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Public Health Overview

Although the medical field has made large advancements over the last century, there are still many people who lack necessary medical care. If you would like to work in a field that allows you to help others reach a state of well-being, consider majoring in Public Health.

With a degree in Public Health, students learn how government programs, education and awareness, communication, and funding play a role in the lack of medical services. You will take classes in biology, human physiology, nutrition, infectious diseases, health policy, and government policy to learn how to improve access to health services, decrease the spread of diseases, reduce substance abuse, and spread information to the general public about health concerns.

Some students choose to major in general Public Health, while others decide to narrow their focus to specific areas such as Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene, Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Maternal and Child Health, International Public Health, and Behavioral Aspects of Health, among others.

Required Skills

Students who major in Public Health should have a passion for helping others. You will devote your time to trying to change government policy, improve available medical resources, and encourage the overall health of communities both within the U.S. and abroad. Strong communication and interpersonal skills will help as you work with community leaders or the general public to spread information and aid in improving healthcare.

Public Health graduates work in fulltime positions improving the health and safety of people around the world. You may work in an office or travel spreading information or raising funds. Since this is an interdisciplinary field, there are many work environments available to you.

A degree in Public Health is usually a graduate degree; however some schools do offer this as a bachelor's program. A graduate degree will provide students with more training in the field and may increase job prospects.


A degree in Public Health leads to numerous career opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad. Some graduates have gone into health communications, nutrition, health education, biostatistics, and epidemiology at organizations such as the Peace Corps, the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. You will be equipped with the skills to work with any business or organization spreading information and improving the physical, mental, and social well-being of people around the world.

The Public Health field is growing faster than average, so students should find ample job opportunities after graduation.

Public Health graduates earn average starting and mid-career salaries of $41,370 and $77,186, respectively.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Public Health might open up.

Community Health Workers
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health
Health Educators
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
Medical and Health Services Managers
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Occupational Health and Safety Technicians
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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