Public Health

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Students on campus
What can I do with this major?
Area Employers Strategies

Behavioral Science and Health Education

  • Programming

    Disease Prevention

  • Community Outreach

  • Grant Writing

  • Fundraising

  • Volunteer Coordination

  • Social Marketing

  • Public Relations

  • Teaching

  • Assessment

  • Research

Local, state, and federal government

Nonprofit organizations such as: American Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association

Community mental health centers

Local health departments

Corporate wellness programs 

Fitness facilities


Colleges and universities


Research and development firms

International health agencies

Become familiar with grant writing techniques and grant submission procedures.

Supplement curriculum with relevant coursework in social work, sociology, psychology, English, journalism, or public relations. Volunteer to gain experience and develop expertise in a particular area or organization. Learn to work well with diverse populations. Get credentialed as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Become involved in health programming on campus. Obtain part-time or summer job with campus health center or wellness coordinator. Develop strong public speaking and presentation skills.

Health Policy and Administration

  • Operations

  • Finance

    Program Management

  • Human Resources

  • Information Technology

  • Marketing

  • Public Relations

  • Facilities

  • Patient Care

  • Provider Relations

  • Policy Analysis

  • Policy Development


Health systems


Medical groups


Home health agencies

Long-term care facilities

Mental health facilities

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)

Academic medical centers 

Public health departments

Government programs such as: Medicare, Medicaid

Supplement undergraduate curriculum with courses in business. Earn a master’s degree in Public Health, Business, or a related field. Gain experience through internships and other work experiences. Develop strong computer and technology skills. For positions in lobbying and legislation, some will earn a law degree. Join related professional organizations and build a network of contacts.

Environmental and Occupational Health

  • Air Quality

  • Food Protection

  • Radiation Protection

  • Solid Waste Management

  • Water Quality

  • Noise Control

  • Housing Quality

  • Vector Control

  • Risk Assessment

  • Management

  • Policy Development

  • Consulting

Government agencies such as: CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration

Local and state health departments

Armed services

Private research facilities

Environmental agencies

Consulting firms

Plan to take courses in chemistry, biology, geology and other related sciences.

Learn to work well with a team of other professionals such as physicians, engineers, and scientists. Read related journals to stay abreast of new trends and legislation in the field.


  • Research

  • Teaching

  • Program Design

  • Program Evaluation

  • Incident/Disease Investigation

  • Risk Assessment

  • Surveillance

Local, state, and federal public health departments

Government agencies such as: National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Armed services

World Health Organization (WHO)

Private research foundations

Pharmaceutical industry

Nonprofit organizations

Develop a solid background in the biological sciences and mathematics. Gain experience with research. Volunteer to assist professors with research or apply for summer research programs. Find a topic of interest and gain as much knowledge and experience in that area. Earn a master's or doctoral degree in public health, epidemiology, microbiology, or a related field.


  • Research

  • Methodology

  • Data Analysis

  • Clinical trials

  • Teaching

Local, state, and federal government

Public health departments

Centers for Disease Control

Pharmaceutical industry

Biotechnology firms

Nonprofit organizations

Colleges and universities

Research institutions


International health agencies

Hone skills and interest in mathematics and statistics. Develop strong computing and technology skills. Get involved with research and gain as much experience as possible.

International Health

  • Social and Economic Development

  • Health Policy

  • Demography

  • Women’s Health

    Children’s Health

  • Design of Healthcare Systems

  • Disease Prevention and Control

International organizations such as: World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank

Bilateral government development agencies such as: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Public Health Service, Office of International Health

Peace Corps

Nonprofit organizations such as: International Red Cross, CARE, Doctors Without Borders

Learn one or more foreign languages.

Study or intern abroad. 

Learn to adapt to cultural and racial diversity.

Be willing to live and work in third world nations.

Strategies for placement in Public Health 

  • Public health is a broad, multi-disciplinary field. Other specialties within public health include areas such as: women’s health, children’s health, nutrition, bioterrorism, gerontology, and veterinary public health.

  • A bachelor’s degree opens the door for entry level opportunities in areas such as health education and promotion and environmental health.

  • A master’s degree is typically required for management, administration, research, policy development, biostatistics, and epidemiology.

  • A doctoral degree is required to reach the highest levels of administration or research and for university teaching positions.

  • Many opportunities in public health exist with government agencies especially: The Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Become familiar with government hiring procedures. Obtain a government internship in area of interest.

  • Develop a specialty area of interest via supplemental coursework and/or work experience for greater marketability within that specific career field.

  • Cultivate personal characteristics such as enthusiasm, dedication, and a positive attitude. Maintain and demonstrate a personal commitment to healthy living.

  • Writing, research, and presentation skills are critical in most career fields related to public health.

  • Gain experience working with diverse populations across diverse settings. Learn to work well with others individually and in groups.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.


American Public Health Association
Public Health Jobs
Association of Schools of Public Health 
American Association for Health Education
Health Promotion Career Network 
Health Promotion Jobs 
Society for Public Health Education 
National Association of Community Health Center
National Association of County and City Health Officials 
Council on Education for Public Health 
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials