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Public Health Careers in Australia

Discover the jobs you can get from a public health degree in Australia, with careers spanning policy-making to health promotion and disease prevention.

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Looking for a rewarding public health career in Australia? From epidemiology to health communication and education, there are many job opportunities available to graduates with a degree in this growing field.

Professionals work on topics such as disease control, health promotion, and health equity, and may find employment in government agencies, research institutions, healthcare organisations, and NGOs. Read on to learn more about the diverse range of careers available.

Job Opportunities for Graduates

A public health degree, such as an online Master of Public Health, provides students with an excellent understanding of the health challenges faced by populations. Graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop and implement effective interventions.

Here are the 8 most promising lines of work for graduates of a public health university program.

1. Epidemiology

Man having a PCR test at a medical clinic

Epidemiology is about investigating diseases and their patterns. Epidemiologists examine data and other evidence in an effort to prevent and control outbreaks. They have an estimated salary of $120,170 per year as at 31 March 2023.

Epidemiology involves investigating patterns of diseases in populations, and identifying risk factors to prevent outbreaks. This can include analysing data from surveys, conducting fieldwork and lab experiments, and collaborating with other health professionals.

Job titles include epidemiologist, biostatistician, research analyst, and infection control specialist. Graduates may find work in government agencies, research institutions, or healthcare organisations, focusing on topics such as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and environmental health.

Related: Graduate Certificate in Public Health and Communicable Disease

2. Biostatistics and data analysis

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Biostatistics and data analysis work is concerned with applying statistical techniques to public health research. Analysts examine data to identify patterns, relationships, and correlations. The average salary for a biostatistician is $109,654 annually.

If you work in this statistical area, you will use technical methods to analyse health data, including regression analysis, survival analysis, and longitudinal data analysis. You may also design studies and surveys to collect data, and communicate findings to other professionals.

Job titles include biostatistician, data analyst, research associate, and statistical programmer. Jobs are available in research institutions, government agencies, or healthcare organisations, working on topics such as disease surveillance, clinical trials, and health policy.

Related: Graduate Certificate in Health Analytics

3. Health policy and management

Smiling woman with glasses clutching laptop and tablet

Health policy and management focuses on the administration, planning and coordination of healthcare services to improve patient outcomes and ensure equitable access.

Professionals may plan, evaluate and improve healthcare systems, policies and services. They may also be responsible for managing budgets, staff, and implementing quality control measures. Employers include government agencies, non-profit organisations, and healthcare facilities.

Example job titles are health policy analyst, healthcare administrator, public health program manager, and health services researcher. Individuals in this discipline may work on topics such as access, reform, quality, and equity in healthcare.

4. Environmental health

New plant sprouting from moss-covered ground

Environmental health is concerned with how the environment affects human health. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including air and water quality, food safety, and hazardous waste.

Professionals in this field use scientific data and research to identify potential risks and develop solutions to mitigate them. This may include designing and implementing policies and programs to reduce pollution and promote safe living environments.

Job titles include environmental health specialist, public health inspector, occupational health and safety specialist, and environmental health and safety manager. Common employers are government agencies, non-profit organisations, consultancies and large companies.

5. Health communication and education

Business professionals wearing masks

Effective communication is essential in promoting public health. Communication professionals develop and implement strategies to educate individuals and communities on health issues.

Health communication and education involves developing and delivering health information and messages to diverse audiences through various channels, such as social media, campaigns, and community outreach programs. You may also evaluate the effectiveness of these programs to improve health outcomes.

Job titles include health communication specialist, health educator, community outreach coordinator, and social media strategist. Graduates may find work in public health agencies, NGOs, or healthcare organisations, focusing on topics such as disease prevention, health promotion, and health literacy.

6. Global health

Global health is an interdisciplinary field that addresses problems that transcend national borders. It encompasses a broad range of topics, including infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and non-communicable diseases.

Global health work involves collaborating with international partners to identify health problems and develop effective solutions. This may include researching health issues, implementing and evaluating health programs, and advocating for policies that promote health equity.

Job titles include global health program manager, public health advisor, health systems specialist, and research analyst. You may find work in government agencies, NGOs, and international health agencies, working in areas such as preventive medicine, health promotion, and disaster relief efforts.

7. Maternal and child health

Maternal and child health focuses on the wellbeing of women during pregnancy and childbirth, and the health of children from birth through adolescence.

Work in maternal and child health includes conducting research, developing and implementing programs and policies, and providing direct care to mothers and children. Specialist areas include reproductive health, infant and child nutrition, and preventative healthcare.

Example job titles are public health nurse, maternal and child health coordinator, program director, and health educator. Employment opportunities are available in government agencies, NGOs, healthcare facilities, and academic institutions. The skills required include communication, critical thinking, data analysis, and cultural sensitivity, as well as a strong commitment to improve the health of women and children.

8. Health services administration and management

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Health services administration and management involves the planning, coordination, and supervision of healthcare services to ensure they are efficient, effective, and high-quality.

Professionals in this field oversee budgets, policies, personnel, and patient care, working to improve the overall delivery of healthcare services. Job titles include health services manager, hospital administrator, healthcare consultant, and quality improvement coordinator.

Graduates may find work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, healthcare organisations, insurance companies, and government agencies. They may be involved in areas such as financial management, patient care, human resources, or strategic planning, depending on their specific role and area of interest.

Related: Health Management Courses Online in Australia

Is Public Health in Demand in Australia?

Yes, public health is in demand in Australia. With rising rates of chronic disease, demographic changes, and the impact of COVID-19, the demand for qualified public health specialists is expected to grow.

The health industry offers a promising career path for those seeking long-term employment opportunities. The Australian Government has identified several areas of focus for building out the country's healthcare capacity in response to the pandemic, which will require increased numbers of specialists in both direct care and hospital administration roles.

Graduates with a public health university qualification will have an interesting range of career pathways available to them. Your options will be wide open if you have practical skills in areas such as critical appraisal, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and data analysis.

Expertise is needed to effectively marshal Australia's massive workforce of healthcare workers to achieve the best possible outcomes in terms of community health. According to Census data, around one in seven Australians work in the broad field of healthcare and social assistance.

Related: 6 Public Health Jobs Most In Demand in Australia