Public Health

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.


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)

Advanced Specialties

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.

See also:
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor
Clinical Laboratory Services
Clinical Dietitian
Dietetic Technician
Emergency Medical Technician
Industrial Hygienist
Mental Health Counselor

Work Activities/Work Locations

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.


Getting Started

Career Outlook