Public health is defined as the science of increasing the health and safety of communities through education, policy making and research for disease and injury prevention.

Public health is cross cutting, utilizing aspects of various disciplines:

Public health can be different for all people. If you are interested in laboratory or field research, creating policy, facilitating education programs, working with numbers or data, or working with people to find solutions to improve their health, there is a public health field for you. Being a public health professional enables you to work around the globe, address health problems of communities as a whole, and influence policies that affect the health of societies.

What do public health professionals do?

As a public health professional, you will be trained to perform one or more of these ten essential services:

  • Monitor the health status of a community to identify potential problems
  • Diagnose and investigate health problems and hazards in the community
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues, particularly the underserved and those at risk
  • Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
  • Link people to needed personal health services and ensure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
  • Ensure a competent public health and personal health care workforce
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services
  • Research new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

With a graduate degree in public health, you could work for:

  • Government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to name just a few.
  • State and local health departments or agencies, such as the Maryland/Washington DC/Virginia Department of Health, or the Montgomery County Health Department, to give examples.
  • Nonprofits, such as the American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Chemonics, Fintrac, or the DC Scores.
  • Health care organizations, such as hospital systems and long-term care facilities.
  • Private sector companies, such as health insurers and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Colleges and universities, such as schools of public health or medicine.

Careers in Public Health

According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics there is a large demand for trained public health professionals.

SPH graduates work around the globe, many in leadership positions with such organizations as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Government, Population Services International, William J. Clinton Foundation, and DC Scores. Our alumni also work in

  • universities
  • research laboratories
  • data-management companies
  • advocacy groups
  • government agencies
  • health departments
  • hospitals
  • faith-based organizations
  • community-based organizations

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Careers in Behavioral and Community Health

Behavioral and Community Health is a service-oriented profession with a variety of career opportunities that can make meaningful contributions to the health and welfare of the individual and society. Today, with the emphasis on prevention rather than solely on treating the ill, many institutions are developing health promotion and wellness programs for community members. Currently, the job market in community health is excellent. If you enjoy working with people and are interested in health or health related areas, you may want more information about the variety of challenging and very rewarding careers in Behavioral and Community Health. There is a growing need for health professionals who can interface between fields of practice, research, planning, administration and policy development.

Some samples of job titles or opportunities with this degree:

  • Environmental worksite health promotion
  • HMO manager
  • Pharmaceutical outreach educator
  • Health education program coordinator
  • Patient health education coordinator
  • Manager worksite wellness program
  • Coordinator adolescent health program
  • Health education consultant
  • Clinical health educator
  • Director of community health programming
  • School health educator
  • Patient education coordinator
  • Nutrition Educator
  • Director of After School Programs
  • Administrator of long-term care programs
  • Long-term care planner
  • Outreach Educator
  • Smoking cessation contractor

​Careers in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of the varying rates of disease, injuries, and other health states in human populations. As the fundamental science underlying public health practice, epidemiology provides the conceptual and practical tools necessary for the study of public health problems and the design of adequate control measures. Biostatistics is a science that addresses theory and techniques for describing, analyzing, and interpreting health data. Although biostatistics draws on quantitative methods from fields such as statistics, operations research, economics, and mathematics, the discipline is primarily focused on their applications to problems in the biological, health, and medical sciences.

Some samples of job titles or opportunities with this degree:

Epidemiology

  • Associate Outcomes Researcher
  • CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Content Development Lead
  • Consumer Safety Officer
  • Field Epidemiologist
  • Health Intelligence Analyst
  • Health Scientist
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiologist
  • Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist
  • Program Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Professor
  • Public Health Analyst
  • Research Scientist

Biostatistics

  • Biostatistician
  • Biomedical Statistician
  • Clinical Trials Analyst
  • Data Manager
  • Director of Biometrics
  • Director of Biostatistics
  • Health Care Statistician
  • Health Data Analyst
  • Informatics Project Manager
  • Genetics Data Analyst
  • Market Analyst
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Professor
  • Research Analyst
  • Research Data Coordinator
  • Survey Statistician

Careers in Family Science

Our Family Science graduates have been extremely successful in obtaining positions addressing a wide range of problems facing families, communities, and larger society. Students pursue their careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Employment experts predict that social and human service jobs will rank among the most rapidly growing fields during the next decade.

Some samples of job titles or opportunities with this degree:

  • Family services specialist
  • Adoption caseworker
  • Child care administrator
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Family policy analyst
  • Military family support specialist
  • High school child development/family life teacher
  • Hospital family support coordinator
  • Family/divorce mediator
  • Family planning counselor
  • Family therapist
  • Director of counseling services
  • Elementary school therapist
  • Human resource manager
  • Director, work and family programs
  • Therapeutic foster care counselor
  • Director of university resident life program
  • Chaplain and therapist, U.S. Army
  • University research administrator
  • Assistant professor, research university
  • Family policy analyst
  • Cooperative Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
  • Marriage and family therapist 

Careers in Health Services Administration

The Department of Health Services Administration combines health care management with health services delivery systems to address issues in health care systems, health care delivery and management, health services policy, disparities in access to care, long term care, chronic disease and disability care, and financing and economics in public health services delivery. At a time of extraordinary need driven by rising health care costs, the aging of the population and growing health disparities, the Department of Health Services Administration seeks to prepare graduate students for research and careers in areas of health services delivery and administration pertinent to these critical issues.  Career opportunities for public health graduates include mid- to executive-level administrative positions in all sectors of the health care industry.

Some samples of job titles or opportunities with this degree:

  • Management analyst
  • Manager of health maintenance organization
  • President of hospital association
  • Regional vice president of multi-hospital system
  • Director of ambulatory services
  • Director of strategic planning
  • Director of hospital outpatient department
  • President of planning for health maintenance organization
  • Director of family health center
  • Community health care organizer
  • Analyst for Medicare agency
  • Executive director of health systems agencies
  • Medical care administrator
  • Nursing home chief executive officer
  • Hospice director
  • Health care analyst
  • Health facilities planner
  • Gerontology coordinator

Careers in Kinesiology​

Kinesiology brings together people who study human physical activity from a variety of perspectives and at many levels of analysis. From molecules, genes, neurons, muscles of an individual performer, to sport in society, and the study of groups that promote and educate others about physical activity, the University of Maryland's Department of Kinesiology is unique in its depth and breadth.  All majors in the department gain conceptual and experiential knowledge in the anatomical, physiological, psychological, sociological, educational, historical, and managerial perspectives on physical activity, movement, exercise and sport. Kinesiology graduates will go on to further study in health professions, sport-related professions, fitness-related professions and other health and physical activity-related careers.

Some samples of job titles or opportunities with this degree:

  • Community Exercise Coordinator
  • Corporate Wellness Director
  • Personal Trainer/ Fitness consultant
  • Director of Fitness
  • Lifestyle Coach
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Recreation Specialist
  • Sports management
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Health Education Teacher
  • Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Professor
  • Biomechanics Researcher
  • Cognitive motor neuroscientist

Careers in Applied Enivornmental Health

Environmental health research explores the impacts of our natural and man-made environment on human health.  Yet, the environment is not limited to our air, water, soil and food. It also encompasses our sociocultural environment, economic environment, work environment and family environment. The phrase “applied environmental health” means translating the results of environmental health research into positive actions and public health interventions that are appropriate in the context of our total sociocultural and economic environment at local, national and global levels.  

Some samples of job titles or opportunities with this degree:

  • Health policy analyst
  • Hazardous waste scientist
  • Industrial waste director
  • Water quality scientist
  • Environmental radiation specialist
  • Sanitary engineer
  • Occupational hygienist
  • Director of industrial hygiene
  • Health safety officer
  • Air quality specialist
  • Health research scientist
  • Inhalation toxicologist
  • Product toxicologist
  • Immunotoxicologist
  • Research toxicologist
  • Environmental toxicologist
  • Director of national food safety and toxicology center