What education, training or transferable skills do you have that you could bring to a public health role?

For example, you might:

  • be a school leaver
  • be a new graduate or in your last year at university (any discipline)
  • have a Master's qualification in public health or a related discipline but not have worked in public health
  • be considering public health as a career change 

Think about your strengths and what you have to offer

  • Are you enthusiastic, organised, open, and helpful? These are all attributes of a good networker.
  • Do you consider yourself as being approachable, flexible, caring and empathetic? These are characteristics of a good manager. Would you describe yourself as being a good listener, caring and willing to help others? These are essential counselling and lifestyle skills.

Think about your interests

  • Do you enjoy working with people and enabling them to take action for a healthier lifestyle? Then you could consider a career in health improvement.
  • Or what about being a detective and finding the source of an epidemic outbreak or cluster of illnesses? Then you could consider health protection.
  • A love for crunching numbers could point you in the direction of information analyst, while teaching and research could lead you to a career in academic public health. There are so many opportunities, and you need to decide what you are passionate about

Public health is about influencing people's lifestyles or aspects of the environment in which they live with the aim of preventing them from becoming unhealthy or ill, or of improving their health and wellbeing. Sometimes this involves helping individuals, at other times it involves dealing with wider factors (cultural, social or economic) that have an impact on the health of many people (e.g. an age-group, an ethnic group, a locality, or a country).

While medicine and nursing are vital for helping and supporting people when they fall ill, work in public health contributes to reducing the causes of ill health and improving people's health and wellbeing.

It does this by:

  • Protecting people's health (e.g. from environmental or biological threats)
  • Improving people's health (e.g. by helping people quit smoking or improving their living conditions)
  • Ensuring that our health services are the most effective, most efficient and equally accessible. 

Public health refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Its activities aim to provide conditions in which people can be healthy and focus on entire populations, not on individual patients or diseases. In summary, public health is concerned with the total system and not only the eradication of a particular disease.