Public Health Job Market Looking Up

Public Health Job Market Looking Up

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The prospects for obtaining a job in the public health sector look excellent for the next decade. And while the global pandemic has caused massive disruptions in the global economy, it may also be playing some role in the improved outlook for students interested in a career in public health. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a very good outlook for public health jobs. Overall employment of health education specialists and community health workers is projected to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, with an average of 16,000+ openings each year during the period. 

A study by Columbia University showed growth occurred during the initial stages of the COVID-19 health crisis.  Researchers at the university found more job postings for public health graduates in the COVID-era, compared to pre-COVID jobs. Pharmaceutical companies and insurance firms in particular posted notable public health job increases.

Columbia University reported the greatest growth in public health hiring since COVID first hit has been in statistics and epidemiology jobs. Other increases were noted in program management, computer‐related positions, community health workers, and individuals managing clinical trials or research programs.  

The associate director of UofL’s University Career Center, Kelly Atwood, said the increases and forecast for increased opportunities is not surprising and may at least partially reflect the importance of public health workers during the pandemic. Atwood said, “The significance of public health professions have been highlighted especially in the past couple of years with the pandemic. Not only the need and variety of roles, but also the impact on our communities.”