Public Health Technician

For many professionals, the low potential for hiring in most industries can be a frustrating ordeal.  Public health positions are one of the few sectors of growth for employment potential.  This field incorporates many specialties into the care for community welfare and can offer interesting career tracks for individuals from many academic backgrounds.

Public health technicians perform an important role in public health needs, and this position offers good wages and a stable job position.  Careers in public health also have great potential for advancement.  If you are interested in exploring more about this rewarding line of work, then looking into job as a public health technician could get you started.

What Is A Public Health Technician?

Public health technicians are responsible for drawing samples from patients and running tests.  Public health technicians may operate out of ambulatory clinics or community health services to provide diagnostic analysis for the community.  This position incorporates both lab and clinical skill that assist physicians in attending to patients.  The practices of public health technicians aid in provided better quality services to a greater segment of the community.

Public health technicians would need to perform the following during their day:

  •   Collect samples from patients.
  •   Analyze biological samples for pathogens and toxins.
  •   Test fluids for chemical discrepancies. 
  •   Display proficiency with lab equipment and lab techniques
  •   Catalogue data for physician analysis.
  •   Confer with medical professionals regarding the results of these tests.
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These professional skills can also help public health technicians succeed at their job:

  •   Lab skills:  You must display knowledge of how to operate equipment and proceed according to lab protocols.  You must also display sterile techniques and observe the proper disposal of biological contaminants.
  •   Communication:  This job will require that you can clearly and concisely covey information to other technicians and healthcare professionals.  You will also need to record data accurately so that it may be passed to the proper diagnostician.
  •   Analytical thinking:  You will have to be able to figure out problems based on the information that you have gathered and observed.
  •   Technological aptitude:  You must be able to correctly operate computerized lab tools.  You will also need to be proficient with computer operating systems and different software applications.

Nature Of The Work

Public health technicians may work in clinics, labs, hospitals, and community health centers.  You will be prepping patients for examination and drawing blood for testing.  Much of your time will be spent in either the exam room or the lab, with some office duties such as data entry and results analysis.  You will be involved in collecting and testing samples, as well as relaying information to healthcare professionals and other public health technicians.

Education And Training

Public health technicians can gain employment with a Bachelor’s degree that focuses on studies in statistics, mathematics, lab techniques, biology, and related sciences.  For this position you will also need to complete supervised practical and clinical training.  Many of the four year programs for public health technicians will include this component, but if you do not have this in your studies, then you will need to complete and internship to fulfill the requirement.

You will also require licensing and certification to work as a public health technician.  This is done through examination by the state board of health, and you will need to maintain your license with continuing education.  Some states will also consider work experience as counting towards some continuing education hours.

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Public health technicians have fairly competitive salaries.  Starting wages for entry level candidates are around $40,000, and the top 10% for this line of work is as high as $79,000.  The average wage for a public health technician is $58,000, so there is considerable incentive to start this career path and good opportunities to advance.

Employment prospects for public health technicians are also very good.  The projected rise in employment over the next ten years is expected to be around 30%, which means that nearly 50,000 jobs will be created in this field.  For college graduates this is a very favorable prospect, and the possibilities for becoming a public health technician are very strong for immediate employment and for future growth.

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