Jobs and Salary Info for a Bachelor's Degree in Public Health
A bachelor's degree in public health prepares students for careers in health education, social work or related fields. Programs often cover biological and social sciences, education strategies, epidemiology and health administration. Some bachelor's degree programs provide further training through internships tailored to the student's public health interest, such as those in schools, clinics or community organizations.
Public Health Career Options
Bachelor's degree programs in public health prepare students for entry-level jobs in governmental and public health agencies, hospitals, non-profit organizations and other health care settings. Two common entry-level positions for those with training in public health are health educator and social worker.
Health Educator Job Description
Health educators provide information to individuals and communities about healthy living, disease prevention, safety, parenting, family planning and many other areas. They may work for colleges or secondary schools, state and local public health departments, nonprofits or private businesses. The programs they run range from sex education classes in high school settings to outside counseling services to hospital patients.
Health Educator Job Skills
Health educators must have excellent communication skills to work well with individuals and groups from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Because they are often in charge of designing and implementing new programs, health educators must be adaptable, creative and in touch with the communities they serve.
Health Educator Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Due to the rising cost of healthcare, employers, insurance companies and governmental organizations are looking for ways to curb costs through preventative health measures. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment opportunities for health educators would grow by 19%, faster than the national average, from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that the median annual salary for health educators is $48,790 as of May 2012.
Social Worker Job Description
Social workers assist clients in overcoming emotional, situational, socioeconomic and other types of hardships. They may work with children, families, mental health patients, substance abusers or prisoners. Social workers perform a wide range of duties, which may include counseling clients, planning and implementing programming, fundraising, advocacy and administrative work.
Individuals interested in a social work career must typically pursue a graduate degree in social work to become licensed. However, a bachelor's degree in public health often qualifies individuals for entry-level social work positions, which do not require licensing, such as those with non-profit or community-based organizations.
Social Worker Job Skills
Social workers need to be comfortable working with individuals who face severe hardships and must be able to communicate well with a diverse array of people. They should be able to work independently at on-site locations, such as clients' homes, homeless shelters, mental health organizations, schools or jails. Additionally, social works require critical thinking skills to assess the needs of clients and apply problem-solving techniques.
Social Worker Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The BLS reports that the field of healthcare social work should see rapid job growth of 27% between 2012 and 2022, largely due to an aging baby boomer generation, who, along with their families, will seek help from social workers to locate appropriate care. As of May 2012, healthcare social workers earned a median income of $49,830 per year, according to the BLS.
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