Students interested in pursuing careers that allow them to promote the public health of individuals and communities may be drawn to the field of public health.
Public health professionals not only track disease outbreaks and educate people about the dangers of smoking, vaping, alcohol and drug use but also establish safety standards to protect workers and develop healthy meal programs for schools, helping to ensure that students have access to nutritious food. In other instances, public health officials may conduct research, recommend policies and work to reduce health disparities. While doctors treat individuals who are sick, public health officials aim to prevent people from getting sick in the first place.
The first step toward pursuing managerial and other high-level positions in the field is to complete an advanced education. With a broad curriculum in biostatistics, epidemiology, public health policy, finance and budget, and health informatics, the online Master of Public Health (MPH) in Public Health Practice from the University of Nevada, Reno has been designed to provide graduates with the skills they’ll need to tackle the world’s biggest health problems. Whether students are intrigued by public health policy or want to address health issues facing their community, there is a need for the expertise an MPH can provide.
Jobs for MPH Graduates
MPH graduates can choose to pursue a number of master’s in public health jobs and career paths. The depth and diversity of public health, coupled with the opportunity to effect lasting change, makes it an exciting field. As you move forward with your graduate degree, here are four of the most interesting jobs to consider as an MPH graduate:
1. Program Director
Public health program directors often work in local and state health departments. Individuals working in this role oversee and develop educational programs, such as those designed to teach community members about making healthy decisions in areas such as quitting smoking, hand-washing and eating a balanced diet. They may also develop initiatives to encourage people to get immunizations, regular health screenings and seek out prenatal care, as needed.
Public health program directors also develop and oversee initiatives designed to address existing health challenges in the communities they serve, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and educate those who need care about free or low-cost resources they can use to get medications and/or medical screenings.
2. Executive Director
Public health executive directors work for state and local health departments, nonprofits, and community health care clinics, among other organizations. In addition to overseeing community health programs, such as those designed to assess, plan and implement various public health services, they appoint department heads, oversee budgetary activities, approve and negotiate contracts, and identify ways to cut costs and streamline processes.
In smaller organizations, public health executive directors may also oversee hiring, training, staff development and other day-to-day operational duties. In larger organizations, they may work closely with other executives, such as the chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO), to further the organization’s mission.
3. Chief Financial Officer
Chief financial officers (CFOs) working in public health prepare financial statements (such as profit and loss statements and tax documents), set and monitor budgets, and review spending to determine how to reduce costs.
CFOs also supervise employees within the financial department and help managers and department leaders make various financial decisions, such as how to best allocate department budgets in ways that maximize their departmental goals.
In some organizations, public health CFOs also work to secure funding — such as local, state and federal grant funding — to support various programs and initiatives.
4. Health Commissioner
Health commissioners play an important role in public health. They create and oversee programs designed to keep large communities, such as cities and states, in good health.
Individuals working in this high-level position report directly to the mayor or governor as they work to identify and assess the most critical medical needs of the communities they serve. These professionals also develop and implement plans designed to eliminate health disparities; improve community well-being via educational outreach; and oversee health care delivery for children, adolescents, adults and elderly populations.
Health commissioners may also serve as incident communicators should a public health emergency, such as an infectious disease outbreak, emerge within the community. In some instances, they also oversee preparedness and response teams and serve as a liaison between public health teams and the media.
Earn Your MPH and Pursue a Rewarding New Career You Want
Wherever your public health career interests lie, the online master’s in public health program from the University of Nevada, Reno can provide you with the knowledge and the skills needed to be successful.
The flexible, fully online MPH program includes a comprehensive curriculum, with courses covering topics such as health informatics, public health policy, and epidemiology and biostatistics. Its goal is to prepare graduates to look beyond populations’ physical health and instead consider the various economic, environmental and sociological factors that impact their well-being. Discover how the online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice at the University of Nevada, Reno can prepare you for the next step in your career.
American Public Health Association, What Is Public Health?
CDC Foundation, What Is Public Health?
Chegg Career Match, Health Commissioner
Douglas County Public Health Executive Director
North Georgia Health District, “What Does Your Local Health Department Do in Your Community?”
Society for Human Resource Management, Public Health Director
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers