Communications Director

The public health field offers a myriad of different jobs to individuals looking for a stable and well-paying career. These jobs may range in different skill sets and earning potential, but all have the one fact in common that they are recession and economic downturn proof. While other markets may struggle during difficult economic times, those in public health do not, as the health of populations needs continued monitoring no matter the state of any given economy.

One public health career is that of a communications director, and those who value the communication of information and have a natural knack for communications are great candidates for this career field. A public health communications director gets to enjoy a stable job with a high rate of pay as they directly impact the general level of health for populations of individuals around the world.

What Is A Communications Director?

The communications director working in the public health sector will be the professional in charge of overseeing an entire communications department. It is the role of a public health communications department to communicate public health risks, concerns, trends, hazards, and solutions to populations of people as well as policy makers and other public health personnel, and a director will oversee the communications of a public health group in their entirety.

Some of the day to day tasks of a public health communications director are:

  •   Creating new communications procedures
  •   Implementing new ways to communicate public health trends to the public
  •   Speaking with different public health professionals to share public health trends, hazards, risks, and solutions
  •   Creating campaigns using various forms of media in order to communicate public health related issues to a public audience.
  •   Overseeing the actions of a public health communications team
  •   Delegating responsibilities and tasks to different members of a team in order to most efficiently complete a project or communications program
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Public health communications directors will typically be outgoing individuals with a passion for leading and a natural talent for communicating with others. These public health professionals will be in charge of leading an entire team of communications professionals in their efforts to get the necessary messages out to the public to allow them to take better control of their health and notify them of health related solutions or better lifestyle choices.

Education And Training

A communications director will normally hold a master’s degree in public health, the most popular of which is an MPH or Master of Public Health Degree while having a specialized interest field of communications. The first step in reaching this education level is to first attend a 4 year undergraduate program focusing on public health and communications to gain a strong base of related knowledge. This program can be completed in a wide variety of different schools, but it is always important for students to make sure that their chosen school and undergraduate program is accredited in the field of public health.

After the completion of the undergraduate program, a person may then move on to earn their master’s degree or MPH. This degree will be earned after completing a 2 year master’s degree course which will encompass both book and field study. The book study portion will involve the taking of various public health and communications related courses to gain a strong knowledge foundation, and the field study will involve working with professionals in the field to learn more about how public health workers carry out their personal tasks and just what the atmosphere is like in the field. Internships will also typically be available during the course of a master’s degree program, and these will provide additional hands on experience.

Public health communications certificates are those who wish to become certified in the field, and the taking of these certification courses is recommended for those who wish to become directors of a medical communications team.

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A communications director for a public health team will earn a salary of around $97,000 on average; however this number will vary depending on skill level, experience, and work setting. The projected demand for these types of public health professionals is expected to grow by around 12% by the year 2022, with around 27,400 new vacancies opening up in the field.

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