School of Medicine

Public Health - Career Resources

Career Resources


About our Career Page

The Public Health Career Resources page was created to help students better prepare for the future as public health professionals. We hope this page will help students enhance their resumes, develop their interview skills, create networking opportunities through LinkedIn, and provide useful resources for career exploration. The career page includes links, workshops, resume samples, and a job board. The hope is that these resources will help students identify what employers are looking for and how to frame their experiences to give them a competitive edge after graduation.

In addition to the Public Health Career Resources page students are encouraged to make use of the University of Utah Career and Professional Development Center. The Center’s purpose is to support students and alumni by helping them design their own individualized life plans. Their mission is to “help students better understand who they are, what they want to do professionally, and what steps they need to take to get there. Seeing a Career Coach early and often, is the most important step towards achieving this goal and feeling confident in one’s career direction.”

Careers in Public Health

Public health graduates work at the Centers for Disease Control, Utah Department of Health, Intermountain Healthcare, the World Health Organization, Salt Lake Valley Health Department, the University of Utah, Myriad Genetics, ARUP, Pfizer, the American Red Cross, and many other health-related organizations. They investigate outbreaks of food-borne diseases, manage large health-related organizations, educate children on health lifestyles, market anti-smoking messages to the public, monitor outbreaks of cryptosporidium in swimming pools, lobby the legislature on health-related issues, research environmental toxins and cancer, inspect restaurants for proper hygiene, and assure a healthy and safe environment for factory workers. Public health is a challenging and ever-changing field, where creativity combined with analytic skills are needed to make sense of the sometimes complex relationships between various factors that affect your health.

Where Can I Work with a Public Health Degree?

Because the field of public health is so broad, where you work and what you do is as varied as the field. You can work in local, state or national government, in academia, in the non-profit sector, in non-governmental organizations, or in private companies. You can work in the pharmaceutical industry, clinical laboratories, state health departments, international relief organizations, health care systems, universities, or even large non-health related manufacturing companies. Here are some examples of potential employers of a public health practitioner:

  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • US Food and Drug Administration
  • Local and State Health Departments
  • Salt Lake City School District
  • American Red Cross
  • Catholic Community Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • University of Utah
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
  • ARUP Laboratories
  • Myriad Genetics
  • Amgen
  • Intermountain Health

What Can I Do with a Public Health Degree?

There's something for everyone in public health. Some of the possible careers in public health are in these broad fields (from whatispublichealth.org).

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
The air we breathe; the water we drink; the complex interactions between human genetics and our surroundings. These environmental risk factors can cause diseases such as asthma, cancer, and food poisoning. Environmental health studies the impact of our surroundings on our health.

BIOSTATISTICS
Estimating the number of deaths from gun violence or looking at trends in drunk driving injuries by using math and science is the study of biostatistics. Biostatistics uses data analysis to determine the cause of disease and injuries, as well as to identify health trends within communities. This field entails collecting and studying information, forecasting scenarios, and making reliable conclusions.

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES / HEALTH EDUCATION
Stopping the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and HIV/AIDS; helping youth recognize the dangers of binge drinking; and, promoting seat belt use. Behavioral Science/Health Education focuses on ways that encourage people to make healthy choices. This includes the development of community-wide education programs that range from promoting healthy lifestyles to preventing disease and injury, to researching complex health issues.

EPIDEMIOLOGY
When food poisoning or an influenza outbreak attacks a community, the "disease detectives" or epidemiologists are asked to investigate the cause of disease and control its spread. Epidemiologists do fieldwork to determine what causes disease or injury, what the risks are, who is at risk, and how to prevent further incidences. They understand the demographic and social trends upon disease and injury. The initial discovery and containment of an outbreak, such as West Nile virus, often comes from epidemiologists.

HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Managing the database at a school clinic; developing budgets for a health department; creating polices for health insurance companies; and, directing hospital services all depend on health administrators. The field of health services administration combines politics, business, and science in managing the human and fiscal resources needed to deliver effective public health services.

MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH
Providing information and access to birth control; promoting the health of a pregnant woman and an unborn child; and dispensing vaccinations to children are part of maternal and child health. Professionals in maternal and child health improve the public health delivery systems specifically for women, children, and their families through advocacy, education, and research.

NUTRITION
Promoting healthy eating and regular exercise; researching the effect of diet on the elderly; teaching the dangers of overeating and over dieting are the responsibility of public health nutritionists. This field examines how food and nutrients affect the wellness and lifestyle of population. Nutrition encompasses the combination of education and science to promote health and disease prevention.

INTERNATIONAL / GLOBAL HEALTH
Addressing health concerns from a global perspective and encompasses all areas of public health (e.g., biostatistics, epidemiology, nutrition, maternal and child health, etc.). International health professionals address health concerns among different cultures in countries worldwide.

PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORY PRACTICE
Public health laboratory professionals perform tests on biological and environmental samples in order to diagnose, prevent, treat, and control infectious diseases in communities, to ensure the safety of our food, and water, to screen for the presence of certain diseases within communities and to respond to public health emergencies, like bioterrorism.

PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY
Analyzing the impact of seat belt laws on traffic deaths; monitoring legislative activity on a bill that limits malpractice settlements; advocating for funding for a teen anti-smoking campaign. Professionals in public health policy work to improve the public's health through legislative action at the local, state, and federal levels.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE
Public health is an interdisciplinary field and professionals in many disciplines such as nursing, medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy routinely deal with public health issues. A degree in public health practice enables clinicians to apply public health principles to improve their practice.