7 careers you can have with a master's in public health | Top Universities
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7 careers you can have with a master's in public health

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Keshala Jayawickrama

Updated Apr 23, 2024
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In our ever-evolving world, the importance of public health has never been more evident. From tackling pandemics to addressing social determinants of health, the field plays a crucial role in shaping the well-being of communities worldwide.  

If you're someone driven by the desire to contribute to society's greater good and make a meaningful impact on people's lives, studying at a specialist medical institution such as the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and pursuing a career in public health could be your ideal choice. 

Public health is like a puzzle, bringing together diverse disciplines like epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, and more to address everything from infectious diseases to chronic conditions.  

A master’s degree in public health can open a world of career possibilities from becoming a healthcare administrator overseeing public health programmes to working as a health policy analyst shaping government policies for better health outcomes. Here are seven of the many career pathways you can consider after completing your master’s degree in public health. 

Epidemiologist 

A career in epidemiology includes studying patterns and causes of diseases within populations to inform public health interventions and policies. Investigating disease outbreaks, conducting research studies, analysing health data, and developing strategies for disease prevention and control are few of the core responsibilities of this role. 

The most common work settings for this career are government agencies, research institutions, healthcare organisations, and academia. 

By choosing a master’s programme with a strong emphasis on epidemiological methods, biostatistics, and study designs, you will acquire the essential skills needed to analyse health data, undertake epidemiological research, and effectively communicate findings to stakeholders in public health. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Epidemiologist 

  • Mid-level position: Senior epidemiologist/ Epidemiology manager 

  • Advanced position: Chief epidemiologist/ Epidemiology director 

Health policy analyst 

As a health policy analyst, your role will revolve around analysing healthcare policies and their impact on public health outcomes, access to care, and healthcare delivery. The key responsibilities of this role are to analyse policy proposals, assessment of their implications, and to make recommendations to policymakers to improve health outcomes.  

The typical work settings of a health policy analyst are government agencies, think tanks, advocacy organisations, consulting firms and research institutions. 

A master's in public health lays a solid foundation for a career in health policy analysis. It will equip you with expertise in health policy, health economics and health systems, while developing analytical skills necessary for evaluating healthcare policies and advocating evidence-based solutions. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Health policy analyst 

  • Mid-level position: Policy advisor/ Health policy consultant 

  • Advanced position: Health policy manager/ Director of health policy  

Community health educator 

Community health educators develop and implement health education programmes to promote healthy behaviours and prevent disease within communities. A few of the key responsibilities include assessing community health needs, designing educational materials and curricula, and facilitating programme delivery via workshops and presentations. 

The typical work settings for a career as an educator are community organisations, healthcare facilities, public health departments, schools and non-profit organisations. 

By choosing a master's in public health you will be able to receive training in health education, programme planning and health promotion. It will also equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to address community health needs and implement evidence-based interventions. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Community health educator 

  • Mid-level position: Programme coordinator 

  • Advanced position: Director of health education 

Environmental health specialist 

As an environmental health specialist, your role will revolve around assessing and mitigating environmental hazards that affect public health. Few of the key responsibilities of the role are: conducting inspections, enforcing regulations, investigating environmental health hazards, and developing interventions to protect public health. 

The typical work settings include government agencies, public health departments, environmental consulting firms and non-profit organisations. 

With a master's in public health, you will gain training in areas of environmental health science, risk assessment, and policy analysis while being equipped to address environmental health challenges and to promote sustainable practices. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Environmental health specialist/ Sanitarian 

  • Mid-level position: Environmental health supervisor/ Programme manager 

  • Advanced position: Director of environmental health/ Environmental health commissioner 

Healthcare administrator 

The role of a healthcare administrator mainly focuses on overseeing the operations of healthcare facilities, ensuring efficient delivery of services and compliance with regulations. Managing budgets, supervising staff, developing strategic plans, and implementing quality improvement initiatives to enhance patient care are a few of this role’s key responsibilities.  

The typical work settings include hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, health systems and government agencies. 

Gaining a master's in public health can equip you with knowledge and competencies to excel at your career as a healthcare administrator. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of healthcare management, policy, and population health, and skills to address public health challenges and to improve healthcare delivery. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Healthcare administrator/ Assistant administrator 

  • Mid-level position: Healthcare manager/ Department director 

  • Advanced position: Chief executive officer/ Chief operating officer 

Public health project manager 

As a public health project manager, your role will focus on leading and coordinating initiatives aimed at improving population health outcomes and addressing specific health issues within communities.  

A few of the key responsibilities are overseeing project planning, implementation, and evaluation, developing project timelines and budgets, and collaborating with stakeholders to achieve project goals. 

The typical work settings include government agencies, non-profit organisations, research institutions and international health organisations. 

By focusing more on the project management, public health theory, and programme planning aspects of your master’s programme in public health, you will be able to equip yourself with the skills needed to design and implement effective public health interventions. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Public health project coordinator/ Assistant project manager 

  • Mid-level position: Project manager/ Programme manager 

  • Advanced position: Director of public health projects/ Programme director 

Healthcare consultant 

The role of a healthcare consultant revolves around providing expertise and advice to healthcare organisations and stakeholders on healthcare issues, including quality improvement, policy analysis and healthcare delivery.  

The key responsibilities are to assess healthcare systems, develop recommendations, and to assist clients in implementing changes in order to improve healthcare services and outcomes. 

As a healthcare consultant you will have the flexibility to work independently or to be employed by consulting firms, healthcare organisations or government agencies. 

By specialising in foundation in public health principles, healthcare management and policy analysis in your master’s in public health you will be equipped with the skills to address complex healthcare challenges and to develop evidence-based solutions. 

Potential career pathway: 

  • Entry-level position: Healthcare consultant/ Research analyst 

  • Mid-level position: Senior consultant/ Project lead #

  • Advanced position: Principal consultant/ Healthcare strategy director 

While these seven career pathways represent just a glimpse into the diverse opportunities available in the field of public health, it's essential to remember that there are many other career options out there. Your choice of career should align with your future plans, interest and strengths.  

Take the time to explore different paths, consider what resonates with you most, and pursue opportunities that align with your passion for making a positive impact on public health. Remember, the journey towards a fulfilling career in public health begins with choosing the path that best suits you.