By Published On: January 31, 2024

The field of public health presents a variety of benefits to individuals interested in the betterment of national, state, and local health. If you’re considering a career in public health or already pursuing a degree in this field, you may be wondering about the job outlook and the various career options available.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of public health careers, focusing on opportunities for both entry-level professionals with bachelor’s degrees and mid to senior-level roles for those who have a master of public health (MPH).

Public Health Careers Outlook

The public health industry has become increasingly important, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This global health crisis shed light on the critical role of public health professionals in disease prevention, healthcare system management, and community well-being. As we move forward, the demand for skilled public health practitioners is expected to remain strong, making it a promising field for those considering a career in this sector.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow much faster than the national average for all occupations in the next decade. There are approximately 1.8 million healthcare job openings on average projected for each year. The BLS also notes that a 9.2% job open rate in the sector of healthcare and social assistance. Comparatively, educational services have a job open rate of 5.2% — showing the strong demand and accessibility of career opportunities in public health and related work.

Public health workers play an important role in the healthcare industry and are a part of these projections. Therefore, the outlook for public health careers is positive and demand will continue to rise for professionals in this field.

What Can You Do with a Public Health Degree?

A public health degree opens the door to a wide range of career avenues, allowing individuals to make a positive impact on community health and well-being. New 4-year degree-holding graduates can pursue entry-level roles such as:

  • Community health workers
  • Environmental health specialists
  • Health educators
  • Public health analysts
  • Research assistants

With advanced degrees such as a master of public health (MPH), doors to mid to senior-level positions in epidemiology, health care administration, health policy analysis, global health, and more become accessible.

Public health professionals have the opportunity to work in diverse settings, from government agencies and health care organizations to research institutions and non-governmental organizations, addressing critical health issues, promoting health equity, and improving overall public health outcomes. The versatility of a public health degree allows individuals to tailor their career path to their interests and passions within the field.

Entry-Level Careers in Public Health

Those who have recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public health or another relevant field can expect to pursue entry-level public health career opportunities.

These are just some of the possible careers for graduates:

Health Educator

One of the most accessible entry-level positions for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in public health is that of a health educator. Health education specialists work to inform and educate communities about health-related topics, such as nutrition, disease prevention, and healthy lifestyle choices. They often collaborate with schools, healthcare facilities, and community organizations to develop and implement educational programs.

Community Health Worker

Community health workers serve as a bridge between communities and healthcare providers. They assist in identifying health needs within communities, provide outreach and education, and connect individuals to health care services. This role is highly rewarding for those who want to make a direct impact on underserved populations.

Environmental Health Specialist

Environmental health specialists focus on safeguarding public health by assessing and addressing environmental factors that may impact well-being. They work with government agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to monitor and regulate air quality, water safety, and food sanitation.

Public Health Analyst

Public health analysts collect and analyze data related to health trends and outcomes. They help organizations and government agencies make informed decisions about health policies and interventions. Entry-level positions in this field often involve data entry, research, and report preparation.

Research Assistant

For individuals interested in research and data analysis, a role as a research assistant in a public health setting can be an excellent starting point. Research assistants support ongoing studies and projects, gather/organize data, and contribute to the research process.

Mid to Senior-Level Careers in Public Health

Wondering, “What can you do with a master’s degree in public health?” People with an MPH can pursue higher-level roles like the ones below.


Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate the causes and patterns of diseases and other health-related issues. They design and conduct studies, analyze data, and make recommendations for disease control. A master’s degree in public health or a related field is typically required for this role.

Public Health Program Manager

Public health program managers oversee the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and initiatives. They collaborate with various stakeholders, allocate resources, and ensure that programs meet their goals and objectives.

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators are responsible for managing the operations of healthcare facilities and organizations. These professionals play a critical role in ensuring that healthcare services are efficient, effective, and accessible to the community. Many healthcare administrators have an MPH degree and may work in hospitals, clinics, or public health agencies.

Health Policy Analyst

Health policy analysts work at the intersection of public health and policymaking. They research and assess healthcare policies, advocate for evidence-based policy changes, and work with government agencies and advocacy groups to influence public health legislation.

Global Health Specialist

Global health specialists focus on addressing health issues on a global scale. They may work with international organizations, NGOs, or government agencies to improve healthcare access, address infectious diseases, and promote health equity in underserved regions around the world.

Benefits of Getting an MPH Degree

Pursuing an MPH offers numerous advantages for individuals looking to advance their careers in the sector and make a significant impact on the well-being of communities and populations. Here are some key benefits of obtaining this degree:

Expertise and Specialization

An MPH program provides in-depth knowledge and expertise in various areas of public health, allowing students to specialize in their chosen fields, such as epidemiology, health policy, environmental health, or global health. This specialization enhances their ability to address specific health challenges and contribute to targeted solutions.

Expanded Career Opportunities

An MPH degree opens doors to a broader range of career opportunities, particularly in mid to senior-level positions. Graduates are well-prepared for roles in research, program management, policy analysis, and leadership positions within government agencies, healthcare organizations, and nonprofit entities.

Leadership and Advocacy Skills

MPH programs emphasize leadership and advocacy skills, empowering graduates to be effective change agents in the field of public health. They learn how to navigate complex healthcare systems, influence policy decisions, and advocate for evidence-based practices that improve public health outcomes.

Networking Opportunities

Students in MPH programs have the chance to build valuable connections with professors, peers, and professionals in the field through internships, research projects, and networking events. These connections can lead to job opportunities, collaborations, and ongoing support in their public health careers.

Impactful Research and Projects

Many MPH programs offer opportunities for students to engage in meaningful research and community-based projects. These experiences allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world issues, make a positive impact on communities, and build a portfolio of practical achievements.

These are just a few examples of why someone would choose to continue their education and earn an MPH graduate degree.

Why an MPH at Valparaiso University?

The Valpo master of public health curriculum is designed to prepare individuals of a variety of educational and work backgrounds to be job-ready on day one. Being successful in this area of healthcare requires the combination of community health expertise and diverse population understanding. Often, the success of public health initiatives and policy centers around professionals who truly understand the specific challenges and concerns of a local, state, or national population.

At Valpo, our program is designed to provide students with the training and exposure to handle and solve the complex health dynamics of all population groups. We help students accomplish this through our experiential learning service which has built-in learning interactions with public health professionals in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and public health agencies around the world to strengthen their cross-cultural communication skills and exposure to differing population health issues.

By the time students exit our program, they are best equipped to face longstanding and emerging public health problems like:

  • Environmental health exposure (food plastics, heavy metals, etc.)
  • Rural health access
  • Patient & data privacy
  • Health equity & outcomes

With a flexible program structure and a 15:1 student-to-professor ratio, individuals in all stages of life can know they are getting the right attention and education to succeed upon graduation.

Earn Your Master of Public Health at Valparaiso University

If you’re passionate about making a positive impact on public health and aspire to pursue mid to senior-level careers in this field, obtaining a master of public health can significantly expand your opportunities.

At Valparaiso University, we offer a comprehensive MPH program that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to excel as healthcare professionals. Take your next career step and apply today.

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