Earning a master’s degree in public health can have a positive impact on your career. There are plenty of high paying jobs in public health that influence social change and awareness. We need public health leaders to drive and administer programs that improve the health of individuals and their communities.
Public health professionals must have a versatile knowledge on a variety of areas including:
- community lifestyles
- environmental hazards or impact
- domestic violence
- substance abuse
Public health professionals are employed in many different areas. The highest paying jobs in public health are in areas like:
- infectious disease control
- public health education
- hazardous waste inspection and control
- legislation and law
All of these areas of concentration can be built during one’s career in public health. Having knowledge and the specialty in any of these areas will lead to greater impact and higher paying careers.
Related: Health Informatics Salary Guide
A master’s in public health salary can make earning an advanced degree in the field a good financial decision. Below is a list of the highest paying public health jobs for candidates with a master’s degree.
Management Policy Advisor
One of the most direct ways to put your master’s degree in public health is to manage policy from a government, corporate or non-profit entity. This is because these three divisions tend to have the most influence and power over large groups. Having a master’s degree in public health will allow a policy advisor or manager to take on an executive role. The salary range for a management policy advisor is between $100,000 to $150,000 a year.
Beyond just a master’s degree in public health, a management policy advisor is expected to have a deep understanding of:
- public policy
The highest paid public health jobs often require additional education or experience beyond an MPH. Many policy advisors have a medical degree as well as an MPH. This makes them a field expert from both a micro and macro level. The salary potential increases for policy advisors with a dual degree. They have a deep understanding of illness and treatment, as well as how to bring the best treatments to entire groups and communities. Management policy advisors must also have a strong business mindset.
Tropical Disease Specialist
One of the highest paying jobs in public health is a tropical disease specialist. A tropical disease specialist is an expert in diseases that are found in tropical parts of the world. This specialty requires a background in:
Most tropical disease specialists have a medical degree in addition to a master’s in public health. This is an important position because many of the most serious disease outbreaks begin in tropical parts of the world. A tropical disease specialist has the training to prevent or reduce transmission and begin processing administration of vaccines and cures. They also have a keen understanding of public health organization and administration. A tropical disease specialist is one of the best public health high paying jobs. A tropical disease specialist will typically earn anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000 per year, making it an exceptionally high-paying career.
A tropical disease specialist will frequently travel abroad to tropical parts of the world. They’ll take samples from the local environment as well as tissue samples from community members to find the right vaccine and cures for the particular disease that is found in that area. If a tropical disease specialist chooses to work in an urban area, they may do so while working for a government agency. These roles are primarily in research and administration.
Reproductive Health Specialist
A reproductive health specialist is vital to all communities, as it involves the very source of growing a population. Reproductive health is especially important as it has to do with the communities most vulnerable groups—mothers and children. Reproductive health specialists need a master’s in public health in order to impact groups on a larger scale. Most reproductive health specialists will have more than just policy. They must have an understanding of prevalent diseases related to reproductive health such as HIV/AIDS and STDs.
Public health professionals who specialize in reproductive health must have some prior experience or training in medical assistance. A public health education background is also important. Many men and women who are RNs tend to seek a master’s in public health in order to work as reproductive health specialists. They might work locally, in their own communities or overseas in a developing country. The salary for a reproductive health specialist can vary depending on what other credentials an individual may hold. The range is typically between $30,000 to $60,000 for bachelor’s degree holders, but for those with a master’s and a medical degree, that salary doubles.
Public Health Engineer
High paying public health jobs are also available in the field of engineering. Public health engineers use their knowledge of engineering and health/safety to protect employees from illness and injury. Health and safety engineers know how to design structures and systems to reduce public infection, injury or illness that occurs due to environmental hazards.
A health and safety engineer position may involve field work and attending conferences and office work. Some work in industry settings, others in electrical or mechanical. Still others work in chemical engineering. These various concentrations make public health engineering a diverse field to work in. Obtaining a master’s degree in public health will narrow down the candidate’s specialty to a specific concentration so that he or she can bring positive change and impact for the sake of public health.
A nongovernmental organization (NGO) is a crucial part of the public health fabric. NGOs have a tremendous influence on communities in need because they get directly involved in communities that government policy might not be able to reach. NGOs’ initiatives have a great impact on public health and administration. An NGO director will have an influence on all tasks and actions that the organization has in a group.
An NGO director works either remotely from his or her home, or at a community center located at or near the community that he or she works with. Most NGO directors work remotely due to lack of resources for an office setting. Not all NGOs have the luxury to have an office setting. These community service managers also travel frequently, as they attend conferences as well as make community visitations.
An NGO director usually has a bachelor’s degree in the arts or humanities such as sociology or anthropology. Obtaining a master’s degree in public health helps them become more qualified in a leadership role. Salary for NGO directors can vary as it depends on the scale and size of the organization. Typically speaking, an NGO director will make a starting salary of $60,000 to $70,000 and can make up to and over $100,000 per year.
Health Center Administrator
A health center administrator, or health service manager, is essential to the functions of public health. When administering health care, treatments, cures, etc., organization and administration is of utmost priority. This is because there are large groups to organize and coordinate.
Health services managers usually work on site in healthcare facilities The work of a health care administrator usually involves:
- handling paperwork and forms
- liaising between medical staff and healthcare or insurance companies
- conducting administrative responsibilities
Medical and health services management work is extremely important as their job requires handling sensitive medical information. If an important detail is missing, there may be huge consequences.
Education for public health program managers requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. A public health degree boosts one’s knowledge on business, health services, and health care. On average, a health care administrator makes approximately $84,000 and up to or over $144,000 per year. This average is bound to go up in the next five years.
Biostatisticians collect relevant information, numbers and data for researching:
- public health
- environmental science
Biostatisticians are essential to organization and administration of public health work. Without it, there would be no way to understand how certain diseases are impacting communities. They can help answer questions that determine whether or not the budget spent on treatments are influencing the groups effectively. Biostatisticians usually have a bachelor’s degree in math or statistics. Having a master’s degree helps them find a higher paying position. This position typically makes an average salary of $72,000 and up to and over $120,000 per year.
Legislative Policy Advisor
A legislative policy advisor is a legal and medical expert who uses his or her expertise to influence:
- political organizations
Their work requires extensive research skills to keep up to date with current policies. Policy advisors also need to have a keen understanding of:
- medical industry
- public health
The educational background that legislative policy advisors have is typically in political science or social science. A supplemental degree in public health helps them to advance their career into the world of politics and legislation. Legislative policy advisors work in:
- government agencies
This position typically makes approximately $65,000 per year and up to $110,000 or more depending on their experience. Legislative policy advisors have an important function in that they can work as a catalyst between powerful influencers and local communities in need.
An outcomes researcher handles analyzing the outcome of any health care practice or program. They collect data from health care facilities, NGOs, corporations, government agencies and other sources where healthcare programs and practices are implemented. Outcomes researchers work at hospitals and other health care facilities. Their work involves:
- analyzing budgets
- public health issues
- medical practice
Having a bachelor’s degree in an area like mathematics or statistics can help get your food in the door to this exciting field. Most mid to senior level roles require a master’s degree in public health. An MPH degree will help a candidate earn a larger salary and prepare for executive positions. On average, outcomes researchers make a starting salary of $85,000. Executive jobs with a masters in public health pay up to and over $135,000 per year.
Health and Wellness Managers
Health and wellness managers are responsible for managing the health of individuals or groups of people. Job duties may include:
- developing policies and procedures
- creating health programs
- evaluating the effectiveness of their programs
Health and wellness managers typically work in an office setting. They meet with stakeholders including donors and members of the community. This role typically requires a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s degree can be helpful to secure a higher-level position. There are no specific licensing requirements for this role.
Emergency Management Directors
Emergency management directors are in charge of planning and leading the responses to disasters within a community. They work with a variety of organizations including:
- government agencies
- local non-profit organizations
- private companies
- community health workers
An emergency management director may prepare plans that detail operating procedures to be used in case of an emergency event like a terrorist attack or tornado. They work with directors from other communities to determine needs and capabilities in the event of a disaster. Directors are also responsible for ordering evacuations and setting up public shelters when needed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an emergency management director is one of the highest paying jobs in public health. The median pay in 2021 for an EMD was $76,730/year. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree with significant work experience in the field.
Public Health Attorneys
Perhaps the highest paying job in public health is a public health attorney. Public health law is a specialty area of law that focuses on:
- legal practice
Public health law integrates concepts from a variety of areas including health care and medicine to protect and promote health. Some of the cases a public health attorney might handle involve:
- drug safety
- food quality
- insurance benefits
A public health lawyer has a law degree from an ABA-accredited law school. They must pass their state’s bar exam to be able to practice law. Some schools offer a joint MPH/JD degree for law students who are planning a career in public health law. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for lawyers in 2021 was $127,990/year. The employment outlook is excelled with 10% growth expected through 2031, faster than average for all occupations.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Occupational health and safety specialists evaluate different work environments to ensure safety. They may assess:
They analyze these environments to help reduce or prevent disease and injury. An occupational health and safety specialist might conduct inspections or implement safety rules. They may also conduct employee training. According to the BLS, occupational health and safety specialists have a median annual wage of $77,560/year. The field is projected to grow by 5% through 2031.