Career Information for a Degree in Public Health and Safety

Oct 04, 2019

Public health and safety degrees prepare individuals for careers in the healthcare system. Continue reading for an overview of programs and career options.

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With a degree in public health and safety, it's possible to pursue a career as a public health educator or health service manager. Public health educators may also choose to earn certification, and a master's degree is recommended for health service managers.

Essential Information

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees are available in public health. The word 'safety' is not usually included in the title of these programs, but a program's curriculum may include coursework on the topic.

Career Health Service Manager Public Health Educator
Education Requirements Master's degree recommended Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Optional certification Certification may be required by employers
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 18% for medical and health services managers 10% for health educators
Average Salary (2018)* $113,730 annually for medical and health services managers $59,660 annually for health educators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A degree in public health and safety can prepare an individual for a variety of positions in the health and safety field. Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered. Graduates of public health degree programs can work for government health agencies, non-profit health organizations, schools or universities, community health education centers, hospitals, health insurance companies or health research facilities. Two common job titles for graduates of public health programs are health service manager and public health educator. Keep reading for more information on these two careers.

Health Service Manager

A health service manager plans and supervises the delivery of healthcare to the public. Many employers require that an individual have a master's degree to assume a health services manager position in an area such as public health, health sciences or health services administration, but a bachelor's degree may be acceptable for some positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018, the average annual salary for medical and health service managers was $113,730, and the demand for medical and health services managers was predicted to grow 18% between 2018 and 2028.

Public Health Educator

Public health educators teach the public about ways to prevent illness or injuries. For example, they may discuss proper nutrition or exercising. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is usually required for this position, but a master's degree may be required for leadership positions. Some educators may choose to get a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential, which is offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc. In 2018, the BLS reports that the average annual salaries of health educators $59,660, and the occupation was predicted to grow 10% between 2018 and 2028.

Degree Options

Bachelor's degree programs provide instruction in health office operations, health and human behavior, planning community health programs and contemporary health issues. The curriculum of master's degree programs covers topics such as public health practice, occupational safety and health management, physiology, environmental health, epidemiology and statistics. Some programs allow students to concentrate on subjects like infectious diseases or health policy. Full-time master's degree programs require about one year of study and include a capstone course and practicum. Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health and Doctor of Public Health degree programs are also available. The former of these programs is research oriented, while the latter is practice oriented. Both programs include coursework covering subjects like health systems and policy, the principles of epidemiology, environmental health and biostatistics. They require each student to complete teaching assistantships and write a dissertation.

Health service managers oversee how people receive healthcare. Public health educators teach people about how to be healthy, prevent injuries and avoid illnesses. Degrees in public health and safety, which are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, prepare these professionals for their careers.

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