Exploring Careers in Public Health

Three pictures of public health careers. The first one shows several people fist-bumping over an office table, the second one shows people at work at a computer and the third one shows a person in a laboratory.

Public health is a broad and wide-ranging field. Careers in public health are varied and limited only by a student’s interests and passions. Both the Bachelors of Arts and the Bachelors of Science degrees will equally prepare you for entry-level positions in the field of public health, thanks to our strong core of public health courses.

An undergraduate degree in public health from the University of Iowa will prepare you for a wide variety of entry-level public health careers. The skills gained with a degree in public health will prepare you to meet emerging health challenges at the local, state, national, or global level. There are a wide variety of settings in which public health graduates may work. To explore resources and career advising offered by the College of Public Health and the University of Iowa, view our Public Health Career Resources page.

What can you do with a public health degree? Here are some ideas.


  • Gain an entry-level position within federal, state, and non-profit agencies.
  • Public health agencies work with multiple partners to tackle health issues in their communities – environmental health, emergency preparedness, outbreak investigations, community health needs assessments, and more.
  • Non-profit roles for public health graduates tend to address gaps in healthcare or specialize in a specific population. For example, a non-profit role may serve minorities, veterans or mothers.
  • Work in the private sector – whether as a consultant or employee, public health graduates can work for pharmaceutical brands, healthcare organizations, or insurance companies.


  • Gain experience and make an impact in public service by solving public health problems in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Learn more about service options in the U.S. through the Corporation for National & Community Service.
  • Learn more about service options globally through Peace Corps.

Graduate and Professional School

  • If you’d like a specialized career in public health, plan to attend graduate school at an accredited school or program of public health to earn you Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science (MS), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), or Doctor of Public Health (DrPH). Explore UI College of Public Health graduate programs or find information about other accredited degrees through the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
  • Use your public health knowledge in a new field. Complex public health problems require solutions that draw on interdisciplinary teamwork. Expand your skill set in areas like medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, social work, policy, law, or business.

If you are passionate about making the world a healthier place, a degree in public health will help you develop the skills you need to turn that passion into a career.