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Careers in Behavioral and Community Health

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.

The Ph.D. Program

The purpose of the doctoral program in Behavioral and Community Health is to prepare health education researchers of the highest quality. The program provides students with the opportunity to develop research skills essential in making significant contributions to the scientific and professional literature in health education. The goal of the program is to develop health professionals competent in understanding the health needs of the nation and qualified to conduct research that will result in setting the public health agenda for the future.

The M.P.H. Program

The MPH in Community Health Education program is designed to promote the development of professional community health educators who understand the science, theory, and practice of public health and can apply this knowledge toward the enhancement of health status in communities. Graduates will participate in both academic and applied training in program planning and implementation, program evaluation, public policy analysis, research and management.

Community Health Education MPH graduates are being sought in the field of public health, especially in the area of behavioral science. Career opportunities abound in both the private and public sectors - in public health agencies, volunteer programs, in business and in industry. MPH graduates are highly competitive in the fast-growing marketplace of community health education and public health.

The Bachelor of Science Program

The Bachelor of Science program in community health prepares its graduates for a wide array of professional opportunities. The American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and many other health agencies employ Community Health Specialists. Job functions might include: designing and implementing educational programs, developing screening programs and community awareness programs; community outreach and service; fund raising projects to enhance educational concerns of the agency; and supervision of volunteer workers.

Career Paths

Worksite Health Promotion:

With a bachelors degree in Community Health an individual can seek employment in a variety of work related settings - corporate wellness programs, environmental worksites, HMO's, as well as hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Health educators serve in a number of capacities - designing, implementing and evaluating health programs in areas such as stress management, personal training, nutrition, worksite safety, and smoking cessation.


Hospital based health educators provide health promotion programs and courses to the community in many areas such as: child-birth, parenting, stress management, weight control, cancer prevention, low back pain, hypertension, diabetes, and fitness. If you are interested in public relations, media advocacy, organization and management, teaching, implementing new health-oriented courses, and evaluating their effectiveness, a hospital setting may be the place for you.


Alumni from the Community Health program have held positions at NIH within such institutes and offices such as Cancer Research; Child Health; AIDS; Heart, Lung and Blood. Other government agencies in which our alumni have held positions are the National Coalition of Hispanic Health & Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, Office for Substance Abuse Prevention and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information.

Research and Development Organizations:

Private organizations in the area (Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), Westat, American Institutes for Research (AIR)) employ Community Health Specialists to become involved in activities such as grant writing and program development for NIH (CDC, National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Education, etc.).

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