10 Emerging Public Health Careers in 2021
- Public health professionals provide important healthcare services to specific groups of people.
- Health crises highlight the need for educational and preventative public health services.
- Many careers in public health boast lucrative salaries and above-average projected growth.
- Health educator, biostatistician, and epidemiologist are a few emerging health careers.
Now more than ever, the role of public health professional is essential. Public health careers encompass a variety of roles within healthcare that focus on improving the health of entire groups of people. Through education, research, and preventative training, public health workers prepare to protect the health of communities.
Stephanie Parchment — a threat management project coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — says she "was drawn to the field of public health after realizing that most of the health issues we consider leading causes of mortality and morbidity are in fact treatable with modern medicine."
There are many career opportunities in public health, and most positions are experiencing growth due to the large aging population in the U.S. and ongoing public health crises. Read on to see if pursuing a public health career is right for you.
Why Consider a Public Health Career?
Healthcare careers are in high demand. People will always need health services, so health professionals will always be required. The demand for healthcare workers has continued to increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, this health crisis has further highlighted the vast inequities that exist in healthcare services across different populations in the U.S.
COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of health education and preventative health measures. According to Parchment, "The poor state of the public health climate was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic — everything from the management of preexisting conditions to the health disparities between races and ethnic orientations was under a microscope for the public … to see."
With many positions requiring only a bachelor's degree, pursuing public health careers may appeal to many learners. Furthermore, as Parchment points out, "A key benefit of working in public health is its flexibility. The skills and knowledge of this field can be practiced within any sector, for any industry, in any part of the world."
Although a career in public health can be beneficial, professionals working in a different field may wonder if it is too late to change careers. Fortunately, with the growth of distance learning, preparing for a new career while continuing to work full time has become more accessible for many people. A career change that can provide a higher salary and/or more fulfilling work may be worth considering.
10 Emerging Public Health Jobs for 2021
A career in public health can allow you to positively impact your community. Public health professionals may educate various populations, study and interpret data to make informed choices, or manage the business side of a healthcare facility.
The following careers offer opportunities for relatively high salaries and above-average projected growth rates in the coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Assessing the health needs of the communities they work with, health educators encourage wellness and inform people about healthy habits. Through research, these professionals may create programs and distribute educational materials on topics surrounding health. Health educators can work in a variety of settings, including nonprofits, healthcare facilities, and colleges.
Health educators perform different roles in different settings. For example, government agencies may implement campaigns to encourage people to get vaccinated, while health educators in the private sector may create incentives to get employees to be more active.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in public health, health education, or a related field. Some positions may require a certified health education specialist credential.
Health Educator Jobs
- Community Health Educator
- Health Education Director
- School Health Educator
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist and Technician
Ensuring the health of employees, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians inspect and evaluate equipment and best practices in workplaces. These professionals make sure employers follow government regulations and safety standards.
Some specialists create and implement safety training programs, teaching employers and employees about proper accident protocols and using equipment correctly. Additionally, occupational health and safety specialists ensure employees are treated fairly and safely while also guaranteeing access to proper materials like gloves and protective ware.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety or environmental health and safety. Some positions may require a master's degree in a health-related field.
Occupational Health and Safety Jobs
- Environmental Health and Safety Technician
- Registered Nurse of Occupational Health
- Safety Specialist
Biostatisticians focus on the relationships between the biological data of living things. For instance, a biostatistician may study the relationships between a mother and her fetus and the transmission of diseases between them.
Leveraging expert knowledge in statistics, mathematics, and computer science, biostatisticians interpret statistics and data that are typically collected during medical studies. Biostatisticians may also plan research, perform and monitor studies, and collect their own data. Typically, biostatisticians work in a team and must communicate findings with others.
Education Requirements: Master's degree in economics, mathematics, or computer science with a biology specialization. Advanced positions may require a doctoral degree.
- Biostatistical Manager
- Director of Biostatistics
- Head of Statistical Programming
Investigating public health issues, epidemiologists study patterns to determine the causes of injuries and diseases. Epidemiologists use research to plan and direct studies to uncover the causes of public health problems and diseases. The need for epidemiologists is projected to grow and may be accelerated by COVID-19 research.
Many epidemiologists specialize in a particular field of study, such as environmental health, maternal health, or mental health. Epidemiologists are in demand in a variety of fields, including private industries, nonprofit organizations, and public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Education Requirements: Master's degree in public health or epidemiology. A doctoral degree in public health, epidemiology, or a related field may be required for advanced positions.
- Academic Research Epidemiologist
- Infection Control Epidemiologist
- Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist
Social and Community Service Manager
Social and community service managers typically supervise workers who provide direct services to the public. Working with the community and other stakeholders, they create and manage projects, programs, and organizations that are designed to support public health. Social and community managers also determine the effectiveness of projects and initiatives to make important decisions around health programs.
Positions for social and community service managers are available in both small and large organizations. These managers may specialize in particular demographics, such as children or those experiencing homelessness, or they may work within specific areas of need, such as drug abuse or mental health.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in social work, public health, or a related field.
Social and Community Service Manager Jobs
- Community Engagement Manager
- Residence Services Manager
- Social Services Department Manager
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects high demand for hospital administrators between 2019 and 2029. These professionals create budgets, coordinate medical services, and hire doctors and other medical professionals.
Hospital administrators keep hospitals running efficiently and cost effectively while striving to maintain the best possible care for patients. These leadership positions are available in large or small hospitals and at private medical centers. Typically, hospital administrators need years of experience working in a medical facility.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in healthcare administration or a related field. Employers may prefer to hire candidates with a master's in healthcare administration.
Hospital Administrator Jobs
- Assistant Hospital Administrator
- Health Services Administrator
- Medical and Health Services Manager
Clinical Trials Scientist
Conducting medical research, clinical research scientists can work for a variety of organizations including hospitals, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. These scientists often work in laboratories, seeking better methods for identifying and treating diseases.
Although becoming a clinical research scientist requires an advanced education, these professionals play an important role in understanding diseases and how to treat them.
Education Requirements: Doctorate in biology or life sciences. Some of these scientists also hold medical degrees.
Clinical Trials Scientist Jobs
- Clinical Research Scientist of Diabetes
- Senior Clinical Scientist of Oncology
- Senior Federal Research Scientist
Healthcare consultants are hired by healthcare organizations to examine a medical company and find ways to improve production. By analyzing and interpreting data, healthcare consultants look at a company's numbers and offer ways to increase efficiency and productivity.
Healthcare consultants can work as contract employees through an agency or as independent contractors.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in a health-related field. A master's degree or specialization may be preferred by some employers.
Healthcare Consultant Jobs
- Behavioral Health Consultant
- Health Navigation Consultant
- Healthcare Economics Consultant
Survey statisticians who work in public health may help create surveys related to topics like nutrition, exercise, and other health-related habits. These professionals then collect and interpret the data to create reports.
Survey statisticians often work as part of a team. They must create coherent written reports and be able to present their findings. As the demand for healthcare continues to increase, survey statisticians can play an invaluable role in improving quality healthcare for individuals.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field. Employers may prefer a master's or doctoral degree.
Survey Statistician Jobs
- Associate Survey Statistician
- Interdisciplinary Survey Statistician
- Senior Survey Statistician
Public Health Nurse
Public health nurses provide care and education to communities. The services and training they offer often depend upon the populations they serve. For example, public health nurses may make sure health information is accessible, inform groups about vaccinations, or deliver prenatal training.
Along with typical nursing duties, such as administering healthcare services to patients, these professionals can also work with government agencies to manage community health program budgets or advocate for better health services for underserved populations.
Education Requirements: Associate degree in nursing. Some employers seek candidates with a bachelor's in nursing or master's in nursing. There are also additional licensure requirements to become a registered nurse.
Public Health Nursing Jobs
- Community Outreach Nurse
- Public Immunization Nurse
- School Nurse
Is a Career in Public Health Right for You?
Pursuing a career in public health can allow you to make a difference in the health of entire communities, without becoming a medical doctor. Focusing primarily on preventative care, public health workers use education, science, and collected data to improve health outcomes and positively impact people's lives.
Public health careers feature stable, in-demand jobs in a variety of settings. You can pursue public health careers that focus on areas like math, biology, or business, finding an area that matches your personal strengths and interests.
Feature Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images