10 Highest Paying Public Health Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Stephen Ramotowski
March 20, 2024 · 12 min read

Discover the highest-paying public health jobs in 2024, how much the positions pay, and the requirements to be qualified for each. Explore an overview of everything you should know to kick-start a lasting career in the public health industry!

A career path in public health puts you in a position where you get to care for many people, make a difference in the community, and get paid well.

Not only that, but this industry also offers endless opportunities for professionals seeking to fulfill their purpose while enjoying financial success.

From managing the impacts of global pandemics to pioneering groundbreaking research, these high-paying public health jobs are extremely rewarding if you are passionate about health, research, and public service.

And if that's not enough, many career options in the field of public health are set to expand significantly in the near future.

Scroll down to find out which high-paying public health job fits your interests, credentials, and financial goals this year.

Top 10 Highest Paying Public Health Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

1. Medical Director

A medical director or manager is a healthcare administrative position overseeing daily operations and protocols in a medical facility, center, or hospital. They plan, coordinate, and lead medical and health services.

These public health professionals have a knowledge base on medicine and disease transmission, patient care, and management of healthcare personnel.

To adapt their practices accordingly, medical directors must know and stay updated with healthcare laws and regulations, including medical technology.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a medical director, you must first earn a bachelor's degree in health-related fields, preferably a pre-medical track.

Then, study to become a Medical Doctor (MD), a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), or a Doctor of Public Health.

After medical school, you must complete medical training through internships and residency; earn board certification in family medicine, occupational health, or emergency care; get a valid medical license by passing the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE); and practice as a licensed doctor for at least 10 to 20 years.

Optionally, you may earn additional certifications and clinical teaching experience to up your chances of being hired as a medical director.

Salary Information

The average pay for a medical director is around USD 226,000 annually.

2. Executive Health Director

An executive health director often starts as a medical and health services manager for non-government or non-profit organizations.

Like medical directors, they coordinate and oversee how health services are delivered, specifically for a local group or community.

They are involved in budget management, marketing decisions, public health program development, optimization of operations, and human resource duties. They also ensure compliance with healthcare laws and regulations and ethical standards.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Becoming a health director usually requires a bachelor’s degree in any health-related field like public health, health informatics, nursing, or health administration.

Most employers may also prefer candidates with master’s degrees or a doctoral degree in psychology, nursing, business, or the like.

Candidates for an executive health director position need at least 7 to 10 years of relevant experience as health administrators or medical and health services managers, which is among the highest paying medical healthcare jobs.

Salary Information

As an executive health director, you may earn an average yearly salary of about USD 155,900.

3. Public Health Director

A director of public health reports to public health administrators in ensuring compliance of health operations with county, state, and city regulations. Public health directors manage staff and coordinate emergency responses.

This role could also involve representing one's department in meetings, state gatherings, and as a liaison officer during legal counseling. Public health directors are also involved in policy development, staff training, budget management, complaint and conflict resolution, and community health assessment.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Applicants for a public health director position must be graduates of public health degree programs, health administration, public administration, or any health-related discipline.

A doctorate or master’s degree will be an advantage.

You also need eight or more years of experience in a public health setting or work as a public health educator, public health consultant, or preferably with an administrative or management position, is also a plus.

Alternatively, some employers may require an equivalent in public health education or certifications in the field.

Salary Information

Public health directors are paid an average of around USD 141,300 per year.

4. Computer and Information Systems Manager

Computer and information systems managers are the I.T. experts who work in public health sectors.

They plan, coordinate, and supervise all computer-related tasks of their health department or organization.

Sometimes called clinical informatics specialists or information system managers, these public health professionals set I.T. goals based on the needs of public health organizations. They work to resolve hardware and software issues, install computer systems, minimize operating costs, and ensure the security and accuracy of medical records.

Lastly, they also teach and assist other workers with technical issues.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Ideally, a computer and information systems manager holds a master's degree in healthcare informatics or a master of public health degree.

However, some positions accept applicants with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer and information science or a related field.

Knowledge and background in I.T. strategies, management, data analytics, health informatics, healthcare system development, and database design and modeling are also valuable for these jobs.

Salary Information

Computer and Information Systems Managers earn a median annual salary of about USD 140,800.

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5. Data Scientist

Data scientists collect and handle data for a range of public health applications.

In this field, they collect, organize, and analyze data while validating, updating, and testing models and algorithms.

With their expertise in statistical and computational software, they help guide decision-making for public health objectives like those involving healthcare policies, clinical health outcomes, quality of health care services, costs, and revenues.

Additionally, they help design, implement, and evaluate new public health campaigns and initiatives. They also interpret the meaning of complex pieces of health information to come up with solutions for public health issues.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Becoming a public health data scientist requires at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, computer science, business, computer engineering, or a field related to public health.

However, employers might prefer candidates with a master’s or doctoral degree in public health, behavioral health, data science, health science, econometrics, epidemiology, or similar quantitative fields.

Proficiency in specific data programming languages and software, along with industry-related health education or experience, is also an advantage.

Salary Information

A data scientist earns an average median wage of about USD 129,800.

6. Public Health Veterinarian

A public health veterinarian provides veterinary care, implements animal control ordinances, and responds to animal-related public health challenges.

This public health specialist educates and spreads awareness for existing public health programs and initiatives to promote the safety and health of the community.

Other tasks include safeguarding animal, environmental, and human health through controlling and monitoring animal-borne diseases, maintaining food safety, evaluating and mitigating environmental health hazards, and participating in emergency response.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a public health veterinarian, you must hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a veterinary license.

Then, you should gain at least a few years of experience in public health settings through fellowships, internships, or serving in entry-level positions.

Having advanced degrees or extra certifications in public health or related fields are also advantageous.

Salary Information

The average annual salary for a Public Health Veterinarian is about USD120,900.

7. Research Scientist

Research scientists design and conduct investigative experiments to come up with solutions to problems.

In the context of public health, these experts study different aspects of population health to find effective interventions, patterns, and risk factors to improve the overall health of the community.

They use the outcomes of their research and experiments to contribute evidence and scientific knowledge. Their findings are also used in improving new public health policies, healthcare delivery systems, public awareness, disease prevention efforts, and environmental health and safety.

They work in multidisciplinary teams with policymakers, health agencies, healthcare providers, medical scientists, and other professionals.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Research scientists hold at least a bachelor's degree in the natural or life sciences, such as public health, biology, epidemiology, environmental health, public policy, or related disciplines.

Some candidates also pursue a master of public health degree or Ph.D. instead of, or in addition to, a medical degree.

Practical training and experience as a public health professor or through internships and entry-level careers in public health research institutions, government agencies, or non-profit organizations are a plus.

Research scientists also build credibility and expertise through research publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Salary Information

Public Health research scientists can earn an average salary of about USD 116,800 every year.

8. Emergency Management Director

An emergency management director develops, implements, and evaluates an organization’s emergency management program.

In the public health sector, an emergency management director ensures preparedness, coordinates response, assesses and mitigates health risks, and assists in recovery operations during public health emergencies such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, pandemics, and bioterrorism attacks.

They also help manage resources, communicate with the public, and advocate for policy changes to improve the health and safety of the community when faced with health crises.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

An emergency management director must have at least a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree in public health, disaster management, emergency management, healthcare administration, or a related field.

Most employers also look for five years or more of relevant experience in healthcare facilities, emergency services, disaster response organizations, or public health agencies.

You also need to secure certifications in emergency management and public health help demonstrate your expertise as well.

Salary Information

Emergency Management Directors receive an annual median wage of USD 116,400.

9. Public Health Attorney

A public health attorney offers legal advice, counseling, and representation for cases involving public health laws and regulations. The role involves interpreting, drafting, reviewing, and negotiating legal documents and contracts.

They also help solve the health and safety issues of the community by ensuring legal compliance, collaborating with stakeholders, upholding ethical standards of health practice, and participating in emergency preparedness and response efforts.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

A public health attorney must have a Juris Doctor (JD) or law degree focusing on health law and policy. Then, a state license should be acquired, usually by passing a bar examination. Relevant experience and skills must be gained through an entry-level job or internship in a public health law setting, such as government agencies, law firms focused on healthcare laws, or non-profit organizations. Some certifications can improve your chances of advancing to a public health attorney position.

Salary Information

A Public Health Attorney earns an average salary of USD 114,800 annually.

10. Biostatistician

Biostatisticians are experts who conduct scientific research and deal with complex data and information from such studies. Public health biostatisticians gather and analyze data using statistical software and tools to identify health trends or patterns and make predictions.

Their findings are essential for informed decision-making on the planning, development, and implementation of public health policies. They also collaborate with epidemiologists, research scientists, and other stakeholders in government agencies or private institutions.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Becoming a biostatistician starts with a bachelor's degree in public health, biostatistics, mathematics, life sciences, or a related field.

While it’s not required, a master's degree or Ph. D. in statistics or biostatistics, majoring in biostatistical methods and applications can be helpful.

Experience as a research assistant, programmer, statistician, and other entry-level positions will provide you with the necessary communication and practical skills to thrive in the industry.

Optionally, you can strengthen your technical skills by getting relevant certifications.

Salary Information

A biostatistician job in public health can pay a median annual salary of about USD 98,900.

Aside from these jobs, other high-paying public health positions include epidemiologists, public health nurses, health and safety engineers, and occupational health and safety specialists.


Conclusion

Contagious diseases and global health emergencies are an ever-present threat to the public. Especially after the COVID pandemic, it is better to be prepared and safe than sorry. This is where public health workers come into play and why public health is one of the most stable industries.

Not only that, but many positions in the industry also pay considerably well, with the top 10 highest-paying public health jobs discussed in this article. In fact, as per BLS, all public health jobs mentioned here are projected to continue growing within the decade.

While many promising job opportunities exist, the best positions call for long years of education and experience.

To make sure you have an edge over other candidates, it’s best to add a business administration degree to your arsenal which is beneficial if you're aiming for administrative and management roles.

Even with a busy schedule, there is no need to worry because Nexford offers an online BBA program and an online MBA program so that you can earn an extra degree at your own pace and on your own terms.


FAQs

What is the highest paying public health job in 2024?

A medical director will be the highest paid job in the public health field in 2024.

This position pays a yearly salary ranging from USD 228,000 to USD 425,000, averaging around USD 226,000 per year. In addition, commissions, cash bonuses, and profit shares can reach an additional pay of USD 77,700 per year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which public health jobs are projected to have the highest level of growth?

BLS projects data scientists, biostatisticians, public health program managers, and directors to have the best job growth potential.

These types of public health jobs have an expected 35%, 30%, and 28% job growth until 2032, respectively.

What is the best public health career path in 2024?

Based on median annual salaries and projected growth rate, the best public health career paths to pursue in 2024 are health director and manager positions, which include medical directors, executive health directors, and public health directors.

While it takes long years of experience, rigorous education, and training to qualify for these positions, they are some of the most stable and fulfilling high-paying public health careers.

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What skills or expertise is required for high-paying public health jobs?

The soft skills needed for high-paying public health jobs include excellent communication and leadership skills for managing personnel as well as attention to detail for heading projects. On the other hand, the useful hard skills include analytical and technical skills for efficiency.

If you want to discover which soft skills and hard skills can give you a competitive advantage toward a successful career in public health, Download Our Free Report now!

What qualifications are required for high paying public health jobs?

The basic qualifications for public health jobs include:

  • A Bachelor's degree in public health, natural and life sciences, computer science, biostatistics, and related fields

  • Relevant practical training and work experience

To advance into the best paying jobs in public health, the following will be beneficial:

  • A master's degree or Ph. .D. in public health or a specialized field

  • Applicable certifications, licenses, or accreditations

  • An MBA or BBA degree (for administrative positions)

Why is it beneficial to gain a BBA/MBA degree to gain a career in public health?

Since you will be working for institutions as a public health worker, an online MBA or BBA degree will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle the leadership, administrative, and business side of the public health field.

About the author
Stephen Ramotowski
Stephen Ramotowski

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