Top 10 Marketable Careers in Public Health | 2021

Treating a disease during an outbreak and preventing its spread to others can be vigorous. Public healthcare vaccination programs and the distribution of contraceptives are common preventive measures. 

The basis of public health Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues of people and the communities where they live, work, and play.

This article contains a lot of roles of community health workers including the top 10 Marketable careers in public health, programs, public health jobs, and the various degrees in public health. Read through to get the best of this publication.

While a doctor focuses on diagnosing and treating people who are sick, public health personnel try to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. Read on to know the various forms of public health, careers, education, and salaries of health workers.

Epidemiologists, microbiologists, emergency management directors, health educators, and community health workers are some of the top careers in public health and we discuss carefully their responsibilities in the latter part of this post.

What is Public Health?

Public health is the science of preventing disease and improving the health of people and their communities by promoting healthy lifestyles through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.

Apparently, partners in this system include state and local health departments, community health centers, colleges, federal agencies, communities, organizations, the business community, and the general public.

However, various public healthcare agencies have been established to help control and monitor disease within societies, on both national and international levels.

World Health Organization(WHO) provides assistance in executing organizational and administrative methods of handling problems associated with health and disease in underdeveloped countries around the world.

Nevertheless, factors including health problems, limitations of resources, education of health personnel, must be considered in designing a good health service systems within these countries.

What are the functions of public health?

The Institute of Medicine groups Public healthcare functions into 3 basic categories and is explained below in detail.

1. Assessment

The Assessment functions involve determining if the total health system works effectively. However, some of the assessment functions include:

  • Determine if a community has enough Medical personnel and other public health workers.
  • Investigate environmental health problems and health hazards in the community.
  • Monitor environmental and health status to identify and solve community environmental health problems.
  • Conduct laboratory analyses.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs.

2. Assurance

Assurance activities deal with making sure the health needs of people in the community are safely and effectively met. These activities involve:

  • Link people to needed environmental health services.
  • Provide medical, dental, and psychological services directly to the public.
  • Assure a competent environmental health workforce.
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based environmental health services.
  • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to environmental health problems.
  • Enforce laws and ensure environmental health and safety.

3. Policy Development

The setting of goals for public healthcare services are the activities of policy development and some goals include:

  • Create awareness and empower people about environmental health issues.
  • Plan for systems to meet identified health needs.
  • Mobilize community partnerships and actions to identify and solve environmental health problems.
  • Set immunization standards for children.
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community environmental health efforts.

Steps to Pursuing Public Health Degree

Gain Work Experience

Work experience is the pre-requisites for advanced and doctorate degree as public health doctoral programs like to see applicants with prior relevant work experience.

Also, acquiring the necessary work experience improves the learning outcomes, as students will have the experience and knowledge to put their learning into perspective.

Pursue a Doctorate Degree

The doctoral degree options are more academic in nature can prove to be beneficial for individuals with leadership characteristics.
The advanced terminal degrees for public health are the Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) and the Ph.D.
However, during these programs, advanced methods will be regularly utilized which will prepare students for analyzing and conducting high-level research.
Common classes doctoral students can expect to take include: Research methods and design, Health Informatics, and Secondary data advanced analysis.

Best Public Health Schools

To get the best career in pubic health, here are the top schools to enroll in public health degree programs and the school programs in the health rankings published in 2019 by the U.S news.

Each school listed below is accredited for various Health courses offered and their corresponding accreditation agencies.

  • Programs of public healthcare accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.
  • Health care management programs approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
  • Physician assistant programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.
  • Doctoral programs in clinical psychology approved by the American Psychological Association.
  • Physical therapy programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. 
  • Graduate programs in nurse-midwifery approved by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. 
  • Graduate programs in nurse anesthesia accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. 
SchoolsTuitionAcceptance Rate
John Hopkins University $ 50,410 13%
Harvard University $46,340 14.2%
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill$ 33,916  26.9%
Columbia University$ 55,056 6.8%
Emory University $ 47,954  25.3%
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor$ 14,402 28.6%
University of Washington $ 10,753 45.3%
Boston University $ 50,240 29.4%
University of Califonia$ 13,509 16.9%

What are Careers in Public health?

The major areas of public health are the identification of prominent occupations and relevant specializations and provide employment and salary data.

If you are aspiring to be a public health worker, below are the top 10 high paid careers in public health, their responsibilities, education, and salary structure.

1. Emergency Management Specialist

Emergency Management Specialists is one of the major careers in public healthcare. These professionals are responsible for both planning for preparedness training and emergency response training prior to an emergency or disaster event.

An emergency response specialist is a fast-growing profession in the emergency management field and their duty is to make sure that their community is ready when an emergency arises.

Emergency Management Specialists must have strong organizational and communication skills in order to manage and coordinate the efforts of emergency response teams that include planning a good disaster response strategy, train emergency personnel in the proper ways to respond to an emergency as well as work effectively under pressure during disaster events.

Education and Training Requirements

The specific hiring requirements for the Emergency Management Specialists position include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in an associated field will be required, usually in areas like emergency management, public safety, urban planning, or public administration
  • Five years of emergency management experience
  • Completion of training programs in areas like hazardous materials


Emergency Management Specialists’ average salaries are about $53,000 annually, but the top earners in the field make more than $90,000. Pay will depend on experience, location in the country, and employer, among other things.

2. Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists are scientists who study diseases within populations of people. In essence, these public healthcare professionals plan and conduct studies on specific public health programs, collect and analyze data to locate the causes of diseases and other health-related issues in order to treat existing diseases and prevent future outbreaks.

There are two general areas which include research epidemiology and applied epidemiology. Research Epidemiologists work in schools or in federal agencies. Applied Epidemiologists work with the state and local government agencies working directly with the public through education programs and by conducting surveys on relevant public health issues

Education and Training Requirements

  • Earn a master’s degree in epidemiology, public health or other closely related subject
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong understanding of statistical concepts
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Strong understanding of medical and biological processes
  • Computer skills


Public health worker salary varies according to location, year of experience and qualifications.

However, according to, an epidemiologist with 17 years of experience can make 6.3 percent more than the national median while an epidemiologist with less than one year of experience an expect to make up to 10.7 percent less than the national median.

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A typical average annual income of an epidemiologist in North Carolina is $104,300

3. Health Educators and Community Health Workers

The primary responsibility of Health Educators and Community Health Workers is to teach people in the community about behaviors that promote wellness so as to improve overall wellbeing.

Public Healthcare Educators create and present educational programs and events for their communities, provide training for health care workers and other health professionals, and advocate for improved health resources.

Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.

Education and Training Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in health education
  • Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential
  • Community Health Workers may find employment with just a high school diploma


According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual wage for community health workers was $39,540 in May 2018.

Also, the median annual wage for health educators was $54,220 in May 2018.

4. Microbiologist

Microbiologists study the nature of microorganisms(bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites), how they grow and how they interact with other organisms, like human beings.

Basically, they plan and conduct research on microorganisms aimed at developing drugs to fight infectious diseases.

The most recognizable tool of a microbiologist is the microscope, which enables them to take a close look at the tiny things they study, but they also use many other technologies in their line of work.

In addition, this profession uses special equipment to grow its microbes, as well as specific ingredients to create a growing medium that allows their samples to grow and reproduce in the lab. 

Education and Training Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related field is needed for entry-level microbiologist jobs
  • A graduate degree, specifically a Ph.D.
  • A Ph.D. is needed to carry out independent research and to work in colleges and universities.


According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual wage for microbiologists was $71,650 in May 2018.

5. Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists are concerned with the identification, prevention, and control of health and safety hazards in the workplace, with the ultimate goal of eliminating hazards that result in occupational illnesses and injuries related to work and the work environment, as well as their prevention and control.

Their jobs include inspection of workplaces to determine adherence to safety rules and regulations, designing and implementing work processes to prevent future accidents and hazards, and conducting education and training programs on health and safety-related subjects.

Education and Training Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety
  • A master’s degree in health physics or industrial hygiene.


According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual wage for occupational health and safety specialists was $73,020 in May 2018.

Also, the median annual wage for occupational health and safety technicians was $50,780 in May 2018.

6. Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses are medical personnel who are dedicated to working to improve their community’s health and access to care. They must be able to work well with large groups and to be sensitive to cultural differences.

They typically work for government agencies or large private health organizations, providing educational and advocacy services to at-risk individuals and groups.

Education and Training Requirements

  •  A Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • An associate’s degree in nursing
  • Obtaining licensure to become a registered nurse


Data from BLS shows that the median annual wage for registered nurses was $71,730 in May 2018.

7. Mental health counselors

Mental health counselors work with patients to improve their mental and emotional well-being. They provide treatment and advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, or other mental or behavioral problems.

These professionals might specialize in marriage counseling, substance abuse, or family counseling. They also work in a wide variety of settings, such as mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice with patients’ support networks, such as friends and family, to coordinate recovery treatments.

Education and Training Requirements

  • Earn a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Public Health, Communications, Biology, Nursing
  • Pass state board exams to become a licensed counselor and practice therapy
  • Get certification/Licensure from the National Board of Certified Counselors


Data from BLS shows that the median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $44,630 in May 2018

8. Dietitian and Nutritionist

Dietitians and Nutritionists work with clients to evaluate their health, recommend diet planning, and which foods to eat in order to overcome specific diet-related issues to improve the client’s overall health.

This Profession work in many settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, cafeterias, and state and local governments.

Education and Training Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in nutrition, dietetics, food services management or related field
  • Earn the registered dietitian (RD) credentials
  • Complete a baccalaureate degree from an ACEND-approved program


Data gathered by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $60,370 in May 2018.

9. Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers plan, direct, coordinate and supervise social service programs and community organizations.

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Basically, their task includes establishing and overseeing administrative procedures, directing the activities of professional and technical staff members and also prepare records and reports, such as budgets, personnel records, or training manuals.

They work for nonprofit organizations, private for-profit social service companies, and government agencies. The majority work full time.

Education and Training Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Associate’s degree
  • A considerable amount of work-related skill including knowledge of human behavior and performance and experience is needed for these occupations.


The median annual wage for social and community service managers was $65,320 in May 2018

10. Emergency Management Directors

This discipline involves planning and processes to reduce health risks during urgent situations, such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, disease breakouts, and other situations.

Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for long-term responses to immediate health threats and concerns. They also help lead the response during and after emergencies.

Similarly, an Emergency Response Specialist responds to environmental situations that pose a great risk to human populations and natural resources.

In addition, emergency management directors work for state or local governments, private companies, hospitals, or nonprofit organizations.

Education and Training Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in fire science, emergency management, or public administration
  • To become an Emergency management director, you must have multiple years of work experience in emergency response, disaster planning, law enforcement, fire safety, and medical response.


Data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics show that the median annual wage for emergency management directors was $74,420 in May 2018.

Other careers in public healthcare are Communications, medical practice, Global health, Public policy and administration.

How to Ensure Health Equity in the Public Health Careers

By health equity, we mean everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Inequities are created when barriers prevent individuals and communities from accessing these conditions and reaching their full potential.

health departments are using a set of strategic practices to confront the power imbalances and forms of oppression at the root of health inequities, change the conversation about what creates health equity, develop leadership and support innovation, and build a movement for health equity.

  • Build a community Alliance.
  • Establish leadership and support innovation.
  • Value all people equally.
  • Build a health equity movement.
  • Develop a shared Analysis.
  • Change internal practice and processes.
  • Fostering strategic community partnerships to build power and engage in social justice movements
  • Optimize the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, learn, and age.
  • Work with other sectors to address the factors that influence health, including employment, housing, education, health care, public safety, and food access.  
  • Confront the root causes.

FAQs on Careers in Public Health

How much do careers in public health make?

Data from BLS shows that the median annual salary of a public health worker was $70,820 in 2016, compared to $65,000 in 2012. Epidemiologists are among the highest-paid public health practitioners with a growing average salary. 

Is public health a good degree?

Yes! Public health worker jobs offer many career paths and opportunities and good pay.

what types of careers are there in global public health?

The various careers in public health include:

> Policy Analyst.
> Epidemiologist.
> Medical Officer.
> Program Management and Advising.
> Health Educator.
> Public Health Advisor.
> Field Consultant.

What are the 3 goals of a healthcare system?

According to WHO, the 3 major goals for health systems:
(1) Assessment
(2) Policy Development and,
(3) Assurance

Can you become a nurse with a public health degree?

To become a public health nurse, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing at an accredited four-year college, although some communities will employ public health nurses with associate’s degrees. Also, you will train as a registered nurse (RN). 


Public healthcare is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.

However, a public healthcare worker must have good oral expression, oral comprehension and must be problem sensitive so as to be able to plan and coordinate the activities of a health service program in any community.

Epidemiologists, microbiologists, Emergency Management Directors, Health Educators, and Community Health Workers are the various careers in public health that you must know and their responsibilities vary.

In summary, To fulfill a career in public health, you must get the necessary qualifications and the required work experience.


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