Public health professionals play a significant role in society. These are the people tasked with the responsibility of handling pandemics. Even when there’s no epidemic, these professionals work tirelessly to ensure that our overall health and wellness is in tip-top shape. Because of the vital role that they play in society, you may also want to become a public health professional.
However, you must get a public health degree to be a part of this noble profession. In public health, there are so many fields for you to choose from. Furthermore, before you decide to go for a public health degree, you must know for sure what you’re getting yourself into. The information will help you choose the right path and help you succeed in the long run.
Here are some of the most important considerations you need to factor before deciding to get a public health degree.
1. Understand The Core Functions Of Public Health
According to publichealthdegrees.org, there are many public health degrees that one can go for. Before you even go into the specifics, it’s imperative that you have good knowledge about what the core functions of public health are. With this information, you’ll get an idea as to the overall scope and limitations of the profession. Also, you’ll have a solid grasp on what to expect from your future career in public health.
That said, the core functions of public health include:
- Policy Development, to achieve the following:
- Developing all the policies that are often necessary for the overall health efforts of the community that you belong to
- Informing and educating others in the community about the importance of fighting common environmental health issues
- Creating solutions to solve the current health issues affecting local individuals in your community
- Assessment, which necessarily includes performing the following tasks:
- Investigating the current health problems in your local environment, which can include hazard and risk factors
- Monitoring the overall health status of your community
- Assurance, which means going about the following:
- Innovating clear-cut solutions for some of the most common environmental health problems
- Creating the proper laws and regulations needed for protecting environmental health
- Evaluating the effectiveness of any action that has already been taken
If you know for sure that these functions are something that you can perform well, then you can say for sure that public health is the right career for you.
2. The Time And Commitment Needed
Whichever public health degree you choose, you’ll have to devote a lot of time and effort to achieve success. Before you even start with getting any public health degree, you need to know for sure that this is something you can commit to. Else, you may get a poor score that may make it difficult for you to get a good job.
Because of the importance of the job functions that come along with working in public health, there’s no room for lethargy. The hours are going to be long and you’ll have to be ready to put in a lot of hard work. Beyond the academic learning in the four walls of your classroom, you’ll also have to work hard in the community for hands-on experience.
3. Get To Know The Services Of Public Health First
Many people often confuse about studying medicine with public health. In essence, these two are connected. But, as much as they have similarities, they also have their distinctions.
In medicine, you’re going to be dealing directly with diagnosing and treating patients suffering from various diseases. When a patient or a community member comes to you and sees you, they already have an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. So, your role is reactive.
In public health, however, your goal is to have a community with no diseases and no outbreaks. You’re responsible for a more proactive approach to ensure that the community that you belong to always stays in prime health condition.
4. The Willingness To Work With A Lot Of Data
If you’re not into reading and analysis of data, then a public health degree isn’t for you. You have to understand that in this field, you’re going to go through a lot of data. To be more precise, you don’t just read the data presented to you, but it’s also your job to make sound analysis and make recommendations or prepare public policy based on the insights gained. You don’t want to be the source of any questionable article or data published in your community because of improper analysis.
For instance, you may be tasked with making a report on how best to allocate resources in your community during an epidemic. When health problems occur, such as an outbreak of a disease, you’ll get new statistics every day. So, you’ll need to continuously analyze and draw conclusions based on dynamic data.
You’ll learn these aspects as you go through your degree. So, you’ve got to be prepared for all the work that comes along with these job functions.
5. The Various Modes Of Learning
Thanks to technology, there are now various modes of learning that you can choose from. So, you can choose your learning method based on your convenience. For instance, depending on your financial resources, you may have to work while going to school or college. Or you may want to go for a full-time course. So, you can either choose an online course or go for face-to-face classes in a traditional classroom. If you choose the mode that you’re comfortable with, you can achieve more success while pursuing your public health degree.
The information above will equip you to enter the field of public health with confidence. It’s imperative that you know about public health and public health degrees before you decide to join the noble profession. That way, you’ll be more prepared to face the challenges that come along the way. Remember, public health is a demanding field and you’ll have to work hard to succeed. Consider the information above and make an informed decision about taking up a public health degree.