For most public health careers, you’ll need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in public health in order to break into the field (and, for some roles, you’ll even need a master’s degree).

If you’re like most people considering earning a degree—any degree—you’ve probably got a long list of questions you need answered before you can feel confident in your decision. One important question that’s probably at the top of your mind is: How much money can I expect to earn after I complete my degree? Will that salary be worth the investment of time, energy, and money that I have to put into it?

To help you answer these questions, below we provide some data about the average salaries for the most common jobs you’ll qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in public health. We’ll also provide some other data you can use to determine whether or not earning your degree is right for you.

Average Pay for Public Health Degree Holders

How much you earn with your public health degree will depend on a number of factors, including where you work, how many years of experience you have, what your level of responsibility is, and, of course, your specific job title. With this in mind, here is the average pay for common public health careers:

As mentioned, these are national averages. Working in certain areas can cause your level of pay to be higher or lower, depending on the needs of the community in which you work and the demand for public health professionals. For example, in Boston, individuals with those exact same job titles can expect to earn higher salaries than the national average, as noted below:

Of course, earning additional degrees, such as a master's degree in public health, will also help you advance into more senior level positions within the field, which will typically come with higher pay as well.

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How to Know If a Public Health Degree Is Worth It for You

If you’re unsure whether or not a degree in public health is the right one for you, start by asking yourself the following questions:

1. Does the expected salary meet your personal needs?

While salary should only be one factor that goes into helping you choose your career path, it’s still an important one. Using the numbers above, get a sense of whether or not this pay will be enough for you personally. If not, you may want to consider a different career path.

2. Do you want a job with high demand?

For a variety of reasons, public health professionals have been, and will continue to be, in high demand for years to come. This translates into high job security since your skills are likely to be needed by a variety of employers. By one estimate, the United States needs an additional 250,000 public health workers at all levels (state, local, and federal) in order to truly meet the needs of the communities being served.

3. Do you want to work in epidemiology?

Many people choose to go into public health because they would specifically like to work in epidemiology. If that sounds like you, it’s important to note that you will almost certainly need to earn a master’s degree in order to become an epidemiologist. With this in mind, you’ll first need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Therefore, a bachelor’s degree in public health is an excellent preparatory degree for an eventual career in epidemiology.

4. Do you want to make a real difference in the world?

Public health professionals play an essential role in promoting health initiatives in the communities that they serve. As such, a career in public health gives you the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of others. If this is important to you, as it is to most aspiring public health workers, then earning a degree might be worth it even if other factors, like pay, are less than you expected.

A Rewarding Career

A career in public health can be an incredibly rewarding one, both personally and professionally. In order to break into the field, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in public health. We hope that the discussion above will help you make a decision as to whether earning your degree is right for you.

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