Is a Public Health Career Worth Pursuing?By Eric Hamilton
In the wake of global pandemics such as COVID 19, public health is getting mentioned a lot more than ever before. Not that it was never more relevant, but because our survival is in the hands of public health professionals. From COVID testing to vaccine developing and testing to contact tracing, these professionals are overworking to keep us safe.
Public health is a discipline that is aimed at preventing diseases and prolonging life. While science is at its core, there are varied professions here with very different job descriptions. Think about a water quality expert and an epidemiologist.
Is this career for you? The following are some reasons why you might want to consider getting into public health.
1. Job Security and Growth
Unemployment for public health professionals remains low. You are likely to get a job offer immediately after college. The demand for public health professionals has been on the rise due to increased communicable diseases, chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and environmental hazards.
Global pandemics such as Covid 19 have further increased the demand for these professionals. A research report published in 2008 predicted that the U.S. would need 250,000 additional public health workers by 2020. Today, the industry is facing a major shortfall. Further, job growth is expected to rise by as much as 21 percent by 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
2. A Variety of Options to Choose From
Public health is a broad term that represents all professionals campaigning for people's wellbeing. As a public health student, you will have the opportunity to choose a specialization in any of its five core disciplines: epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and management, social and behavioral health, and environmental and occupational health. What you choose to go for should depend on your skills and interests.
3. You Can Work Anywhere
This is one of the best things about pursuing a career in public health. In this industry, there are no territorial restraints. Public health professionals are in demand in every corner of the world. Literary, you can work in a bustling city or a small village.
This means that you can align your goals to your lifestyle. For example, if you love living and working with underprivileged communities, you can sign up for a job with international organizations working in third-world countries.
4. Have a Global Impact
As a public health practitioner, you will have the opportunity to make an impact in your local community in many ways. For example, you can become a public health educator. This is a role that will allow you to educate the public at the grassroot level on health issues and how to prevent common diseases.
You might also be required to identify local health problems and work with other stakeholders to find a solution.
But you want to make a larger impact, you could get involved in international health initiatives. Here, you will be able to make a difference by influencing health policies and universal programs to advance health in third-world countries and prevent outbreaks.
Getting a global platform is very competitive. If you are interested, you need to have a master's degree in public health. Some schools offer online programs, which can fit in the schedule of busy professionals.
5. You Will Be At the Forefront of Providing Solutions
Public health professionals are at the forefront of preventing and fighting diseases and will not relent until a tangible solution is found. While many public health professionals do not get the same recognition as other health workers, such as physicians, the COVID 19 pandemic has demonstrated just how crucial their role is.
Like other pandemics that have occurred in the past, such as Avian flu, and Ebola, COVID 19 has no cure. Public health has proven to be the most important intervention in reducing the spread of the disease and the strain on the healthcare system.
Public health professionals have been instrumental in public health messaging, monitoring the spread of the disease, testing vaccines, and developing protocols for schools and workplaces.
If you enjoy helping others and finding solutions to health problems affecting the world, public health could be an exciting career for you. Regardless of what area of public health you choose, you will spend your time knowing that you are making a long-lasting difference in society. This may be the most satisfying reason to study public health.
* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of universityherald.com