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What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Public Health?

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What a time to pick a new career. What a time to choose a discipline that is intended to make diverse communities and the world better. If your passion lies with social justice and the practices that engage a vision for a better world, public health is probably a good fit for you. There are many ways to plug into the field of public health, some of which are dependent on the level of degree you achieve and others are reliant on the aspect of public health for which you choose to focus. There are many places to plug in and the field of public health is as expansive as you can imagine. When you are considering bachelors in public health jobs there are many entry level positions you can achieve with a bachelors alone, but if you are interested in a leadership position or something more in depth, you might want to consider an advanced degree.

Is Public Health a Good Career?

As aforementioned, the projection for jobs in the field of public health have a positive outlook. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, it was projected that there would be an 11 percent job increase from 2018 to 2028. This is a much faster growth rate than most professions, and I imagine it will grow in much larger increments as the world is changing faster than most of us ever imagined. With the recent murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of the police, and the riots and protests that followed, there is more awareness of racism as a public health issue. Public health is everywhere we look and it feeds into all that we touch. So, the answer is yes. Public health is a good career.

Bachelor of Science in Public Health Jobs

Whether you are interested in plugging into a public health career within a community organization at the local level, or if you want to engage in more of a global approach to public health, you should consider how you want to approach this career path. Public health worker jobs have a large range, but can include some of the following:

Community Health Specialist

This is someone who will probably work at a community health organization or something of the like. They work with disease experts and epidemiologists and investigate the ways diseases get spread. They often go to different sites, including street outreach projects that target homeless populations to understand the complexities of disease and in some cases support harm reduction measures. 

Public Health Administrator 

They are leadership professionals who are responsible for the implementation of programming related to public services and also programming that focuses on disease prevention. Oftentimes, people in this role oversee others and work in program management in a variety of capacities. 

Prevention Specialist

In many cases the role of a prevention specialist is to employ harm reduction and prevention strategies within health service organizations. They are often responsible for implementing a variety of services and programming while also being accountable for program evaluation. 

Research Assistant

Research assistants in the field of public health work in a variety of settings including labs, academic institutions, or research based organizations or agencies. They are often in the market to solve complex health problems with data. Usually they work within a specific sector of public health which can include testing for a variety of illnesses or antibodies for a virus. 

Quality Improvement Coordinator

Many agencies and organizations have someone on staff that plays the role of a quality improvement coordinator. This is someone responsible for coordinating and ensuring that programming runs smoothly, efficiently, and in line with the original mission of the program. 

There are many classes that inform the ability to do any of these jobs well that are often embedded in bachelors degree programs in public health. They include: epidemiology, healthcare delivery, human disease, cultural competency, biostatistics, and many classes in social work and the humanities that have crossover. Many theoretical ideas about the field of public health are clearly covered by this program, but when coupled with experiential learning opportunities, students really get the practice they need to be successful. Many programs require a practicum experience while others package this aspect more as a capstone project or an internship. Some programs allow students to participate in an internship program for elective credits. 

As you can see this is not a one size fits all degree path, but core coursework includes many skills that are ubiquitous to the discipline, though different programs have different focal points and specializations that are featured.

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