I've been getting a lot of questions lately about the various career paths you can pursue with a public health degree. And what better time to talk about it than the end of internship season and the start of a new semester and application period!
But first, what is public health?
Public health (according to the APHA) "promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play".
To jumpstart a career in public health, a lot of people go to school (although this isn't your only avenue) for a bachelors, masters, or PhD.
In my masters program at Boston University specifically, there are several concentrations that students can choose from to more or less "specialize" in. I chose to concentrate in Health Management.
But broadly... a few other options include (in no particular order):
Health Policy and Law
Social and Behavioral Health
And these are just a few!
Okay so then you get your degree... now what?
With a degree and knowledge in any of these fields, you could find yourself working in virtually any area of healthcare. You could work in health insurance like I did this summer, where the organization finds creative ways to keep people healthy before they need care, in addition to helping cover the cost if they do need care. You could also work in a hospital or other healthcare setting, where you could do anything from research to administration. Government with places like the CDC or the WHO are great places to do research and really puts you at the forefront of addressing national and global health issues. You could go into policy at the state level and fight for local health inequalities or injustices. You could even go on the medication side of things and work in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry (not all of pharma is bad). Public health touches
pretty much every job market in one way or another so you have a pretty good share of options.
I mean don't get me wrong, I want to help people, but I have to make some money to live too! You may hear the stereotype that people in public health don't really make any money (and typically, money comes after you've gotten at least a masters degree). But if you're
passionate about what you do, and good at it, money will come. But working in public health is really about helping others.
Although this is a pretty quick list of things you can do in public health, I hope this helps anyone that curious! As always, if you have any questions or comments, drop them below, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to follow me on Instagram @yourhealthcarescoop