The current job outlook for public health careers is surprisingly bright. In fact, by the year 2031, the U.S. is expected to have quality job openings for around 15,200 new public health professionals. If you want to help improve the world, the public health industry offers many opportunities. There are many available jobs for graduates with a master’s degree in public health . These jobs are diverse and always changing, which makes the field interesting.
Is a Career in Public Health Right for Me?
In the field of public health, your daily schedule can change a lot, sometimes even with short notice. This is true whether you’re doing hands-on work or administrative tasks. There might be urgent situations that pop up and disrupt your usual routine. If you enjoy challenges, adapt well to changes, and want to help people. public health may be rewarding. While it can be demanding, the good news is that it often comes with a decent salary and long-term MPH job prospects. The world of public health always needs dedicated and informed professionals to keep making a difference.
What Can I do with a Public Health Master’s Degree?
The Master of Public Health (MPH) is the most common degree for public health professionals. However, other options are available. These include the Master of Health Administration and the Master of Science in Public Health. Once you earn a graduate degree in public health, a wide array of employment avenues and choices is yours to explore. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in this field is higher than the national average. Popular employment areas today in public health for candidates with a public health 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 17 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 12 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 and human services 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 9 percent within the next ten years.
- See Also: Can I Work in Public Health with a Degree in Health Informatics?
Is Public Health a Good Career Choice?
If you’re a recent college graduate or about to become one, holding a master’s degree in public health opens up a world of career possibilities. To kickstart your journey, it’s important to explore the areas within public health that resonate with you the most. When deciding on your first career steps, there are a couple of key factors to keep in mind. Firstly, consider whether the job you’re interested in is currently in high demand or might be a bit more competitive. Secondly, think about your flexibility to relocate for job opportunities, as different regions might have varying openings in your chosen field.
If you’re still a year or two away from graduation, it’s a great idea to consistently research the job landscape in your preferred area of focus. By the time you officially earn your degree, you’ll have a solid understanding of the career opportunities awaiting you. The MPH job market is expected to have many options in the future. However, some specialties may become more popular and in demand. Rest assured, though, that a career in public health remains an exciting and dynamic choice for the future.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant surge in the demand for skilled public health professionals. The pandemic exposed flaws in our health systems. It emphasized the importance of public health for community protection. This special situation has sparked a new appreciation for people who have the skills to handle public health emergencies. If you’re a college student interested in a public health career, it’s important to know that the skills you’ll learn in this field are extremely important now. Your potential to make a meaningful impact on society’s well-being has never been greater, as the world recognizes the vital need for knowledgeable and dedicated individuals in the realm of public health.
What Challenges Face Public Health Workers?
More and more young people are choosing to study public health because of the important work they do and the sense of satisfaction it brings. In our intricate world, there exist a multitude of diverse health threats and issues. Currently, public health professionals have important tasks. They must make sure everyone has access to good healthcare and they need to do what is needed to prevent the spread of disease. Additionally, a persistent objective across all health sectors is to establish and uphold a globally sustainable and health-conscious environment, fostering universally high standards of health and well-being.
In countries across the world, a collaborative effort is underway among environmentalists, public health officials, researchers, educators, scientists, legal experts, demographers, and journalists. Their united aim is to champion and maintain high-quality public health initiatives. After graduating from various academic disciplines, these students come together with a shared mission: enhancing the health and environment of global populations. They are committed to fostering healthier lifestyles and extending longevity across diverse cultures and communities. Given that public health entities operate at local, national, and international levels, individuals with diverse backgrounds, educations, perspectives, and aspirations join forces to advance public health standards. Once robust health and well-being standards are established worldwide, strategic plans must be developed, funded, and staffed to ensure the continual 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. 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.
How Much Can I Earn with a Master of Public Health?
The most prevalent and desirable job positions available to qualified MPH graduates in 2023 include the following:
• Medical and Health Services Manager – Medical and Health Services Managers, also known as healthcare executives of healthcare administrators, plan and coordinate services. In the field of public health, these managers or administrators oversee and manage various aspects of public health programs and organizations. They coordinate resources, personnel, and budgets to ensure effective planning and implementation of health initiatives. The BLS doesn’t provide specific information for public health administrators, but they do provide details on the broader category of medical and health services managers. The median annual wage for Medical and Health Services Managers was $101,340/year in 2021. The lowest 10% earned under $60,780 while the top 10% earned over $205,620. Top industries for Community Health Workers include hospitals and government. The job outlooks for these roles is favorable according to the BLS. Employment is expected to grow 28% through 2031 which is much faster than average. The states with the highest employment level for these roles are California and Texas. The top paying states are New York ($171,620/year) and Washington DC ($156,870/year).
• Statistician – A statistician is a professional who specializes in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. Statisticians work in a variety of fields including public health. The public health job outlook for statisticians is predicted to increase by 31 percent by 2031. This growth rate is attributed to the current emphasis on statistical analysis in decision-making for business, health-related organizations and health policy rulings. The median annual wage for statisticians in 2021 was $95,570/year. The lowest 10% of earners made less than $49,350 while the highest 10% earned over $157,300. The top paying states for statisticians are New York ($137,840/year) and California ($136,210/year). 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 for statisticians in the health care industry.
• Health Education Specialists – These health experts instruct students about healthy practices and behavior for attaining and keeping good health. Health educators 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. The median annual wage for a Health Education Specialist was $60,600/year in 2021. The lowest 10% earned under $37,020/year while the top 10% earned over $102,480/year. Health Education Specialists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private business and on college or university campuses. The job outlook for health educators is favorable. Job availability for health educators over the next ten years is expected to increase by 21 percent. The top paying states for health educators are Washington DC ($103,260/year) and Maryland ($92,420/year).
• Epidemiologists – An epidemiologist is a public health professional who investigates patterns, causes, and effects of health-related events within populations. They study the distribution and determinants of disease and health conditions to understand their origins and spread. Public health job growth for epidemiologists is expected to increase by 26 percent during this decade, which is much faster than average. Although some epidemiologists and researchers work in the field performing interviews and sampling data, many occupy offices in government health departments, hospitals, and universities. The median annual salary for an epidemiologist was $78,830/year in 2021. The highest earners made more than $130,050/year while the lowest 10% made less than $50,100/year. The top paying states for epidemiologists are Washington DC ($128,860/year) and New York ($125,880/year).
• Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians – 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 clinical lab technician, MPH graduates also trained as technicians are certainly welcome in this field. The MPH job outlook for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is projected to increase by 7 percent through 2031. The median annual salary for these professionals was $75,800/year in 2021. The lowest 10% earned under $30,280/year while the highest 10% earned more than $79,340/year. Top paying states for these roles are New York ($76,110/year) and Connecticut ($73,960/year).
• Environmental Scientists and Specialists – 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 healthcare facilities, labs, and out in the field gathering data. The public health career outlook for these roles is about average with 5% growth expected through 2031. The median annual wage for these professionals was $76,530/year in 2021. The lowest 10% made less than $46,200 while the highest 10% earned over $129,070. The highest paying states for Environmental Scientists and Specialists are Washington DC ($118,430/year) and Massachusetts ($104,010/year).
Community Health Workers – Community Health Workers serve their communities to act as intermediaries between residents and social service or healthcare providers. They help identify health-related issues and collect data in their communities. They address current and potential barriers to care, promote wellness programs, and provide referrals to other organizations to help with things like housing or mental health services. The median annual wage for Community Health Workers was $46,590/year in 2021. The lowest 10% earned under $30,400 while the top 10% earned over $70,720. The public health job market for Community Health Workers is favorable with 12% growth expected through 2031. Top industries for Community Health Workers include hospitals and government.
The employment opportunities for college graduates with master’s degrees in public health are diverse, challenging and rewarding. In addition, MPH 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.