Focus Areas for MPH Graduates

After earning your Master of Public Health (MPH), there are a vast variety of career opportunities available. The four focus areas below provide a starting point for many different career paths.

Focus Area: Health Policy

  1. Health Care Policy Analyst

Health care policy analysts research complicated health policy problems and formulate subsequent recommendations for reform. Recently, analysts in the health care policy field have focused on the implications of, and improvements to, the Affordable Care Act. Salary varies depending on employer. Experienced health care policy analysts can earn up to $145,000 annually.1

  1. Public Health Lobbyist

Lobbyists represent the interests of groups of people or organizations and work to advance these interests through legislation. A public health lobbyist may represent a wide range of organizations and companies at the local, state or federal level.2 Lobbyists often spend a majority of their time conducting research on the issues they present to legislators.

  1. Political Scientist

Political scientists study the origin, development and operation of political systems. Those with a public health focus spend time researching political processes related to health topics such as government health care programs, environmental health issues and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 21 percent increase in jobs in this profession by 2022. Political scientists can expect to earn approximately $102,000 annually.3

  1. Environmental Health Officer

Environmental health officers work with the federal, state or local government to ensure that companies and organizations are complying with relevant laws. This career path focuses mainly on regulating environmental pollutants and hazards to prevent a negative impact on human health. The BLS reports a mean annual salary of $72,050 for individuals in this field.4

  1. Public Health Planner

Public health planners address the needs of specific communities and advocate for relevant public health policies in the relevant government entities. Public health planners create public health initiatives through gathering and analyzing data.5

  1. Biostatistician

Biostatisticians use statistics to aid in research initiatives in all areas of public health. Many biostatisticians are employed by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that prescription drug trials are accurate and that the drugs are safe. Biostatisticians also work in nongovernmental organizations such as nonprofits, hospitals and consulting firms. The American Statistical Association reports that biostatisticians with a master’s degree or higher can earn up to $150,000 annually.6

Focus Area: Health Communication

  1. Infection and Injury Prevention Specialist

Infection and injury prevention specialists determine the causes of injury and sources of infection in specific communities. They use their research to communicate prevention strategies with the public, hospitals, corporations and more. Infection and injury prevention specialists can earn up to $80,000 annually.7

  1. Community Outreach Program Manager

Managers of community outreach programs coordinate and supervise health related programs and community organizations. They manage staff that provides health related services to the general public. Managers of this caliber make a median annual salary of $59,970.8

  1. Senior Health Educator

Senior health educators are experts in food, nutrition, disease prevention and general wellness.9 They are seasoned health practitioners who often manage a team of educators.10

  1. Public Health Journalist

Public health journalists are experts in the public health field. They create content for news publications, advertisements, television and more. The BLS reports that journalists earn a median annual salary of $55,940, with the top 10 percent earning up to $120,000.11

  1. Medical Writer

Medical writers, often called technical writers, work to explain medical science to the public. Companies that create new medical technologies for professionals often employ them. Medical writers also produce regulatory instructions, presentations, journal abstracts and more. Writers in the technical field earn a median annual salary of $65,500.12

  1. Public Health Librarian

Public health librarians help medical professionals and others conduct medical research. They also help organize medical data in hospitals, libraries and universities. The BLS reports that librarians can earn a median salary of $55,370 annually.13

Focus Area: Global Health

  1. Project Manager

Project managers oversee all aspects of a project.14 In a global health environment, a project manager works to ensure that a health initiative is reaching and exceeding its goals. Project managers are integral to the success of global health projects.

  1. Global Infectious Disease Specialist

Global infectious disease specialists focus on infectious diseases on an international scale. They often focus on infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis or the measles that have large impact in developing countries. These specialists study how diseases are transmitted, where they come from, and how to slow infection rates. Global infectious disease specialists can expect to earn a median salary of approximately $61,000 annually.15

  1. Health Scientist

Health scientists also referred to as medical scientists, conduct research that aims to improve overall public health. Health scientists focus on a wide variety of issues, many of which are of importance in developing and underdeveloped countries. Health scientists earn a median salary of $76,980 annually.16

  1. Nutritionist

Proper nutrition, especially in developing countries, is of the utmost importance for population health. Nutritionists and dieticians with an MPH have the opportunity to help plan and implement adequate nutrition plans for underserved countries and communities. Nutritionists can earn up to $70,000 annually.17

  1. Organization Director

Many public health organizations focus on the improvement of public health in a global environment. MPH graduates could expect to direct and manage an international public health organization. Organization directors create strategies and policies to ensure that the organization meets its public health goals. The BLS reports that executives in these positions can earn $101,650 on average.18

Focus Area: Program Planning and Evaluation

  1. Public Health Consultant

Public health consultants assist organizations with all aspects of their operations in order to protect public health. Consultants of this nature work with consulting firms or directly with industrial corporations, hospitals, government agencies and more. The BLS projects an increase in in employment of consultants in the public health field of 28 percent by 2018.19

  1. Emergency Preparedness Director

Directors in the emergency preparedness field prepare plans and procedures for responses to natural disasters and other emergencies. They manage the response of fire and law enforcement officers, government agencies and volunteers after disasters occur. The BLS reports that emergency preparedness directors can earn approximately $59,770 annually.20

  1. Professor of Public Health

A professor of public health instructs students at the university level. They are often given flexibility with their academic focus and have the opportunity to publish scholarly articles and books. The BLS reports that university-level professors earn approximately $66,970 annually.21

  1. Medical Director

Medical directors are doctors who manage other doctors and medical employees in their field. Their main goal is ensuring that their projects and organizations run smoothly and effectively. Medical directors work in hospitals, private practices, public health agencies and more. The average annual wage for this position is $103,680.22

  1. Nurse Director

Similar to medical directors, nurse directors oversee and manage other nurses in their field.23 They create, implement and manage plans for medical organizations to run smoothly. These directors are employed in hospitals, private practices, wellness organizations and more.

  1. Director of Population Health

Directors of population health work for government agencies or nongovernmental organizations at the local, state, nationwide or international level to improve the health of the general public. In this capacity, directors create population health initiatives and manage employees to ensure the initiatives’ success. A director of population health can earn upwards of $50,000 annually depending on the reach of their programs.24

  1. Public Health Engineer

Engineers interested in public health often focus on solutions to environmental problems that cause health problems such as waste disposal, and water and air pollution. Engineers in public health earn a median annual wage of $80,890 and are expected to see a 15 percent increase in employment opportunities by 2022.25

  1. Research Coordinator

Research coordinators focus on the day-to-day management of public health studies.26 They assist in managing data, recruit research assistants and meet with head researchers. Because research is continuously being completed, research coordinators have the opportunity to work in many different areas of public health.

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