What a time in the world! In 2020, we are literally battling one public health crisis after the next and are, therefore, reliant on the experts in the field to hold our societies together. From the coronavirus to the protests in honor of all of the black lives lost at the hands of the police, we are transforming as a global community. The public health experts act as beacons of hope during this unprecedented time that holds so much uncertainty about the future.
A doctorate in public health is the farthest you can go in the field. It is a terminal degree that shows who has the skills to lead the way as far as researchers, practitioners, and biostatisticians, among many professionals in this career path. They are the ones that create policy, interpret data, conduct research, and so forth. Certainly, a masters in public health is an excellent credential, and it enables graduates of the degree to be leaders in the discipline in a variety of capacities. They will not, however, be the ones in faculty positions, or in many cases the ones leading organizations. Because there are so many career options with a masters in public health, many people go into a doctorate program because they want to go into either heavy research or academia.
PhD in Public Health Jobs
There are many jobs that specifically cater to those who have gone all the way in public health. Let’s take a look at some of them:
College professors in public health do much more behind the scenes than people often know. They not only teach, but they also are often responsible for conducting research, and creating projects for students to engage in the field. They are often the ones who usher students into the world of the public health profession.
Medical and Health Services Managers:
They have a large role as they run and facilitate the entirety of a facility. This includes many site potentials including hospitals, palliative care centers, nursing homes, and clinics. This position does not require a PhD, however, candidates for these positions have a lot more ground to stand on if they hold a terminal degree in public health.
These are the professionals who are interested in environmental hazards and keeping people safe from them. A doctorate in public health can be beneficial for landing positions such as these. It is certainly not required, but it will definitely give you a leg up, especially if your coursework has an emphasis on the environmental sciences.
Those in high research positions in public health are generally holding a terminal degree. Oftentimes, a PhD in public health trains students to conduct high levels of research and organize their findings effectively. Medical researchers generally spend their days in labs experimenting and sometimes conducting trials in a clinical capacity. A terminal degree is highly coveted in this field.
They are the ones that explore the underpinnings of human disease and the prevention measures. They too often spend their days in laboratories conducting research. Those who hold a masters in public health can also be in this role, however, a doctorate is well received by employers in public health.
Career Opportunities for a PhD in Public Health
There are many professional public health organizations that can support people to achieve employment and also support those already engaged in public health. There are several associations including those that are laboratory specific and those that are related to epidemiology. Once students are able to identify their professional goals and interests for themselves they will be able to reach out to appropriate organizations for support opportunities. Many organizations and associations offer networking opportunities including conferences. Some put out regular publications, offer job boards, calls for interns, and engage people in professional development. Some even have continuing education and regular webinars that bring people together from all over the map.
Three of the most notable public health organizations and associations are:
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists: They are known for making advancements, particularly in the understanding and preventive action in relation to diseases. They offer technical advice, health policy, access to publications, and peer consultations.
The Association of Public Health Laboratories: Their goal is to support laboratories that are related to public health around the world. They conduct programs that support environmental health, food safety, and global health. They have various newsletters and publications.
American Public Health Association: They are very well known in the field of health as an advocacy organization that offers a variety of literature including publications and workshops for continuing education. They also offer internships and fellowship opportunities. In addition, they have a blog and a newsletter.