from informatics and ethics to women's health issues and environmental concerns. This expansive content prepares students for many specialty jobs in the field, which are financially lucrative. Even "entry-level" positions serve as valuable steppingstones to more advanced roles and potentially higher degrees, such as a master's in public health (MPH).
The following represent just a few of the career tracks graduates might consider:
Health Service Manager. These professionals plan, direct and coordinate medical and health services. Their responsibilities include keeping up with healthcare regulation, policy and technology. BLS reports the median salary in 2020 was $104,280 per year. While some positions require a master's degree, many jobs recognize the skill level that comes with a BSPH.
Epidemiologist. The field of epidemiology focuses on investigating patterns and causes of disease and injury to reduce those outcomes. Professionals in this role typically work in governmental offices, hospitals and colleges/universities. Many employers require a master's degree for this role, but there are epidemiology jobs for individuals with a B.S. The Average salary recorded in 2020 for the role was $74,560.
Health and Safety Engineer. Anytime you enter a structure, a health and safety engineer is likely to ensure your well-being. They identify potential hazards, conduct health/safety compliance audits, review safety programs and investigate accidents. The annual median salary reported by BLS in 2020 was $94,240.
Biostatistician. Statistics play a critical role in public health research. Biostatisticians design experiments, questionnaires and surveys to collect data on people and health. They then analyze that data to explore solutions. Most biostatistician jobs require a master's degree, but some entry-level positions will accept an undergraduate degree, and a B.S. can prepare you for advanced education. BLS reports a growth of 33% by 2030 for the position. The Median salary in 2020 was $93,290 per year.
Emergency Management Director. Natural disasters are always a threat, so a career in emergency management offers job security. Key responsibilities include developing and implementing plans to respond to disasters and other public health emergencies. Potential salary is approximately $76,250 per year, according to BLS.
Social and Community Service Manager. While not quite as high paying as some other public health jobs, a social and community service manager is vital to keeping communities healthy and can earn about $69,600 a year. These professionals work with various demographics (children/teens, adults, the elderly) as well as populations that face challenges such as drug/alcohol abuse, mental health issues, food insecurity or persistent unemployment.
The Clock Is Ticking
The above is only a small sampling of the career paths you can pursue with a BSPH. However, one fact is clear: This field needs professionals to overcome the public health challenges at local, state, national and global levels as soon as possible. Will you answer the call?
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.