A career in public health offers a wide range of employment opportunities with high levels of job security and good rates of pay for the right candidates. Public health jobs also come with the promise of enhanced workplace satisfaction based on the knowledge that you are making a real difference in the communities you serve. For those ready to take on the challenge of this rewarding career, a bachelor’s degree in public health is the first step to unlocking access to thousands of public health jobs across the United States and internationally.
We spoke with Dr. Ritika Bhawal, Academic Program Director for the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program at National University, to learn how far you can go after studying for your public health bachelor degree online.
Careers in Public Health
“Getting a bachelor of science in public health actually prepares you for so many different positions,” says Bhawal. “If you want to focus on a specific health issue, you can do that. If you want to work in community health, you can do that as well. It can also prepare you for a career in education, nursing or in the clinical field.”
According to Bhawal, once students have graduated, there is a vast range of public health jobs to explore, where they can develop their skills and their leadership abilities further.
“Given the scope and how broad the opportunity is, there is always going to be a demand for workers in the field of public health,” says Bhawal. “The growth in this field is well above the national average and demand is set to grow as time goes by.”
Bhawal’s optimism is supported by Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) figures which project that the job market in the public health sector will grow by 16% between 2016 and 2026, adding more than 19,000 more jobs to the field. Earning potential in public health jobs is also good, with national median pay in the field in 2018 at $46,080 (17.6% higher than the average national wage of $38,640).
According to the BLS, public health workers with local knowledge and foreign language skills may earn a premium and rates of pay do fluctuate across various states. For example, in California, a public health educator can expect to earn a median wage of $65,000 while a similar role in Tennessee will see a median wage of $40,700.
No Typical Public Health Student
The broad range of career opportunities available to graduates of the public health bachelor degree online program is reflected by the wide range of students attracted to study the subject.
According to Bhawal, a lot of students will have personal experiences of a specific health issue that has inspired them to follow a career in the field.
“For some people, they may have lost a close family member or a friend to a particular health condition,” says Bhawal. “They are motivated to work in the field and learn more about it so that they can actively be involved with coming up with prevention or intervention programs.”
Others are drawn to a career in public health through experiences they have gone through in a previous or existing career.
“For our military students, the things that they have personally experienced while serving around the globe often triggers a passion in public health,” says Bhawal. “The experience that they bring to the classroom is inspiring and we really have a strong support resource for our military students — so that attracts them.”
This doesn’t mean that students have to have a clear career goal in mind when they join the degree program.
“We have students who get into the public health field not knowing what they expect,” says Bhawal. “As they go through the program, they realize their passion for a specific issue and want to work in that field.”
Your First Step To a Career in Public Health
Studying for your public health bachelor degree online at National University could be your first step to opening up numerous opportunities in public health jobs. To learn more about the program or to speak with one of our faculty members about enrolling in the program, please visit the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program page on our website.