Public Information Officer

Public Information Officer Careers

Many career paths in public health can offer stable employment at an entry level.  These positions also give professionals the chance to advance in their jobs while being of service to the community.  The position of public information officer is a good example of such a job path, and can offer a positive start to working in public health services.

Public health careers are exhibiting an above average growth rate, which means not only a competitive salary, but also stability in your position.  If you are interested in getting started on such an employment path, then the choice of public information officer can give you an assured entry level position that is also beneficial to community needs.

What Is A Public Information Officer?

Public information officers record, organize, and manage non-confidential health records for a community.  This can include demographic information as well as health service provisions and illness outbreaks over time.  They handle archived material and update new information as it is reported.  They will also manage public reports that are submitted to government agencies.

Public information officers would have the following expectations as a part of their works:

  •   Archiving population information in an electronic format.
  •   Organizing records according to dates and subjects.
  •   Entering new records and reports as they arrive
  •   Updating record on health information and demographics.
  •   Sharing information with authorized individuals.
  •   Maintaining classification systems and reference databases

Characteristics

These professional skills can also help public information officers perform their job:

  •   Organization:  You will be required to keep track of information and store it in a logical and predetermined reference system
  •   Computer proficiency:  You will need to be able to operate a number of data bases and storage systems, as well as locate requested information.
  •   Time management:  You will need to respond to request in a timely manner.  You will also need to record new and updated information as it arrives so that the records system is current.
  •   Typing skills:  You will also need to be able to swiftly and accurately type data and queries into the reference computer and ensure that it is properly entered and recorded.

Nature Of The Work

Public information officers work in the department of public records and spend much of their time entering new data and ensuring that archived records are correct and made current as needed.  They will catalogue and file census data, as well as reports that are submitted by health service professionals and government employees.  While much of the work is done independently, public information officers will also interact with the public when it is necessary to supply records for research or legal consideration.

Education And Training

You may qualify for the position of public information officer with as little as an Associate’s degree and practical training.  Many technical and community colleges offer courses that are specific to this position, and will include experiential work and internships in the class expectations.  These classes would focus highly on computer technologies and applications, as well as behavioral sciences.  The training aspect of this course work is usually between two to four months, and may be completed as an independent internship as well.

Although there are no specific certifications for this position, certain employers may require internal certification.  Federal government positions will generally provide in house training to prepare you for their certification exam, and some continuing education courses will be required to maintain the status.

The pay range for a public information officer can vary considerably.  State and federal jobs tend to have a higher median salary at around $40,000 per year, while municipal positions are slightly lower at around $37,000 per year.  However, this stable position also offers ample entry level openings, and allows for advancement into other positions in record keeping and public health administration.

Positions in this field are seeing a very steady growth rate, which is just above the national average.  The expectation is that employment will increase by 11% between 2012 and 2022, but this number could become higher as changes in the healthcare system will require greater staffing in the records department.  This makes this position highly accessible and great entry level career choice in the field of public health.


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