The current job outlook for public health careers is surprisingly bright. In fact, by the year 2020, the U.S. is expected to have quality job openings for around 250,000 new public health professionals. If you have a commitment to working toward the betterment of the world, the public health industry is an open gateway of immense opportunity for you. One very interesting aspect of the field is that its employment trends for graduates with a master’s degree in public health are for available jobs to be many, diverse and always changing.
Also, in this area of public health, daily work schedules are constantly subject to change — often on short notice. Even in administrative work, there can be many urgent situations that interrupt and alter a normal work routine. For well-trained candidates who enjoy challenges, tolerate sudden changes well and have a genuine desire to help others, a career in the public health arena can be extremely rewarding. Although a profession in public health is often extremely demanding, this industry offers benefits of a good salary and a long-term career. Public health will always need the energetic commitment of concerned, knowledgeable professionals.
Major Advantages of Earning a MPH Degree
Once you are a graduate with a MPH degree, a wide array of employment avenues and choices is yours to explore. Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal that the job increase in this area of employment is currently rising at a rate much higher than the national average for all employment types. Popular employment areas today in public health for candidates with a MPH degree include:
• Medical Science. – Epidemiologists and scientific specialists are in high demand in hospitals, research facilities, government offices and in colleges and universities today. Although there is plenty of competition for these positions, this field of employment is expected to increase in availability by 20 percent during the next decade.
• Public Health Education. – Especially in health department offices at both local and state levels, there is currently a growing need for public health educators. These career positions are projected to increase at the rate of about 26 percent during the coming decade.
• Public Health Statistics. – Expert statisticians are of major importance to public health research and analysis. One health-related sector with increasing numbers of available employment opportunities for graduates with MPH degrees is the pharmaceutical industry. Other career positions are open to qualified statisticians in research and development facilities, insurance companies, government departments and in academia.
• Social Work. – There are presently new social work job positions available in assisted living and nursing residences, family care agencies, hospitals and government offices. This area of public health-related employment should see growth of approximately 18 percent within the next ten years.¹
Keep Updated on Job Availability in Your Favorite Area of Public Health Employment
If you are a recent or soon-to-be graduate with a master’s degree in public health, you will need to research the career areas in this field that most interest you. Two aspects you should consider when making an initial career choice are 1) whether the job position you favor is plentiful or among the less available today, and 2) whether you are willing to relocate to whatever region has openings in your favored job position. In addition, if you will not be graduating for another year or two, you should continue to research the availability of your favorite career position until you receive your professional degree and graduate. Although jobs are expected to be plentiful over the next decade, the areas of greatest employment popularity and demand will continue to change from year to year.
One surprising fact is that the numbers of master’s degree graduates in public health are decreasing although an abundance of attractive career positions is available. There is much interest in and need for development of new career jobs every year with the rapid advancements in the field of public health. From the year 1980 to 2000, the public health worker count in the general workforce was reduced by 50,000. Also, nearly 110,000 health force employees became of retirement age in 2012, and the majority of these employees are now retired from health industry careers. This figure equals 23 percent of the modern workforce. In terms of specific professions and jobs, there are projected shortages of public health doctors, nurses, scientists and particularly epidemiologists, administrators and educators during the next few years. Public health-degree programs will now face the challenge of educating at least three times this year’s MPH graduate count during the coming decade.
Keen Interest in Public Health Care Involvement and Careers
Many young people choose to study for careers in public health professions because of the many vital challenges and rewarding accomplishments these important job positions entail. The world today is a complex place with many diverse health dangers and problems. Some of the most prominent challenges now confronting public health workers are providing widespread and excellent health care to the public and eliminating the spread of infectious diseases. Another constant concern and effort among those in all areas of the health professions is to achieve and maintain an eco-friendly and healthy worldwide environment with good quality health standards for all.
In many countries around the globe, environmentalists are working in conjunction with public health officials, researchers, educators, scientists, attorneys, demographers and journalists in a mass effort to promote and sustain quality public health initiatives. Students from these varied academic backgrounds unite after graduation with the goal of health and environmental betterment of global populations. They become dedicated to the purpose of promoting healthy lifestyles and longevity over many diverse populations and cultures. Since public health departments and organizations operate on all levels—locally, nationally and internationally, people from many diverse backgrounds, educations, viewpoints and goals go to work for the cause of improving public health quality. Once high standards of health and daily living are established in any worldwide locale, plans must be implemented, funded and staffed for sustained support of these standards.
In an effort to reduce costs of maintaining good health standards, government health officials in many countries are now focusing strongly on preventative health measures and green living. Much research and experimentation are being done to determine just how much environmentally healthful lifestyles can cut back spending by governments and the private sector through the implementation of green living practices. This eco-friendly emphasis has drawn many young people into the public health industry for the purpose of supporting and promoting environmentally safe living styles. More college and university public health-degree programs are incorporating green studies for a better lifestyle in their current curricula.
Current Job Openings as OMPH Career Positions for Qualified Graduates
The most prevalent and desirable job positions available to qualified MPH graduates in 2015 include the following:
• Public Health Services Administrator. – Salary: $37,500-$162,000. According to BLS reports, health services facilities, hospital groups, and health-promoting organizations paid administrators the highest median annual salaries in the states of California, New York and in Washington, DC. During the next eight to ten years, these salaries are projected to increase by 23 percent. As well as having strong academic backgrounds in health and science, the most desirable candidates for health administration careers also have good academic records in finance and management.
• Bio-statisticians. – Salary: $33,000 – $63,000. The job market for bio-statisticians is predicted to increase by 27 percent by 2022. This growth rate is attributed to the current emphasis on statistical analysis in decision-making for business, health-related organizations and health policy rulings. Many people with MPH degrees gain employment in health research facilities or medical research departments of hospital systems. Approximately one-quarter find jobs in government health-related offices. Some graduates in this field travel regularly to manage onsite surveys and gather data. Candidates with MPH degrees receive high consideration for open positions.
• Health Educators. – Salary: $33,000 – $86,400. These health experts instruct students about healthy practices and behavior for attaining and keeping good health. They focus on health improvements to benefit communities and individuals. Many of their students may become community health professionals, gathering data from certain regional populations for further study. These health educators work in a variety of settings, including local public health offices, government facilities, nonprofit organizations, private business and on college or university campuses. Job availability for health educators over the next ten years is expected to increase by 21 percent.
• Epidemiologist and Clinical Researcher. – Salary: $38,000 – $136,235. Employment opportunities for epidemiologists and clinical researchers seeking OMPH careers are due to increase by 10 percent during this decade, which equals the national average for all professions. These health professionals examine causes and recurring patterns of injury and disease. With the aid of research, regional education, and health policies, they aim to limit the risk and reality of ill health results through demographic studies and work. Although some epidemiologists and researchers work in the field performing interviews and sampling data, many occupy offices in government health departments, hospitals, and universities.
• Biomedical Laboratory Technician. – Salary: $31,000 – $76,000. Work availability for biomedical lab technicians is projected to increase by 10 percent during the next eight to ten years. These technicians assist medical and biological science experts in performing lab testing and varied experiments. Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient education to become a biome lab technician, MPH graduates also trained as technicians are certainly welcome in this field.
• Environmental Health Specialist. – Salary: $44,500 – $143,600. Job prospects are due to improve by 15 percent for environmental scientists and health specialists during this decade. These health professionals use their expertise in natural sciences for the benefit of public health and the environment. They often are major forces in waste cleanup, pollution elimination and consultations on policy-making. These specialists work in offices, labs and out in the field gathering data.²
The employment opportunities for college graduates with master’s degrees in public health are diverse, challenging and rewarding. In addition, OMPH careers, in general, are expected to increase considerably in availability and type within the current decade. For any college student who is considering pursuing a career in this very engaging and valuable field, now is an ideal time. If you have a genuine desire to help make this world a better place for humankind, a career as a public health professional is an excellent way to achieve your goal.