In the public health field, there are several exciting career paths for one to explore! This resource guide can be used as a general starting point to explore career options, identify internship opportunities, learn about federal employment information, and discover relevant professional organizations in the public health field.
- Public Health Values and Acculturation - ability to provide a basic understanding regarding public health, its history, heroes, methods, and values
- Epidemiology/Quality Assurance/Economics - ability to provide basic skills in evaluative science and concepts and how they apply to the field of public health
- Informatics (using technology to communicate information) - ability to provide a simple explanation of how to utilize technology to effectively communicate information
- Communication - ability to provide a clear understanding regarding the principles of effective communication, as well as the importance of communication, education, marketing, and multi-disciplinary collaboration required in public health practice
- Cultural Competency - ability to convey the importance of cultural competency as it relates to public health practice
- Team Building/Organizational Effectiveness - ability to demonstrate one’s understanding of team work, the principles connected to effective organizations, and the value each of these have within the public health field
- Strategic Thinking and Planning/Visioning - ability to explain the tools and value of strategic thinking and planning as it relates to public health
- Advocacy/Politics/Policy Development - ability to provide an understanding of how public health policy is properly developed (i.e. who makes the policy, how it is developed, what it is based on, and how it is implemented)
- External Coalition Building/Mobilization - ability to demonstrate the skills necessary to develop and sustain essential community relationships
To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the public administration field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on "Job Zone."
As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.
Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships, organized by interest or by federal program.
There are government-organized internship programs, many of which require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies' career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).
The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.
There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in public health. The below list provides a few example places one might find employment using their degree.
While many of the major job search engines, the list below is specific to the public health field.
- American Public Health Association (APHA) CareerMart
- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Career Center
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Career & Employment Links
- Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Job Bank
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Employment Page
- Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
- Health Resources and Services Administration
- National Association of Community Health Centers
- National Association of County & City Health Officials
- National Partnership for Women & Families
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- National Network of Public Health Institutes
- Partners in Health
- Plan International USA
- Public Health Foundation (PHF)
- Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Professional organizations provide job seekers with an excellent opportunity to network with fellow practitioners in their field of study and can assist in staying up-to-date on the newest technology, tools, and best practices. Becoming involved with professional organizations can also help to increase your knowledge in the field, as these organizations typically offer trainings and conferences for members. Additional opportunities may then arise to serve on a committee, have an article published, or even present at a conference.
Below are a few professional organizations within the public health field that you may be interested in.
- American Public Health Association (APHA)
- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)
- Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)
- Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
- Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
- Medicine and Public Health Initiative (MPHI)
- National Association of Community Health Centers
- National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO)
- National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH)
- National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
- World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA)
A login may be required for access to social media.
- American Journal of Public Health
- The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
- American Public Health Association (APHA) - Facebook
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health Publications
- The Carter Center News and Publications
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Publications
- The Nation’s Health - American Public Health Association Newsletter
- Public Health Newswire
- APU Public Health - Facebook