Public and Global Health Jobs: The Ultimate Guide
Public health workers pursue the complimentary goals of offering treatment and education to individuals and improving the health of communities and populations through orchestrated campaigns. If you are interested in promoting healthier outcomes for society, treat you might consider a career in public and global health. Huge growth in the healthcare industry is spurred on by the new health problems that arise from an exponentially growing human population, physician and public health workers who address the big picture are in as much demand as doctors and nurses. In the current global circumstances, it should come as no surprise that jobs in public and global health are being created rapidly. Jobs in medical and health services are expected to grow at a faster than average rate, and you can take advantage of these opportunities.
Jobs in Public and Global Health
- Care Provider: Doctors, nurses, and clinicians are not always considered “public health workers,” but the work they do is very much a part of the global health industry. The two main services provided by any public health worker are treatment and education, and doctors and nurses provide both of those. By teaching members of communities how to prevent disease, and manage existing diseases more effectively, doctors can cause positive health habits to propagate through their community.
- Researcher: Public health issues affect a wide variety of people. If you are interested in finding out what is happening in terms of public health, and if you want to track trends in global health and wellness, you might consider being a researcher. Public health research usually entails studying the health habits of members of a particular community, and recommending action within that community to improve the overall health of its citizens. For example, a public health researcher might survey a community to learn about the number of individuals who have contracted a waterborne disease, and what they did about it. If they discover that a community is suffering from a lot of waterborne diseases, the public health worker could then initiate a campaign to promote better water sanitation practices in the community.
- Educator: Education is one of the primary strategies that public health workers employ to further the mission of improving global health. Some public health educators visit schools and community centers, giving talks and handing out educational materials to raise awareness about community health issues, some do outreach work in heavily affected areas, the developing world, or simply communities without many sources of health info. A common tactic among public health educators is to use a community resource such as a library as a base for handing disseminating pamphlets, health supplies, and knowledge, but the main duty of a public health educator is to find out where they are needed and work to get funding and supplies to provide to communities with the greatest need.
- Advocate for Change: Advocacy means speaking for those without a voice, and defending the rights and securing needed resources for those who can’t do it themselves. As a public health worker you can work with both governmental and non-governmental organizations to lobby for better laws and programs to protect and improve public health. It is also possible to be an advocate for change internationally, working with global partners to change attitudes and practices.
- Grant Writer: Seeking funds to buy supplies and pay salaries is a major activity in public health organizations, especially non-governmental organizations that are mostly funded through donations. Being able to state your case and back it up with qualitative and quantitative arguments, so that funding agencies see a reason to provide funding, and the benefits that will result in your use of that funding, are crucial skills. Grant writers are employable in many fields, but public health is one where they are especially needed, and the reward of helping communities stay healthier and learn to care for themselves draws many grant writers into the public health industry.
- Public Health Administrator: There is a need for organized administrators to help manage and coordinate public health efforts. Global health organizations need competent people who know how to organize effectively to get the job done. If you have a talent for coordination and work well with others, you might be able to aid public health organizations in this capacity.
Depending on your education and your developed skills, you might be suited for any number of possible jobs in public and global health. In some cases, you could perform more than one function, such as being a practitioner and a researcher, or being an educator and a grant writer. There are endless possibilities in public and global health. Consider what you want in a job, and think about what you would like to accomplish as a public health worker. This will help you determine which career possibilities to focus on.
Salary and Job Outlook in the Public Health Field
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps “medical and public health social workers” into one category, and although this does not nearly encompass the range of careers available in the public health field, the data can provide a reference point for earnings and job opportunities in the industry. As of May, 2008, medical and public health social workers earned a mean annual wage of $47,560 and were most commonly employed in general hospitals.
More general statistics for administrative positions, grant writers, and other types of work that can be applied to public health, could be obtained by interviewing people who hold those positions.
The graphic below indicates median salaries for public health social workers employed in various public and private settings. All data is from The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Training and Education
A Master of Public Health degree will prepare you for leadership roles in the field, and will largely be aimed at readying you for an administrative or managerial role.
A public health internship may also be a good idea. This can give you a chance to actually get some hands on experience in public health, and determine if it is really want you want to do after all. There are a number of public and global health internship opportunities all over the world that can help you get a feel for the work. Additionally, the experience, specifically related to public health can be a big help when you decide to apply for a job. While not completely necessary in every case, some education and experience specifically in public health can prepare you for the unique challenges and perspectives in this career field.
Looking for Opportunities in Public and Global Health
It helps to know what type of work you want to do on a day to day basis when seeking jobs in the public health field. Grant writers and administrators have very different daily duties than care providers and advocates. If you’re curious about what types of jobs might be available to you after finishing your Master of Public Health degree, or you want to gear your studies toward a particular niche in the field, it can help to know who’s hiring, and for what positions. The following sites can help you get a handle on what kind of jobs are available, which organizations are hiring, and what their pay structures are like.
- Global Health Council Career Network: Post your resume, learn about job openings, and network with other global health professionals.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Find various jobs at the CDC. Includes jobs in the U.S., as well as overseas opportunities in public health.
Master of Public Health Degree Programs
The Master of Public Health degree is very much a practical, career-oriented credential. The only reason to pursue this degree is if you want to get a high level position, likely as an administrator, in an organization that works to promote public health. If this is your aim, then finding the degree program that will best prepare you for your chosen career is key. There is no better way to learn about a particular college than to talk to a graduate or a professor from that college, so contacting a few schools should be a significant part of your search. The links below will get you in contact with some colleges that offer accredited Master of Public Health degrees, which can start you on the way toward your degree of choice.
Online Degrees in Public Health
Public health is the science of preventing disease and promoting health at the population level. Programs prepare students to become leading public health professionals capable of addressing current global public health problems. By clicking on the logos below, you can receive more information regarding your degree and school of choice.
Master of Public Health
||George Washington University – George Washington University's Master of Public Health program features a curriculum of public health core with a focus on the needs of today's healthcare industry. Courses feature a conceptual, factual, and skill base where students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a professional setting. GWU is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).|
MS: Public Health
||Southern New Hampshire University – Southern New Hampshire University offers an MS in Public Health that readies graduate students for the business, programming, planning, and policy aspects of public healthcare management. This degree is a 46-credit hour program that includes a compulsory healthcare practicum.|
Master of Public Health
MPH: Health Education
|Kaplan University – Graduates of the Kaplan University MPH program are ready to take their careers to the next stage at the government, nonprofit, or private level. The online program provides students with an education on how to analyze and apply scientific research, prepare public health policies, develop health education programs, and review the impact of occupational and environmental factors. Kaplan offers several specializations within their MPH program, including health education.|
Master of Public Health
||Indiana Wesleyan University – Indiana Wesleyan University offers an innovative and effective accredited online program. The Master of Public Health prepares students for high-level careers as healthcare managers, managed healthcare plan coordinators, hospital administrators, and much more. Courses cover a variety of subjects including Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Services Administration, and Social and Behavioral Studies. IWU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.|
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