Public Health Schools Colleges & Universities

Health educators help people make better health choices, educate the public and assist schools, companies and governments develop better health policies. Degrees in public health can lead to a career in a very important field.

Public Health Colleges Prepare You for a Career of Positive Change: Public health schools can put you in a position to help the public with all kinds of health issues. With degrees in public health, bachelor's or higher, at times you'll be the only person to notify the public of a health risk. Public health colleges are challenging but rewarding.

Public Health Schools: For students in public health schools, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, you stand a better chance of success if you:

  • • Are comfortable with individuals or groups
  • • Communicate well
  • • Can speak well in public, such as teaching classes or giving presentations
  • • Are sensitive and open to working with people from different backgrounds and cultures
  • • Can be creative, as you would often create new programs or materials

To advance beyond entry level jobs, graduate degrees in public health are usually required. Experience will improve you chances of acceptance.

University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health students average 29-years old and three to five years of work experience. Admissions can be competitive too, as the school received 220 applications for the Fall 2009 semester yet only 27 enrolled.

Public health schools may offer degrees in related fields, such as the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health. They offer degrees in public health and exercise science at the undergraduate level; biostatics, communication sciences, disorders, and epidemiology at the graduate level.

Public Health Certifications: While you're still enrolled in public health colleges, you can become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), a credential offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Certification is encouraged in most states and required by a few. Certification is necessary for public health departments of government. As a student, you can be certified 90 days before graduation. You must complete 75 hours of continuing education credits every five years.

Public Health Pros at Work: Public health educators work with the public to encourage better health either at schools or hospitals, in classrooms or lectures. They advocate policies and help dictate public institutions as well as companies' public health policies. They are involved in safety, health, policy, community and prevention. According to the BLS, public health educators were employed most in 2009 in the following industries:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals: 10,810
  • Local governments: 7,030
  • Individual and family services: 6,820
  • Outpatient care centers: 3,870
  • State governments: 3830

Graduates from public health schools could see 18 percent growth between 2008 and 2018, faster than other occupations, according to the BLS. A good deal of growth will be in secondary schools as educators.

The median wage in 2009 for public health educators was $44,340. The highest paying industry was in specialty hospitals (Except psychiatric and substance abuse) at $59,210, and then junior colleges at $57,190.

The writer Matt Riddle is a freelance writer based out of Reno, Nev. A journalism graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno, Riddle was a newspaper reporter and then an account coordinator for a political consultant in Reno where he worked for several successful campaigns. His interests are many, but CrossFit, rock climbing, reading and writing, skiing, snowboarding, fatherhood and acting round up the list.

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