Finding a job in the health care field is something that many people today are trying to do, thanks to the fact that these positions pay above average salaries and offer excellent opportunities for anyone involved. Of course, the knowledge that you’re helping others is one more benefit added to great pay and good employee benefit packages.
But for those who don’t want to provide bedside care, a career as a public health data analyst is an option that allows you to take advantage of all the great benefits of the medical field without having to administer patient care. Instead, you’ll work behind the scenes and still have a direct impact on the overall health and well-being of those in the community. To learn more about this position, read on.
What Is a Public Health Data Analyst?
A public health data analyst is someone who works within the public health sector and spends their time gathering and analyzing data related to general or specific issues. They have a wide range of job duties, and rely on technology to assist them in the process. Specific duties depend on the employer, but the following are some of the most common duties they will be responsible for during their daily activity.
- Analyze data and draw conclusions as to what it means
- Develop reports that detail the conclusions developed from that data
- Identify opportunities for improvement within the field using data trending
- Assist in the preparation of finding for publication in journals
- Consult with medical professionals and policymakers to help develop better interventions and programs for health
- Develop graphical presentations of data that can be used to illustrate findings clearly
- Attend meetings related to the area studied
- Document activities and record information related to a specific area of interest
- Maintain all databases and networks related to the healthcare facility or community in question
Essentially, a public health data analyst is the behind the scenes force in medical research. They work for government agencies, private companies, research centers, hospitals, and more. They will handle a variety of different tasks, but primarily handle the analyzation of data related to whatever issue is currently at hand.
A few key characteristics will have a big impact on your overall ability to thrive in this position. Strength in the following areas will help tremendously.
- Strong Math Skills – Obviously, a talent for working with numbers will be instrumental in your ability to do the job properly.
- Critical Thinking – You’ll have to take the numbers and raw data available and use it to identify strengths, weaknesses, and possible solutions to problems. Good critical thinking is a must.
- Good Organization – You’ll also have to have strong organizational skills in order to keep track of all information and reports at any given time.
Nature of the Work
The nature of the job lies in numbers, and those working as a public health data analyst will spend most of their time in an office setting using raw data to search for trends, patterns, and strategies that can improve the public health. They may present findings themselves or may turn over their information to a superior who will use the information in a presentation. They may also be responsible for maintaining the databases related to their employer and for accessing data quickly as needed.
Education and Training
Different employers generally have different requirements for those looking to enter this profession, based primarily on their specific needs and goals. In most cases, those looking to enter the field will need to have either a public health related degree or a statistics degree. Entry level positions usually require only a bachelor’s degree in either public health, biostatistics, or epidemiology, but experience in things like database management and data analyses will usually be required. In most instance, at least 3 years’ experience is a bare minimum. Good working knowledge of SAS, SQL, and other statistical software will usually be required as well.
Positions pay above average salaries, and those becoming a public health data analyst will earn average salaries of roughly $50,200 per year. That figure will vary depending on location, employer, experience level, and training, of course. The demand for these professionals is growing, and expected to continue growing over the foreseeable future, making it a solid career choice.