Public Health Analyst Overview: Careers, Courses, and Salaries

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Wondering what it’s like to work as a public health analyst? In this career, you’ll use data analysis to help create solutions to health problems and issues. Learn more about how to be a public health analyst and the qualifications you will need.

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Public health analysts use data to inform policies, create solutions to health problems, and implement programs to support the general public's health.

In this role, you might work with federal, state, or local governmental agencies or work with community service providers and groups to address topics such as vaccinations, health care screenings, health care access, substance use disorders, infectious diseases, and more.

If improving the health and well-being of people in your community sounds like something you’d like to build your career around, this could be the job for you. But before deciding for sure, it helps to understand what the role entails, the qualifications you’ll need, and the career path you can expect to follow. 

What exactly is a public health analyst?

A public health analyst collects and analyzes data and uses the insights they get from it to improve public health. You'll provide education and information to the public, community groups, organizations, and governmental agencies in this role. You can expect to help create solutions, provide health information, and communicate with policymakers, the media, and the public. 

In your work as a public health analyst, you will work across various demographics to help create effective solutions to health-related problems. You may visit different locations to evaluate health care costs in a specific area or gauge a particular organization's performance. You may contribute to publications by providing insight to researchers and journalists.

What does a public health analyst do?

What is it like to work as a public health analyst? Your work could cover a broad array of public health-related subjects, or you may choose to focus on specific public health concerns like environmental hazards, mental health, substance abuse, or infectious diseases. Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on where you work and who you work for. Everyday activities you can expect to engage in as a public health analyst include: 

  • Using technology to conduct research on public health issues

  • Analyzing public health information using analytical, quantitative, and qualitative methods 

  • Creating and implementing public health programs based on data

  • Improving health programs’ effectiveness using data-driven insights

  • Storing health records and program documentation

  • Following HIPAA procedures when handling patient information

  • Educating individuals, organizations, and the public at large about specific health concerns 

  • Communicating with groups, policymakers, and organizations to research public health issues

Many different obstacles and challenges can impact public health. You may work on a range of programs and projects designed to address existing issues and prevent or mitigate the impact of future problems. For example, you may head up vaccination programs to help control a specific infectious disease or contribute to implementing cancer screening programs to help catch cancers at the earliest possible stage. 

You might analyze a substance abuse program or policy data to find ways to improve them. You could participate in various initiatives, including evaluating community health programs, contributing to seminars to educate specific groups, analyzing data about environmental hazards and presenting your findings to governmental agencies or nonprofit organizations. 

Public health analyst job roles 

Getting a job in public health analysis often helps to have some experience in the health field and proficiency in working with data analysis. Working in a non-health-related job may also help demonstrate proficiency in necessary skills like interpersonal communication or conducting research, for example. A public health analyst's salary is $86,091 on average, with a likely range of $30,000 to $288,000[1].

Trainee public health analyst

In this role, which may also be called a junior public health care analyst, you could make an average annual salary of $71,835.[2] This is an entry-level role, although employers often look for you to have a background in health care data analysis and proficiency in using common database platforms and analysis tools.

Public health analyst

As a public health analyst, you could make anywhere from $39,000 to $175,000  or more, although the average annual salary is $80,472[3]. You'll conduct research, identify trends, compile industry insights, and more in this role.

Senior public health analyst

As you gain work experience, you may be able to advance to a senior-level position. The average annual salary for senior health care analysts is $103,700, with a typical range of $46,000 to $246,000 [4].

Principal public health analyst

As a principal health care analyst, you will provide data analysis and make sure reports are distributed to the correct people when problems are detected, provide investigation metrics to leadership, and support external partnerships. The average annual salary is $136,186, with a typical range of $58,000 to $341,000[5].

Director of public health 

As a director of public health, you'll use your skills to assist facilities and organizations, provide feedback about issues, address barriers to care, coordinate and oversee other people's work, help figure out funding needs for programs and services, and more. In this role, you could make anywhere from $46,000 to $311,000, although the average annual salary is $117,247 [6].

Health economist

As a health economist, you can expect to analyze the allocation of resources within a medical operation and use the data to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Health care economists work in both public and private industries, dealing with a range of issues, including research funding, building public health centers, and allocating medical professionals in health care facilities. The average annual salary is $101,884, with a common range of $34,000 to $333,000 [7].

Field Epidemiologist

As a field epidemiologist, you'll work to contain infectious diseases, limiting outbreaks and minimizing the spread. Common duties include collecting data for tests, investigating diseases, and creating reports about potential disease spread. The average annual salary is $93,657, with a common range of $42,000 to $223,000[8].

Key qualifications: education and professional certificates

One of the most notable public health analyst qualifications is education. Most employers look for candidates with a bachelor's degree at a minimum. Depending on the role you're seeking, you may need a master's degree, particularly if you're going into academic research roles, which typically require expertise in specific areas of public health.

Common degrees and majors 

The two most common degrees among public health analysts are bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Research shows that 56 percent of public health analysts have a bachelor's degree. Another 31 percent have a master's degree [9]. Common majors include public health, public policy, health administration, and health management. Some of the coursework you can encounter includes:

  • Data analysis in public health

  • Epidemiology

  • Environmental health

  • Health policies

  • Sociology

  • Health sciences

  • Social work

  • Psychology

  • Biostatistics

  • Emergency preparedness

  • Global health

Common public health analyst certifications 

Getting certified isn't a strict requirement. It can, however, help you stand out from other candidates when you apply for jobs. Earning one or more certifications demonstrates that you’ve mastered a specific subject or set of skills. Some of the standard certifications to consider include:

  • Certified in Public Health (CPH): This is a general certification requiring a master's degree in public health and five years of work experience in public health.

  • Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES): If your goal is to take your public health analyst in an educational direction, this might be a good option. To qualify, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree and transcripts that either document that you majored in health education or completed 25 or more semester hours covering the seven areas of responsibility and competency for health education specialists.

  • Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES): If you already have experience working in health education, you could advance to this certification, which requires a CHES and five years of working as a certified health education specialist. Alternatively, you could be eligible if you have a master's degree or higher in public health or a related field and have at least five years of experience working as a certified health education specialist.

  • Certified Public Health Administrator (CPHA): If you want to take your career in more of an administration direction, this could be the right certification for you. Prerequisites include a minimum of a bachelor's degree and three years each of administrative and supervisory experience in public or private health. The three years can be within the same period.

  • Certified Emergency Response Coordinator (CERC): If emergency preparedness is the direction you want to take your career in, consider this certification. To qualify, you need to provide evidence of experience or educational achievements in public health, community health assessments, environmental health, applied epidemiology, infectious disease preparedness, and response, or public health policy. 

Competencies of a Public Health Analyst

To work as a public health analyst, you’ll need to cultivate various skills. Data collection and analysis are two essential technical skills to consider learning. Other vital competencies include:

  • Ability to conduct research and derive insights from it

  • Strong written and verbal communication abilities

  • Ability to engage audiences with proficient public speaking abilities

  • Statistical analysis to determine the urgency of health issues and to discover trends 

  • Project management, including the ability to delegate tasks, evaluate metrics, and review success

  • Problem-solving and the ability to confidently approach challenges

  • Interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate with other professionals

  • Strong computer skills and familiarity with data management and content management systems

Typical career paths into public health roles

There's no single path to becoming a public health analyst. Many begin their careers in entry-level positions such as administrative assistant or intern in health care or a public health setting, research assistant at a university, or gain experience in social work, counseling, or nursing. Your early experience can help you to understand how public health organizations work and help you further hone your skills.

After gaining years of experience as a public health analyst, you have a variety of options to advance your career. You might work as a consultant or program manager before becoming a supervisor, program director, or quality assurance director. After five years, you may move into a senior case manager position. After seven to eight years, you may advance to director of public affairs or project director. After 12 to 13 years, you might advance to director of analytics or director of quality management.

Ready to start a career as a public health analyst? 

As a public health analyst, you'll be instrumental in evoking change and shaping policies and programs that contribute to public health. You may also help solve some of the biggest health challenges that your community and the public face. 

Understanding the direction you want to take is the first step to starting your career as a public health analyst. Before getting started, consider your career goals and the education you need to set yourself on the path.

For example, if you want to work in a global capacity, you might consider earning your Global Master of Public Health. If you're interested in pursuing a career in the health informatics field, you could pursue a Health Informatics MasterTrack Certificate.

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Article sources

1. Glassdoor. “What Does a Public Health Analyst Do? Role & Responsibilities, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/public-health-analyst-career_KO0,21.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022. 

2. Glassdoor. “Salary: Junior Health Care Analyst (April, 2022),  https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/junior-healthcare-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022. 

3. Glassdoor. “What Does a Health Care Analyst Do? Roles & Responsibilities, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/healthcare-analyst-career_KO0,18.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022.

4. Glassdoor. “What Does a Senior Health Care Analyst Do? Roles & Responsibilities, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/senior-healthcare-analyst-career_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022.

5. Glassdoor. “Salary: Health Care Analyst Principal (April 2022), https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/healthcare-analyst-principal-salary-SRCH_KO0,28.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022. 

6. Glassdoor. “Salary: Director of Public Health (April 2022), https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/director-of-public-health-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022. 

7. Glassdoor. “Salary: Health Economist (April 2022), https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/health-economist-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022. 

8. Glassdoor. “What Does a Field Epidemiologist Do? Role & Responsibilities, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/field-epidemiologist-career_KO0,20.htm.” Accessed April 1, 2022. 

9. Zippia. “Public Health Analyst Demographics and Statistics (2022), https://www.zippia.com/public-health-analyst-jobs/demographics/.” Accessed March 31, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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