10 Careers You Can Pursue with a Public Health Degree

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Public health is a complex network of institutions, policies, and regulations that support community health by promoting healthy behaviors, preventing diseases, and mitigating their effects. It encompasses various disciplines such as medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health policy. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the significant responsibility of public health professionals in maintaining a safe and healthy society. It also underscores the significance of having access to nutritious food, hygienic practices, and secure living environments in preventing health issues.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are expected to grow by 13% from 2021-2031, making public health careers highly in demand. Pursuing a public health degree opens numerous career opportunities, ranging from occupational health to health information management, allowing you to make a meaningful impact on public health.

Now let’s explore the diverse career paths you can pursue with a public health degree.

  • Occupational Health & Safety Specialist

An occupational health & safety specialist is crucial in promoting and preserving a secure and healthy workplace for employees. They identify and mitigate workplace hazards such as chemicals, noise, machinery, and ergonomic issues and ensure health and safety regulations compliance. They conduct risk assessments, develop and implement safety programs, and train employees in workplace safety practices.

Those willing to pursue a career in this in-demand field can now opt for a public health bachelor’s degree online to become an occupational health and safety specialist. This program offers a solid foundation in public health theory and practical skills, such as risk assessment, program management, and employee training.

Moreover, the degree’s online format enables learners to study from any location at their convenience and preferred pace. This flexibility makes balancing educational pursuits with other personal and professional obligations more manageable.

  • Dietitian or Nutritionist

Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics. They advise individuals and communities on healthy eating habits and food choices to promote health and prevent disease. 

Their key responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating clients’ nutritional status.
  • Developing nutrition plans to meet clients’ needs.
  • Providing nutrition counseling and education.
  • Researching the relationship between nutrition and health.
  • Advocating for policies that promote healthy eating habits. 
  • Health Information Technician & Manager

Health information technicians and managers manage patient health records and ensure their accuracy, confidentiality, and security. They also ensure that patient data is accessible to healthcare providers when needed.

Their core responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining electronic health records (EHRs).
  • Ensuring compliance with medical and privacy laws and regulations.
  • Developing policies and procedures for maintaining health information confidentiality and security.
  • Training staff on proper health information management procedures.
  • Managing the storage and retrieval of health information.
  • Evaluating and implementing new health information technologies. 
  • Biostatistician

Biostatisticians are essential members of the healthcare industry. They play a critical role in designing, implementing, and interpreting research studies related to healthcare and medical research.

Biostatisticians use statistical methods to analyze and interpret data and provide insights and recommendations to healthcare professionals, researchers, and policymakers. Their work ensures that healthcare professionals have access to accurate and reliable data, which is instrumental in making informed decisions concerning patient care.

  • Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists are public health professionals responsible for investigating and analyzing the causes and patterns of disease in populations. They are tasked with identifying and controlling outbreaks of infectious diseases, and other public health concerns.

To achieve this, they use statistical methods to study disease trends and risk factors and provide guidance on preventing and controlling the spread of diseases.

  • Social and Community Service Manager

With a public health degree, you can also opt to pursue your career as a social and community service manager. They oversee and coordinate programs and services that support and assist individuals and communities in need. 

Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Developing and managing programs and services that address the needs of individuals and communities, such as food assistance, affordable housing, and job training.
  • Identifying community needs and collaborating with other organizations and community stakeholders to address these needs effectively.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of programs and services and adjusting as necessary to improve outcomes. 
  • Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants work with organizations to develop strategies to improve patient care, reduce costs, and comply with regulations. They analyze healthcare data to identify areas for improvement, develop and implement new policies and procedures, and assess the financial viability of healthcare organizations. 

Additionally, healthcare consultants may be involved in research and advocacy efforts. They may work with government agencies and NGOs to devise and execute policies and initiatives that promote public health and improve access to healthcare services. Hence, if you have a degree in public health, you can work as a healthcare consultant. 

  • Public Health Nurse

Public health nurse is another role you can take with a degree in public health. These nurses work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and community health centers. They assess the health needs of their communities, develop and implement public health programs, and provide direct care to patients.

In addition to their clinical responsibilities, public health nurses also work to educate and engage their communities about public health issues. They may conduct public health education campaigns, lead community health clinics, and work with community organizations to promote healthy behaviors and prevent disease. 

  • Public Health Researcher

Public health researchers study various aspects of public health, including disease patterns, risk factors, and health outcomes. They design and conduct research studies to identify public health problems, analyze data to determine the causes of health issues and evaluate interventions to address them.

Public health researchers use various research methods, such as surveys, interviews, and statistical analysis, to collect and analyze data. They collaborate with other researchers and healthcare professionals to develop and implement research projects and communicate their findings to stakeholders, including policymakers, healthcare providers, and the public. 

  • Environmental Health Officer

Another challenging role with a public health degree you can consider is of Environmental health officer (EHO). 

EHOs ensure the environment is safe and healthy for the community. They collaborate with government bodies, private corporations, and NGOs to develop and execute programs and policies to boost environmental health outcomes. 

The job responsibilities of an EHO typically include inspecting facilities and properties to ensure compliance with environmental and public health regulations. It can involve testing air and water quality, investigating food-borne illnesses, and monitoring hazardous waste disposal.

Conclusion

Public health challenges are evolving and taking new forms, from environmental concerns such as rising temperatures, poor air quality, food insecurity, and health disparities. However, public health professionals are working tirelessly to address these issues and create a healthier, more equitable future for all.

Embarking on a public health career can positively impact people’s lives and foster personal and professional development. Whether you become an epidemiologist, public health nurse, or  a public health researcher, you can join the league of committed professionals and make a meaningful difference in communities. 

 

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