Public Health Salary

Public health administration salary

Public health is a broad, diverse field, one that covers local, state, national and global health issues, from improving health care access to promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing substance abuse to implementing educational programs.

Individuals working in the industry may encounter or deal with issues from any number of issues that could impact public health, such as global epidemics, environmental risks, obesity, natural disasters and more. There are numerous educational paths available to potential careers in the field, spread across ten core subject areas, according to the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health:

  • Behavioral and social science
  • Biostatistics and informatics
  • Community health
  • Environmental health
  • Epidemiology
  • Global health
  • Health policy and management
  • Health promotion and communication
  • Maternal and child health
  • Minority health and health disparities

Careers in public health

Because of its breadth, public health encapsulates several primary paths of career focuses, such as health communication, research, occupational safety, laboratory practices, preventative services and more. Below is a list of 11 common public health careers:

Biochemist. Biochemists are scientists that coordinate and conduct research into living organisms, focusing on areas including genetic mutations, diseases and more.

Clinical social worker. Clinical social workers provide substantive care to individuals, families and the community dealing with issues stretching from substance abuse to serious illnesses.

Dietitians/Nutritionist. Dietitians and nutritionists work with individuals to establish healthy eating and lifestyle behaviors.

Environmental science technician. Environmental science technicians work under the supervision of environmental scientists, assisting with both laboratory- and field-based research in areas such as pollution or water safety.

Environmental scientist. Environmental scientists study the impact of the environment on human beings, including climate change, water pollution, chemicals and more.

Epidemiologist. Epidemiologists are public health researchers that collect and analyze data to investigate the causes and risks of diseases in human beings.

Health educator. Health educators are responsible for creating, implementing and maintaining healthy living strategies to improve the general well-being of their neighborhoods, communities or state.

Public health administrator. Public health administrators may work in a range of health care settings and are typically responsible for coordinating patient care, managing policy issues, and ensuring proper delivery of health services.

Registered nurse. Registered nurses provide and manage patient care in a variety of health care settings, from hospitals to schools.

Substance abuse counselor. Substance abuse counselors work with individuals (and their families) dealing with drug, alcohol or other behavioral-focused behaviors.

Salaries and career outlook for public health professionals

Overall, the public health sector is projected to experience continual employment growth nationally between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov). Based on job data from the BLS, the fastest growing public health careers include substance abuse counselors, public health administrators, dietitians and nutritionists, and biochemists.

The three best paying public health careers include public health administrators, biochemists, and epidemiologists. Below is a table of public health professions, with their 2013 national average salary and projected employment growth figures nationally from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:


2013 National Average Salary

Projected % Growth in Employment Nationally, 2012 - 2022

Substance abuse counselor



Public health administrators



Dietitians and Nutritionists



Registered nurses



Health educator



Environmental science technicians






Environmental scientists



Clinical social worker






Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

Public health state salaries

Indeed, national salaries figures only tell one part of the story. Location has a major impact on potential earnings for public health professionals. Below is a list of the top three paying states in 2013 for the public health careers mentioned above. Data is from the BLS:


  • New Jersey ($125,090)
  • Massachusetts ($105,540)
  • Connecticut ($103,720)

Clinical social workers

  • Hawaii ($102,990)
  • Rhode Island ($93,710)
  • Alabama ($85,800)

Dietitians and Nutritionists

  • California ($71,870)
  • Nevada ($70,580)
  • Hawaii ($64,150)

Environmental science technicians

  • Nevada ($59,430)
  • South Carolina ($57,130)
  • Washington ($55,960)

Environmental scientists

  • Virginia ($84,120)
  • Rhode Island ($83,680)
  • California ($83,210)


  • North Carolina ($104,300)
  • New Jersey ($99,730)
  • Massachusetts (88,640)

Health Educators

  • Maryland ($83,140)
  • Georgia ($74,150)
  • Rhode Island ($66,270)

Public health administrators

  • California ($118,040)
  • New York ($118,020)
  • Delaware ($114,640)

Registered nurses

  • California ($96,980)
  • Hawaii ($85,380)
  • Massachusetts ($83,720)

Substance abuse counselors

  • Michigan ($50,890)
  • Utah ($49,760)
  • New Jersey ($49,460)

State employment projections for public health professionals

Nationally, the occupations listed above are projected to see an average employment increase of nearly 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. However, job opportunities vary by state and, in many cases, career growth in individual states should surpass national averages.

Below is a list of the states projected to see the largest employment gains for the following public health careers between 2012 and 2022:

  • Biochemist. Top states include Florida (50.9%), Utah (41.1%), Colorado (35.6%), Kansas (35.5%) and Vermont (27.7%)
  • Clinical social worker. Top states include Utah (25%), Indiana (22.2%), Georgia (21.2%), Florida (20.7%) and Oregon (19.9%)
  • Dietitians/Nutritionist. Top states include Texas (30.1%), Utah (29.9%), Colorado (28.2%), Kentucky (27.6%) and Arizona (25.5%)
  • Environmental science technician. Top states include Colorado (37.7%), North Dakota (35.6%), Wyoming (28.9%), Utah (28.7%) and North Carolina (27.2%)
  • Environmental scientist. Top states include Colorado (30.1%), California (29.5%), Kentucky (26.1%), Utah (23.9%) and Texas (23.5%)
  • Epidemiologist. Top states include Florida (32.4%), Kentucky (30%), Texas (17.8%), Washington (17%) and North Carolina (16.9%)
  • Health educator. Top states include Florida (33.1%), Utah (30.2%), Kentucky (29.2%), Tennessee (27.5%) and Colorado (27.3%)
  • Public health administrator. Top states include Utah (35.4%), Kentucky (30.4%), Texas (30.3%), Georgia (29.1%) and Arizona (28.2%)
  • Registered nurse. Top states include Utah (31.4%), Texas (28.2%), Idaho (26.4%), Colorado (26.2%) and Arizona (25.6%)
  • Substance abuse counselor. Top states include Kentucky (42.1%), Georgia (40.9%), Utah (37.5%), New Hampshire (35.9%) and Arizona (34.2%)

With multiple career options and growing job openings, public health is a field that should be of interest to any prospective student.


Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, http://www.aspph.org/discover/

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Substance Abuse Counselors, www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Educators, www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Biochemists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biochemists-and-biophysicists.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental Scientists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Biostatisticians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/statisticians.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public Health Administrators, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dietitians and Nutritionists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental Science Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-science-and-protection-technicians.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Epidemiologists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm#tab-2

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm

Public Health Schools