Public Health refers to the prevention of disease through prolonging and improving the quality of life through efforts made by organisations, communities and individuals. It is considered to be both a science and an art.
A main aim of public health is to prevent the spread of disease and to help ensure the access to safe and quality care in order to benefit the wider population. Three main areas of public health include health protection, health improvement and healthcare public health.
There are a number of postgraduate courses in public health to help develop your career further into areas such as research, education, policy and management. The routes into public health vary and it is a little bit more broad with no definitive route or specific qualification needed, once it is a qualification related within the health field.
There are many courses to choose from in this area across the UK. Some courses offer the option of studying both part-time or full time. Some courses may have restrictions or changes due to Covid-19. More detail on courses can be found on university websites or course overviews. Examples of courses include:
Public Health and Health Promotion
Those who choose to take on a postgraduate course in public health and health promotion will gain the knowledge to achieve change and influence health policy at all levels. Students will look at the historical background, current developments, potential future directions of public health and health promotion. Key theoretical and philosophical perspectives are also covered.
Research in Health Professions Education
Postgraduate courses in this area will give students the expert training in education research methods. These purses are suitable for those who want to undertake practice-focused research from doctors, nurses and academic educators. During these courses you will gain full training and support in a broad range of research methods, look at analysis of the evidence base for current practice in health professions education and more.
Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting)
Specialist Community Public Health nurses play a vital role in ensuring that children have the best start in life. They work alongside families, GP’s and those in education. Postgraduate courses in this area will prepare students to work in complex and varied settings including homes, schools and the wider community. These courses are for registered nurses and midwives. There are a range of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing courses in school nursing.
Other courses in this area include Health Research, Clinical Research, Public Health Practice in both health visiting and school nursing, among others.
Entry requirements may change from course to course and University to University so it is important to research your specific course to be sure you meet the criteria. An undergraduate degree in a related field is required. Some courses will look for a 2.1 degree while a 2.2 may suffice in others. More detailed course outlines can be found on University websites and course overviews.
Careers within public health may include:
- School nurses
- Public Health consultants
- Health and Safety advisors
- Epidemiologists (study outbreaks of diseases, the cause, the location etc)
The typical employers may include:
- Private hospitals
- Government agencies
- Government departments
- Local authorities
- Culture and leisure trusts
Salaries within public health may vary from role to role. All figures are based on estimates and are used as a guide only. There are many different roles within public health but it is believed that overall, the average wage in the areas is around £33,689. In general, wages in public health can vary from £20,839 to £68,697.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements needed in this area include
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Strong verbal skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- Excellent problem solving skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Attention to detail
- Hard worker
- Good judgement
- Critical mind
- Good team worker
- Analytical skills
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Planning skills
- Time management skills