Today, finding a job that rewards you personally and professionally is important. It can also be difficult thanks to the very competitive job market that is out there. For many, entering the health care field is an option that offers some very real benefits. Becoming a child health specialist is worth considering if you want to earn above average salaries and be able to work to help those in need.
Of course, it’s a position that isn’t right for everyone. Because it requires an investment of time and energy, you’ll want to make sure that you spend time learning more about the job before you commit yourself to following this career path. Keep reading to learn more about what it has to offer and what it involves.
What Is a Child Health Specialist?
A child health specialist is a professional who focuses on helping improve the overall health and wellbeing of children. Many of these experts focus their work on a specific aspect of children’s health care ranging from pediatrics to play therapy to even children’s hospice. They work to explore current trends and issues in children’s health and develop new, alternative methods of helping kids cope with health issues and improve their current health. They may work in one on one settings with children or have a more broad-spectrum focus on the health of children in the population.
Potential job duties will vary greatly but will likely include the following.
- Monitor and evaluate current health programs and initiatives to determine what areas need improvement in a child’s health.
- Develop new strategies and programs to boost child health.
- Implement educational tools and programs that raise awareness about child health.
- Consult with colleagues and policy makers about health related issues and how to improve them.
- Travel to different areas and conduct research into health related problems.
- Create reports for submission to peers or policy makers that shed light on various issues.
- Work one on one with individual children to help them improve their health.
The field has a wide range of variety, and it’s difficult to pin down exactly what you’ll be doing until you assume a role with an employer.
A child health specialist benefits from their training and education, but having certain strengths in personal areas can help as well. The following areas can improve your ability to thrive in the job.
- Good Communication – Since you’ll be working with kids, parents, co-workers, and policy makers, having strong communication skills is an absolute must.
- Good Writing Ability – Drafting reports and documents is a major part of the job as well, and having strong writing skills will make a big difference in your capabilities.
- Strong Emotional Constitution – At times you may work with terminally ill children or those in large amounts of pain. Being able to handle the emotional stress that this can bring is important, and doing so can be personally rewarding as well.
Nature of the Work
The job involves a wide range of different things, and you’ll likely spend a good bit of time doing office based work. Things like reviewing data, analyzing information, and developing strategies and goals will take up most of the day. Some time in exam rooms or treatment rooms may also be a part of your routine, and in some positions you may find that you travel regularly – either to do research or to participate in seminars and conferences.
Education and Training
To enter the health field as a child health specialist, you’ll need to have at least a master’s degree in the field of public health, and those with a specialization in any area related to child health will be given a preference by employers. Many companies actually have a major preference for hiring those with a PhD, so earning a doctorate may have additional benefits during a job search. Additionally, most employers will require between 4 and 8 years of work in the field of child health.
Salaries average at around $50,000 per year, but the specific wages you earn will vary greatly depending on the employer, your location within the country, and much more. The demand for child health specialists is increasing significantly as well throughout the nation, and the job outlook is much stronger than it is for many other professions today.