For many, helping others is the ultimate reward. That’s a part of why entering the health care profession is so popular. The other reason is more obvious – health care offers great salaries and numerous professional benefits that other fields simply can’t math. But there are numerous different specific career paths out there in the field of public health, and finding the one that fits you the best is important. For those who are interested in leadership roles, a public health administrator position could be the right fit.
Becoming a public health administrator takes time and energy, and it’s obviously important that anyone looking at this career path spend a few minutes making sure that it is a career suited to their goals and their strengths. With that in mind, learning more about the public health administration field is important. Keep reading to do just that.
What Is a Public Health Administrator?
A public health administrator is someone who holds training in the field of healthcare administration. However, they have specialized in health administration at the local, state, or federal level and as such they focus on improving the overall health of the population. Those with health administration degrees usually help manage and oversee hospitals or other health care facilities, but the public health administrator focuses on much larger populations in the public.
The job duties of a public health administrator vary greatly from place to place, but will commonly include some of the following.
- Assess community health issues to determine risks and problem areas
- Develop outreach programs and educational programs to teach the public how to improve their health and avoid different risk factors
- Create budgets related to public health care
- Hire staff and manage the staff as well as the office that public health is managed from.
- Write grant proposals or organize fundraising efforts to help improve the budget
- Create reports on healthcare trends and results of different programs
The public health administrator is a leader in their field, and as such they will need a very specific set of skills to help them do their job properly. There are a few different areas that will help tremendously with this.
Strength in the following characteristics will be vital to success as a public health administrator.
- Self Confidence – It’s important for a public health administrator to have the confidence needed to make decisions and defend them as needed.
- Devotion – In most cases, public health administrators work at least 5 days a week and often much longer. As a result, devotion to the job is important.
- Good Problem Solving Skills – In administration, problems pop up regularly. Whether it’s balancing a budget or tackling a health crisis, an administrator must be able to overcome problems quickly.
- Strong Writing Skills – Administrators spend a good deal of time developing reports and policies. Good writing skills are a must.
- Good Public Speaking Skills – Additionally, reports and information are often discussed in public settings. A strong public speaking skill is important as well.
Nature of the Work
The work a public health administrator does is incredibly varied depending on their staff, their position, and the situation at hand. Much of each day will be spent identifying public health issues and developing strategies for overcoming those issues. Preparation of reports, balancing a budget, staff and HR tasks, and much more will be required as well. It is a management level position, and as such it will require a wide range of duties to be performed. The public health administrator also spends a good bit of time coordinating with different facilities, organizations, and branches of government.
Education and Training
While a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration is usually the primary requirement for the job, most employers today prefer to hire those with a master’s degree in the field. The training will focus on health related courses but will also involve business administration, finance, communication, and other courses to ensure that you have all the skills needed to thrive in the position.
According to Explore Health Careers, salaries in this field can reach as high as $161,400 in some instances. The job outlook is excellent, and entering the public health administration field will unlock a bright and rewarding future.