Career Center

Public Health

Public health is a diverse field related to research and education on how to keep people healthy. According to the American Public Health Association, “Public health works to track disease outbreaks, prevent injuries and shed light on why some of us are more likely to suffer from poor health than others.” See this animated video for a more detailed introduction to public health. .

Explore The Variety of Career Paths With These Example Fields & Roles

Look up these titles or fields on Indeed or LinkedIn to learn more about what projects they work on and what skills are needed. This information is also useful when writing your application documents and preparing for interviews.

Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

  • Biostatistician
  • Health informatics specialist
  • Systems analyst
  • Research associate
  • Informaticist    


  • Medical writer
  • Information officer
  • Public health journalist
  • Community liaison
  • Health communications specialist    

Community Health

  • Program coordinator
  • Outreach specialist
  • Community health worker
  • Health navigator
  • Prevention specialist    


  • Health educator
  • Academic policy advisor
  • Outreach coordinator

Emergency Management

  • Emergency coordinator
  • Emergency management planner
  • Emergency response specialist
  • Disease preparedness researcher
  • Bioterrorism researcher

Environmental Health

  • Environmental health supervisor
  • Sustainability advocate
  • Environmental health specialist
  • Program consultant
  • Public health engineer
  • Environmentalist    


  • Vaccine researcher
  • Disease ecologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Data strategist
  • Infection preventionist
  • Infection control manager    

Global Health

  • Global health program manager
  • Public health advisor
  • Program officer
  • Health specialist
  • International researcher
  • Global infectious disease analyst

Medical Practice

  • Public health physician
  • Public health nurse

Mental Health

  • Health program coordinator
  • Director of community wellness
  • Intake counselor
  • Health and wellness manager    

Occupational Health

  • Occupational safety specialist
  • EHS professional
  • Industrial hygienist    

Public Policy & Administration

  • Health policy analyst
  • Health services manager
  • Program administrator
  • Health planner


  • Research associate
  • Data analyst
  • Program evaluation specialist
  • Research scientist
  • Research project coordinator    

Social & Behavioral Science

  • Intervention researcher
  • Program developer
  • Research scientist

Compare Different Public Health Organizations

* = in the Raleigh-Durham area; # = history of sponsoring visas from

Search LinkedIn or Google Finance for these employers, and look for the section on related companies to help you identify others.

For-profit Companies

  • Abt Associates, Inc*#
  • Global Health Strategies#
  • Medtronic#
  • Gryphon Scientific    


  • Colleges & universities*#
  • Quintiles*# (a contract research organization
  • or CRO)


  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)*
  • RTI International*
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement#
  • FHI 360*
  • RAND Corporation#
  • Sabin Vaccine Institute#    


  • Gates Foundation#


  • Leidos#
  • Philips#


  • Health departments (state & local)*
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences*
  • World Health Organization


  • Hospital systems*
  • Managed care organizations*    

Financial Organization

  • World Bank

Read Additional Public Health and Career Resources

Learn about the skills required and employment trends for these positions 

Nonprofits, panel discussion and professionals’ career stories on Versatile PhD 

Follow these Twitter accounts: @PublicHealth, @ClevelandClinic, @HHSGov, @MayoClinic, @NIMHgov, @NYTHealth, @moorejh, @NPRHealth, @Reuters_Health, @VoicesofPH, @WHO, @BioinformaticsB, @ACHInews

Meet Public Health Professionals to Talk About Opportunities and Their Careers

Triangle Global Health Consortium  

American Public Health Association 

Contact Duke alumni and other professionals in public health for informational interviews

Duke Alumni Association 

Alumni on LinkedIn (use the Find Alumni tool under My Network)

LinkedIn Groups: Public Health Professionals; Global Public Health; Public Health Informatics Research Grid; Safety, Health, Environmental, Risk and Community Management; Community Health Workers; Public Health Education; Public Health Emergency Management; Environmental Health Specialist/Professionals; Epidemiology and Healthcare Epidemiology; Mental Health Networking

Build These Specific Skill Sets and Highlight Them When Applying

We summarized the recommendations of the NHS Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework. Particular jobs may not require all of these skill sets, so find out from online resources and professionals you meet which of these skills sets are most relevant. Learn about these skill sets in more detail.

Conduct research

  • Determine research question
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data
  • Make recommendations based on data

Assess evidence

  • Find, synthesize, and critically appraise evidence

Develop policy and strategy

  • Interpret policy
  • Develop policy
  • Contribute to and oversee policy implementation
  • Evaluate impact of policy

Collaborate and lead

  • Engage with and lead diverse teams
  • Manage resources, budgets, projects, and people
  • Facilitate change
  • Build collaborations
  • Influence and set strategic direction

Educate and train on health topics

  • Provide information and resources
  • Help people make informed choices
  • Empower communities for health and well-being
  • Translate policy into action
  • Develop and evaluate programs to improve health and reduce inequalities
  • Advocate for individuals and communities
  • Communicate in writing and present to diverse audiences

Analyze risk

  • Hazard identification
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Risk communication

Gain Experience

You can gain experience in many ways that involve different amounts of time investment.

Duke Global Health Institute 

AmeriCorps VISTA and the AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate program

Peace Corps, three-month to two-year experiences abroad 

Centers for Disease Control internships, fellowships, and postdoctoral appointments 

American Public Health Association internships and fellowships 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services internships through the Presidential Management Fellows Program 

Carter Center Graduate Assistantship 

Volunteer for a nonprofit or local health department

Assist with projects for public health professionals you meet

Public Health Job Search Tools

Consider the common skills required by jobs and internships.

Idealist, find entry-level jobs and the nonprofit organizations that have them 

ReliefWeb, opportunities within relief work including consultancy, jobs, and volunteer openings worldwide 

Simply Hired NGO Listings, jobs ranging from entry-level to high-level positions at a variety of organizations 

Emory Public Health Employment Connection 

NGOs in Global Health Research 

USAJobs, search for jobs in the U.S. government; get application tips

CareerConnections, jobs and events hosted by the Duke Career Center 

Duke Nonprofit and Government Career Fair (Fall), talk with employers at this annual event