University of Wisconsin–Madison

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.

Specializations

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
Psychologist

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.

 Education: 4-6 years

 Patient Interaction: High

 Physical Activity: High

 Salary: Varies

 Job Growth: High

Getting Started

  • High School Courses

    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. 

  • Education and Training
  • Professional Organizations

    American Public Health Association
    800 I St NW
    Washington, DC, 20001
    202/777-2742
    apha.org

    Association of Public Health Laboratories
    8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 700
    Silver Spring, MD, 20910
    240/485-2745
    www.aphl.org

    Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
    1900 M Street NW, Suite 710
    Washington, DC, 20036
    202/296-1099
    www.aspph.org/

    Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
    2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 450
    Arlington, VA, 22202
    202/371-9090
    www.astho.org/

    Center for Health Leadership & Practice
    555 12th Street, Suite 200
    Oakland, CA, 94607
    510/285-5586
    www.healthleadership.org/

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Road
    Atlanta, GA, 30329-4027
    800/232-4636 (CDC-INFO)
    www.cdc.gov/

    Council on Education for Public Health
    1010 Wayne Avenue, Suite 220
    Silver Spring , MD, 20910
    202/789-1050
    www.ceph.org/

    Institute for Wisconsin’s Health, Inc.
    749 University Row, Suite 110
    Madison, WI, 53705
    608/467-9612
    www.instituteforwihealth.org

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine
    500 Fifth St, NW
    Washington, DC, 20001
    202/334-2000 or 202/334-2352
    www.iom.edu/

    Medical College of Wisconsin – Institute for Health and Society
    Health Research Center, Suite 2100
    8701 Watertown Plank Road
    Milwaukee, WI, 53226-0509
    414/955-8800
    www1.mcw.edu/Institute-Health-Society.htm#.VOqRU_nF-ap

    Public Health Online
    www.publichealthonline.org/

    Society for Public Health Education
    10 G St., NE, Suite 605
    Washington, DC, 20002
    202/408-9804
    www.sophe.org

    Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education
    1432 K Street NW, Suite 400
    Washington, DC, 20005-2539
    thesociety.org/

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration
    5600 Fishers Lane
    Rockville, MD, 20857
    888/275-4772
    www.hrsa.gov

    Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards
    563 Carter Court, Suite B
    Kimberly, WI, 54136
    920/560-5635
    walhdab.site-ym.com/

    Wisconsin Center for Public Health Education and Training (WiCPHET)
    710 WARF Building
    610 North Walnut St.
    Madison, WI, 53726
    608/263-2880
    www.pophealth.wisc.edu/MPH/WiCPHET

    Wisconsin Division of Public Health
    PO Box 2659
    Madison, WI, 53707-2659
    608/266-1251
    www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/dph/index.htm

    Wisconsin Environmental Health Association
    P.O. Box 279
    Osceola, WI, 54020
    715/421-8940
    www.weha.net

    Wisconsin Public Health Association
    563 Carter Court, Suite B
    Kimberly, WI, 54136
    920/882-3650 or 877/202-4333
    www.wpha.org

    Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene
    465 Henry Mall, UW-Madison
    Madison, WI, 53706
    608/262-6386 or 800/862-1013
    www.slh.wisc.edu

     

Career Outlook

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). The data is for 2014. A sampling of salary ranges is listed here. From Career One Stop

Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Wisconsin: $41,700 to $91,600 per year

Occupational Health & Safety Technicians
Wisconsin: $41,200 to $91,500 per year

Public Health Dental Hygienist
Wisconsin: $49,200 to $76,200 per year

Public Health Community Health Worker
Wisconsin: $25,200 to $63,600 per year

Public Health Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technician
Wisconsin: $30,600 to $65,400 per year

Infection Control/Disease Investigator
Wisconsin: $41,200 to $91,500 per year

Environmental Science & Protection Technicians

Wisconsin: $27,600 to $61,600 per year

Occupational Health & Safety Specialist

Wisconsin: $41,200 to $91,500 per year

Environmental Engineer
Wisconsin: $52,100 to $98,300 per year

Public Health Educator
Wisconsin: $32,600 to $77,900 per year

Public Health Nurse
Wisconsin: $50,000 to $87,800 per year

Public Health Nutritionist
Wisconsin: $33,000 to $72,400 per year

Public Health Laboratory Scientist

Wisconsin: $36,400 to $112,700 per year

Public Health Planner/Analyst
Wisconsin: $45,000 to $113,000 per year

Public Health Social Worker
Wisconsin: $36,500 to $92,200 per year

Epidemiologist
Wisconsin: $50,600 to $91,800 per year

Public Health Supervisor/Manager
Wisconsin: $39,500 to $134,600 per year

Public Health Physician
Wisconsin: $59,000 to $187,200+ per year

Public Health Dentist
Wisconsin: $71,600 to $187,200+ per year

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.