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Public Health Careers in Australia

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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. 

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.  

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. 

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: 

  1. Entry-level positions, such as health promotion officers, project officers and graduate roles, range from approximately AUD 65,000 to AUD 85,000 per year. 
  1. Mid-level positions, including project coordinators or senior officers, may have salaries ranging from AUD 80,000 to AUD 120,000 per year. 
  1. 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 offer many opportunities to make a positive impact on community health and wellbeing. Here are some examples: 

Community development officer 

If you’re a people person with strong planning and organisational skills, you might enjoy a career as a community development officer. As a community developer officer, you work closely with community members, local organisations and government agencies to identify the health and wellbeing needs of your community . Your tasks could involve talking to residents, coordinating events, workshops and activities, and helping develop relationships between people and groups to support community initiatives and programs.

Data analyst 

If you enjoy working with numbers, consider a career in healthcare data analytics. As a healthcare data analyst, you collect, analyse and interpret medical data to help researchers and medical professionals make better decisions. Your work might involve identifying hidden patterns, predicting disease outbreaks, tracking the effectiveness of treatments or finding ways for hospitals and healthcare settings to run more smoothly. The work of healthcare data analysts has a direct impact on improving patient outcomes and making healthcare more efficient. Find out more about becoming a healthcare data analyst.  


Epidemiologists are in demand around the globe and work in a variety of settings, including international organisations, governments and health agencies. As an epidemiologist, you study the cause, behaviour and spread of diseases within populations. You identify patterns and collate data to to help stop and contain diseases, and share accessible and timely recommendations to keep the public informed and safe. You might also be involved in vaccine development, identifying pathogens for research and choosing which vaccines to include in public health programs.   

Health promotion practitioner 

As a health promotion practitioner, you’re responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating policies and projects that affect public health. Health promotion practitioners are particularly interested in using a range of strategies to address the social, political and ecological conditions that cause health inequities. These strategies include health education, mass media, community engagement, advocacy and lobbying, social marketing and health policy. You might be based in schools, local government or workplaces, delivering programs, supporting communities, or working closely with policymakers to develop health public policies.

Policy officer 

As a health policy officer, you’re responsible for developing, evaluating and advocating for policies that directly impact how people receive medical care. You collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure policies align with community health goals, and work towards equitable and effective healthcare systems. Your work could involve writing policy submissions, project proposals and discussion papers, based on research and consultation. These policies could help improve access to healthcare, enhance patient safety regulations, or support government health priorities.  

Workplace health coordinator 

As a workplace health coordinator, you help create a supportive work environment that prioritises employee health and safety. Your work could involve developing and managing wellness programs, designing initiatives to promote employee wellbeing and delivering health education and resources. You might also find yourself advocating for policy and environmental changes (eg: ergonomic workspaces), coordinating wellbeing activities and events (eg: fitness challenges) and designing policies that improve employee 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.  

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