Public health jobs are projected to grow an average of 12 percent through 2031, due to the increased demand for health services in the United States. According to the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), public health workers help to:
- increase life expectancy
- reduce infant and child mortality
- improve access to healthcare
- reduce violence and substance abuse
- control many communicable diseases
“Those in the public health field are helping to solve the world’s most pressing health problems,” according to the ASPPH. Public health professionals are needed to:
- Address health disparities
- Reduce the impact of global epidemics and natural disasters
- Create communities that are healthier and more educated on health topics
- Improve global health and find innovative solutions to environmental health concerns
Below is a list of some of the best good paying entry level jobs in public health, including a general overview of the field and salary expectations. While the highest paying public health jobs typically require a master’s degree, there are plenty of great opportunities for recent graduates just getting started in the field.
Health Education Specialists
A health education specialist is a professional who teaches teach people about health and wellness. They develop and implement programs to present disease and promote healthy behaviors. They are also educated in areas like:
- physical fitness
- sex education
- mental health
- maternal and child health
Health education specialists are typically employed by:
- healthcare facilities
- public health departments
A health education specialist is one of the best entry level jobs for bachelor’s in public health graduates. Entry-level health specialists typically have a bachelor’s degree in public health or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in public health is one of the requirements to be eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam which is required by many employers.
The salary range for health educators in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from approximately $37,020 to $102,480. The best-paying states for health teachers include:
- Washington, DC
Community Health Workers
Helping communities improve their overall health, community health workers implement public health programs on behalf of health organizations to promote healthy living. This is done through:
- disease prevention and screening
- data collection and reporting
- health education and promotion
- support and referrals
- outreach and advocacy
Although some employers may not require formal education, a Bachelor’s degree in health education or a health-related field is often required. A public health degree would serve as a great foundation for this role.
A community health worker in the United States can expect to earn between $30,440 to $70,720 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top-paying states for these public health jobs include:
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC
- New Mexico
Entry Level Biostatistician
A biostatistician is a professional who applies statistical methods to health-related data in order to analyze and draw meaningful conclusions. Biostatisticians with a bachelor’s degree in public health may have responsibilities that include:
- data collection and management
- statistical analysis
- data visualization
- research support
While the pay range for a biostatistician is between $49,350 and $157,300, entry-level positions typically pay on the lower end of the spectrum. A bachelor’s in public health with an advanced biostatistics degree would open doors to a variety of high paying public health jobs working with:
- Federal government
- insurance carriers and related activities
- healthcare and social assistance
Top paying states for this role include:
- New York
Taking Your Career to the Next Level
A bachelor’s in public health can also be a great foundation for a career in other well-paying areas. Public health degree graduates have multidisciplinary knowledge that helps them approach health challenges from a comprehensive perspective. They also have a global health perspective.
A background in public health opens a wide range of career opportunities in areas like occupational health, health science, and social work. We highlight some popular career opportunities that an individual with a bachelor’s in public health could transition to with advanced training and education.
Child and Family Social Workers
Social workers provide social and psychological services to children and families. Typical workplaces include:
- residential care facilities
- state or other government agencies
Child and family social workers may offer help with adoptions or placing children in foster care, address behavioral or truancy issues, or help increase the overall well-being of a child or family.
While a bachelor’s degree in public health can provide a solid foundation for students planning to pursue a graduate degree and career in social work, a specific degree (whether a BSW or MSW) is typically required for the field. Social workers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in social work. More advanced careers in social work will require a Master’s degree, clinical experience, and state licensure. A background in public health can complement a career in social work by providing a greater perspective on health-related issues.
In 2021, the salary range for social workers was approximately $36,520 to $82,840, according to the BLS. States with the highest-paid social workers include:
- New Jersey
- New York
Most social workers in this specialty have jobs in the industries of:
- individual and family services
- local government, excluding schools and hospitals
- state government, excluding schools and hospitals
- elementary and secondary schools
It is expected that employment in the field of social work, with a focus on child and family services, will grow by eight percent through the year 2031.
Rehabilitation counselors assist those with difficulties resulting from birth defects, disease, or other issues affecting their independence or employability. Many rehab counselors work in industries such as:
- vocational rehabilitation services
- residential care facilities
- medical hospitals
A Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a similar field, as well as a certification or license, is needed to enter the field as a rehabilitation counselor. Some employers will hire graduates of a bachelor’s program. However, they will not be able to provide the full range of services that a graduate with a master’s degree would. The advanced degree teaches the skills and techniques needed to provide counseling. The bachelor’s only teaches students about the issues faced and the types of services that can be provided. A bachelor’s degree in public health is not a direct path for a rehab counselor, but it can provide a foundation of knowledge in health-related topics.
In 2021, salaries for rehab counselors ranged from approximately $28,890 to $65,880. Some of the best-paying metro areas for counselors include:
- Rhode Island
Between 2021 and 2031, the BLS projects the career field to grow by as much as 11 percent due to the increase in rehabilitation needs for the elderly, veterans, and disabled.
Psychologists may work with schools, healthcare teams, doctors, or in private practice to study human behavior. Some duties of a psychologist may include the following:
- Scientific study of human behavior and how the brain functions
- Observing, interviewing, or surveying to collect information on human behavior
- Identifying behavior patterns or researching emotional issues
There is a range of types of psychologists, including:
To become employed as a psychologist, a Doctorate or Ph.D. is required. Some fields may also require specialized licenses or certifications as well. The licensing process usually includes supervised experience after completion of a degree, an internship, and a residency program. A bachelor’s in public health is a great starting point for this exciting career.
The salary range for psychologists in 2021 was approximately $42,850 to $133,890, with the top-paying industries being government and hospitals.
Marriage and Family Therapist
A bachelor’s degree in public health can be a great foundation for those planning to become marriage and family therapists (MFTs). MFTs specialize in providing therapy and counseling services to:
MFTs work in a variety of settings including:
- outpatient care centers
- private practice
- hospitals and medical centers
- community mental health agencies
- educational institutions
- Government and nonprofit organizations
Some duties a therapist in this specialty may do include the following:
- Help clients make decisions
- Diagnose and treat disorders, whether mental or emotional
- Assist clients with major life changes, such as the loss of a job or a divorce
Educational requirements for a job in marriage and family therapy typically include a Master’s degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or a related field. Most jobs will also require a license to practice, which requires up to 4,000 hours of clinical work. Workers in this field will need to be compassionate and have good interpersonal, listening, and speaking skills.
According to the BLS, in 2021 most marriage and family therapists had salaries in the range of $37,050 and $96,520. Some of the top-paying states for marriage and family therapists are:
- New Jersey
Nutritionists and Dietitians
While a degree in nutrition is the main educational requirement to become a registered dietician, a background in public health can enhance their skills and provide additional knowledge. Nutritionists and dietitians are experts when it comes to creating meal plans or programs for an individual or group looking to reach certain health goals. These health experts typically work in:
- doctor’s offices
- nursing homes
Some states do not require a license to practice in this field; however, many employers may require certification, nonetheless. Unlicensed nutritionists may find jobs in alternative medicine centers or other non-clinical settings. There are a variety of nutrition certification programs available. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist must:
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited dietetics program (beginning January 1, 2024, a master’s degree will be required)
- Complete a supervised practice program
- Pass the Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians
- Meet your state requirements
- Comply with the Professional Development Portfolio re-certification requirements
As a professional nutritionist or dietitian, you’ll find the best-paying jobs in:
- Washington, DC
California, Maryland, and Nevada, according to the BLS. The BLS reports that the salary range for nutritionists in the U.S. in 2021 was between approximately $42,530 and $93,640. The highest-paying industry is outpatient care centers.