Public & Community Health

Mission: To prepare leaders for tomorrow's health care challenges
Vision: To become a nationally recognized, competitive program

Public & Community Health Profession  

Healthcare is the largest industry in the United States and the second largest employer. The Bachelor of Science in Public and Community Health at Murray State University is a dynamic major that is interdisciplinary in nature and provides options that allow students to prepare for various careers in public and community health organizations, such as hospitals, governmental agencies, non-profits, and worksite wellness programs. These programs prepare students to sit for professional certifications/licensures as well as for graduate studies in related fields. 

What can I do with a Bachelor of Science in Public and Community Health?

Public and community health is one facet of the healthcare field, which is the largest industry in the country. The job outlook for each of the track areas according to the U.S. Department of Labor anticipates a faster than average job growth by 2024: Healthcare Administration and Managers by 17%; Health Educators
and Community Health Workers by 13%; and Medical Records and Health
Information Technicians by 15%.

The Bachelor of Science in Public and Community Health is a broad degree that provides you the opportunity to develop an understanding of current health issues and organizations, consumer health, environmental health, substance use and abuse, human sexuality, and evaluation and administration of health programs. This degree exposes students to a wide range of public and community health careers while providing the foundational courses required for professional post-graduate work, such as public health, health education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, environmental health and more! This diverse combination of courses positions graduates for great flexibility towards graduate employment opportunities. The degree also is a good base to entry to graduate entry masters courses in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, and Pharmacy, as well as other postgraduate program. A Public and Community Health degree is a great base, which develops many skill
sets that are transferable and in demand from a wide range of employers. These include:

  •  Excellent analytical and problem solving skills
  •  Outstanding research and information sourcing skills
  •  Strong critical thinking, judgment and decision making skills
  •  Understanding of the delivery of healthcare, medical services, primary care and community health services
  •  Understanding of business practices in public and community health (as all health care organizations are businesses!)
  •  Regulation, government, policy and funding
  •  Exceptional interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills
  •  Appreciation for diversity and a global understanding that can bridge cultural differences
  •  Ability to use appropriate technologies for research and administrative purposes.
  •  Strong team work skills with the ability to work collaboratively

Due to the flexible nature of the Bachelor of Science in Public and Community Health degree, it allows you to explore the many fields and special interest areas such as:

  • Epidemiology
  • Addiction studies
  • Working within indigenous contexts
  • Chronic diseases
  • Food processing
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Marketing/ public relations
  • Health promotion strategies and evaluation
  • Injury management
  • Psychology
  • Industrial relations
  • Management
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • Coordinator
  • Manager
  • Histology
  • Human Resources
  • Quality Control
  • Community Health
  • Long Term Healthcare
  • Public Health
  • And many other areas!

Who employs Public and Community Health graduates?

 Many of the skill and knowledge sets mentioned above are required by all employers. This allows public and community health graduates to uniquely create their own career path and capitalize on their strengths, interests and unique qualities and to market themselves towards employment. Self-awareness is the key to understanding what type of opportunity you are most suited towards. Your preferred career future may change over time as your life roles change, develop new and enhance existing skill and knowledge sets and engage in lifelong learning such as professional development, networking and work shadowing activities. Depending on which area you have studied, this will equip you to enter graduate employment within a specialized area. To gain a stronger understanding of the types of roles, tasks, duties and responsibilities each of these positions require, start using online search engines to identify positions with these titles and analyze the job description. Often a similar role with one organization or company may have different titles. These are just some of the areas you may work in as a Public and Community Health graduate:

  • Health Promotion Officer
  • Project Officer
  • Member Liaison Officer
  • Community Development Officer
  • Community Education Coordinator
  • Health Lifestyles Coordinator
  • Health Promoter
  • Health Planning Coordinator
  • Indigenous Health Worker
  • Health and Wellbeing Coordinator
  • Health Advisor
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Disabilities Worker
  • Research Assistant
  • Policy Analyst
  • Policy Writer
  • Partnerships Manager
  • Elder Care Coordinator
  • Health Educator
  • Wellness Coordinator
  • Community Nutrition Aid

        Networking with industry professionals and finding out about the pathways other public and community health graduates have taken will assist with you uncovering the wide variety of opportunities available to yourself. Working with a mentor, who is an experienced industry professional, may assist with uncovering these opportunities and expanding your occupational knowledge. Professional Associations are also an excellent way to find out more about the types of career pathways within specific health specializations. 

 

Where should I start looking for jobs?

Register with websites for specific job alerts. Consider both broad and narrow search terms that are related to your area of interest within public and community health. This will ensure that email alerts of appropriate jobs are sent directly to you. Networking is also a proven means of employment. Letting people know that you are seeking employment and that you are a competitive candidate will result in opportunities. Keep in mind that your first employment opportunity will be a stepping stone to your career. You will need experience and sometimes that means starting at entry level until you attain that experience – volunteering while you are a student in the program is another way to gain valuable experience. If there are particular jobs that you want, contact those places to interview them on what they are looking for in a qualified candidate. What companies are interested in Public and Community Health graduates? There are many different companies that hire Public and Community Health graduates. Some to considered are : 

  • State Government
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Insurance Companies
  • Department of Health
  • Disability Services Commissions
  • Department of Human Services
  • American Red Cross
  • Family Planning
  • Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation
  • Beyond Blue
  • Inspire Foundation
  • Starlight Foundation
  • Sports Facilities