Making the world a healthier place is a key value that brings together all public health organisations and professionals. If you’re a person dedicated to the idea of helping people who need medical assistance, but you’re not a medical practitioner yet, a career in Public Health could be your calling. So, you should consider a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Public Health.
Public Health has a long history of implementing policies that improved the health of people worldwide. Vaccination programmes, family planning or preventive medicine are just a few examples of how public health had a positive global impact. And you can be part of this, too!
Here are a few universities we recommend for Public Health studies:
- University of San Francisco, the US
- Leeds Beckett University, the UK
- Utrecht University, the Netherlands
- University of Nicosia, Cyprus
- CQUniversity Australia, Australia
- University of Glasgow, the UK
Below, we’ve listed the most popular jobs you can get with an MPH degree and the average annual salaries in the US according to PayScale. As you will discover, the salaries are more than enough to cover the initial investment in your education (i.e. tuition + other fees).
1. Health Informatics Specialist – 62,600 USD/year
Employers: food and drug administration clinics, clinical biostatistics organisations, local governments, and other public health organisations.
As a health informatics specialist or biostatistician, you will analyse various types of healthcare data and apply statistical principles to public health and medical research. You will deal with clinical trials, genome projects and identify population health trends. The work of a biostatistician may also include experimental treatments for diseases or finding connections between lifestyles and public health issues.
Main duties of a health informatics specialist:
- Develop efficient statistical protocols
- Analyse and monitor databases and data analysis software
- Use statistics, mathematics and Computer Science skills for collecting data reports
Find Masters in Health Informatics from universities and colleges worldwide.
2. Healthcare Administrator – 65,500 USD/year
Employers: hospitals, clinics, healthcare facilities, wellness centres.
A healthcare administrator oversees all the activities required to run a healthcare institution. Your focus will be to organise your staff, delegate tasks, and make sure the institution has all the necessary resources and inventory.. As a healthcare administrator you will:
- Coordinate and manage health services provided to clients, health programs, staff and budgets
- Keep contact with various organisations such as health equipment suppliers
- Get involved in public healthcare policies, improving or solving certain issues of the healthcare system
Check out Masters in Health Management offered by international universities.
3. Epidemiologist – 62,900 USD/year
Employers: health institutes, local and national public health departments, private companies (pharmaceutical companies).
Epidemiologists evaluate and monitor the spread of diseases, work to understand their causes and develop solutions and possible treatments. An epidemiologist’s work is similar to the one of a scientist and combines knowledge from Biology, Statistics and Maths by also taking into consideration various socio-economic factors. Some of your responsibilities will be:
- Train and educate policymakers about diseases and infections
- Monitor epidemics and provide extensive reports with all the data you collect
- Evaluate local and government health agencies
Check out Masters in Epidemiology worldwide.
4. Public Health Project Manager – 75,400 USD/year
Employers: NGOs, social work associations, government agencies, research institutions.
The main goal of public health managers is developing and overseeing the implementation of public health projects that improve the wellbeing of communities. Some of the main challenges are managing budgets, overcoming unexpected difficulties, and achieving the initial objectives of the project without major delays.
The main responsibilities of a public health project manager include:
- Manage staff members and assign tasks
- Evaluate how projects progress and find ways to improve the overall efficiency
- Offer periodic updates to staff, document project activities and write reports
5. Health and Safety Engineer – 76,000 USD/year
Employers: government, construction companies, technology companies.
Health and safety engineers design machinery, equipment and various systems which improve human health or prevent diseases. The main duties of a health engineer are to make sure various products (equipment and machines used in factories, buildings, etc.) are safe to use; they identify potential hazards, evaluate health and safety regulations and programmes, and also investigate accidents.
Common tasks of health and safety engineers are:
- Check plans for new machinery and equipment to make sure they meet safety requirements
- Identify potential hazards in facilities, machinery, and safety equipment
- Install safety devices on machinery
- Verify employee safety programmes and suggest improvements
Check out Masters in Safety and Safety Engineering.
6. Public Health Educator – 45,800 USD/year
Employers: government agencies, public and private organisations, NGOs
Public health educators inform people about health and safety concerns and teach them how to take care of themselves and the people around them. For example, a typical lecture or presentation might focus on HIV/AIDS. Public health educators offer all the information necessary, share flyers and brochures and encourage people to be proactive and go for regular health check-ups.
Here are other common responsibilities for a public health educator:
- Develop lectures and workshop that are flexible and can be adapted to different communities
- Create informational materials and share them during the presentations/meetings
- Answer questions coming from the public and offer them relevant suggestions
7. Healthcare Consultant – 76,900 USD/year
Employers: usually large private healthcare organisations
Healthcare consultants evaluate the activities and management of a healthcare facility to identify major problems and ways to solve them and improve efficiency. You will compare different options, write reports, and participate in meetings with your clients, where you will propose the best solutions.
Other typical tasks for healthcare consultants are:
- Creating manuals and other informational documents that help staff members improve individual and overall efficiency
- Designing, evaluating, and suggesting ways to implement healthcare procedures and technologies
Can I become a nurse with a Public Health degree?
It depends on what you refer to when you say “nurse”. To become a Registered Nurse (RN), you do not need a Public Health degree, but rather a 3 or 4-year Bachelor’s in Nursing.
However, if you want to become a Public Health Nurse (PHN), then a Master’s in Public Health will help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills. To become a Public Health Nurse, though, you must already be an RN.
The responsibilities of Public Health Nurses are different from those of regular nurses. PHN practitioners don’t focus on the day-to-day care of patients, but rather on educating entire communities or groups of people. They usually work for healthcare providers or government agencies, and some of their main tasks are:
- Educate individuals, families, and groups about health issues and preventive measures
- Offer suggestions and inform patients about the best support services for their problem(s)
- Collect and store data about interactions, trends, etc.
The average salary of a Public Health Nurse in the US is 58,200 USD/year.
Differences between MPH and MSPH degrees
The main difference between a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) is their focus.
MSPH degrees train students in advanced research and prepare them for careers as researchers or educators in academic or research institutions. In contrast, the MPH is more focused on helping students develop transferable and practical skills, which can be applied in various Public Health careers.
You shouldn’t rely only on the degree’s name, though. Every university can use a different naming scheme for its study programmes. To avoid confusion, you should always check the curriculum and academic expectations of your Public Health degree. This way, you’ll discover if the academic programme matches your professional and academic objectives.
Why should I get a Master’s in Public Health?
- Not only will you be well paid, but you can also impact the lives of millions of people through your work, whether it is research, education, project management, etc.
- You can study a Master’s in Public Health degree online. There’s no need to quit your job or spend a ton of money moving and living abroad. Online MPH courses make things a lot easier and allow you to advance your career from the comfort of your home.
- The demand for Public Health professionals is growing, which means your job will be safe, and you’ll have many opportunities to choose from. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of healthcare occupations is expected to grow 14% by 2028.
- You won’t get bored. From new virus mutations to surprising changes in health trends, anything in the Public Health area keeps you guessing. It’s a constantly developing field of work which allows you to explore the latest developments and discoveries and see how you can use them for the wellbeing of the entire human race.