Public health is one of the most exciting and fastest growing career fields in the nation. Through public health and education programs, you learn how to conduct disease prevention and health education activities in populations, such as towns, states, villages, communities, and neighborhoods. Public health specialists know how to assess a population, determine the main health issues affecting that community, plan and implement appropriate programs and interventions to address these needs and evaluate the effectiveness of those strategies.
Public health specialists work in a wide variety of settings, including county and state health departments, gyms, corporate wellness sites, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, schools, clinics, community centers, and many other locations. Public health and education is an ideal major for students who want to help others, but do not want to provide direct clinical care for patients or take science classes like biology and chemistry. This is a social science that teaches students about the many complex factors that contribute to health and well-being in a community, such as education, literacy, economics, cultural values, politics, resources, lifestyle practices, geographic location and others.
The public health program at UNI (previously, health promotion) includes many meaningful opportunities for hands-on learning before graduation, with classes that combine field experiences with academic training. All students participate in a semester-long internship prior to graduation in a health-related agency of their choice, either locally, in the United States, or around the world. Previous interns have served in agencies ranging from the YWCA and county health departments, to organizations affiliated with the United Nations. Many students also take the opportunity to participate in medical missions in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, or in study abroad activities for academic credit.
At UNI, public health majors can specialize in one or more tracks, including global health and humanitarian assistance, women's health, community nutrition, wellness and fitness, and environmental health. Most majors declare more than one specialty area in public health, and find that they can easily complete these specialty areas in four years or less for no additional tuition cost. Other students combine a major in public health with a related bachelor's degree on campus, such as in exercise science, athletic training, anthropology, women's studies, or geography. An increasing number of students earning a B.A. in public health and education at UNI also choose to stay on after graduation for another 1.5 years with the program to earn a master's degree in community health to earn an even higher salary in administration.
Students transferring into the B.A. in public health from a community college should check with their academic advisors at those institutions. A number of community college classes can count into the plans of study for the B.A. in public health and therefore shorten the time needed to complete the degree.
BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Environmental health is a high-paying specialty track for public health and education students. Most of these students will eventually work in health departments or corporations, where their jobs range from monitoring water and air quality to educating residents about lead paint or preventing occupational injuries in workers
Global health and women's health are two very popular specialty tracks within the public health and education program at UNI. Many of these students actively volunteer and intern with underserved communities, where they teach patients about lifestyle changes and positive health behaviors. The world is the classroom for these students, who are engaged with the community locally and throughout the globe.
Students who are interested in physical fitness careers with a broad public health and education focus should consider majoring or double majoring in public health and education: wellness and fitness. This large career field provides students with opportunities to work not only in gyms and fitness centers, but also offers expanded job placement options in public health departments, corporate wellness sites, schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations.
COMMON CAREER AREAS
Hospital and clinic programming
School health education
Peace Corps and Americorps
Emergency management and disaster relief
Environmental and occupational health
County and state health department programming
FIND OUT MORE
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