10 public health careers worth exploring

May 5, 2016

Public Health Specialist

In recent years, experts have been stressing the importance of population-based prevention programs. This has resulted in a greater emphasis on public health, and the prevention of diseases and illnesses before they begin.

If public health is an area that you’re interested in and if you are still exploring your options in this field, here are ten public health careers that are worth exploring. All of these specialties are in high demand and have tremendous future potential, in terms of advancement opportunities as well as salaries.


Epidemiologists are also known as infectious disease specialists. These professionals specialize in studying how various factors affect the health of large populations of people rather than individual patients. Depending on their findings, they then develop appropriate programs that help to eliminate or minimize problems associated with public health crises. Epidemiologists play a vital role in educating people about the safest practices for good health.

Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses are committed to creating optimum public health strategies that protect populations from serious illnesses and diseases such as outbreaks of cholera or HIV. They work hard to improve unhealthy environments and make them healthier.

Disaster and Emergency Specialist

Disaster and emergency specialists develop effective disaster response plans for different scenarios and train other professionals on the best ways to respond to various emergencies and disasters. These specialists usually work with the government or for the military.

International HIV Specialist

HIV specialists educate patients who are infected with HIV on best practices associated with the disease – helping them live a more normal life. These professionals have a vast knowledge of HIV and are committed to protecting the public from this disease. International HIV specialists travel to distant locations that are at high risk for the disease to educate the public and prevent global HIV outbreaks.

Tropical Disease Specialist

Most tropical diseases are highly contagious because of the warm, tropical environments that sustain their growth and help them to thrive. Tropical disease specialists focus on studying this field and travel to tropical countries where they work to stop the spread of dangerous tropical diseases such as malaria, cholera and polio. They work in the field as well as in the lab. Working in this field requires an MD and an MPH.

Public Health Practitioner

Public health practitioners focus on teaching people and at-risk communities about how to engage in healthy behaviors and how to stop diseases from spreading. They also conduct educational programs that aim to promote health and wellness in communities, preventing people from getting sick in the first place.

NGO Director

There are numerous non-governmental and non-profit organizations around the world that play vital roles in maintaining public health. An NGO director oversees all managerial and financial matters of the organization and makes day to day decisions about operations. They also manage all organizational initiatives about public health. While most of their work is done from the office or home, they often visit the communities they work with.

Non-Profit Coordinator

Non-profit coordinators often work with public health related organizations in different parts of the country and around the world. These professionals provide leadership for various non-profit activities related to public health. For example, they may lead a campaign to help the non-profit raise money for various causes related to public health help or to help people in needy communities to stay healthy. A non-profit coordinator usually reports to the manager or executive manager of the non-profit.

International Healthcare Worker

International healthcare workers are dedicated to helping communities in developing and underserved countries. The majority of professionals in this field work with international relief organizations that respond quickly to public health crises around the world. The International Rescue Committee and the Red Cross are two such organizations that provide assistance that is desperately needed to save the lives of refugees who have fled their homes because of natural or manmade disasters. International healthcare workers are familiar with situations in developing countries and have the knowledge and expertise to implement effective plans that will reduce health hazards.

Occupational Health Specialist

Occupational health specialists work towards minimizing public health risks in the workplace by helping management put measures in place to control, eliminate and prevent harm to workers, property, the environment and also the public. Part of their responsibilities includes researching potentially dangerous workplace situations and developing strategies to eliminate or reduce risks caused by these conditions. Often, occupational health specialists who work in the public sector will sit on panels where they help government regulators develop effective regulations aimed at increasing safety in the workplace.


International Medical Work Experience

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.