July 15, 2019
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How is the Job Outlook for the Public Health Field?

Public health is a part of the healthcare system administered with public resources, and the job outlook for public health includes growth in many of the specific occupations that are within that field. It includes a team of professionals with bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees who have in-depth knowledge of infectious and chronic diseases, sanitation, hygiene, disease prevention, communication, research, and data analysis. Public health encompasses many job functions, and the job outlook for the public health field is expected to grow over the next decade.
Related resource: Top 25 Online MPH Programs (Master’s in Public Health)

Where Public Health Jobs Are Located

Now and in the future, most of the growth in public health jobs will be in large cities and metropolitan areas. This is typically where research institutions, universities, and state, local or federal public health agencies are located. There are public health jobs in rural areas, but job seekers will find fewer of them in outlying areas.

In-demand Skills

Public health workers with certain skills will have more opportunities for employment in the future. The job outlook for the public health field is best for people with strong data analysis and technology skills. Fluency in two or more languages, strong communication skills and advanced degrees in public health also make candidates more likely to secure a job in the field of public health.

Health Educators and Community Health Workers

Health educators and community health workers are responsible for informing and educating people about their health. They aim to improve health outcomes. An aging population and long-term rise in chronic disease rates means that health educators and community health workers will see a considerable amount of growth in employment opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this field will grow by 16 percent between 2016 and 2026. Nurses who work in public health will also have a growth rate that is much higher than average.

Epidemiologists and Biostatisticians

Epidemiologists study patterns of disease and injury. They analyze data, conduct health surveys and make recommendations. They track disease outbreaks and offer data-based solutions to public health problems. Biostatisticians collect, clean, sort and analyze data related to health initiatives, medical studies, treatments, outbreaks and more. These jobs are expected to grow by 9 percent between 2016 and 2026, explains the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sanitarians and Public Health Laboratory Workers

Public health sanitarians and environmental health specialists inspect cafeterias, restaurants, laboratories, hospitals, and other facilities. They may also work with public health nurses when inspecting nursing homes or hospitals. They check for proper food handling, cleaning and disinfection procedures. Public health laboratory workers analyze samples collected from people sickened during an outbreak. They may also analyze soil, water or air samples. According to the BLS, people who work in these public health jobs can expect about an 11% growth rate through 2026.

The job outlook for people in public health is good. Changes in the national economy or government priorities could push the growth slightly in one direction or another, but an aging population and increase in chronic diseases should prove to be a boon for people with strong skills and master’s degrees or higher. People wondering about the job outlook for the field of public health should continue to hone their skills in order to be competitive candidates.