Deputy Director

While public health careers are civil service employment, there are still many positions that offer good advancement along with a steady salary and stability.  Management positions in public health can range from overseeing intervention programs to supervising facilities that provide care to the community.  The position of deputy director is an important opening in many of these environments.

Many public health initiatives may be designed by community groups and government agencies.  Once these initiatives are in place for implementation, they require managerial services for the overall outcomes of the project as well as the internal workings of the program.  If you are interested in making an active difference in the health services that are available to the public, then a career as deputy director could be a viable career option.

What Is A Deputy Director?

As a deputy director you will be in charge of supervising staff and duties, as well as ensuring that goals are met and that resources are available to the program or facility that you are in charge of.  This is both an administrative and managerial position that may require different actions and skills based on the nature of a position.  If you are deputy director of a health initiative, you will also be responsible for reporting progress to the program developers, along with creating suggestions for overcoming possible obstacles.

Deputy directors will keep tasks organized and will also project outcomes based on present practices.  This can include the evaluation of the use of resources along with the allocation of same.  Scheduling, tasking, building teams, and sharing knowledge will be a part of any deputy director position, regardless of the context.

As a deputy director, these will be some of your responsibilities:

  •   Structuring staff and participants into teams to create efficiency in the work environment.
  •   Monitoring timelines and goals to ensure positive outcomes.
  •   Identifying best practices within the project or facility and teaching them out.
  •   Communicating progress and changes with all participants.
  •   Managing financial and human resources.
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A deputy director will also need certain personal skills in order to effectively fill the position:

  •   Self-discipline:  You will need to be motivated and focused in your position.  This will include being able to manage your own tasks even while you are delegating to others.
  •   Leadership skills:  Since you are overseeing healthcare practices, you will also need to be inspiring, fair, and direct with team members.  This will include setting goals and holding individuals accountable. 
  •   Interpersonal skills:  As a deputy director, you will be interacting with a number of personalities.  You must be able to be diplomatic and clear, as well as be able to build trust and establish connections. 
  •   Organization:  You will need to be able to stay on schedule with milestones and monitor your own work as well as the work of others.  This will include ensuring that staff and resources are used efficiently. 
  •   Flexibility:  Although you are responsible for efficiency and productivity within the project or facility, you must also be able to overcome obstacles with creativity.  This will include understanding that challenges occur and addressing them with grace.

Nature Of The Work

As a deputy director in public health, you may be working for the public health department, non-profit community organizations, or even in public health facilities.  As an administrative position, the deputy director will spend much of the day in an office environment, in order to oversee the clerical aspects of a project or facility.  The deputy director will also be responsible for staff meetings and on site observations of practices.

If you are managing a public health initiative, you will also need to interact with the public and gain feedback as to the impact of the project.  This will include observing how the project affects the community and how access is provided.  It will also include observing and documenting changes with the wellness of the community.  In a facility, the deputy director will need to monitor the staff and patient interactions.  You will also be required to organize trainings and educational outreach for the public.

Education And Training

Deputy directors will usually require a Master’s degree, although some public health initiatives will consider applicants with a four year degree and extensive experience.  Educational backgrounds should include administration, health and wellness, and business.  A successful track record from prior projects is also considered for this position, and many candidates will complete at least five years of experiential training or internships in health administration.

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Certifications for this position are generally not required, but you can attain administrative credentialing which is helpful for job advancement.  Holding an MBA is usually the extent of any form of licensing that is necessary for the position, although many long term and extended stay care facilities will require that you become licensed in healthcare administration in order to manage.

Deputy directors have a range of employment opportunities available in the field of public health.  This position can offer stability as well as advancement, and the need for good managers is apparent in providing services and healthcare access to the public.  Deputy directors average around $90,000 a year, with the top 10% making over $120,000.  It is expected that a 13% increase in positions will occur over the next ten years, which includes both entry level management and growth opportunities.  As a deputy director, you will not only be able to ensure steady quality care for the community, but also a steady and quality career for yourself.

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