A master of public health degree prepares students for working in the public sector to identify, prevent and manage diseases and illnesses within the general population. By choosing to major in a public health degree program, students are able to blend their love for science with a desire to help and serve other people. Upon completion of a master’s in public health, graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with the necessary skills to apply scientific research and statistical methods in order to develop policies and educational programs that will help to promote healthier communities. Due to recent concerns regarding globalization and the spread of disease epidemics, the field of public health is rapidly growing with an increased need for graduates from specialized programs. The following careers represent some of the fastest growing areas in which graduates from a master’s program in public health can contribute their advanced skills and knowledge.
An epidemiologist is responsible for researching the causes behind the spread of diseases so that their discoveries can be used to prevent an epidemic within the public population. In the case of an outbreak within a particular area, they work quickly to discover what makes a particular population vulnerable to disease. Epidemiologists are found in a variety of health-related work environments that include hospitals, research facilities and community health departments.
Public Health Nurse
In this career a graduate with a master’s degree in public health can expect to help to educate the public on the prevention and treatment of illnesses. They often work in poverty-stricken areas through providing services in community health clinics. Public health nurses are often responsible for managing vaccination programs that can help to ensure that the general population is immune to preventable illnesses. Some of the common areas that a public health nurse might work within are government organizations and public schools where they plan and implement education programs such as pregnancy prevention and disease awareness.
Public Health Inspectors
There are many federal, state and local laws that govern health and sanitation practices in public buildings such as schools, restaurants and day care. A public health inspector’s job duties entail inspecting these public buildings to ensure that they are in compliance with any health codes that are in place. When a finding is made that a building is out of compliance, then they work with property manager’s to implement a plan that will ensure the safety of the general population that may visit that location. Public health inspectors often work in city or county government offices but can also be found in other locations that require frequent health inspections.
Public Health Manager
A public health management career entails serving as a policy advisor for a program’s administrative department. Many schools, businesses and other organizations hire public health managers to research areas that are in need of improvement within their organizational structure. In this career, graduates with a public health degree are able to combine their scientific knowledge of diseases with their personal skills of leadership in order to serve as the head of a health administration committee.
The career opportunities for a graduate from a public health degree program are as diverse as the communities in which they will serve to prevent and control disease and illness. Public health careers can be found at every level of the public sector and in a wide variety of environments that can all benefit from the specialized knowledge that a graduate from an advanced public health program can contribute.