The public health field works to prevent and mitigate health risks in the general public. This differs from the typical approach to healthcare, which focuses on personally treating sick or injured individuals. Public health combines many different disciplines and supports occupations in diverse scientific, medical, research, and government settings.
Public health jobs especially suit healthcare professionals with passions outside of clinical medicine, such as anthropology, statistics, or epidemiology. This guide offers a one-stop hub for all the public health careers detailed on this site. Read on to discover what you can do with a public health degree.
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Public Health Job Outlook
In May 2021, the White House announced a $7.4 billion investment aimed at recruiting public health workers and supporting the expansion of state and local public health departments. The funding is poised to create tens of thousands of public health jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), three public health jobs in particularly high demand include health education specialists (+13% growth projected from 2019-2029), public health nurses (+7%), and biostatisticians (+33%). National data collected by the BLS reveal these occupations offer median annual salaries of $48,140, $75,330, and $93,290, respectively.
Many factors influence public health career salary potential, including location, employer, experience, specialization, and education. Learn more about public health career sectors by following the links in the section below.Top-Paying Jobs in Public Health
We’ve assessed the major areas of public health employment to identify prominent occupations and relevant specializations, and provide employment and salary data. Use the categories below to explore multiple paths to a fulfilling career in public health.
Biostatistics and Informatics
- Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Technical Medical Writer
- Public Health Journalist
- Public Health Information Officer
- Program Coordinator
- Director of Family Health Services
- Outreach Specialist
Public Health Education
- Nurse Educator
- Health Teacher
- Academic Policy Advisor
- Emergency Response Specialist
- Disease Preparedness Researcher
- Bioterrorism Researcher
- State/Federal Environmentalist
- Public Health Engineer
- Environmental Health Technician
- Health and Wellness Manager
- Health Program Coordinator
- Behavioral Research Scientist
Global Health Careers
- HIV/AIDS Research Associate
- International NGO Aid Worker
- Global Infectious Disease Analyst
Epidemiology and Research
- Database Administrator
- Vaccine Researcher
- Disease Ecologist
- Public Health Physician
- Public Health Nurse
Public Policy & Administration
- Public Health Researcher
- Healthcare Policy Analyst
- Health Services Manager
Social and Behavioral Science
- Evaluation Specialist
- Intervention Researcher
- Addiction Treatment Program Developer
Searching for Jobs in Public Health
Though public health professionals generally remain in high demand, it can take some work to find the right public health career for you. To maximize your opportunities, attend job fairs, ask mentors for recommendations, join professional organizations, and take advantage of networking events like annual industry conferences.
You can also search for local jobs in public health by visiting the following online job boards.
- American Public Health Association Job Board The online APHA job board lists over 50,000 public health jobs available across the United States. Users can filter careers by discipline, sector, type, and experience level.
- Public Health Jobs Managed by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, this board features 21 public health job categories, including global health, health informatics, and veterinary public health.
- Health Career Center Founded by the American Hospital Association in 2007, Health Career Center connects healthcare employers and talent across all medical disciplines, including public health.
- USAJOBS This official job site of the federal government recruits professionals across the United States. Visitors can find hundreds of open public health jobs at the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Indeed As the world's most popular job site, Indeed receives ten new job listings every second. Public health departments, healthcare facilities, universities, and research organizations use Indeed to find employees.
- American Public Health Association Founded in 1872, APHA champions the health of all people through science-backed advocacy on public health issues and policies. Members join a network of 25,000 peers and enjoy perks like access to award-winning publications, professional development opportunities, and unique discounts.
- Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health This nonprofit organization represents schools and programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. Membership is open to institutions only, but educators and other individuals can take advantage of ASPPH resources, including academic data, webinars, and curriculum support.
- National Association of County and City Health Officials Founded in 1965, NACCHO advocates for local health departments across the United States. The nonprofit's 13,000 members enjoy benefits such as an online toolbox, special assistance grants, networking opportunities, and program resources.
- Society for Public Health Education This nonprofit, independent professional association represents nearly 4,000 health education professionals and students. SOPHE promotes healthy behaviors, communities, and environments through advocacy and awareness campaigns. Membership benefits include networking opportunities, peer-reviewed journal access, and professional development resources.
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology APIC unites over 15,000 members, including nurses, epidemiologists, and other public health professionals dedicated to advancing the practice of infection control. Membership benefits include networking, research, career, and professional development resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with a public health degree?
Depending on your level of education, a public health degree can prepare you for diverse opportunities in community health education, scientific research, clinical health, or program administration.
What are the best jobs in public health?
To determine the best public health career for you, consider your interests, skills, and strengths. Some professionals excel in clinical healthcare settings, while others prefer to work in labs or offices.
What is the highest-paying job in public health?
Some of the highest-paying jobs in public health belong to biostatisticians, emergency management directors, and health services managers. As of May 2020, the BLS lists median salaries for these occupations at $93,290, $76,250, and $104,280, respectively.
Is public health a good career?
Despite the challenges of outdated infrastructure, social inequities, and an overextended workforce, public health offers a noble, rewarding career path. Professionals take a sense of pride in improving community health.