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.

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  • 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 health 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 job board within CareerLink has an extensive list of internships. Browse through the internships organized by interest, location, or organization. Students with open elective credit in many programs can participate in an internship course for elective credit. To learn more about this option, log-in to CareerLink and search Internship in the resources section.

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, 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.

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.