changing-careersEarning a college degree in public health can open the door to many exciting, well paid career paths in both the public and private sectors. Some of the areas where you can enjoy a productive career protecting the public health includes:

  • Public: Public health nursing, health department work at the local, state or federal level, are just a few of the public health possibilities.
  • Education: Help to provide essential public health education to people who live in at-risk communities.
  • Private: Many public health graduates enjoy outstanding career opportunities in healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations, and even insurance companies.
  • Non-Profits: There are many non-profit organizations that work on public healthcare projects and often specialize in certain at-risk populations.


Top paying careers in public health include these:


#1 Biostatistician


Statisticians use modern, advanced statistical methods to collect/analyze public health data to solve pressing public health concerns. Biostatisticians:


  • Determine which data is needed to address specific public health problems
  • Determine the best methods for collecting the public health data, which can include surveys and polls
  • Collect the public health data or train others to do it
  • Report conclusions about public health from the data


Median Pay in 2015: $77,860

Projected Job Growth (2014-2024): 34%

Highest Paying Jobs: Federal government positions


#2 Epidemiologist


You will investigate patterns of diseases as well as causes of diseases and injuries. The focus is to cut down on the risk of negative health effect and outcomes via research, healthy policy and community education. Duties of epidemiologists that have a huge impact upon public health outcomes:


  • Planning and directing public health problem studies and to determine ways to prevent them.
  • Collection and analysis of data via observations, surveys and interviews.
  • Management of public health programs by planning and monitoring them, and then analyzing the data.


Median Pay in 2015: $69,450

Projected Job Growth: 6%

Highest Paying Jobs: R&D in the sciences


#3 Environmental Scientist


This type of public health professional uses their in-depth knowledge of the natural sciences to protect both human health and the environment. Most often, they assist in the cleanup of polluted areas, which has a direct effect on public health.


Environmental scientists conduct public health and environmental research, offering advice on how to reduce the environmental and human impact of various manmade pollutants.


Median Pay in 2015: $67,460

Projected Job Growth: 11%

Highest Paying Jobs: Federal government positions



#4 Public Health Nurse


Public health nurses provide patient care in a larger community setting and educate patients and community members to improve the overall health of the area. A public health nurse often works in public health departments in cities and states, and sometimes in correctional facilities or occupational health facilities.


Most public health nurses work with other healthcare specialists in a group or community setting. They also may run good health screenings, blood drives and immunization clinics.


Median Pay in 2015: $67,400

Projected Job Growth: 16%

Highest Paying Jobs: State or federal government positions



#5 Public Health Educator


Teach citizens in at-risk communities about important behaviors that reduce the chances of infectious diseases spreading, and overall promote wellness. For example, you might develop and implement strategies in developing nations to reduce the chances of contracting malaria or another serious disease.


You will collect data and review serious public health concerns with the population and improve health outcomes.


Median Pay in 2015: $51,960

Projected Job Growth: 13%

Highest Paying Jobs: Local, state or private hospitals


#6 Public Health Social Worker


Public health social workers help people in at risk communities to deal with personal and public health related problems. These types of social workers will tend to work with an entire community of people who need help and guidance in one certain area, rather than individuals over a large region as a regular social worker typically does.


A public health social worker will work with groups, community organizations and policymakers to improve public health programs so that people can live healthier and more productive lives.


Median pay in 2015: $45,900

Projected Job Growth: 12%

Highest Paying Jobs: Local, state or private hospitals


Public Health Education Recommendation


As you are considering this field, remember that you will most likely need to get an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree in public health, to advance in the profession.. The MPH is a multidisciplinary degree that will provide you with advanced training in biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy, environmental health and health communication.


There is such a strong demand for many public health professions today that more universities than ever are now offering online MPH programs. Many public and private universities now offer full online MPH programs that can be completed in one to three years. This degree of flexibility has major advantages for working professionals with busy schedules. Also, you can attend virtually any program that you wish, regardless of where it is geographically located.


After you have earned your MPH and have appropriate work experience, you then can enjoy one of the six top paying public health fields above.



About the Guest Post Author:

Ann Steele is Community Director and Public Health Advocate at She is actively involved in public health issues in her community both near and far. Ann Steele is a graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.