Environmental scientist in protective gear taking a water sample from sewage water.
Career Development | 6/28/2024

Empowering Lives Through Public Health: Job Opportunities for Public Health Graduates

Environmental scientist in protective gear taking a water sample from sewage water.

Discover public health careers prospective students can pursue after earning a degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Graduates of public health programs can find a range of jobs in the private and public sectors. Whether students hope to work as toxicologists, environmental health scientists, or in healthcare administration, just to name a few options, they’ll be awarded a gratifying career focused on improving community health.

If you’re interested in this field and becoming a public health advocate, use this blog to learn what other career opportunities you can look forward to after completing school.

What Is Public Health?

Public health is the science and practice of protecting and improving people’s health and community. The purpose of this industry is to provide all people with equitable medical attention and care.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) provides courses around public health topics as:

  • Nutrition
  • Community health
  • Health policy and management
  • Epidemiology and infectious diseases
  • Family nutrition
  • Biostatistics
  • Agroecology
  • Molecular parasitology

The Difference Between Healthcare and Public Health

While both healthcare and public health are critical for healthy populations, healthcare workers treat people who are sick, while public health professionals aim to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. 

Rather than reactively solve health problems for patients, public health workers focus on proactively fixing community-wide problems to reduce public health crises. This approach looks at entire populations rather than just individual patients. 

What Can You Do With a Public Health Degree?

As you complete courses in public health, you’ll learn about nutrition, community health, health policy and management, and agroecology, among other vital topics. This list of study areas is extensive - here are several of those public health career paths:


Epidemiologists are public health workers who investigate patterns and causes of injury and infectious disease. They generally operate in offices and laboratories for state and local health departments, in hospitals, colleges, and universities. 

Workers in this role may also use their research skills to inform public health policymakers, helping rules and regulations account for diseases that affect different populations to predict the spread of potential harm.


These workers apply mathematics and statistical methods to solve problems in medicine, public health, and biology. They help bridge the gap between complex health data and actionable solutions. They’re also responsible for tracking and observing health trends to proactively come up with improvement plans. 

Biostatisticians can work in a variety of settings, including the federal government and companies that focus on scientific research and development. They will typically work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other statisticians. 


A toxicologist is a medical scientist who works with chemicals and other substances to determine if they’re toxic or harmful. They study how pathogens and other materials can impact humans, animals, and plant life, allowing them to conduct thorough research and share it with the scientific community. 

Workers complete their research for a variety of industries, including academic institutions, government agencies, research and development labs, consumer products facilities, and more. 

Behavioral Health Scientist

Behavioral health scientists study when and why people act a specific way by experimentally examining their environment and motivations. They investigate different health issues facing specific populations to develop programs that proactively help. Workers also assist with gathering and analyzing data about particular groups regarding issues that they’re studying. This helps determine who is most at risk and in need of assistance. 

Professionals in this role work in hospitals, patient homes, long-term care facilities, and outpatient care centers. 

Environmental Health Scientist

Environmental health scientists use their knowledge of natural sciences to protect human health and the environment. They help identify potential threats and ensure corporations follow environmental regulations. Their work also specializes in ensuring populations have resources like clean water and waste treatment facilities. 

Some environmental health scientists work in offices and laboratories, spending time gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions from a distance. Others get a firsthand look at environmental factors by being in the field. 

Health Commissioner

A health commissioner educates communities about physical and mental health services and sets policy and quality standards within a public health group. This job looks at many facets of public health, from food inspections to the threat of bioterrorism and infectious disease outbreaks. 

This type of community health worker helps people plan for worst-case scenarios, creating plans designed to protect against widespread problems. These plans are often developed to work alongside local and federal regulations as well as local hospitals and healthcare organizations. 

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators plan, direct, and coordinate the business activities of healthcare providers. They work behind the scenes to make budget and policy decisions for improved patient experiences and to ensure the safety of guests and staff. 

The tasks and location will depend on the size and function of the organization these professionals work at. That being said, health administration workers generally work for small to large medical organizations where they manage finances, coordinate work schedules, process claims for insurance agencies, and more.

Global Health Specialist

Global health specialists work to improve public health for individuals around the world, specializing in areas like health disorders and diseases to promote equal access to healthcare. These workers remove barriers to healthy living in all parts of the world so everyone can receive the necessary care and attention to live. 

They often work in various settings to collaborate with international organizations and governments to provide information and act as a health educator to underserved populations. 

Why Public Health Professionals Are Critical for Long-Term Community Success

The public health industry is expansive, providing communities with quality-of-life improvements. Public health professionals play a crucial role in promoting and protecting the health of populations. Here are a few benefits they provide:

Preventative Measures

Proactive care is what public health workers excel at. By implementing preventative measures like vaccines, health education, and the promotion of healthy behaviors, they can reduce the likelihood of illnesses occurring. 

Epidemiological Surveillance

The world saw the importance of disease study and monitoring during the COVID-19 outbreak, showcasing how critical it is to track patterns. Epidemiological surveillance helps workers detect outbreaks and implement timely interventions. 

Health Promotion and Education

Public health workers educate communities about health risks to empower people to make informed decisions regarding their health. This is accomplished through campaigns, workshops, and community outreach programs that promote healthy behaviors like exercise, balanced eating, and avoiding risky habits like smoking. 

Policy Development

Laws and regulations must be created to protect vulnerable populations from harm. To accomplish this, public health professionals help develop policies at local, national, and international levels. They work to provide evidence-based recommendations to policymakers to address challenges effectively and make positive changes in their communities.

Health Equity

A public health advocate addresses health disparities and promotes equal medical practices for all people. They do this by advocating for policies and interventions that address the social factors of health such as poverty, education, and access to healthcare. Their efforts aim to ensure all individuals have the same opportunities to attain quality health. 

Emergency Management and Response

During public health emergencies like natural disasters, disease outbreaks, or bioterrorism events, public health workers help coordinate response efforts. This includes providing medical care, implementing measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis, and using past experiences to prepare for future incidents and conduct emergency management. 

Research and Innovation

By conducting research, public health professionals can better understand the factors that influence population health. This enables them to learn from the people and events around them to develop innovative solutions to public health challenges. Their research contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge. It also informs evidence-based health practices for future generations. 

Ready To Apply?

Public health professionals play a vital role in promoting the health and well-being of communities on a global scale. They work to prevent disease, educate on healthy behaviors, address health disparities, and respond to public health emergencies. If this sounds like the type of job you’d like after graduation, your next stop is to apply for a public health program. 

Build a public health career that enables you to improve people’s medical status worldwide. MCPHS has an undergraduate and master’s program that lets you dive deep into vital topics to prepare you for a career in this industry. 

Our undergraduate prograis the Bachelor of Public Health (BS). Our graduate program is the Master of Public Health (MPH)

Ready to start your public health education career at a world-class medical school known for its prime location and years of excellent educational opportunities? Apply today to get started as a public health major.