5 Exciting MPH Jobs
Listing the range of public health jobs available is challenging because public health is a broad field. Some public health experts work one-on-one with clients. Others never leave the laboratory. Some of the most prestigious jobs in public health only last a few years. Others provide a lifetime of challenges. Perhaps the biggest strength of a master’s in public health (MPH) degree is the range of career options it gives to students.
- Global Health Expert
- Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer
- Health Policy Analyst
- Program Manager
1. Global Health Expert
The world is full of major public health issues: maternal mortality, Ebola, and malnutrition. Public health experts with graduate-level training can address these issues. Employees in this field typically work for a non-profit or government agency, although private companies like John Snow, Inc. are also an option. Job opportunities range from managing inventory and supply chains for Doctors Without Borders to leading vaccination or public health education programs in low-income countries. Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years is a good way to get a foot in the door and demonstrate an ability to thrive in challenging conditions.
2. Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer
Movies like “Contagion” and “Outbreak” are based on real-life people: EIS officers, or America’s Disease Detectives. EIS officers begin their career with a prestigious two-year fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They fly into disease outbreaks, investigate the origin of the epidemic and implement a plan to contain the disease. After finishing their fellowship, EIS officers go on to exciting jobs in state- and national-level epidemiology.
3. Health Policy Analyst
Federal and state organizations need smart, dedicated analysts to guide policy decisions. A master’s degree in public health with a focus on health policy or health management is the ideal degree for these positions. Analysts must be passionate and committed to advancing evidence-based health practices. Legislative experience or interest is also important because analysts will need to communicate with elected officials.
4. Program Manager
Program management is one of the most common public health jobs because it’s such a diverse option. Public health programs range from local nutrition classes with 20 first-time parents to national initiatives to lower teenage smoking rates. Someone has to coordinate employees and volunteers, communicate program goals, track funding efforts and solve problems. MPH degrees often provide the hodge-podge of skills necessary to excel in health program management. This public health specialty offers many opportunities for advancement; managers can move up to more complicated programs or eventually lead entire organizations. Plus, program management skills are useful in almost any career.
Public health students with an affinity for mathematics should consider a career in biostatistics. These quantitative experts are some of the highest paid public health workers; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates biostatisticians earn an average of $85,160 per year. Biostatisticians typically work in research teams and provide statistical expertise to colleagues designing public health studies. Common employers include universities, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies. With experience, biostatisticians might lead research efforts of their own, but this isn’t required for advancement. Many successful biostatisticians are happy being behind-the-scenes experts.
As Americans continue to live longer lives, the need for public health workers will continue to grow. In ten years, today’s MPH students might find themselves in fields that didn’t exist when they were in school. This list only scratches the surface of available public health jobs.