Global Health Careers
The field of global health is broad and includes desirable careers for MPH graduates and individuals with a variety of background experiences, strengths and skill sets. From those who are passionate about a career in health care to those who are better suited to policy, research or advocacy, there are global health careers that can suit a range of interests.
1. Health Policy Analyst
As the professionals that make recommendations for future policies and amendments to current programs or regulations, health policy analysts research and develop strategies to improve care outcomes. Working on a small scale within individual hospitals as well as on a larger scale in government organizations, nonprofits or political action committees, policy analysts look at the success of different programs and regulations to find areas of improvement.
According to Payscale, the approximate median annual salary for health policy analysts was $66,500 as of March 2023, with those on the uppermost end of the salary spectrum earning $97,000.
Epidemiologists are scientists and researchers who examine the causes of diseases and illnesses. The goal of their work is to discover what caused an illness or outbreak in an effort to control it, minimize its recurrence in the future or take steps toward eradication.
A type of detective for diseases and disease prevention, epidemiologists look at the origin and spread of an illness to better understand both how the outbreak could have been avoided as well as the best practices to defeat it.
Working in laboratories, scientific organizations and government agencies, epidemiologists are instrumental in controlling the spread of disease. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), epidemiologists earned an approximate median annual salary of $78,830 as of May 2021, with a projected employment increase of 26% between 2021 and 2031, much higher than the national growth average for all occupations.
3. Global Health Educator
Global health educators specialize in preparing and offering instructional programs on best practices to manage health, disease progression or preventative care. Active in underserved and vulnerable communities around the world, global health educators encounter varying illnesses depending on their location and often manage diseases that have been eradicated in other parts of the world.
Health educators play a key part in disease management and prevention, providing individuals with the tools they need to screen for diseases or administer medication from home. By teaching patients about their illnesses, health educators can restore some of their independence and autonomy, encouraging individuals to take an active part in their health and well-being.
According to the BLS, health education specialists and community health workers earned an approximate median annual salary of $48,860 as of May 2021. With factors such as education, work experience and job location influencing salary, global health educators can compete for higher paying roles by investing in an advanced education.
At the heart of advancements in global health care are the physicians and medical professionals on the ground who provide treatment. Skilled in providing life-changing care to patients of all backgrounds, physicians are key to administering the vaccines, basic care services, medical assessments and medications that are vital to fighting diseases worldwide.
In many cases, physicians are on the front lines when battling the spread of disease, treating patients and conducting research. Through a combination of medical care and advocacy for health care policy, becoming a physician is one of the most influential global health careers.
As of May 2021, the BLS reported that general internal medicine physicians earned a median annual salary of $242,190. Salaries can depend on factors such as job location, work experience and level of education. For graduates looking to pursue a career as a physician, it is important to consider whether they are interested in working for a hospital, government organization or nonprofit, as the type of facility can influence salary.
5. Medical and Health Services Manager
Medical and health services management is a global health career that fulfills a key administrative role. Tasked with planning, coordinating and directing the business activities and administrative tasks of health care providers, medical and health services managers ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly and that physicians have the resources they need to treat patients.
Global health managers oversee the day-to-day development and monitoring of global health events and risks, mitigate damages and ensure organizations have the necessary resources to handle emergencies.
According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $101,340 as of May 2021. Medical and health services managers play a key role in many health care organizations and can benefit from an advanced education in programs such as a master of public health.
6. Social and Health Program Consultant
Working in coordination with physicians and administrators, social and health program consultants provide organizations and health care institutions with guidance on how to better improve their care programs. Consultants analyze programs to identify what works and what needs improvement and provide solutions.
Social and health program consultants play an instrumental role in improving care programs and achieving positive care outcomes. According to Payscale, the median annual salary for health care consultants was approximately $82,500 as of March 2023.
7. Public Health Lawyer
Public health lawyers support other global health careers by assisting governments and navigating legal requirements. As global health involves providing care across borders, a variety of legal ramifications and processes must be taken into consideration.
Additionally, public health lawyers work within governments and on behalf of organizations such as the World Health Organization on issues such as modifiable risk factors, new laws and regulations relating to health and navigating international policies.
According to the BLS, as of May 2021, lawyers earned a median annual salary of $127,990.