Program Officer

The wide field of public health offers a plethora of different available and stable careers for individuals with all different types of skill sets. Program officers are just one type of public health professional who experiences a comfortable salary, room for growth, and an exciting career that offers them the ability to proactively positively impact the lives of others.

For those who want to get into the field of public health, the career of a program officer is a great position to look in to. Public health is a need that continues to exist regardless of the state of the economy, and this very important fact is what helps these careers to continue to flourish even during difficult times for other job markets.

What Is A Program Officer?

A program officer in a public health setting will be in charge of overseeing and providing quality control for a variety of different public health programs. These public health programs may involve many different sciences such as epidemiology or environmental health sciences, and it is the role of the program officer to ensure that everything is going according to regulations, safety standards, and to plan.

Some of the daily jobs of a program officer in a public health setting are:

  •   Providing information on potential public health risks to media representatives, other public health officials, or healthcare personnel
  •   Assist in various epidemiological investigations
  •   Coordinate the work of different type of public health professionals within the same public health program
  •   Teaching new public health staff members about different procedures or protocols
  •   Identify at risk groups of a population when it comes to preventable diseases, ailments, or conditions
  •   Managing different risk or hazard prevention programs to be implemented in a public health setting
  •   Creating public health programs geared towards promoting the overall good health of a population through information sharing and awareness
  •   Evaluate the effectiveness of different risk reduction methods put into place by different facets of a public health program

A program officer in public health is tasked with doing a variety of different jobs in a variety of different facets of public health, as they also create and manage public health programs to be used by populations in an effort to improve a level of overall general health. A program officer will also perform independent research and keep up to date with all new public health findings in order to keep current with his or her professional tasks

Education And Training

A public health program officer will normally need to hold a master’s degree in public health, nursing, or another related field. The first step in achieving a master’s in public health is to first obtain an undergraduate degree in a public health related field. These related fields, if public health is unavailable, may include biology, nursing, chemistry, or healthcare administration, and these majors courses can also help to prepare a student to succeed in their master’s program.

Once a 4 year undergraduate study course has been completed, and a bachelor’s degree has been earned, a student will then go on to earn a master’s degree in public health or a related field; for this career choice a Master of Public Health degree program, or MPH program, is normally the most popular in terms of an educational track.

A master’s degree program will last for a period of 2 years, and during this course of study a person will focus their efforts on both clinical or field experience studies as well as classroom studies, and internships or practicums may become available to students looking to gain further career experience in public health.

A public health officer certification course may be desired upon the completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in order to gain certification as a program officer, and this is often desired by many looking to ensure a particular professional position.

A public health program officer can expect to earn an average yearly salary of around $66,790, although this amount can and will change depends on a person’s level of experience or chosen career setting. The demand for these types of professionals is expected to rise by 7% by the year 2022, with many new job vacancies opening in the field for qualified program officers.


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