A career in public health could be the ideal choice for you if you want to dedicate your best energies to helping your community stay healthy.
In the recent past, communities have had to confront an onslaught of public health crises ranging from COVID-19 to an epidemic of opioid drugs. Public health professionals are concerned with creating solutions that will improve the outcomes for people affected by these and other widespread health issues. If you want to be one of the people on the front lines making a difference in health outcomes for your community, you might want to consider choosing a career in public health. The following are 4 viable public health careers that might be of interest:
Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, hospice care centers, nursing homes, clinics and wellness centers employ healthcare administrators to manage and oversee their day-to-day operations. This is a complex job that requires a mix of skills and expertise including broad health knowledge, communication skills, financial expertise and technical skills.
There aren’t any firm academic requirements for becoming a healthcare administrator, but many employers expect their candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a major such as health management or public health administration. It’s common for these professionals to also obtain a master’s degree. Some healthcare administrators transition to management roles after having pursued careers as doctors or nurses, so it isn’t unusual for them to hold MD or MSN degrees.
Public Health Nurse
A public health nurse is a registered nurse who has chosen to specialize in public health.
A typical educational pathway for this career would be to first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing and then to pursue a Master of Public Health degree.
When nurses choose this specialization, their major responsibility is to promote and protect the health of their community using the knowledge base they have accumulated from a combination of their prior nursing experience, their public health education and the social sciences.
Governments, hospitals, universities and public health organizations hire epidemiologists to conduct investigations into the dynamics of various epidemics and pandemics. An epidemiologist’s major role is to work at reducing the public’s risks of disease and injury. This can be accomplished through research, public outreach and influencing health policy in government.
To become an epidemiologist, you’d need to obtain a master’s degree at a minimum – usually a Master of Public Health degree. It is also common for epidemiologists to obtain a doctoral degree in either epidemiology or a relevant medical specialization.
Health and Safety Engineer
Health and safety engineers take a multi-faceted approach to protecting the working public from harm. First of all, they work to prevent injuries and illnesses resulting from the accidental or intentional misuse of chemicals, machinery and other common workplace hazards. Furthermore, when accidents and injuries do happen, they study the circumstances and work to implement policies and protective mechanisms that would reduce the likelihood of similar accidents happening in the future.
This is a field where employers tend to highly value both education and previous work experience. A bachelor’s degree in a related subject is typically a requirement. One of the most popular majors for this role is environmental health and safety; however it is also common for engineering majors to choose this line of work.
The public health professionals in these roles are doing much important work. If you’re interested in earning your living by helping your community to maintain excellent health, these are all worthwhile careers to consider training for.