In today’s challenging job market, chances are that you have heard that healthcare is one of the few fields that continues to grow. Demand for trained healthcare professionals is always on the rise, and the field offers more job security than almost any other.
When you think of healthcare jobs, though, you probably think of positions like doctors, nurses, lab technicians and the like – and if you are a career changer or recent graduate, you might be unable (or not interested) in the years of study required to become a doctor or nurse. A lack of interest or ability in that area doesn’t mean that you can’t work in the healthcare realm, though. Public health, which encompasses the notions of ensuring access to medical care for everyone, disease prevention, health education and advocating for clean air, water and food, is a growing field. Thus, studying public health opens up a wide range of career possibilities.
If you’re considering seeking a masters of public health, here are five reasons to give it a go:
Job Opportunities both at Home and Abroad
No one can deny that the job market today is challenging, even for experienced professionals. However, the public health field is robust, with jobs available in almost every city and state and, yes, around the globe. With a master’s in public health, it’s possible to land a job with an international organization like the American Red Cross or World Health Organization, and travel around the world to study and assess public health issues and work toward eradicating them.
Jobs in a Variety of Settings; Not Just Hospitals
Not only are public health jobs available worldwide, but they aren’t just limited to healthcare settings like doctor’s offices or hospitals. With a MPH degree, you could work with a government or community agency, insurance or drug company, nonprofit agency, school or local clinic.
A Chance to “Save the World”
Okay, so maybe you won’t literally don a cape and boots and rescue the world from health-related problems, but you’ll come pretty close. Whether you are researching infectious diseases in a third world country or visiting with new mothers to assess newborn babies and provide advice and guidance on proper hygiene, your efforts are all geared toward the greater good and help make the world a healthier place.
A Chance to Work in Healthcare – Without Focusing on Direct Patient Care
Entering the public health field does not mean that you’ll never have to change a dressing or assess an injury. However, it does mean that you won’t be providing the intense bedside care that traditional nurses provide.
One reason that some people choose to study public health is that they will not have to deal with the “blood and guts” that’s a part of traditional healthcare jobs. In general, that’s true, although you will likely need some training and experience in providing direct patient care. For example, as organizations look for ways to reduce healthcare costs, insurance companies engage public health professionals to provide health assessments and educate employees about healthy lifestyles. These assessments may require drawing blood, checking blood pressure or other care-type activities.
The vast majority of public health activities are research, assessment and education-related. Some patient interaction, and yes, some minor medical care may be required, but it’s not the focus of the job.
Public Health is a Growing and Dynamic Field
The field of public health has grown exponentially over the past ten to fifteen years, and will only continue to grow as epidemics like HIV and AIDS continue to ravage entire populations and concerns about terrorism and its effects on public health escalate. As long as new diseases continue to evolve, and individuals, corporations and governments focus on keeping people healthy, there will be a need for professionals to lead the efforts toward maintaining health.
Public health is a challenging field of study and earning a Master’s of Public Health requires a strong commitment to identifying and designing creative ways to solve problems. However, the reward is the sense of satisfaction and personal fulfillment that comes from knowing that you are greatly improving the lives of others.