What Can You Do With A Degree In Public Health?

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What can you do with a public health degree? There are many options. But what exactly is public health? Public health is considered the general well-being of a population as a whole. The study of public health focuses on ways to improve the health of a population. People with jobs in public health often perform research to in attempts to discover cures or more effective treatments, teach health education courses, amend health regulations, and more.

Areas of Focus in Public Health

Public health is a rather broad subject that encompasses the study of many topics, some of which are listed and briefly described here. These areas may be expanded upon in educational courses related to public health at higher learning facilities.

Environmental health – study of how physical and chemical external figures affect human health and behavior

Epidemiology – study of ways to potentially control and treat diseases with medication

Public health policy – study of how to reach specified health care goals in society through planning and carrying out said plans

Maternal and child health – study of public health issues that impact women and children in society

Nutrition – study of proper dieting techniques and the main food groups of the nutritional pyramid in order maintain a healthy lifestyle; also, sports nutrition

How to Get Your Public Health Degree

Where can you get a degree in public health? You can always consult your school guidance counselor, and don’t forget about the World Wide Web. Nearly all schools have their own websites nowadays that have detailed information on the education programs they offer, admissions requirements, and how to contact them for whatever information you aren’t able to find. Below, you can find some schools with highly-regarded public health programs to get your search started.

Tulane University, an independent research school, is located in New Orleans, LA. It offers students a joint degree opportunity to achieve both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health with specific concentrations in subjects like epidemiology, environmental health, and health administration so students are able to form their studies around specific areas of interest. With a student-faculty ratio of approximately 11:1, the university offers many classes in which you will  be just 1 in an average class size of about 24 students. This average class size allows students to feel more comfortable in the classroom setting, not getting overwhelmed by larger lectures in auditorium-sized classrooms. Most faculty members possess a PhD in a related field, and all are dedicated to giving students the attention they deserve for an excellent educational experience.

George Washington University is another private school with an exceptional public health program. Located in Washington, D.C., this university offers its students bachelors degree options as well as the opportunity to master in public health and even receive a doctoral degree in public health, as well. Specific areas of concentration include but are not limited to environmental health, occupational health, and biostatistics. The student-faculty ratio at George Washington University is 15:1, with a total of 142 full-time faculty members in the department devoted to the success of their students.

Johns Hopkins University, one of America’s top-rated medical research universities, was founded in 1876 and is located in Baltimore, MD. It provides students with the opportunities to earn a bachelors degree, masters degree, and even a doctoral degree in public health studies. The program’s areas of concentration include but are certainly not limited to social and behavioral science, international health, infectious diseases, and mental health. With an overall student-faculty ratio of 13:1, Johns Hopkins also offers evening and online courses as well as the opportunity for students to continue their educational studies over the summer with summer courses.

Careers in Public Health

“What can I do with a degree in public health,” you ask? With a degree in public health, you’re sure to find some intriguing career paths. The higher the degree you earn, the more career paths are available to you.

Entry Level Careers with a Public Health Degree

If you’re interested in pursuing up to a bachelors degree in public health, then these career paths are just a few you should consider as potential ways of earning a living.

Public Relations Assistant

Public relations assistants typically assist higher-up members of the public relations field. They are responsible for a multitude of tasks. Some tasks include designing and presenting brochures and case studies and other public relations materials, supervise company social media accounts, and compose and distribute customer surveys. It is important that public relations assistants have above average communication skills, and they should have exceptionally creative minds. Customer service experience is also highly valued.

Public relations assistants can make around $35,000 annually.

Epidemiology Research Assistant

Research assistants in the epidemiology field help organize and manage research projects and experiments, assess the quality and contents of data and other documents, arrange and attend out-of-office meetings, and compose reports among other duties. They are required to have impressive researching and communication abilities as well as good organizational skills.

Epidemiology research assistants can make more or less than $43,000 a year depending on knowledge and experience.

Environmental Engineer

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Environmental engineers are responsible for working together to gather samples of elements in an environment, such as water and soil. They also put together technical and analytical reports based on their findings at remediation project sites. These engineers need a bachelors degree in environmental science or public health and excellent written and verbal communication skills for collaborating with fellow engineers.

Environmental engineers can make an average of $55,000 annually.

Advanced Careers in Public Health

Going above and beyond a bachelors degree in public health is sure to take you even farther. Some career paths you have the option to follow can be found here.

Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses often work to promote healthy and safe living in less fortunate neighborhoods. They can provide educational services within the community, and they often carry out diagnostic tests and analyze their respective results with the use of advanced medical equipment to help doctors diagnose and treat patients for a variety of ailments. Public health nurses have excellent communication skills and compassion towards their patients in addition to highly valuable critical thinking abilities.

Public health nurses can make around $65,000 a year, depending on what type of clinic or company they work for and their levels of experience.

Public Health Microbiologist

Public health microbiologists study relationships between diseases, microorganisms, and public health in order to help prevent communicable diseases like food-borne illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, and even rabies. They are responsible for keeping track of their research results and recording them for future use. They are also required to be sure they and their practices adhere to federal rules and regulations of laboratory testing and the like. People in this particular field need advanced organizational and data-tracking skills as well as good communication in order to accurately present their research results.

Public health microbiologists may earn a salary of around $65,000, but are capable of earning over $100,000 a year when working for the government.

Companies that Hire Individuals with Degrees in Public Health

Now that you are familiar with the process of obtaining your degree and a few career paths to choose from, it’s time you looked at a few companies and organizations that hire individuals with the skills and talents developed by earning a degree in public health. Just a few companies that offer jobs in this field are presented in the list below.

North Carolina State University – located in Raleigh; research and teaching positions often available

Louisiana Public Health Institute – founded in 1997; nonprofit organization aiming to improve public health; hires positions in maternal and child health, primary care educational programs, specific areas of research, etc.

Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida – established in 1977, serves southwestern FL; health care provider; hires positions for nurses, public relations specialists, dental physician, family medicine physician, etc.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – country’s largest integrated health system; hires for positions in nursing, orthopedic surgeons, social workers, etc. to care for former members of the U.S. armed forces

This page provides just a snippet of information on the field of public health. For more information, consult your school guidance office, library, and the internet for ways you can get involved earn a degree in public health and land a successful career.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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