March 23, 2017

What is the best undergraduate major for public health professionals?

The best undergraduate major to prepare a public health professional for a career in public service is rooted in science. The study of science is the foundation of public health. Undergraduate majors are offered in Public Health itself, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Public Health offered through the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Berkley. However, undergraduate majors in the fields of Environmental Science, Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Sociology, Anthropology, Biochemistry, Pre-Med, Environmental Engineering, Mathematics, Behavioral Science, Health Education, and Biostatistics are foundational studies that will prepare a future public health professional for a career in public health service.

Skills, Training, and Certification

The foundational skills necessary to launch the career of a successful public health professional includes oral and written communication skills, collaboration skills, coalition and mobilization skills, strategic thinking skills, organizational skills, team building skills, cultural communication skills, policy development skills, informatics and technology skills, literacy and language skills, physical health and vitality, and a willingness and passion to serve the community and improve the lives of others on a national and global level. Public health professionals enter communities that are in need of structural improvements and must make educated decisions based on the needs of the people. The training of a public health professional is extensive and ongoing and includes knowledge of local, national, and global health policy as well as epidemiology, toxicology, biostatistics, disease control and health inspection regulations. Certification of a public health professional is varied and available through many different organizations. The certification is primarily competency based and offered by the Public Health Professional Certification Board as well as the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of a public health professional includes providing outreach and education programs to the underprivileged, assisting communities with emergency planning, disease control, epidemiology surveillance, environmental and health regulations, and providing local, national, and global communities with a service that protects the heath and livelihood of the people. Public health professionals improve access to health care, provide substance abuse counseling, provide treatment and reduction of infectious disease, provide reduction of environmental hazards, serve national and international communities, influence national and global social policies, and influence national legislative initiates. The responsibilities of a public health professional are challenging but satisfying and serve the world at large in a way that is unique and powerful. The specialties within the job itself includes epidemiology, biostatistics, international health, biomedical laboratory, health service administration, food safety inspectors, health educators, policy analysts, non-profit health advocacy, and private sector work in pharmaceutical companies or health care insurance companies.

Conclusion

The education, skills, and training needed to become a public health professional are rooted in science with a solid understanding of facts, statistics, and solutions while striving to meet the humanitarian needs of a national and global community. A career in public health promotes healthy lives in a safe world. The best undergraduate major for a career as a public health professional is achieved most effectively through the study of science.