Does It Pay to Major in Public Health?

Those planning to graduate from a health science program may be delighted to learn that jobs in the field are applicable to a wide range of industries. However, no matter the particular industry or organization one is working for, they all strive for a similar set of goals: to ensure that the public and their communities have access to resources that will sustain their health and assuage them to be more productive.

While varying industries under the Public Health umbrella may strive toward a common goal, they usually differ in terms of wages. Differences typically hinge on the skill set and level of education required to perform various tasks. The following list will address the question “does it pay to major in public health?” by providing a better idea of what is required for specific fields and how much each pays.

Environmental Scientist

Environmental Scientists apply knowledge of natural science to aid the environment and protect human and animal health. This is typically accomplished through data collection and planning resulting in the development of regulations intended to protect various aspects of the environment from contamination and pollution. Some scientists work as consultants, while others are employed by state or local governments.

Environmental Scientists can make anywhere from $38,000 to $110,000 annually. The amount of money they make is entirely dependent on their experience, education, and place of employment. The most lucrative position in this field is working for the federal government, followed by engineering, then consulting.


Epidemiologists research the origins of disease and harm as it relates to the population at large. Their goal is to minimize averse impacts on a population’s health and well-being. This is typically accomplished by way of research, which is then implemented into policy, and conveyed through education. Epidemiologists develop studies and analyze data before communicating their conclusions to government officials and the public.

With a median wage of approximately $65,000 annually, epidemiology is one of the most lucrative public health fields. Target areas for employment include hospitals, higher education institutions, and government institutions.

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators support various organizations by directing and coordinating health services. Their primary goal is to enhance the efficiency of health-related services. Typical job duties revolve around scheduling and billing, as well as conducting meetings with local and state governments. However, professionals in this field do not typically work in government positions; rather, they find work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

Healthcare administrators can make anywhere from $50,000 to $105,000 annually. The total amount usually depends on the size of the organization they work for, with smaller organizations typically to paying less than larger ones.


No matter whether you are attending Cal State University Northridge or USC, it is important to consider the impact that your academic institution will have on your skill set, especially in terms of how that relates to your employment opportunities in a specific field. One way to maximize your efficiency and increase your pay is by obtaining a Master’s degree from an accredited institution, such as USC’s masters in public health program. Doing so will improve your skillset and make you more desirable to employers, greatly increasing your chances of securing a lucrative position.



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