Making the world a healthier place is one of the values that brings together all public health professionals. If youre a person dedicated to the idea of helping people who need medical assistance, but youre not a medical practitioner yet, a career in public health could be your calling. So you should consider a Bachelors or Masters degree in public health.
Public health has a long history of implementing policies that had as final result a substantial improvement of the health of people worldwide. Vaccination programmes, family planning or preventive medicine are just a few examples of how public health had a global positive impact. And you can be part of this, too!
The most common careers you can pursue after completing a degree in public health are health care administrator, health informatics specialist, epidemiologist, public health project manager (such as HIV or refugee coordinator) and health and safety engineer.
Career options after completing a Master's degree in public health
1. Health informatics specialist
Employers: food and drug administration clinics, clinical biostatistics organisations, government
As a health informatics specialist or biostatistician, you will analyse various types of health care data and apply statistical principles to public health and medical research. You will deal with clinical trials, genome projects and identify population health trends. The work of a biostatistician may also include experimental treatments for diseases, or find connections between living styles and diseases.
Main duties of a health informatics specialist:
- develop efficient statistical protocols
- analyse and monitor databases and data analysis software
- use statistics, mathematics and computer science skills for collecting data reports
2. Health care administrator
Employers: hospitals, clinics, health care facilities, wellness centres
A health care administrator is basically a manager of a health care facility, such as hospitals or clinics and handles a wide array of responsibilities. The health administrator has to coordinate and manage services provided to clients, health programs, staff and budgets and keep contact with various organisations such as health equipment suppliers.
Depending on the type and size of the organisation they work for, healthcare administrators can also get involved in health care public policies, improve or solve certain issues of the health care system and promote healthy habits and living styles.Check out Yashada's experience, studying public health in the UK
3. Epidemiologist/research analyst
Employers: health institutes, local and national public health departments, private companies (pharmaceutical companies)
Epidemiologists evaluate and monitor the spread of diseases, work to understand their causes and develop solutions and possible treatments. An epidemiologists work is similar to the one of a scientist and combines knowledge from biology, statistics and math by also taking into consideration various socio-economic factors.
Epidemiologists also have the responsibility to train and educate policy makers about diseases, infections and how the spread of these diseases can be stopped and prevented. During an epidemic, epidemiologists monitor the situation and provide extensive reports with all the data they collected and evaluated to the local and state health agencies.
4. Public health project manager
Examples: HIV/AIDS educator or refugee coordinator
Employers: NGOs, social work associations
An HIV/AIDS educator will have to train staff that will work, provide services or medical assistance to people suffering from HIV/AIDS; staff includes volunteers, physicians, nurses, and even teachers. Among the main responsibilities of the HIV educator will be to recruit and manage volunteers that will provide assistance and services to HIV patients and network with outside partners that will offer various services for patients.
Similar to HIV/AIDS educators, refugee coordinators will manage all the services that are provided to refugees. They will also supervise and instruct staff working or dealing with refugees and can also involve in various public policies meant to promote refugee rights.
5. Health and safety engineers
Employers: government, construction companies, technology companies
Health and safety engineers design machinery, equipment and various systems that are meant to improve human health or prevent diseases. The main duties of a health engineer are to make sure various products (equipment and machines used in factories, buildings, etc.) are safe to use; they identify potential hazards, investigate health and safety regulations and programs, and also investigate accidents.
A health engineer may also work with healthcare providers to design or improve healthcare facilities, and healthcare systems.
Common tasks of health and safety engineers are:
- check plans for new machinery and equipment to make sure they meet safety requirements
- identify potential hazards in facilities, machinery, and safety equipment
- install safety devices on machinery
- verify employee safety programs and suggests improvements
Promote and develop the global health and safety
Public health specialists can pursue several other careers like air pollution analyst, disaster management specialist, environmental inspector, and more. Through your work, you can actually make a difference and contribute to important missions such as increasing life expectancy and reducing infant mortality, two of the so many challenges the world faces today in terms of human health. So prepare to join the league of public health experts and start off with a degree in public health.