Mississippi Public Health Career – MS
Public Health Professionals in Mississippi
In this fast-paced, industrialized nation, Mississippi is somewhat of a throwback. Agriculture predominates, and the state’s rural nature influences every aspect of daily living. No one understands this more than Mississippi’s public health professionals, responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the state’s residents. On one hand, they must cope with 21st century concerns like the rising number of medically uninsured, creating greater demand for public services, plus the need for vigilance regarding bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. On the other hand, they also confront old-fashion problems like unsafe drinking water and underserved populations in rural areas as primary public health issues. And their health care delivery system is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.
The Mississippi State Department of Health is the government entity charged with protecting and promoting the health of its citizens. It directs, and in partnership with other government and private agencies, delivers a wide array of essential health services throughout 82 counties and nine public health districts. The service areas are:
- family and adults
- women, children and adolescents
- preventive heath
- healthy living
- disease control
Such diverse service offerings need skilled professionals to deliver quality health care to Mississippians. The state mandates that several specialties within the public health system must be licensed or certified to ensure practitioners meet minimum standards and comply with federal and state laws. However, Mississippi does not require certification for public health employees as a whole. Various professionals working in Mississippi public health careers report to multiple divisions / boards within the department of health. For example, the Professional Licensure Division handles accreditation of dieticians and occupational therapists, among many other positions. Nurses are licensed by the Mississippi Board of Nursing, pharmacists are licensed by the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy, and so on. Due to the wide range of jobs encompassed in the public health field, salaries vary greatly as well. Public health advisor salaries can reach $108,000, while water treatment specialists earn about $28,000 (indeed.com). If a public health career is in your future, it is strongly recommended that you determine whether formal credentials are needed and what the requirements are. See website msdh.state.ms.us for the complete list of Mississippi-licensed occupations.