After the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us have heard about public health. But as always, there are still a lot of uncertainties about what public health is, and even more uncertainties come when you ask yourself: what can you do with this degree? Let's try to figure it out together!
I am a recent BSc Public Health graduate, and I can confidently provide you with some insight into what people can do after they have graduated.
This degree provides extensive knowledge about health systems, global health, data analysis, diseases, health economics, epidemiology etc. Consequently, at the end of your course, you will develop a very good bank of knowledge which you can use in the job market.
Within the subject of public health, there are a variety of career options, each offering unique opportunities to make a positive impact. Here are some of the most favoured careers in public health:
Public health practitioner: Public health practitioners work in the field of public health to promote health and prevent disease and injury in communities and populations. They might work in various settings. For example: governmental institutions, non-profits, academia, or healthcare organisations.
Epidemiologist: Epidemiologists research the origins, dynamics, and spread of illnesses among populations. They utilise this data to create and carry out plans to stop disease outbreaks and advance public health.
Biostatisticians or Health data analysts: They examine data using statistical techniques to help with public health choices. They collaborate with epidemiologists to plan and assess health research and create statistical models that forecast the course of diseases. These specialists can work in other health institutions, for example, in pharma or med tech companies analysing various health or medicines-related data.
Researcher: Public health researchers conduct studies to identify the root causes and effects of problems with the public's health. They make use of this data to guide public health policies and initiatives. They can do various studies according to their interest or market needs.
Further studies: Public health graduates can also decide to pursue higher level degrees such as an MSc or PhD. I would like to expand more on this as I chose this option. There is a vast range of masters’ or PhDs you can take after graduating. I personally had a few options in mind. I wanted to do a master’s in Translational medicine, Digital health, or Innovation in Healthcare. All these options have a very strong public health taste. They all require knowledge that you obtain during a bachelor's degree. Ultimately, I decided to do Innovation in Healthcare, and now I am a 1st-year master’s student! I want to say that I don't regret it at all. A Master's degree gives you deeper knowledge and a chance to further explore areas where you would like to work. For instance, alongside my degree, I am working in a pharmaceutical company with a clinical trials team. Another benefit of the master's programme is that you will probably have an advantage during the interview process against those who don't have it.
To conclude, a career in public health offers the opportunity to make a difference in the health and well-being of communities. Whether you are interested in conducting research, developing policies, or working directly with communities, there is a public health career that is right for you. However, it is important to remember that you are not going to become an epidemiologist immediately, and you will not be a Public Health practitioner after you jump out of your studies either. There is a big journey ahead before you are going to achieve it. But if you are passionate about it and you are ready to invest your time, then you are definitely going to accomplish your career goals!