Public Health Manager: Educational Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a public health manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about necessary degrees, job duties and skills to find out if this is the career for you.

Public health managers are required to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as healthcare administration, and may also need a master's degree for some positions. They work closely with hospitals and the public to promote community health and prevent outbreaks. The projected job growth rate through 2024 is faster than average, which means there are many opportunities for those candidates who complete the required training to prepare for a career in this field.

Essential Information

Public health managers have a specific role in promoting and protecting the health of communities, focusing on fields such as abuse prevention, HIV prevention, women's health and a range of similar topics. Unlike other medical professionals like doctors and nurses, public health managers focus on the population rather than individuals, and prevention instead of disease treatment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although some positions in the field of public health management are available for those who have completed a bachelor's program, many positions require a graduate degree either for entry or for promotion (www.bls.gov).

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degree may be required
Other Requirements Practicum required for master's degree students
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 10% for social and community service managers*
Average Salary (2015) $63,530 for social and community service managers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Undergraduate Level

Because of the strong competition for positions as public health managers, students considering these careers may benefit from majoring in a healthcare-related degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. Core classes may delve into the ins-and-outs of the healthcare system, explore marketing concepts for healthcare organizations and provide opportunities for students to analyze different aspects of healthcare. Students may also take elective classes on healthcare technology, operations and economics.

Graduate Level

For those pursuing a career in the public health field, several educational options are available. While the Master of Public Health degree is the most common, other relevant degrees include Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH). At the graduate level, students may take technical courses, such as biostatistics, in order to be able to complete research and studies in healthcare and disease prevention. Additional courses may explore the relationship between health and the environment, aging and nutrition.

Practicum

Master's degree students are typically required to complete some type of internship, externship or practicum in which they may work in a healthcare facility alongside nurses, doctors and other healthcare personnel. Students may gain experience researching and implementing behavior modification programs, as well as promoting the awareness and discussion of healthcare topics like health and homelessness.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Although the BLS does not have a listing specifically for public health managers, the category for 'social and community service managers' encompasses professions of those who manage social service programs for the public, such as public health managers. The BLS noted that jobs for social and community service managers were predicted to increase 10% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. In May 2015, the average annual salary of social and community service managers, including public health managers, was $63,530, according to the BLS.

Public health managers are currently in demand, and candidates with a relevant bachelor's or master's degree will be competitive in this job market. Master's degree programs usually require some hands-on experience in a healthcare facility. In 2015 most public health managers earned between $38,770 and $108,960 annually.


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