5 Tips To Advance Your Public Health Career

Published on 16/11/2023 by admin

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Last modified 16/11/2023

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A career in public health is incredibly rewarding. As a public health professional, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in your community by preventing disease and addressing health inequities. However, building a successful career in this field requires dedication and a lot of hard work.

Let’s explore ways that can help you advance your public health career. Whether you are just starting out or are looking to take your career to the next level, these strategies will set you on the path to success.

1.    Pursue Advanced Education

Obtaining an advanced Public Health degree is one of the best investments you can make for your career. It is also essential to advance to leadership positions in public health. Earning a PhD in public health equips you for upper-level roles conducting research and driving policy change. Other options include doctorates in epidemiology, health education, health policy, environmental health, and population health. Carefully research programs and look for funded PhD and doctoral opportunities.

Earning a Master of Science in Public Health provides research-focused training and opens doors to diverse roles in health departments, non-profits, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations. When researching MPH programs, look for CEPH-accredited schools that offer concentrations matching your interests.

If an online MPH degree program better suits your needs, choose one that engages students through interactive coursework and group collaboration. Thoroughly review each program’s curriculum, faculty expertise, and career outcomes before applying.

Maximize the impact of any additional degrees or certifications by integrating what you learn through publishing research and taking on leadership roles.

2.    Gain Relevant Experience

Experience is critical for career advancement in public health. Employers want candidates who can hit the ground running with the required competencies and a proven track record.

There are many ways to build your experience as a public health student or professional. Completing an internship related to your public health interests is invaluable. You will gain practical skills and make professional connections. Also, seek out volunteer positions, part-time jobs, or fellowships at health departments or community organizations.

If you are already working in public health, take advantage of any opportunities to expand your experience. Ask to head new projects or collaborate with other departments and offer to get involved with committees or teams that interest you. You can also attend professional development seminars to strengthen your skills. With each experience, aim to build your expertise and demonstrate initiative.

Track all of your experience on your resume. Make sure to highlight transferable skills gained through each position. The more experience you can demonstrate, the more competitive your application will be for that next career move.

3.    Establish Professional Connections

Developing your professional network is a critical strategy for career growth in public health. Take advantage of every opportunity to connect with others in the field, exchange ideas, and build relationships.

  • Join professional associations like the American Public Health Association (APHA) and attend local chapter meetings
  • Follow public health leaders on social media and read their work
  • Attend conferences and seminars in your area of interest
  • Build connections with classmates, professors, colleagues, supervisors, and community partners

Maintain these relationships over time by sharing relevant articles, providing support, and keeping in touch. A pro tip is to be genuine when you’re networking. Focus on learning from others’ experiences and offering help when you can. A strong professional network will help you gain visibility and learn of job openings earlier than others. You may also enjoy a network of supporters who can vouch for you and help you land a job.

4.    Seek Leadership Opportunities

Having leadership experience can really boost your resume. It shows you have the skills and drive to make things happen. Start by getting involved in small ways, like joining groups or committees that focus on issues important to you. This can be a great first step in making a positive impact. Look for chances to lead a project or an activity where you work. You can also look into programs that help you develop leadership skills, like special training courses, fellowships, or mentoring.

If you know a lot about a certain area, think about teaching a class or giving a talk at your work, school, or in your community. This can be a great way to share your knowledge and lead others. You can also reach out to local groups and suggest ideas for health-related events or programs that you can head.

When you’re leading, it’s important to be clear about what you want to do but also to listen to others. Their ideas can help make your plans even stronger. Try to learn from people with more experience and be open to what they have to say. Every time you lead a team or a project, you’re learning important skills that will help you move forward in your career.

Remember, every leadership role, no matter how small, helps you grow. These experiences are not just good for your resume; they also prepare you for bigger roles in the future.

5.    Publish your Work

Getting published provides visibility for your work, demonstrates thought leadership, and elevates your professional credibility. Look for opportunities to contribute to scientific journals, public health organization publications, professional blogs, and mass media outlets.

Start by reviewing author guidelines and pitching article ideas tailored to each publication’s audience and scope. Relevant letters to the editor or opinion pieces related to current events are also great options.

For research publications, identify journals aligned with your study topic and follow all instructions for manuscript submissions. Build your skills by serving as a co-author before leading publications. Producing published work will greatly strengthen your standing as a rising public health authority.


Following these tips will empower you to achieve your full potential as a public health professional. Earning a strong educational foundation, connecting with others, pursuing leadership opportunities, and publishing your work will all propel your career forward.

Approach each step with passion, patience, and purpose. With dedication to lifelong learning, you will make a tremendous impact through your public health career.