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What Can You Do with a Public Health Degree?

What Can You Do with a Public Health Degree?

Public health is more extensive than its name might suggest. The global pandemic helped highlight the policy-setting aspect of the field, but practitioners serve in a much wider range of capacities. It’s a profession that often requires vast multi-disciplinary knowledge that includes emerging and existing medical research and practices, federal and state laws, and organizational and management structures. This skillset helps individuals with a public health degree work in numerous industries and leadership capacities, including with international humanitarian organizations, vaccine and pharmaceutical research, and community health.

Public Health Degree Careers

A public health degree is broad by design. Its purpose is to develop students’ understanding of health concerns as they relate to groups of people, rather than on a patient-by-patient basis. The end goal of a degree in public health is to work in a career that positively influences the health of groups of people within the purview of the public health practitioner.

As such, public health workers do not commonly serve patients in a clinical setting. Instead, public health degrees prepare individuals to work in administrative roles within the healthcare industry, or within governmental or organizational settings where physical, mental, and/or emotional health is a concern.

A public health degree qualifies you for jobs such as:

  • Biostatistician
  • Clinical Trials Coordinator
  • Communications Director
  • Community Health Worker
  • Disease Program Evaluator
  • Health Coach
  • Health Program Consultant
  • Healthcare Program Administrator
  • Infection Control Prevention
  • Population Health Specialist
  • Professor of Epidemiology
  • Professor of Public Health
  • Project and Policy Analyst

Because health is a concern for large organizations within every industry, public health practitioners can find roles anywhere from large multinational corporations to small non-profit organizations. Any business or government that has a need for individuals who understand the complexity of healthcare policy may seek to hire professionals who possess a degree in public health.

Can I Work in Community Medicine with a Public Health Degree?

Working in a community medicine capacity is possible with a degree in public health, but it’s much easier to get a job in this area if you have a community medicine degree. Organizations hiring for positions in community medicine are more likely to recognize the difference in training you’ll receive through a community medicine degree program versus a public health degree program.

Public health and community medicine are related fields, but they are notably different in scope. While both fields are concerned with preventing disease, community medicine workers serve a narrowly defined population subset. That subset consists of underserved, underrepresented, or high-risk communities. To that effect, community medicine professionals may work with individuals as well as help set policies related to disease prevention and other disease-mitigation strategies for their select communities.

Compared to public health, community medicine is organized around helping communities and their members reduce their reliance on health resources that treat disease. This is typically accomplished by emphasizing best practices in disease prevention for the types of diseases that impact that community.

For example, an individual with a community medicine degree might specialize in AIDS/HIV prevention. That individual may choose to work with a non-profit organization or city government where AIDS/HIV is a concern and where disease-prevention strategies are necessary to help reduce both the loss of life and the number of individuals who rely on expensive AIDS treatments.

How Do I Get a Degree in Community Medicine?

KGI’s Master of Science in Community Medicine (MSCM) is a great starting point toward a rewarding career in community medicine.

The MSCM program at KGI is fully online, but also hands-on in nature. Begin your two-year journey through the MSCM program by selecting a community that will operate as your “laboratory.” As you progress through the program and learn from professionals in the field, you’ll expand your understanding of how to best serve your selected community—and future communities—through different experimental lenses.

A Master of Science in Community Medicine degree from KGI will equip you to work in a multitude of organizations in any industry that serves underrepresented or high-needs communities. Upon graduation, you can immediately enter the workforce in roles such as biostatistician, epidemiologist, medical administrator, and healthcare director.

If you want to pursue a more advanced degree, the MSCM degree at KGI will give you the proper foundation to enter into and excel in other professional medical training programs. Use your MSCM degree as a starting point for a career in any other medical field, including dentistry, pharmacy, or family medicine.

Contact us today to learn more about the Master of Science in Community Medicine degree program at KGI. Explore application prerequisites, financial aid opportunities, and program coursework.