3 Career Paths For Graduates With Public Health Degrees

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Public health is an interesting and rewarding career field partly because there is so much diversity in the career opportunities after graduation. There are career paths with online public health degrees that can fulfill most any interest.

Epidemiologist

Pursuing a path in epidemiology can lead you to working for local, state, or federal agencies that monitor disease occurrences and transmission. If you enjoy understanding how diseases spread and want to help with monitoring and surveillance, this is the career for you. Depending on your specific background at the undergraduate level, you may even considering furthering your education by applying to medical school or studying related graduate-level subjects, such as biology.
Many physicians also have a graduate degree in public health. A graduate-level degree in sciences, such as biology and chemistry, combined with your public health background can lead you to career fields in virology, genetics, and immunology. You may be surprised at the types of specialties within epidemiology. For example, neuroepidemiologists study various brain conditions and trends in their occurrence among populations.

Biostatistician

Biostatistics is often the “back end” of public health. Many biostatisticians work in government agencies and some work in medical or academic settings. Having a love of statistics and computers will help you pursue this career field. If you enjoy gathering data and making projections based on your analyses, being a biostatistician is a great career field for people with public health degrees.
When you want to pursue graduate-level work, you may want to apply to statistics programs or graduate-level biostatistics programs. Having a working knowledge of computer science can also be helpful, because you may want to design software or specialize in biostatistical modeling. A strong research background is also important. You will need to have a good understanding of experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental methodology.

Public Health Educator

If you enjoy working with people, becoming a public health educator is another great career choice. Some people who go on to become public health educators already have or decide to pursue education in nursing or secondary education. You may want to work in the public school system, health departments, or post-secondary institutions. Public health educators help bring awareness about various issues that can affect the community, from chronic diseases and their risk factors to STDs.
Some public health educators also work with the media when there is a crisis or an outbreak of disease. They help inform the public in the best way possible to reduce the likelihood of hysteria or other consequences in a tense situation. Part of your job may also be working with graphic designers and helping to create posters, pamphlets, and other information to distribute to the public about certain health issues. Public health educators also conduct classes or seminars about different issues, so being comfortable with public speaking can be important.
Public health degrees open a world of opportunities for careers in various specialties and sectors. Depending on your future career goals, you should consider taking certain coursework or choosing a specific minor to supplement your public health education.