As the threat of many global crises including bio-terrorism, water quality concerns and potential pandemics continue to emerge and evolve. The demand for well-educated, passionate public health professionals is skyrocketing. As a recent graduate with a master’s in public health, you may be wondering where your skills fall within the vast spectrum of public health professions? How to land that highly sought after first position? Learn about a few of the most popular careers in public health, their future growth potential compared to other positions and a few pointers on how to secure your first post-graduate job.
Popular Careers in Public Health
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the overall growth rate for several public health positions is on the rise. The BLS believes the continued demand for public health managers and employees is due in large part to several technological advances in the field of medicine, and the need to cope with existent and emergent threats. Here are a few of the hottest careers in public health, and their individual outlooks for the future:
Social Worker The majority of social workers are either employed as clinical social workers or individuals that treat and diagnose mental and behavioral issues or a direct service social worker those who help individuals cope with and solve problems. Nearly all direct-service and clinical social work positions require a master’s degree. The BLS Job Outlook for social workers is very favorable, and the field is expected to grow by 25 percent over the next 10 years.
Epidemiologist One of the most exciting, albeit harrowing, positions in the public health sector is epidemiology. These disease cowboys work to isolate the cause of an illness and ensure it doesn’t spread. As an epidemiologist, your workplace is the field and you’ll spend most of your time traveling to exotic and familiar locales. The majority of epidemiologists possess a Master’s degree and employment is expected to rise by 24 percent over the next eight to 10 years.
Health Educators Effective public health initiatives are as much about prevention as the cure. As a health educator, you’re charged with raising the public awareness on several health-related issues, from childhood obesity to HIV and AIDS. A Bachelor’s degree is the only requirement for entry-level positions, although to advance, an individual should possess at least a Master’s in Public Health. The expected job growth in this field is nearly 37 percent, which is well above the national average for most vocations.
Health Managers Medical and health service management is an extremely broad field that encompasses a variety of positions in public health. After earning your MPH, it’s possible to secure a position in a psychiatric or substance abuse hospital, the insurance industry, as a scientific researcher or working as a manager at a small hospital or nursing home. Employment in the field is expected to grow and the median average salary for a health manager is nearly $100,000 a year, making it one of the top paying positions in public health.
Securing Your First Job
Once again, it cannot be stated enough that the field of public health is massive, and before you can even type the first line of your resume, it’s crucial to determine which career path best suits your passions and expertise. After determining your long or short-term career goals, here are a few tips to help land that first position:
- Attend workshops and seminars at your local university’s school of public health. This is an amazing way to learn about the hottest careers in the field, and network with your professors and other established professionals.
- Join a professional group. Depending on your concentration and career plans, there are a number of public health professional organizations. Use your new found connections to secure a job or at least get a few leads.
- Learn your potential employer’s expectations. By far, before submitting your resume it’s critical to learn the skills and attributes the employer is after. This is where all of those connections come in very handy. Speak to individuals currently employed with the company or organization and ask for a few pointers.
You’ve determined that earning an MPH is the best way to realize your career aspirations, but how do you fit schoolwork into your already packed schedule? If the drive is there, but your free time is limited, consider earning your MPH online. An online university provides you with the guidance, flexibility and tools necessary to succeed in the competitive field of public health.
Linda Myers is a blogger and recent recipient of a master’s in public health. She is currently working toward her MBA online so that she can get into the healthcare administration aspects.