CAREERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH

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1 CAREERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH Condensed from 101 Careers in Public Health by Beth Seltzer, Published in 2011 BACHELOR OR MASTER DEGREE PUBLIC HEALTH POSITIONS TITLE DESCRIPTION COMPENSATION* Epidemiologist Study the causes of disease in populations, how disease are spread, and what puts people at risk. Median: $61,000 Range: $40,000-93,000 Health Educator Health Promotion Program Tobacco Quit line Advisor Public Health Study Injury Prevention Convey health information to the public in ways that people will understand and find interesting and useful. Health education topics are geared towards the needs of the community. Manager that oversees health promotion campaigns for local, state, or federal programs. Oversee planning, daily activities, and data analysis. Take calls from members of the public who want to quit smoking. They help each caller make a plan for quitting and then follow up to see how they are doing. Arrange for recruitment of research participants, set up appointments, manage the data, help prepare updates for funders, and supervise staff. Assess safety problems in communities, determine the leading causes of serious injuries, and then work on outreach, education and policy changes that will help. Ensures the emergency medical system is working effectively Median: $49,000 Range: $26,000-78,000 Range: $40,000-50,000 Median: $30,000 Supervisors: $40,000-50,000 Range: $30,000-60,000 Range: $35,000-70,000 Program Directors: $80,000 Range$50,000-80,000 Emergency Medical Services Director Patient Navigator Help patients find their way through the health care system. Range $25,000-35,000 Public Health Social Help people use the resources available to them to cope with Range: $40,000-60,000 Worker physical and mental illness, as well as other challenges they Deputy Director of Family Health Services Community Health Workers (Promotora) WIC Nutritionist Biostatistician Regulatory Affairs Toxicologist face in their lives. Each state has a department dedicated to public health services for parents, children, and teens. The deputy director typically is the administrator who oversees the finances, handles personnel issues, guides the daily work of the department and assists the director with decision-making. Community health workers go out into the neighborhoods, housing projects, barber shops, and other community settings to work directly with populations in need. The national Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a long-running federal program that provides supplemental foods, nutrition education, and health care referrals for low-income women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, and for infants and young children at risk of poor nutrition. Biostatisticians use statistical expertise to help researchers investigate issues in all areas of public health. A regulatory affairs specialist is in charge of making sure that a drug company is complying with legal and regulatory requirements. In public health, toxicologists study the effects of drugs, poisons, environmental contaminants, and other potentially dangerous substances, and then they use that knowledge to help protect the public s health and safety. Range: $70,000-90,000 (GED requirement) $13/hour Median: $50,000 Range: $30,000-70,000 Median: $72,600 Range: $40, ,000 Range: $50, ,000 Range: $35,000-60,000

2 Poisoning Prevention Environmental Engineer Hazardous Waste Inspector Hydrologist Community Activist Healthy Physicist Industrial Hygienist Nutrition Consultant Food Service Sanitarian Food Inspector with the USDA Consumer Safety Officer with the FDA Food Scientist Emergency Preparedness The coordinator of a poisoning prevention program manages outreach, education, and clean-up programs to remove dangerous substances from the environment. Environmental engineers who work in public health are involved in fields such as air pollution control, waste disposal, and water treatment. Ensure that manufacturers meet local and national guidelines for the disposal of certain types of potentially dangerous waste. Study the occurrence, movement, and distribution of water on and within the earth, and the relationship between that water and the surrounding environment. Community activists are involved in many aspects of public health, including environmental health. These committed workers take on issues that are important to the health of a group, a neighborhood, or a city as a whole, and they help community members make their voices heard. Focuses on making it possible for radiation to be used for beneficial purposes. Health physicists are experts in radiation safety, and they work at many different levels and in a variety of settings to protect workers, the public, and the environment. The field of industrial hygiene involves the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of occupational health hazards. Public health agencies and nonprofit organizations have many different programs to promote good nutrition. There are federal nutrition assistance programs like WIC, the School Breakfast Program, the Administration on Aging Nutrition Program and the Child and Adult Food Care Program. Applies environmental control measures to protect human health and safety. Food service sanitarians are experts in food safety issues that arise in places where food is prepared and served. Food inspectors at the USDA or state agricultural departments verify the safety of meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs, and of products made from these foods. Consumer safety officers (CSOs) at the FDA fill many different roles related to the public s health and safety; food safety is one of the areas in which they work. Depending on the specific job, a CSO involved in food safety might be assigned to inspect factories where food products are made, warehouses where food is stored, or companies that handle distribution. Many food scientists work in industry, helping to develop new products, but they play an important role in public health, too. These are researchers studying food safety, including how much pesticide is found in food, or whether genetically modified plants are safe. Identifies potential emergencies, draws up plans for government and health care institutions to respond, and ensures that everyone involved is aware of their role if an emergency should occur. Range: $20,000-60,000 Median: $74,000 Range: $45, ,000 Range: $40,000-60,000 Median: $71,000 Range: $44, ,000 Range: $35,000-45,000 (entry-level) $60,000-75,000 (director) Median: $60,00-116,000 Median: $62,000 Range: $40,000-90,000 Median: $51,000 Range: $31,000-73,000 Range: $40,000-70,000 Median: $41,000 Range: $25,000-60,000 Range: $26,000-62,000 Range: $50,000-70,000 Median: $50,000 Range: $28,000-85,000

3 Environmental Health Emergency Response Journalist Communications Director Social Marketer Medical Writer Health Teacher Continuing Education Director at the State Department of Health Disease Prevention Activist President and CEO, Area Agency on Aging Behavioral Health Program Homeless Services Educator Advocacy Director Policy Analyst Consumer Advocate Some environmental health experts focus on handling environmental emergencies, such as hazardous waste spills, industrial fires, radiological emergencies, or chemical attacks, or on responding to major disruptions in water and sanitation services. Is journalism really a part of public health? It can be. The media is a major source of health information. Newspapers and magazines run regular stories about health issues, and television news often includes the daily health segment. Health journalists are specifically trained to report to these kinds of stories. Manages the interface between a corporation, government agency, or nonprofit organization and the outside world. Social marketing firms and departments use the same techniques and concepts that advertisers use to sell televisions, fast food, and new cares but they use them to sell healthy behaviors, instead. Create informational articles, reports, and educational materials for consumers, health professionals, and public health experts. Health teachers educate children and teens about their bodies and about healthy choices in areas such as nutrition, personal hygiene, disease prevention, and safe sex. Continuing education is required in many different professions. There are continuing education courses specifically addressing public health topics, such as H1N1 flu pandemic, guidelines for new vaccines, method s for widespread cancer screening and prevention, and disaster preparedness. State health agencies have offices dedicated to addressing different health concerns. This isn t necessarily a job title you will find in the help wanted ads, although it does sometimes turn up. It describes a range of opportunities to work for improvements in disease prevention and health promotion Area agencies on aging are regional nonprofit organizations designated by state governments to address the needs of older adults. There are behavioral health programs that address certain mental and behavioral health issues on a population or community level. Teaches doctors, nurses, other health care workers and service providers how to work with homeless clients. Many homeless people are mentally ill, and they have trouble cooperating with doctors or following instructions for their health. The advocacy director is the connection between a public health organization and the political world. Keeps track of laws, regulations, and funding related to an organization s or agency s interests. Can represent many job titles. But essentially a consumer advocate is someone who helps people obtain safe products and fair services. Range: $37,000-53,000 Median: $34,000 Range $20,000-77,000 Median: $51,000 Range: $30,000-98,000 Range: $40,000-50,000 Range: $60, ,000 Range: $33,000-81,000 Median: $40,000 Range: $20,000-70,000 Range: $40,000-65,000 Varies greatly Range: $80, ,000 Range: $35,000-58,000 Median: $44,000 Range: $26,000-78,000 Median: $70,000 Range: $20,000-76,000 Range: $30, ,000 Range: $25, ,000

4 Health Legislative Assistant Health Economist Public Health Lobbyist Program Evaluator Quality Improvement Informatics Patient Safety Health Facility Surveyor Grant Writer Development Director Program Officer Volunteer Director of a Professional Association Technical Advisor/Logistics Procurement Manager International Programs Manager The health legislative assistant focuses specifically on health care matters, including public health, does the background research on important issues, and helps legislators to shape his or her stance on current topics. Specializes in knowledge of economics and finance to promote sound health policy. A lobbyist for an organization concerned with public health will have face-to-face meetings with legislators, legislative assistants, and influential government officials. Responsible for determining if a public health program is accomplishing what is was designed to do. Works either as a consultant or within an organization to make the organization function better. Informatics is about the collection, organization, storage, classification, and retrieval of information. Public health informatics, specifically uses computer science and technology to facilitate public health research, practice, and education. Patient safety specialists track reports about safety hazards at hospitals, medical centers, doctors offices, or pharmacies. Visits nursing homes, other long-term or residential care facilities, dialysis centers, and other health care settings to verify that they are following state and federal regulations, and sometimes to investigate complaints. A lot of public health work is funded by grants from nonprofit organizations or from state or federal government agencies. Not-for-profit groups dedicated to public health can require a lot of work to keep themselves running, and that means finding money to support their day-to-day operations and services. The development director is the one who keeps the money coming. A program officer oversees grant making by a nonprofit foundation or a government agency, for a specific area of research or services. Nonprofit organizations that deal with public health issues tend to rely a lot on volunteers. But someone has to round up those volunteers, keep them organized, give them useful work to do, and ensure they follow any required regulations. Professional organizations are not-for-profit organizations with members comprising physicians, nurses, or other health care or public health professionals. Technical advisors share knowledge about how to make a system or a program work, with the goal of building a country s own capacity to do the work on its own; there are technical advisors with expertise in many areas, from maternal and child health to water and sanitation. Most international public health programs require supplies. It could be posters and handouts for a social marketing campaign, or it could be clean syringes for a vaccination program. The procurement manager handles the purchasing of those items. One typical role for a program manager at an international public health organization involves holding together various aspects of projects in the developing world. Range: $40,000-70,000 Average: $84,000 Range: $44, ,000 Average: $97,000 Range: $50, ,000 Range $30, ,000 Range: $40, ,000 Range: $40, ,000 Range: $41,000-73,000 Range: $25,000-70,000 Average: $54,700 Average: $62,000 Average: $77,000 Average: $39,000 Range: $30,000-53,000 Range: $70, ,000 Average: $66,000 Range: $39, ,000 Average: $47,869 (entry) $96,126 (11-20 years) Range: $40,000-80,000

5 Entomologist Public health entomologists work with the insects that carry Range: $20, ,000 disease. There are public health entomologists working in the field, doing surveillance of insect populations, studying local conditions, and helping to plan programs for insect control. Fitness Instructor Run fitness programs for the community Varies Hospital Administrator Worksite Wellness Manager Hospital administrators can spearhead quality improvement efforts. They can launch community health programs and support research into the community s needs. They can partner with local organizations and health departments to help meet current needs and prepare for future ones. They can ensure the hospital is prepared for epidemics and other potential crises. Health and wellness programs have shown up in corporate settings across the US. Employers like them because they have the potential to reduce health insurance costs and boost productivity. *Salary numbers are approximate and based on data collected before 2011 Range: $125, ,000 Range: $43,000-70,000 Doctorate or Medical Degree Professionals in Public Health Public Health Veterinarian Medical Director Health Officer or Commissioner Medical Epidemiologist/Chronic Disease Public Health Dentist Mental Health Researcher in Poison Information Correctional Medicine Physician Pharmacist Forensic Pathologist Occupational Medicine Physician Corporate Medical Directors Nursing Professionals in Public Health Public Health Nurse Infection Preventionist Home Visit Nurse Environmental Health Nursing Employee Health Nurse Family-Nurse Partnership Nurse School Nurse Reference: Seltzer, B Careers in Public Health. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC. Other Resources:

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