9 Jobs You Can Get with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health 

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) is a popular major for students interested in improving the overall health of individuals and communities.

[Featured image] Two public health workers in protective goggles work in a scientific lab.

While some students choose to enroll in a Master of Public Health (MPH) program once they’ve earned their undergraduate degree, many enter the workforce. 

Although a career in public health tends to focus on helping various populations become healthier, it typically involves many different types of work, including research, policy writing, education, and leadership. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects health care occupations to grow by 13 percent by 2031 [1]. Given the growth rate and the variety of public health careers, a job in public health can be a lucrative and meaningful endeavor. 

In this article, we’ll go over entry-level jobs you can explore with a bachelor’s degree in public health and the transferable skills you may develop from your undergraduate studies. 

9 public health bachelor’s degree jobs 

Public health is a broad term encompassing several areas, such as epidemiology, public policy, nutrition, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases. As such, you have an assortment of career options to explore. 

We’ve compiled nine roles you can get with a BSPH. Each listing includes salary details and, where possible, the estimated job growth over the next decade from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the jobs listed below are entry-level, you may find that companies and organizations have different experience requirements. 

1. Health education specialist 

  • Median annual salary (BLS):$48,860

  • Estimated job growth: 12 percent

Informing individuals and groups about ways to improve their health and well-being is an important aspect of public health. Health education specialists often work with communities in many ways, including conducting research into ongoing health issues, implementing educational programs, reviewing messaging and communication efforts, and working directly with community members. 

This role might be a good fit if you enjoy conducting research, evaluating potential health outcomes, communicating, and educating people. 

2. Community health worker 

  • Median annual salary (BLS): $48,860

Similar in many ways to a health education specialist, a community health worker tends to liaise between an organization and a community to make it easier for community members to access important health services. They may, at times, even deliver some of those services, like blood pressure screenings. Community health workers may also educate local groups about health matters to improve their overall well-being. 

This role might be a good fit if you enjoy listening, coordinating, and gathering data, as well as working closely with people to find and take advantage of vital health services. 

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3. Public health researcher

  • Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $77,106

Each population tells a different story when it comes to health. It’s often up to a public health researcher to decipher what that is by analyzing lab results and other data. Public health researchers typically present their findings in reports that can inform policies and programming. They may work for government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other institutions in a variety of areas, such as substance abuse, vaccinations, and epidemiology. 

This role might be a good fit if you enjoy looking for answers to larger questions, working with data, conducting interviews, and communicating your findings. 

4. Environmental health officer  

  • Median annual salary (BLS): $74,870

  • Job growth: 5 percent

The environment plays an important role in people’s health and well-being. Environmental health officers—often called sanitarians or occupational health and safety specialists—investigate a place or area's environmental health and safety. They may conduct inspections for food safety, water safety, and facility safety to ensure that local establishments, such as restaurants and public swimming pools, are safe to use. 

This role might be a good fit if you enjoy conducting research and analyzing what you find, thinking critically, and communicating.  

5. Medical editor

  • Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $80,078

There’s a growing array of information about health available online through media sites, academic journals, and other outlets. Medical editors, or health content editors, often review articles and longer manuscripts to ensure factual scientific claims and grammatical accuracy. They make sure readers get accurate, verified data on several health-related topics. 

This role might be a good fit if you have strong attention to detail and enjoy working with information, fact-checking, and editing for grammar, usage, and consistency. 

6. Public policy writer 

  • Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $65,863

Public policy guides a number of important decisions that impact health. Sometimes called policy analysts, public policy writers research, analyze, and communicate findings about current or potential legislation, regulation, or funding. They tend to write in a way that brings together important information and inspires people and organizations to take a certain course of action. 

This role might be a good fit if you enjoy conducting research, thinking critically, communicating your findings, and writing. 

7. Demographer 

  • Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $111,069

Population statistics, such as birth dates and gender ratios, can reveal a good deal and inform more robust health outcomes. Demographers look beyond the what and dive deeper into the why, producing reports to inform larger initiatives. They tend to work at governmental organizations, such as BLS, the US Census Bureau, and other agencies dedicated to collecting information about the population. You may be able to find a junior-level demographer role with a bachelor’s, though associate and senior roles tend to require a master’s.  

This role might be a good fit if you enjoy math and science and have strong computer skills. You enjoy conducting research, such as statistical analysis, and communicating your findings. 

8. Health care administrator 

  • Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $71,864

Almost every medical facility requires someone working behind the scenes to ensure that operations—everything from staffing to protocols—are functioning well. Health care administrators oversee the business side of health care and, in doing so, help things run smoothly so that medical practitioners can focus on providing their patients with excellent care. 

This role might be a good fit if you have strong attention to detail, are well organized, and enjoy business but have a larger interest in health care.

9. Refugee coordinator

  • Average annual salary (Glassdoor): $48,433 

Refugee coordinators help refugees transition to their new city, including helping them with skills and language training, immigration, and other services intended to help them get settled. Refugee coordinators can help address issues like mental health while facilitating cultural exchange between established communities and new refugees. 

This role might be a good fit if you have a strong sense of empathy, enjoy working with different populations, communication, problem-solving, and listening. 

Transferable skills you get with a public health degree

There are many avenues you can explore with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, but you do not need to pursue a specific public health career after graduation. Throughout your undergraduate studies, you’ll likely develop important transferable skills that can help you explore various career opportunities. 

Transferable skills that you may gain through a BSPH program include: 

  • Critical thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Planning and organizing

  • Researching 

  • Coordinating 

As you set about choosing your career or exploring different possibilities, it helps to understand what you’ve learned and the skills you’ve developed in your program. Take time to think about your larger skill set and how you may be able to apply it to numerous industries.  

Do you need a Master of Public Health (MPH)?  

Many BSPH students pursue a graduate degree in public health, such as the Master of Public Health, because of the number of advanced roles it can lead to. When you enroll in an MPH program, you usually have the option of concentrating in a specific area, such as epidemiology, global health, or maternal and child health, which can prepare you for work in each field. 

While an MPH isn’t always necessary, it may be beneficial depending on what type of work you want and the roles you’d like to apply for. Below, we’ve compiled a few examples of what MPH graduates go on to do. 

Job titleAverage US salary*
Health educator$50,093
Health care policy analyst$74,159
Public health nurse$89,075
Emergency management specialist$61,091
Epidemiologist$78,830 (Median US salary)

*Based on data from BLS and Glassdoor (July 2023)

Learn more: What Can You Do with a Master’s in Public Health (MPH)?

Explore further 

Enroll for free in Johns Hopkins University’s Biostatistics in Public Health or the University of Michigan’s Impact of the Environment on Public Health. If you’re considering a graduate degree in public health, explore options from leading universities, like the University of Michigan or Imperial College London, which you can complete at your own pace from anywhere with an internet connection. 

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Article sources

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook: Healthcare Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm.” Accessed July 13, 2023.  

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