August 23, 2017

How Much Does a Public Health Professional Make?

How much does a public health professional make in annual income? The answer to this question depends on whether the professional works in a specialized health field, education, administration or policy making. Education, location and other issues also factor into the equation.

For someone seeking a public health career, the time has never been better. Major advances in health improvement stem from medical findings as well as population-based prevention initiatives. The fast-changing health services system has placed more focus on promoting health and preventing disease. The demand for environmental health experts should continue to grow in the coming years. More behavioral health positions will open too, as public health research focuses on women, children and substance abusers.

Work opportunities abound in both clinical and public health environments, although the career fields differ. Clinical health professionals work with individual patients. They focus on disease diagnosis and treatment. Public health professionals work with the general population. They focus on disease prevention and health promotion.

Careers in Public Health

Public health professionals can find careers in various disciplines. These include health policy and management, health education, behavioral science, public health awareness, epidemiology, occupational health and safety, environmental health, global or international health, dental health, family health and health communications.

These professionals may be policy advisors, behavior scientists, health educators, environmentalists, scientiests or specialists, dentists, nurses, nutritionists, attorneys, researchers or journalists. Some public health professionals practice their career in the private sector, while others work in a managed care setting.

Education and Training

A bachelor’s degree is required for most entry-level public health professions, although a master’s degree or Ph.D. is usually required for advancement. Public health services managers hold at least a bachelor’s degree in health administration. Educators hold a bachelor’s degree in health education or promotion. A master’s degree in public health is required for planners and policy makers. Public health specialists typically have a master’s degree in public health and a Ph.D. in their chosen field.

Many states and employers require their public health professionals to obtain certification as well as education and training. Professionals receive certification upon meeting certain education requirements and passing a state-administered examination.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the United States Department of Labor, the job outlook for public health professionals is promising. All health careers are expected to grow faster than average for other occupations. Rising healthcare costs and an aging population make preventive healthcare more important than ever, and the demand for public health professionals in every field is expected to grow.

The annual salary for public health professionals varies by position. It can range from $40,000 to $100,000 and more. The amount depends on the particular position, job location, educational requirements, work experience and more.

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual wage of $84,000 for public health administrators. Health scientists and specialists make a median income of $63,000 annually. Health educators earn around $46,000 a year. Professionals with advanced degrees may earn a six-figure income. The answer to the “how much does a public health professional make” question really depends on a combination of factors, but one thing is certain: the outlook for public health careers is very good.