Jobs in public health can be found in many industries and organizations. Requiring a variety of skills and degrees, those in public health work to ensure employees, communities, and the public have the resources, knowledge and abilities to live healthy, productive lives. Pay ranges for public health jobs vary depending on the skill set and education required. This list will break down some of the highest paying career options and explain what the job is, what an individual would need to be employed, and how much it may pay*.
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1. HEALTH AND SAFETY ENGINEER
Health and Safety Engineers work primarily in scientific and technical services, but are also employed in construction and with the government. Manufacturing has used Health and Safety Engineers historically to help with cutting costs and to provide safer consumer products and safer work environments. The job of a Health and Safety Engineer is to design systems and procedures that prevent people from getting sick or injured. Health and Safety Engineers must have keen critical thinking, observational and problem solving skills along with creativity to solve sometimes complex, multi-faceted problems. Health and Safety Engineers will identify potential hazards, ensure compliance to health and safety regulations, review safety programs, and also investigate accidents.
A bachelor's degree in engineering, public health, or occupational/industrial hygiene is required for entry-level jobs in health and safety engineering. Course work in systems engineering, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, and environmental health and safety are just some of options an individual interested in health and safety engineering should take during their undergraduate degree. Experience is also highly sought after by employers, so internships or work experience should also be considered.
Salaries & Wages
Careers in health and safety engineering are expected to grow at the same pace as all other occupations, around 11% by 2022. As advancements in softwear safety engineering and biomedical engineering are made, growth may continue to rise in health and safety engineering. Health and Safety Engineers make, on average, between $45,000 and $119,000 annually. Those in professional, scientific and technical services tend to make more than those in government or construction.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS
Using their knowledge of natural sciences, Environmental Scientists protect both environmental and human health. Many do this through land reclamation after pollution or developing regulations the restrict air and soil pollution. Environmental Scientists do this through data collection, plan development, and sharing information with the government, business or the public. The majority are employed by state and local government, but many also work as consultants. Most of their time will be spent in a laboratory or office, with some field work collecting data and monitoring conditions.
A bachelor's degree in environmental sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering or public health is enough for most entry-level jobs in environmental sciences (such as field analysis or research assistants). For more advanced careers, a master's level degree is often required. Course work for an individual looking for a career in environmental sciences should include biology, geology, physics, and more specialized courses such as waste management, fluid mechanics, data analysis, and computer modeling. Communication and interpersonal skills are highly desired in Environmental Sciences as many careers require individuals to explain findings to a variety of people. Additionally, the ability to think analytically and use problem-solving are needed.
Salaries & Wages
The median wage for Environmental Scientists is $64,000, but can range from $38,600 to $110,000 depending on employment, experience and education. The Federal Government pays the highest average wage for Environmental Scientists followed by engineering and consulting. The employment of Environmental Scientists is on the rise most likely due to population rise and public interest in environmental safety.
3. HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATOR
A Healthcare Administrator supports a clinic, department or group of physicians by directing and coordination health services. The main goal of a Healthcare Administrator is to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. Duties range from billing and scheduling to representing their team at board meetings or with governing bodies. Healthcare Administrators (also known as medical and health service manager or healthcare executives) work in hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory health services, clinics and rarely in a government position.
At a minimum, Healthcare Administrators must have a bachelor's degree but master's degrees are more common. A degree specific in health administration will cover the basic knowledge requirements such as accounting, budgeting, health economics, strategic planning, and hospital organization and management. For those with a bachelor's degree, experience working in a hospital is highly desired for employers. A certification or licence may also be required by employers or the state.
Salaries & Wages
Healthcare Administrator employment is on the rise as the healthcare industry is experiencing a demand for more medical services. The median annual wage for Healthcare Administrators was $88,600 in 2012 and ranged from less than $54,000 to more than $105,600. This range correlated with the type and size of organization. Those Healthcare Administrators working with smaller numbers of physicians tend to earn less than those working in larger practices.
Statisticians are a vital part of public health research. Statisticians design experiments, questionnaires and surveys to collect data on people and health. They will not only collect the data, but will analyze it and create reports explaining their findings. Statisticians can work in many fields, but most are employed in government, healthcare, or research and development.
An undergraduate degree in statistics will suffice for some entry-level jobs, but the vast majority will require a master's degree. Course work in statistics and mathematics are necessary for entry into a master's program. A master's degree in statistics when paired with biology, sociology, and public health courses will best allow an individual to work in public health as a statistician, or more commonly called in health, a biostatistician.
Salaries & Wages
Job growth for statisticians in all occupations is on the rise, especially in the pharmaceutical industry and the government. The median annual wage for all Statisticians was $76,000 in 2012. The Federal Government was the highest paying industry at $97,000 on average, with healthcare paying $63,000 per year on average.
Epidemiologists work to reduce negative health outcomes by recognizing and researching the causes of disease and injury among populations. They do this through research, policy and education. Developing and directing studies along with analyzing data are the main functions of an Epidemiologist. Communicating findings to the public and policy makers is one of the most important duties of an Epidemiologist.
A master's level degree is required to work as an Epidemiologist. The degree could be in epidemiology or another related public health field. The coursework however must include statistics, analysis, survey design, public health, biostatistics and some natural sciences. An attention to detail, clear communication and critical thinking skills are needed for a career in epidemiology.
Salaries & Wages
With a median annual wage of $65,000, Epidemiologists are among the highest paid public health practitioners. Many Epidemiologist are employed in research and development, hospitals, universities and government. The expected job growth for epidemiologists is slightly less than that of the total expected job growth. At the local and state level, however, job growth is anticipated to increase.
6. DOCTORATE DEGREE HOLDERS
Many careers in public health can continue to a terminal degree, but it is not necessary for most when establishing a career. Those who do seek a doctorate degree often do so to work in academia or in research. Bioterrorism, vaccines, healthcare outcomes, mental health and social behavior are just a few of the topics most highly researched by public health practitioners with a doctoral degree.
Those interested in academia can expect a median annual salary around $67,000. Professors, or postsecondary teachers, in public health will educate students at an undergraduate or graduate level in their speciality. Most professors must have a Ph.D., but some institutions will accept master's level degrees with experience. Additionally, many professors are expected to conduct research or be involved in a variety of other organizations, which may help to increase pay from other sources.
Salaries & Wages
Some public health practitioners choose to also obtain their medical license and work as public health physicians. This allows practitioners the ability to treat populations and individuals. These individuals often work for hospitals or government agencies and will also be on boards or key members of other public health organizations. The mean annual salary for all physicians was $187,000.
Public Health Occupations - Wages, Employment, and Projections
Below you will find detailed data on every public health related occupation in the United States. Our data is gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and combined with US Census Bureau data. We hand-edit this data and update it when it is released by the US Government, and have put hours of work into being able to easily display public health occupations throughout the website.
|Public Health Occupation||AVG
|Community Health Workers||$38,180||25.1%|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||$72,050||14.6%|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$103,680||23.2%|
|Health Specialties Teachers||$112,950||36.1%|
|Healthcare Social Workers||$53,590||26.8%|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||$45,820||22.8%|
|Mental Health Counselors||$43,990||28.5%|
|Natural Sciences Managers||$136,450||5.7%|
*(all statistical and pay information is derived from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website. Additional information can be found at www.bls.gov)