Entry-Level Career Options in Public Health
The field of public health offers several different kinds of entry-level positions that range in duties from educating the public concerning health topics to ensuring the public's safety. Learn about a few of the entry-level jobs requiring little to no previous experience that are available in public health.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*|
|Community Health Workers||$37,330||18%|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians||$66,820||8%|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health||$44,190||12%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Entry-Level Jobs in Public Health
Health educators promote wellness to the public and are not required to have prior work experience in a related occupation. These educators develop programs based specifically on the needs of their community to address a wide range of health topics. They connect community members with health services, train and oversee community health workers and analyze data to monitor the effectiveness of different programs. Health educators earn a bachelor's degree that often includes an internship and may need the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential.
Community Health Workers
Community health workers do not need related work experience to talk about various health topics with the public. These workers help educate the community about health care services, run outreach programs and advocate for different health needs of the community. They also collect data from the community and discuss their findings with health educators to better identify the needs of a community. Some community health workers may need certification, but most need a high school diploma and some on-the-job training.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians are not required to have related work experience to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations in different workplaces. They inspect workplaces and help develop procedures to keep workers, the environment and the public safe from various hazards. They must complete detailed reports on their findings, evaluate different health and safety programs and educate workers on proper safety techniques. Occupational health and safety specialists need a bachelor's degree, while technicians can either receive on-the-job training or hold a certificate or associate's degree in the field.
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
Environmental science and protection technicians are similar to occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, except that they monitor the environment for conditions that could affect public health. These technicians do not need previous work experience in a related career to inspect establishments for hazards and check areas for pollution. They typically collect soil, air and water samples to analyze from different areas and present their findings to their clients in detailed reports. Some environmental science and protection technicians may need a bachelor's degree, but most just need 2 years of postsecondary education or an associate's degree. Positions that include handling hazardous waste will usually require training through OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration).
Epidemiologists are not required to have any work experience in a related job; however, the mandatory master's degree program often includes an internship or practicum. These public health professionals collect and analyze data to try and figure out ways to treat and/or prevent the spread of different health conditions. They may use their findings to inform and educate the public, as well as policymakers to work toward improving public health programs.