Are you interested in pursuing a dynamic career in public health? If you’re a health professional looking to specialise or change your career path, learn more about the important role public health plays in protecting our communities, the diverse jobs available, and what you can expect to earn.
What is public health?
The field of public health touches all our lives, playing a critical role in promoting, improving and protecting the health of communities and populations around the globe. As a public health professional, you can pursue a career in areas such as epidemiology, health policy and community health; working to identify, treat and prevent health issues. Your work could focus on disease surveillance, health promotion, policy development, or emergency response, as you create healthier environments, and support individuals and communities in making informed health choices and reducing health inequities.
Is public health in demand in Australia?
Yes, public health professionals are in high demand across Australia, with the COVID-19 pandemic shining a spotlight on the importance of the public health sector. In addition, the World Health Organization has identified climate change as the biggest threat facing public health.
In Australian healthcare, higher priority is now given to the prevention and early detection of non-communicable conditions, mental health issues and infectious diseases, resulting in greater demand for skilled public health professionals.
Public health salaries in Australia
Australian salaries in the public health sector are competitive and vary depending on the role, responsibility level, and industry. Here is a general idea of what you could expect to earn as a public health professional in Australia, according to employment website Seek:
- Entry-level positions, such as health promotion officers and graduate roles, range from approximately AUD 65,000 to AUD 85,000 per year.
- Mid-level positions, including project coordinators or senior officers, may have salaries ranging from AUD 80,000 to AUD 120,000 per year.
- Senior-level roles, including public health managers, directors, or consultants, can have salaries ranging from AUD 110,000 to AUD 160,000 or more annually.
Careers in public health
Careers in public health offer many opportunities to make a positive impact on community health and wellbeing. Here are some examples:
Community development officer
As a community development officer, you’ll work hand in hand with community members, local organisations and government agencies to protect and improve the well-being of your community. From organising project workshops to building key relationships, you’ll play a pivotal role in identifying needs and designing solutions to support the health of your community.
As a healthcare data analyst, you’ll collect, analyse and interpret medical data to help researchers and medical professionals make better decisions. You might identify hidden patterns, predict disease outbreaks, track the effectiveness of treatments or even find ways for hospitals and healthcare settings to run more smoothly. Your work has a direct impact on improving patient outcomes and making healthcare more efficient. Find out more about becoming a healthcare data analyst.
As an epidemiologist, you investigate and solve public health mysteries. You’ll study patterns and causes of diseases within populations, identify how they spread and come up with solutions to keep people safe. Your work will directly influence policies and actions that protect communities from health threats. Epidemiologists are in demand around the globe. You could work with international organisations, governments and health agencies to make the world safer and healthier for everyone.
Health promotion practitioner
As a health promotion practitioner, you’ll inspire and guide individuals to lead happier and healthier lives. You’ll use your skills to design workshops, organise events and craft educational materials and programs to enhance public wellbeing. Whether you’re raising awareness about the importance of physical activity, advocating for mental health support, or fostering positive dietary habits, you’ll play a vital role in nurturing healthier communities.
As a health policy officer, you’ll use your expertise to develop, evaluate and advocate for policies that directly impact how people receive medical care. You’ll collaborate with diverse stakeholders to ensure policies align with community health goals, and work towards equitable and effective healthcare systems. Whether you’re devising strategies to improve healthcare accessibility, enhancing patient safety regulations, or advancing preventive health measures, you’ll be at the forefront of shaping a healthier society.
Workplace health coordinator
As a workplace health coordinator, you’ll help create a supportive work environment that prioritises employee health and safety. You could be responsible for organising wellness workshops, planning fitness challenges, and designing policies that prioritise employee health. Whether you’re introducing stress reduction strategies, promoting work-life balance, or creating ergonomic workspaces, you’ll play a pivotal role in creating an environment where people flourish.
Getting started with a career in public health
If you’re keen to switch careers or specialise in public health, Curtin offers flexible, postgraduate courses to help you gain the skills you need. All our public health courses are available fully online, are available full or part-time, and can be studied as shorter or longer courses, depending on your needs. If you’re looking for a fully comprehensive course with a pathway to research, our two-year Master of Public Health could be the right option for you. If you’re looking for an accelerated pathway to working as a public health practitioner, our 1.5 year Master of Public Health (Practice) is a great choice. Both courses have a strong global public health focus and offer you the chance to collaborate with peers all over the world. You’ll explore health monitoring and surveillance, disease prevention and control, health promotion, protection, policy, planning and management. If you’re looking for a shorter course, you can enrol in our six-month Graduate Certificate in Public Health or our one-year Graduate Diploma in Public Health. You can also opt to exit your master degree early with one of these qualifications.
What’s the difference between public health and health administration?
At Curtin, we offer postgraduate degrees in public health and health administration and they lead to two distinct career paths. Public health is concerned with improving population health outcomes through disease prevention, health promotion, and health protection. Health administration focuses on managing and overseeing the operations of healthcare organisations to ensure efficient and effective delivery of healthcare services.
Public health practitioners work at the population level to address health needs and implement interventions, while health administration professionals focus on managing healthcare systems and organisations to provide quality care. Both fields contribute to improving the overall health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, but through different approaches and responsibilities.
If you have questions about studying public health at Curtin, or want to find out more about your study options, we’re happy to help! You can call us during business hours on 1300 222 888 or ask us your question online and we’ll get back to you soon.