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Become A Public Health Specialist

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Working As A Public Health Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Health Specialist Do

Occupational health and safety specialists analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. They also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers and damage to the environment.

Duties

Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace
  • Collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis
  • Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations
  • Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions
  • Investigate accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented
  • Conduct training on a variety of topics, such as emergency preparedness

Occupational health and safety specialists examine the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. They may examine factors such as lighting, equipment, materials, and ventilation. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments and by preventing government fines.

Some specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.

In addition to protecting workers, specialists work to prevent harm to property, the environment, and the public by inspecting workplaces for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards. Specialists who work for governments conduct safety inspections and can impose fines.

Occupational health and safety specialists work with engineers and physicians to control or fix hazardous conditions or equipment. They also work closely with occupational health and safety technicians to collect and analyze data in the workplace. 

The tasks of occupational health and safety specialists vary by industry, workplace, and types of hazards affecting employees. The following are examples of types of occupational health and safety specialists:

Ergonomists consider the design of industrial, office, and other equipment to maximize workers’ comfort, safety, and productivity.

Industrial or occupational hygienists identify workplace health hazards, such as lead, asbestos, noise, pesticides, and communicable diseases.

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How To Become A Public Health Specialist

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field.

Education

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. For some positions, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject is required.

Typical courses include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection. These courses may vary with the specialty in which a student wants to work. For example, courses in health physics focus on topics that differ from those in industrial hygiene.

High school students interested in becoming occupational health and safety specialists should take courses in English, math, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to use advanced technology. They often work with complex testing equipment.

Communication skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to communicate safety instructions and concerns to employees and managers. They need to be able to work with technicians to collect and test samples of possible hazards, such as dust or vapors, in the workplace.

Detail oriented. Occupational health and safety specialists need to understand and follow safety standards and complex government regulations.

Physical stamina. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to stand for long periods and be able to travel regularly. Some specialists work in environments that can be uncomfortable, such as tunnels or mines.

Problem-solving skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to solve problems in order to design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is voluntary, many employers encourage it. Certification is available through several organizations, depending on the field in which the specialists work. Specialists must have graduated from an accredited educational program and have work experience to be eligible to take most certification exams. To keep their certification, specialists usually are required to complete periodic continuing education.

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Do you work as a Public Health Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
Show Salaries
$39,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$163,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Health Research
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Public Health Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Public Health Specialist in the United States is $80,381 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $163,000.

Real Public Health Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Public Health Specialist University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Apr 01, 2012 $86,700
Gender and Public Health Specialist International Center for Research On Women Washington, DC Oct 01, 2009 $82,000
Public Health Specialists Texas Anesthesia Back Pain Center MDPA Houston, TX Sep 22, 2016 $45,914
Public Health Specialist Texas Anesthesia Back Pain Center Md Pa Houston, TX Sep 24, 2013 $45,914

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Top Skills for A Public Health Specialist

  1. Chronic Illnesses
  2. Food Preparation
  3. HIV
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop reporting and evaluation framework for performance management of HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
  • Developed/coordinated and implemented public health awareness campaigns geared towards public health education.
  • Collaborated with local health departments and other community partners
  • Participated in developing policies for funded programs and provided in-service training to staff of funded providers.
  • Represent the Missouri Department of Health while conducting child care facility sanitation inspections.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Public Health Specialists

  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Wyoming
  4. Alaska
  5. Minnesota
  6. Nebraska
  7. Tennessee
  8. Colorado
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Missouri
  • (28 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (101 jobs)
  • (71 jobs)
  • (110 jobs)

Public Health Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

59.4%

Male

27.0%

Unknown

13.6%
Ethnicity

White

54.5%

Hispanic or Latino

18.6%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

10.0%

Unknown

5.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

11.1%

Arabic

9.3%

Swahili

3.7%

Amharic

3.7%

Urdu

3.7%

Hmong

3.7%

Swedish

1.9%

Filipino

1.9%

Yoruba

1.9%

Somali

1.9%

Tigrinya

1.9%

Hindi

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%

Italian

1.9%
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Public Health Specialist Education

Schools

Walden University

7.1%

Tulane University

6.1%

Benedictine University

6.1%

University of Phoenix

6.1%

Texas A&M University

6.1%

Michigan State University

6.1%

Community College of the Air Force

5.1%

American University

5.1%

Loma Linda University

5.1%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.1%

East Carolina University

5.1%

University of Texas at El Paso

5.1%

Missouri Southern State University

5.1%

Emory University

4.1%

Kaplan University

4.1%

University of Central Missouri

4.1%

Texas State Technical College - Harlingen

4.1%

Columbia University

4.1%

University of Maryland - University College

3.1%

Appalachian State University

3.1%
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Majors

Public Health

32.2%

Business

10.6%

Nursing

7.9%

Health Education

7.0%

Health Care Administration

4.9%

Biology

3.3%

Public Health Education

3.3%

Social Work

3.0%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

3.0%

Environmental Science

2.7%

Psychology

2.7%

Public Relations

2.7%

Food And Nutrition

2.4%

Education

2.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.1%

Sociology

2.1%

Kinesiology

1.8%

General Studies

1.8%

Management

1.8%

Health And Wellness

1.8%
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Degrees

Masters

50.5%

Bachelors

28.4%

Other

8.1%

Associate

4.6%

Doctorate

3.8%

Certificate

3.3%

Diploma

1.3%
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