Public health is a system of public, private and voluntary agencies that are focused on the health of the population as a whole. The system seeks to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, protect against environmental hazards, prevent injuries, promote and encourage healthy behaviors, respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery, and assure the quality and accessibility of health services.
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2 Year Specialties
Environmental Science Technician – Assists with the assessment, control, elimination and prevention of environmental health hazards.
Occupational Safety and Health Technician – Assists with the assessment of risks and implementation and evaluation of programs to limit chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic risks to workers.
Public Health Dental Hygienist – Assists in the development and implementation of programs and services to promote oral health, deliver preventive services, and counseling and teaching about disease prevention.
Public Health Field/Outreach Worker – Assists other public health professionals to plan and implement health promotion and protection programs and services.
Public Health Laboratory Technician – Performs testing procedures, monitors quality of tests, reports results and works under the direction of a Laboratory Scientist. (See also Clinical Laboratory Services.)
4 Year Specialties
Infection Control/Disease Investigator - Assists epidemiologists with the location, prevention and control of infectious diseases in communities, using investigation, treatment and educational services for individuals, families and the community.
Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian – Applies biological, chemical and public health principles to control, eliminate, improve, and/or prevent environmental health hazards, in areas including food processing and service, sanitation, and water, air and soil contamination. (Also Advanced Degree)
Environmental Engineer – Applies engineering and public health principles to control, eliminate, improve, and prevent environmental health hazards in areas including water supply, sanitation, and water, air and soil pollution. (Also Advanced Degree)
Occupational Safety and Health Specialist – Reviews, evaluates, and analyzes workplace environments and exposures and designs programs and procedures to control, eliminate, improve, and prevent disease and injury caused by chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic risks to workers. (Also Advanced Degree)
Public Health Educator – Designs, organizes, implements, communicates, provides advice on and evaluates the effect of educational programs and strategies designed to support and modify health-related behaviors of individuals, families, organizations and communities. (Also Advanced Degree)
Public Health Laboratory Scientist – Applies biological, chemical and public health principles to perform analyses, develop new test methods, conduct research and training, and use biostatistics and epidemiological skills to support public and environmental health programs. (Also Advanced Degree) (See Also Clinical Laboratory Services.)
Public Health Nurse – Applies knowledge from nursing, social science and public health to promote and protect the health of populations through community assessment, development of intervention plans with community partners, and assuring the implementation of program and policy interventions to improve the health of individuals, families, and the community. (Also Advanced Degree)
Public Health Nutritionist - Provides assessment, counseling, teaching and program development for individuals, groups and facilities on nutritional practices for health promotion and disease prevention, in areas including nutrition and eating behaviors, food preparation, and food service. (Also Advanced Degree)
Public Health Planner/Analyst – Analyzes population and community health needs, analyzes and evaluates program and policy alternatives, and develops plans for programs, facilities, and resources. (Also Advanced Degree)
Public Health Social Worker – Identifies, plans, develops, implements, and/or evaluates programs designed to address the social and interpersonal needs of populations in order to promote the health of individuals, families and communities. (Also Advanced Degree)
Epidemiologist – Investigates and describes the causes and distribution of disease, disability, injury and other health conditions, and develops programs and strategies for their prevention and control.
Public Health Supervisor/Manager – Plans, organizes, directs, controls, and/or coordinates public health services, education, and policy in public health agencies, health facilities, managed care organizations, and industrial settings.
Public Health Physician – Plans, directs, coordinates, and/or evaluates the medical component of public health services, education, and policy in public health agencies, health facilities, managed care organizations, and industrial settings.
Public Health Dentist – Assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, and/or evaluates dental services and programs for individuals, families and communities in areas including oral health promotion, disease prevention, and health protection.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor
Clinical Laboratory Services
Emergency Medical Technician
Mental Health Counselor
Public health professionals work in a wide variety of settings including: state and federal government (health, human service, agriculture, natural resources, and laboratory services), local health departments and human service agencies, corrections and jail facilities, private organizations (hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, businesses), voluntary organizations (non-profit, foundation, religious), schools and university health settings, and academic and research institutions.
High school students should study health, mathematics, biology, chemistry, social and behavioral sciences, and related courses. For entry-level technician positions, students must graduate from an accredited technical school in the field of interest. For professional positions, students must graduate from an accredited university/college with a baccalaureate degree in the field of interest. For advanced level positions, students must complete advanced education at the graduate or post-graduate level in the field of interest. Certain professions require state licensure or certification (i.e., nurses, physicians, environmental health specialists, and nutritionists). Many employment settings encourage the 4-year and advanced professionals to pursue certification from a national professional organization.
Medical College of Wisconsin
Mount Mary College
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Salaries will vary depending upon entry-level technician, 4-year professional degree or advanced level positions, specialty, and place and type of employment setting (public, private, or voluntary). A sampling of salary ranges is listed here.
Environmental Science Technician
Occupational Safety & Health Tech.
Public Health Dental Hygienist
Public Health Field/Outreach Worker
Public Health Laboratory Technician
Infection Control/Dis. Investigator
Environ. Health & Protect.
Occupational Safety & Health Specialist
Public Health Educator
Public Health Nurse
Public Health Nutritionist
Public Health Laboratory Scientist
Public Health Planner/Analyst
Public Health Social Worker
Public Health Supervisor/Manager
Public Health Physician
Public Health Dentist
Association of Public Health Laboratories
8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 700
Silver Spring, MD, 20910
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
PO Box 2659
Madison, WI, 53707-2659
Wisconsin Environmental Health Association
P.O. Box 279
Osceola, WI, 54020
Wisconsin Public Health Association
563 Carter Court, Suite B
Kimberly, WI, 54136
920/882-3650 or 877/202-4333
Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene
465 Henry Mall, UW-Madison
Madison, WI, 53706
608/262-6386 or 800/862-1013
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