Career Salary Overview

Biostatistics & Informatics $80K
Communications $60K
Community Health $50K
Emergency Management $60K
Environmental Health $70K
Epidemiology & Research $70K
Public Policy & Administration $110K
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What can I do with a master's in public health?

Professional responsibilities in different public health specialities vary greatly. The roles encompass the fields of technology, healthcare, education and communication, meaning pursuing an MPH is not going to leave you locked into one career path; however, it is advisable to decide upon a potential concentration before pursuing your degree.

We’ve broken public health into seven subfields:

  • Biostatistics & Informatics
  • Communications
  • Community Health
  • Emergency Management
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology & Research
  • Public Policy & Administration

Biostatistics & Informatics

Students inclined towards mathematics and tech will thrive in the relatively new field of biostatistics and informatics, sometimes referred to as bioinformatics. The primary goal in such a position is to transform data into resources that can guide public health directives and measure their success. Because this speciality is useful for many kinds of research, practitioners can apply their skills in a variety of medical and health disciplines.


$75,560 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Sorting information and identifying patterns
  • Molecular modeling and analysis
  • Database administration
  • Research planning and management

Work Environment

  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Research Institutes
  • Medical Centers

Education Required

Minimum of a bachelor's, with a preference towards the master's.

Specializations and Certifications

No certifications required.

Potential Jobs

  • Systems Analyst
  • Biostatician
  • Database Administrator

Communications

For people who are passionate about the effects of science and policy on public health and enjoy translating complicated research and initiatives into public notices, the communications side of public health is likely a good fit. Professionals in the field are responsible for understanding the broad effects public health has on different communities and finding the best ways to report on their impact. Communications is incredibly important in public health, as progress is often dependent on the ability of those affected to understand new developments.


$54,170 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Public policy analysis
  • Tracking Legislation and research developments
  • Translating technical and scientific data
  • Identifying target audiences

Work Environment

  • Hospitals
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Community Health Centers

Education Required

Minimum of a bachelor's; master's preferred.

Specializations and Certifications

No certifications required, though applicants with certification from the American Medical Writer's Association or National Commission for Health Education Credentialing may be preferred.

Potential Jobs

  • Technical Medical Writer
  • Public Health Journalist
  • Public Health Information Officer


Community Health

Professionals in community health are often on the frontlines, engaging directly with the population on specific health initiatives. This can be a good entry point for someone who has yet to obtain a graduate degree in public health and who wants to gain experience in the field before or during their degree.


$41,830 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Collect survey results and reach out to local communities
  • Collect data as part of large research and policy initiatives
  • Provide a variety of educational and health related services to communities in need
  • Higher level positions often manage teams of community health workers

Work Environment

  • Hospitals
  • Nonprofits
  • Government organizations
  • Private practices
  • Schools

Education Required

Associate or bachelor's for entry level; mid to senior level positions often require a master's.

Specializations and Certifications

Certifications for community health works vary by state. The CDC offers a helpful summary.

Potential Jobs

  • Program Coordinator
  • Director of Family Health Services
  • Outreach Specialist


Emergency Management

If you remain calm under pressure and can meticulously plan for disastrous situations, emergency management may be your calling. These professionals are responsible for ensuring everything goes as smoothly as possible in a worst-case scenario. This is a high-pressure field with far-reaching effects.


$59,770 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Mitigate panic and harm in emergencies
  • Train and organize emergency management workers
  • Predict emergency scenarios, plan response and coordinate actions with emergency service agencies

Work Environment

  • NGOs
  • Government offices
  • Hospitals
  • Private companies

Education Required

The field can be entered with a bachelor's, but advancement requires a master's.

Specializations and Certifications

Vary according to role.

Potential Jobs

  • Emergency Response Specialist
  • Disease Preparedness Researcher
  • Bioterrorism Researcher


Environmental Health

This broad field focuses on the health of the planet and how it is affected by natural and man-made occurrences. There are generally two main divisions to the field, research and policy. Researchers collect and analyze data, while policy workers take results and try to implement them into positive regulations.


$63,570 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Collect and analyze data, including pollution levels, animal activity and climate trends
  • Produce reports for public consumption
  • Develop strategies to address environmental issues

Work Environment

  • Laboratories
  • Government entities
  • Universities
  • Nonprofit research institutions

Education Required

A master's degree is recommended for this field, though some entry-level positions will accept bachelor's degree holders.

Specializations and Certifications

No certifications required

Potential Jobs

  • State/Federal Environmentalist
  • Public Health Engineer
  • Environmental Health Technician


Epidemiology & Research

Understanding the origins of diseases and tracking their evolution is the domain of professionals in this field. Their research is essential to understanding, predicting and preventing the outbreak of major illnesses around the world.


$65,270 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Discover disease origins and develop treatments
  • Study specific populations and develop tailored plans to address and prevent disease
  • Present findings in an easily understandable manner for policy purposes and public consumption

Work Environment

  • Government organizations
  • Universities
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Consulting firms

Education Required

A minimum of a master's degree

Specializations and Certifications

Not required, but available through Certification Board for Infection Control and Epidemiology or the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Potential Jobs

  • Database Administrator
  • Vaccine Researcher
  • Disease Ecologist


Public Policy & Administration

Government is on the frontline of implementing regulations that will affect public health, professionals in this arena have the highly important role of acting as the liaison between scientists and government officials.


$102,000 Average Salary

Major Responsibilities

  • Follow politics and stay abreast of current developments
  • Thoughtfully present research both written and orally
  • Perform surveys and polls to measure public opinion
  • Predict trends and events in public health

Work Environment

  • Government offices
  • Think tanks
  • NGOs
  • Lobbying organizations
  • Universities

Education Required

Minimum of a bachelor's, master's preferred.

Specializations and Certifications

None.

Potential Jobs

  • Public Health Researcher
  • Healthcare Policy Analyst
  • Health Services Manager