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Pursuing a Career in Public Health Comes with Many Benefits

June 4, 2021

Individuals looking to expand their job opportunities should explore the field of public health. This discipline brings together several different academic areas to provide a comprehensive approach to health care. Individuals who choose to specialize professionally find pursuing a career in this field provides them with endless opportunities. What are some common reasons individuals choose to study public health?

Job Security

Experts predict the need for public health workers will continue to grow in the coming years. Most graduates find employment upon leaving college, leading to a low unemployment rate in the field. Furthermore, increased awareness of the benefits of programs dedicated to public health has led to higher demand for professionals trained in this sector.

Interning serves as an excellent way to increase job security. Some degrees call for an internship, but not all do. Every person should pursue an internship, however, to earn credits while boosting their resume. Schools work with local health departments as well as non-profits and can be of great help in finding the right internship for a student.

Another option involves earning a dual degree. This allows the student to earn two master's degrees in three years and further expands job opportunities. By drawing from two different fields, students increase their opportunities for scholarships, fellowships, and more.

Find Solutions to Pressing Problems

Public health officials work to solve problems related to health at both the community and global levels. They enjoy overcoming challenges seen when fighting diseases while working to enhance programs designed to prevent common health issues. Workers remain engaged as they work to identify different health risks and establish plans to halt them in their tracks. Personal interactions help workers figure out what each community needs and these interactions are combined with statistical data and ethical considerations when comparing potential solutions.

In the past, public health workers functioned to prevent infections and diseases. Over the years, the pressing challenges have altered significantly. Today, individuals in the sector work to address chronic issues such as obesity and traumatic brain injury. Global outbreaks, however, are turning the attention of public health issues to infectious disease prevention once again. Professionals working in the public health sector must adapt to evolving human behavior.

A Helping Hand

People love to help others. A great way to do so is to obtain a Ph.D. in public health. Men and women find their impact in this field leaves a lasting impression on the world. Society improves when humans come together to benefit others. Some individuals choose to work at the local level, helping people of all ages in their community. They educate their neighbors in an effort to improve their health. When doing so, they often collect statistical data to provide better care by learning about local health issues and advocating on behalf of those they serve. 

Certain men and women don't feel comfortable interacting with strangers on a regular basis. This doesn't mean there isn't a place for them in public health. They can choose to work in statistical analysis or explore program design. Doing so helps the community although their faces might not be known. 

An Extended Reach

Public health officials impact more than their local communities. They also play a role in global policy initiatives, doing so by directing programs that work to improve the health of individuals in developing nations while stopping disease outbreaks. Some men and women work in data gathering and analysis while others use the information gathered to establish policy changes that benefit humans across the globe. 

Individuals who wish to work for a global health organization will need to get a master's degree in the field. Those who speak more than one language, such as Spanish or Mandarin Chinese, find they have more job opportunities. The Peace Corps is an outstanding way to get into the field of global public health and individuals find they learn a lot by going this route. 

First Responders and More

Many individuals in public health go into areas with a disease outbreak to prevent a global pandemic. They may be asked to handle the disposal of medical waste when Ebola breaks out in a West African country. Many men and women working in the field stepped in during the COVID-19 crisis to try to stop the virus from spreading. Men and women wishing to get a job involving public health emergency response should study biostatistics or epidemiology. Governments need people in this field, and this is a good place for a person to begin looking for a job. Non-profit organizations also hire individuals with this type of experience. However, they often arrive after the crisis has passed to address any long-term consequences. 

Specific Health Issues

Some individuals enter a public health graduate program as they have watched a loved one suffer from a disease and wish to prevent others from suffering the same fate. For instance, a person could wish to slow the spread of addiction in the country after watching a parent struggle with this disease and ultimately lose their life to it. Personal circumstances often provide the motivation a person needs to enter this field, and any person will find they will have the opportunity to focus on a specific medical issue or a certain population. The opportunities remain wide open for a person pursuing a career in this field. 

One person might choose to talk about their experience, hoping this will educate others and help them avoid going down a similar path. Another individual could work with medical professionals to find new ways to reach an at-risk population, while a third student chooses to go into research to discover new treatments for ongoing issues. Every person will find the right fit for their interests when working in public health. 

Public health remains a critical issue in today's world. From the aging population to the COVID-19 pandemic, health crises arise regularly and must be addressed. Any man or woman who pursues a career in this field will know the work they are doing goes far beyond their sphere and affects people the world over. That's a great feeling for any person to have. 

About the University of California Merced Graduate Division:

The Graduate Division works to serve the graduate student body at UC Merced from their first day on campus through degree completion and beyond.  

Whether a person is just starting to think about how to prepare to apply for graduate school, has a question about what makes a successful fellowship application, needs a way to jumpstart the draft of their exam materials, or has any other question about the ins and outs of graduate education at UC Merced, Graduate Division is here to serve them. UC Merced offers 18 different graduate programs, including studies in Public Health. Explore all programs here.