18 Public Health Careers to Consider (Including Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Public health is an integral part of society that focuses on improving community health through research, education and disease prevention. The public health industry comprises a wide range of professionals with varying expertise and responsibilities. If you have an interest in working within this sector, it can be beneficial to learn about the different careers available to determine which might suit you best. In this article, we list 18 public health careers along with their national average salary and primary duties.

18 public health careers

Below, you can find a list of public health careers to consider:

1. Health coach

National average salary: $62,192 per year
Primary duties: The primary responsibility of a health coach is to help their patients make lifestyle changes they can sustain to improve their physical health and their wellbeing. They do this through a variety of evidence-based practices, for example, using a range of questioning and conversational techniques and helping their patients set realistic goals. A key duty of a health coach is to conduct regular check-ins with their patients over a period, which they may do over the phone or in one-on-one meetings in person.

2. Community health worker

National average salary: $73,900 per year Primary duties: The two key responsibilities of a community health worker are to build relationships with community members and coordinate the health care they may require. They do this through a range of duties, for example, educating the community on health issues, assisting people to locate health information or care and facilitating communication with health care providers. They may also collect data for various service systems, drive patients to their health care appointments and provide basic health services, such as measuring patients' blood pressure.

Related: What Is a Community Health Worker? (With Duties and Skills)

3. Emergency services officer

National average salary: $74,623 per year
Primary duties: The key responsibility of emergency services officers is to plan and direct crisis management activities, typically for large companies. They help prepare for disaster response and educate companies and individuals on how to respond to medical emergencies. Depending on where an emergency services officer works, they may also undertake random drug and alcohol testing and provide new employees or those returning to work with medical clearance.

4. Research assistant

National average salary: $76,944 per year Primary duties: Research assistants in the public health sector assist with conducting literature reviews, collecting and analysing data related to public health and preparing materials to be submitted to foundations and grant agencies. As this is an entry-level role, it's common for their duties to be primarily administrative.

5. Microbiologist

National average salary: $82,091 per year Primary duties: Microbiologists' duties involve studying microorganisms such as viruses, fungi, parasites and bacteria and assessing their impact on the environment and communities. They typically use biotechnology to perform their duties. Microbiologists review current scientific literature to maintain up-to-date knowledge of scientific advancements. They also consult with health industry stakeholders and government agencies regarding their findings.

6. Medical technologist

National average salary: $85,476 per year Primary duties: Medical technologists collect and test biological samples to diagnose and treat various health issues. Their primary duties involve preparing samples for testing, conducting testing and correctly reporting on testing results. If medical technologists deem a sample invalid, they may inform clients of sample recollection protocols. Ensuring laboratory equipment is operating efficiently can be another common duty of medical technologists.

7. Nutritionist

National average salary: $88,036 per year Primary duties: A nutritionist's role is ultimately to improve their clients' health and wellbeing through nutrition. Their duties include providing nutritional counselling, creating personalised nutritional plans and providing general education on nutrition and the impact it can have on someone's health. Nutritionists typically collaborate with a team of health care professionals to develop nutritional management strategies for patients and research the effects of nutrition.

Related: What Does a Public Health Nutritionist Do? (With Skills)

8. Outreach specialist

National average salary: $89,987 per year
Primary duties: The main responsibilities of an outreach specialist are to conduct public surveys and collect data related to the social and health needs of the community. Equipped with this information, they can develop wellness programs and track their progress. A typical duty of an outreach specialist role is collaborating with businesses and organisations to deliver health education. They may also offer support to other people working in the public health sector. Most of their duties involve direct communication with the community and health care providers.

9. Program coordinator

National average salary: $91,737 per year Primary duties: A program coordinator's main duties are to take care of a company's administrative and human resources tasks, organise and initiate health and wellness-related programs within the company and create and implement procedures and policies. They're usually responsible for communicating any programs to internal and external parties and monitoring them through their life cycle. It's also typical for these coordinators to assist with the creation and management of program budgets.

Related: What Does a Program Coordinator Do? (With Skills and Salary)

10. Environmental scientist

National average salary: $92,107 per year Primary duties: The key responsibility of an environmental scientist it to conduct research studies to identify and help control issues that affect public health and the environment. Their primary duties involve collecting and analysing various data, such as water, air and soil samples. Environmental scientists then create prevention strategies to fix environmental issues that affect public health, such as poor water quality and air pollution. Another primary duty of this role is sharing research findings with public health stakeholders and organisations.

11. Occupational health and safety manager

National average salary: $99,392 per year Primary duties: It's the responsibility of an occupational health and safety manager to monitor health and safety risks in the workplace. Their duties involve assessing workplace risks, developing health and safety procedures and communicating a company's safety and health standards and practices to its workforce. Occupational health and safety managers also implement post-injury procedures, ensure a workplace complies with health and safety regulations and advocate for organisational policies that promote health, safety and wellbeing.

Related: What Is an Occupational Health Nurse? (And How to Become One)

12. Health educator

National average salary: $99,478 per year Primary duties: A health educator's primary duty is to assess the health needs of the community and educate community members on health topics. They do this by conducting research, creating wellness programs and initiatives and developing and distributing community health resources. Health educators may also teach individuals how to cope with existing health issues and provide informational counselling and social support to community members.

Related: What Does a Health Educator Do? (Plus 3 Job Sectors to Consider)

13. Health information manager

National average salary: $102,071 per year Primary duties: The primary duties of a health information manager are to oversee the collection, updating, organising and recording of information relating to healthcare. These health care professionals are often also responsible for the maintenance of the record systems they use to log information. A healthcare information manager may assist with the development of health policies and procedures and ensure that the methods facilities use for collecting and storing data are legally and ethically compliant.

14. Medical writer

National average salary: $102,865 per year Primary duties: A medical writer's role is to pair their writing skills with their medical and scientific understanding to produce written medical content for a range of audiences. Depending on their background and where they work, this content may include technical documents, patient information, educational resources or promotional matter. They create this content by conducting research, communicating with medical professionals and interviewing experts on various topics.

15. Biostatistician

National average salary: $110,926 per year Primary duties: Biostatisticians' key duties include conducting quantitative research to improve the public health system and preserve public health at a variety of levels. Through their research, they identify potential public health threats and develop solutions to safeguard public health care and promote quality of life in the community. This may include determining the most effective method for deploying health resources in the case of an epidemic.

16. Epidemiologist

National average salary: $113,869 per year Primary duties: An epidemiologist's primary duties are to create and direct studies related to public health issues and determine ways to prevent these issues. They develop treatments for public health issues when they arise and collect and analyse data related to the causes of diseases. Epidemiologists also plan public health programs and assess their progress and impact.

Related: Epidemiologist Resume Skills: Definition and Examples

17. Public health nurse

National average salary: $117,881 per year Primary duties: The duties of a public health nurse involve improving and protecting the wellbeing of the community through applying nursing knowledge combined with public health science. They provide information to the community about various health conditions and how to identify and treat them. Public health nurses ensure that the community can access the health information they require to make health decisions. They also work closely with public health officials to advocate improved health care.

18. Professor

National average salary: $190,610 per year Primary duties: A professor in the public health sector designs courses, plans lessons and delivers lectures to students related to public health. They consult with students, mark assessments and provide constructive feedback. A large part of their role also involves conducting public health research and performing administrative duties within the public health department of an educational facility.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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