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Public Health: An Industry Snapshot

Sam Hughes MPH graduate
Sam Hughes, Master of Public Health graduate who changed careers from exercise physiologist to public health researcher.

The public health sector employs more people than any other industry in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Jobs in public health extend far beyond clinical occupations like nursing and medicine – the industry also includes careers related to community outreach, health policy planning, and the administration of health services.

Public health is constantly changing in response to community needs. If you’re considering a career in this field, the public health online courses offered at Monash Online can give you the experiential knowledge and tangible skills needed to secure your dream job and make a lasting impact on the community.

As we have seen in recent times with COVID-19, it is crucial to have well equipped and prepared leadership in the health industry, not only to lead health care workers but also to advise the government and public on how to maneuver during these difficult times. Public health and safety rely on the advice of top medical professionals and it is crucial to have thoughtful and purpose-driven public health leaders.

Before taking the first steps toward a career in public health, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the industry. This snapshot of public health will provide you with an overview of how its employment and educational opportunities are evolving.


What Is Public Health?  

Pinning down a definition of the public health sector can be challenging as it covers such a broad spectrum of careers. Responsibility for the Australian health system is shared between federal and state governments, ensuring the reliable delivery of health care services across the country.

Public health jobs can be performed in several settings, including:

  • Hospitals

  • Health care clinics

  • Government departments

  • Community health centres

  • Not-for-profit health organisations

  • The pharmaceutical industry

  • The health insurance industry

Despite having such different sets of responsibilities, every job in the public health sector is driven by the same purpose: to improve health care outcomes in the community.  

With the advancement of medical technologies, life expectancy in Australia has improved dramatically. Now that we tend to live much longer than previous generations, long-term health care plans, preventive treatments, and residential programs are in high demand. Moreover, with the rise of the pandemic COVID-19, there is an urgent need for skilled professionals in the healthcare sector. Not only are these workers having a real impact on public health they are also protecting the community and acting as a voice of authority during these times of crisis. This means there has never been a better time to join the public health sector and make a valuable impact on your community.


Which Public Health Career Is Right for Me?

As an all-encompassing industry, trying to make sense of the different career options in public health can be overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a career, consider your unique skills and ambitions.

Identifying the areas of public health you’re most drawn to can help you find a profession that makes the most of your strengths. Can you picture yourself working in a hospital setting, or would you rather influence policy changes? You might be suited to driving administrative innovation, or perhaps you’d thrive in a planning and managing role.  

You could pursue roles such as:

  • Leadership roles in public or private hospitals, healthcare institutions or companies
  • Roles in local, state or federal health departments in health policy, planning, and management
  • Research roles or further study at universities or health institutions
  • Positions in health advocacy or policy planning within non-government and international aid organisations

Regardless of your preferred specialisation, earning a relevant degree is an essential step in setting yourself up for success in public health.

“Studying a Master of Public Health has provided me with better insight and knowledge of public health not just at a local level,” says Monash Online graduate Shihko Pearson.

“I have been able to utilise the skills I have gained in my everyday practice, from critically appraising the literature to evaluating service provision. This has allowed me to facilitate the learnings of others in my workplace.”

By developing relevant skills that can be applied in the workplace, you’ll be able to pick and choose from a range of rewarding opportunities.


Why Study Public Health?

In addition to career advancement and job security, there are several other reasons to study public health. The sector’s most appealing aspect is how rewarding the work is. Rather than feeling directionless in your career, knowing you’re actually making a difference to peoples’ lives can be a huge source of motivation.

“Prior to enrolling with Monash Online, I worked for 10 years in the private sector as an exercise physiologist,” says Master of Public Health graduate Sam Hughes.

“Even though I enjoyed helping hundreds of people one-to-one, what I really wanted was to help thousands. Once I made the decision to upskill, the Master of Public Health almost picked itself.”

There’s also the versatility of the public health sector – with such an abundance of job opportunities and locations to choose from, the career possibilities are endless.


Public Health Courses at Monash Online

Want to make a positive change both locally and internationally? Our Master of Public Health is designed for medical and health care professionals looking to expand their careers. This course will help you develop the skills necessary to become a leader in the way public health care is provided.

For more information on public health courses and enrolment tips, contact Monash Online today.