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Public Health Lecturer Jobs

Public Health Administration Jobs

Public Health Commissioning Jobs

Public Health Community Development Jobs

Contact Tracer Jobs

Dental Public Health Jobs

Director of Public Health Jobs

Environmental Health Jobs

Epidemiology Jobs

Health Promotion and Improvement Jobs

Health Protection Jobs

Healthcare Public Health Jobs

Public Health Analyst Jobs

Public Health Consultant Jobs

Public Health Manager Jobs

Public Health PhD Funding & Studentships

Public Health Practitioner Jobs

Public Health Lecturer Jobs

Public Health Research Jobs

What does Healthcare Public Health involve?

Healthcare public health is one of the three core domains of specialist public health practice, alongside health improvement and health protection. Healthcare public health (HCPH) is concerned with maximisingthe population benefits of healthcare and reducing health inequalities while meeting the needs ofindividuals and groups, by prioritizing available resources, by preventing diseases and by improving healthrelated outcomes through design, access, utilisation and evaluation of effective and efficient health andsocial care interventions, settings and pathways of care.

Jobs may include a health visitor or a public health nurse. These may be based in the NHS or a local authority.

What is a Health Visitor?

Health visitors are qualified and registered nurses or midwives who have additional training and qualifications as specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN-HV). This extra training helps them assess the health needs of individuals, families and communities; and promote good health.

Health visitors mainly work with children from birth to five years and their families. They also work with at-risk or deprived groups such as the homeless, addicts or travellers.

As a health visitor, you’ll be passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle and preventing illness. You’ll have a vital role in making sure that children have the best start in life, and, in partnership with parents, you’ll assess:
- Parenting skills
- The family and home environment
- The development needs of young children

If any further support is needed, you’ll arrange to meet parents in their home, in a clinic or a community setting.

You’ll need to work together with a range of different healthcare professionals including community nurses, GPs, social workers and other allied health professionals.

Where do health visitors work?

Health visitors are usually employed by the NHS or by community interest groups. You might work in a variety of settings depending on the nature of the work including:
- Family homes
- GP surgeries
- Community and outreach clinics
- Sure Start centres

What does a health visitor do?

Your role as a health visitor varies depending on the area you work in. However, the day-to-day work of health visitors typically includes:
- Providing antenatal and postnatal support for parents
- Supporting parents in bringing up young children
- Providing advice on feeding babies and children
- Assessing child growth and development needs of young children
- Supporting children with special needs
- Advising on behavioural management techniques
- Advising parents on how to reduce risks and injuries, and prevent accidents
- Providing information on local support services

There are also specialist health visitor roles, which deal with complex cases and focus on specific services such as infant mental health.

Safeguarding and protecting children

As a health visitor, you’ll have the vital role of working with other organisations to safeguard and protect children. You’ll be trained in recognising the risk factors, triggers of concern and signs of abuse and neglect in children.

You’ll often be the first to recognise whether a child is at risk of harm and know whether action needs to be taken and what should be done to protect them. You’ll also make sure families receive the best possible support during formal safeguarding arrangements.

What is a Public Health Manager?

To qualify as a public health manager, you must have sufficient experience and the appropriate qualifications. You have the option to work in three variants of public health which are: health improvement, health protection, and healthcare.

These subsections of public health are diverse, but, they all strive to put the health of the public at their best interest. All roles involve cooperation with other healthcare providers, aiming to lead successfully, and implement public health programs.

To give an example of how diverse public health roles can be, some focus on managing and supporting teams, providing expertise and advice to organisations, commissioning services, or managing public health expenditures.

If you choose to become a public health manager in England, you’ll most likely be employed by the local government. However, you could find yourself being employed by the NHS, Public Health England (PHE), the UK Health Security Agency or a voluntary sector.

What type of job roles do public health managers have?

Job titles may vary across organisations as well as the pay and conditions.
- Health protection specialist
- Health improvement principal
- Commissioning manager
- Public health principal

Health protection specialist

Health protection specialists job roles involves creating effective strategies for safeguarding the health of the local population. Typical examples of this type of work could be protecting heath from the weather, floods, or even a pandemic.

As a health protection specialist, you will work alongside other organisations bridging your support. You will demonstrate the most effective response based on life-threatening emergencies. This is known as an emergency planning exercise.

Moreover, you will share specialist advice on infection prevention and control, as well as showing support on how to implement this. Most likely, you will be showing colleagues, patients, members of the public, and organisations.

Examples of advice you could be giving could be: wearing personal protective equipment, dealing with chemical spills and spills of bodily fluids, good hygiene practice, cleanliness within the healthcare or work environment and safe disposal of waste such as needles and sharps.

This role involves assisting the development of evidence-based quality standards for infection prevention and control. This is vital to limit the risk of an outbreak, especially for infections such as MRSA, Norovirus, and Salmonella.

Also, you will help prepare reports about the quality and performance of local systems for protecting health. This could be the numbers and types of people who have taken up immunisation and screening programmes in a given area.

Qualifications Required:
To become a health protection specialist, you’ll need to gain the following:
- Master’s degree in public health or equivalent
- Significant public health experience
- If you’re a registered nurse, you’ll need to have relevant qualifications in infection, infectious disease control, emergency planning, teaching and assessing.

Health improvement principal

Working as a health improvement principal involves consistent work over a matter of months or years until outcomes are detected; this is because your job is continually evolving with new laws.

Part of this is due to distributing your specialist knowledge and skills to a wide variety of public health areas, successfully leading and planning health improvement services and initiatives.

Depending on your job duties, you could find yourself performing various roles. While doing so, you will be working with many individuals, organisations, and communities.

You could be assisting with reducing local obesity levels by hosting events, raising awareness, and helping people gain affordable access to healthy foods.

On another note, you could be constructing plans and implementing those to increase access to high demand in mental health services. You could also be playing your part in the decreasing stigma surrounding mental health.

The role could involve leading commissioning services and initiatives which aim to reduce dangerous drinking.

Skills Required:
- Delivering complex information in a way that it’s easy to understand.
- Excellent information analysis skills
- Efficiently manage budgets
- Teamwork deciding how to allocate limited resources effectively
- Effectively evaluating services and interventions

Qualifications Required:
- Master’s qualification in Public Health or equivalent, and preferably a management qualification. Ideally, they will be working towards registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) at an appropriate level.

Commissioning manager

As a commissioning manager you must be highly competent in understanding policy, identifying and promoting best practice, and developing services. The day to day duties involve sourcing and hiring the right health and social care provider, who care for a specific group within the UK population.

Your expertise must ensure, the providers you’ve chosen can bring positive change to public health. This could be a particular geographical area, such as providing services to help those with mental needs. Such services could be drop-in clinics, counselling support, and job applications.

Working as a commissioning manager means you’ll be taking part in varied tasks. Depending on your organization, you could be deciding on yearly plans on the best way to purchase services.

Your job could involve effective negotiations of robust contracts and services. Likewise, the correct management and delivery of services.

Successfully managing budgets and allocation of the resource by working with the Clinical Commissioning Groups (GCG’s)and local authorities.

Qualifications and Experience Required:
- Degree-level or equivalent
- May have other qualifications in nursing or social work
- Significant experience as a manager or commissioner in the area of health concerned

Public health principal

A public health principle works in various aspects of public health. They also provide specialist knowledge, leadership, strategic direction, policy advice, and support.

This role involves creating long-term strategic plans for areas of public health. It could include developing a substance and alcohol misuse strategy for a local area, which could take the pressure off GP services and hospital admissions.

You could be assisting in reducing health inequalities by purchasing services for specific groups. Such disparities could be access to diet, fitness, and exercise services specifically for people from poorer or socio-economic backgrounds that people from wealthier backgrounds.

Likewise, you could be developing care pathways coordinating the care of people with specific conditions within a given time frame.

Qualifications Required:
A Master’s degree in Public Health or equivalent, and preferably a management qualification. Ideally, they will also be working towards registration with the United Kingdom Public Health Register (UKPHR) as a specialist.

What does a job in Health Protection involve?

Health protection is a broad and versatile field requiring specialist knowledge and skills provided by a multidisciplinary team. It has been given an increasing profile in recent years following the polonium 210 incident, pandemic flu and more recently SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19 .

Health protection services are on hand to deal with outbreak situations and monitor the emergence of diseases not previously seen in the UK, such as COVID-19. Teams continue to manage ongoing infections with historically well-known conditions such as measles and tuberculosis, and observing the effect that immunisation have on diseases such as meningitis.

Job titles may vary across organisations as well as the pay and conditions. However a common job title would be 'Health Protection Specialist'.

Health protection specialist

This job role involves creating effective strategies for safeguarding the health of the local population. Typical examples of this type of work could be contact tracing, protecting health from the weather, floods, or even a pandemic.

As a health protection specialist, you will work alongside other organisations bridging your support. You will demonstrate the most effective response based on life-threatening emergencies. This is known as an emergency planning exercise.

Moreover, you will share specialist advice on infection prevention and control, as well as showing support on how to implement this. Most likely, you will be showing colleagues, patients, members of the public, and organisations.

Examples of advice you could be giving could be: wearing personal protective equipment, dealing with chemical spills and spills of bodily fluids, good hygiene practice, cleanliness within the healthcare or work environment and safe disposal of waste such as needles and sharps.

This role involves assisting the development of evidence-based quality standards for infection prevention and control. This is vital to limit the risk of an outbreak, especially for infections such as MRSA, Norovirus, and Salmonella.

Also, you will help prepare reports about the quality and performance of local systems for protecting health. This could be the numbers and types of people who have taken up immunisation and screening programmes in a given area.

Qualifications Required:
To become a health protection specialist, you’ll need to gain the following:
- Master’s degree in public health or equivalent
- Significant public health experience
- If you’re a registered nurse, you’ll need to have relevant qualifications in infection, infectious disease control, emergency planning, teaching and assessing.

What does a job in Health Promotion/Improvement involve?

Health Promotion (or improvement) describes our work to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals or communities through enabling and encouraging healthy choices as well as addressing underlying determinants of health such as poverty and lack of educational. You work with a wide range of partners to influence policy, service provision and wider environmental factors that help support positive health outcomes for the population, especially those in greatest need.

Job titles may vary across organisations as well as the pay and conditions. However a common job title would be 'Health promotion/improvement principal/practitioner/manager/specialist'.

Health improvement principal

Working as a health improvement principal involves consistent work over a matter of months or years until outcomes are detected; this is because your job is continually evolving with new laws.

Part of this is due to distributing your specialist knowledge and skills to a wide variety of public health areas, successfully leading and planning health improvement services and initiatives.

Depending on your job duties, you could find yourself performing various roles. While doing so, you will be working with many individuals, organisations, and communities.

You could be assisting with reducing local obesity levels by hosting events, raising awareness, and helping people gain affordable access to healthy foods.

On another note, you could be constructing plans and implementing those to increase access to high demand in mental health services. You could also be playing your part in the decreasing stigma surrounding mental health.

The role could involve leading commissioning services and initiatives which aim to reduce dangerous drinking.

Skills Required:
- Delivering complex information in a way that it’s easy to understand.
- Excellent information analysis skills
- Efficiently manage budgets
- Teamwork deciding how to allocate limited resources effectively
- Effectively evaluating services and interventions

Qualifications Required:
- Master’s qualification in Public Health or equivalent, and preferably a management qualification. Ideally, they will be working towards registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) at an appropriate level.

A public health principle works in various aspects of public health. They also provide specialist knowledge, leadership, strategic direction, policy advice, and support.

This role involves creating long-term strategic plans for areas of public health. It could include developing a substance and alcohol misuse strategy for a local area, which could take the pressure off GP services and hospital admissions.

You could be assisting in reducing health inequalities by purchasing services for specific groups. Such disparities could be access to diet, fitness, and exercise services specifically for people from poorer or socio-economic backgrounds that people from wealthier backgrounds.

Likewise, you could be developing care pathways coordinating the care of people with specific conditions within a given time frame.

Qualifications Required:
- A Master’s degree in Public Health or equivalent, and preferably a management qualification. Ideally, they will also be working towards registration with the United Kingdom Public Health Register (UKPHR) as a specialist.

Health improvement practitioner

As a health improvement practitioner, you’ll contribute to local programmes which influence lifestyle and behaviour change. For example, programmes around stopping smoking, following a healthy diet or exercising regularly.

You might also work with specific groups depending on the role and its locality. For example, providing specialist services for young people, the elderly, people with mental health conditions or the LGBTQ+ community. Your work could include:

- Providing health improvement advice to support the care and education of clients
- Training other health improvement staff
- Working with external agencies to collaboratively improve population health
- Keeping up to date with the latest public health information
- Maintaining systems for collecting data about the health of clients
- Creating publications and reports about health improvement information and initiatives

To become a health improvement practitioner, you’ll have a degree in public health, a related subject or equivalent health improvement knowledge from training, extended courses and experience.

Advanced health improvement practitioner

As an advanced health improvement practitioner, you’ll help people improve their health by creating and influencing positive change. You’ll also work to reduce health inequalities (the differences in the health of people or groups due to social, geographical, biological or other factors). As an advanced health improvement practitioner, you might also be involved in:

- Planning, delivering and developing specialist services, such as smoking cessation and sexual health
- Communicating important public health messages
- Marketing the health improvement service to relevant groups and communities
- Working closely with other agencies to achieve health improvement aims
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact and outcomes of health improvement programmes and initiatives

Health improvement specialist

As a health improvement specialist, you’ll be in a lead role for a particular area of health improvement. For example, specific services targeted at men, women or young people, or a particular condition such as diabetes or dementia. You might be involved in:

- Working with individuals, groups, communities and organisations to influence and improve population health
- Contributing to the development of local health improvement programmes including how they are monitored and evaluated
- Giving presentations and training on topics like child protection, sexual health and healthy eating
- Providing specialised health improvement advice to support the care and education of individuals, groups and communities
- Training, supervising and managing staff
- Developing publications and reports on public health

As a health improvement specialist, you’ll have a relevant public health degree as well as specific public health improvement knowledge from training, experience or qualifications.

Health improvement practitioner (advanced)

As a health improvement practitioner (advanced), you’ll be the lead specialist for your specific health improvement area. For example, developing a programme that helps reduce falls, strokes, heart attacks and diabetes in older people or a programme that provides specific services in a socially deprived inner-city area.

You’ll identify priorities for health improvement programmes across a range of organisations and community groups, and you’ll develop long-term plans for health improvement. It’s likely you’ll also manage a budget and be involved in all aspects of staff recruitment and management.

Other responsibilities may include:
- Promoting the involvement of the public in the development and evaluation of your public health improvement activities
- Evaluating the effectiveness of your activities by undertaking detailed public health audits and public surveys, and analysing the results
- Using evidence to provide highly specialised advice to organisations and communities
- Communicating information relating to sensitive topics such as child protection and sexual health

For the role, you’ll have highly developed specialist knowledge of public health acquired through a relevant degree, plus a master’s qualification or equivalent training or experience.

What is a Public Health Anaylst?

Public health analysts (also known as knowledge and intelligence professionals) gather, analyse and interpret essential public health information. This is used to plan for and identify issues which negatively affect people’s health. Roles can be divided into two main types:

- Knowledge professionals: Who maintain and manage evidence and knowledge resources in public health
- Intelligence/Analyst professionals: Who analyse, interpret and present data about public health

Roles in public health knowledge and intelligence

Actual job titles and roles within public health knowledge and intelligence are likely to vary between different organisations and depending on how senior the position is.

Public health knowledge and intelligence professionals support the three main areas of public health (health protection, health improvement and healthcare services). The role varies depending on which area of public health you work in:

Health protection: If you support health protection, you might work on infectious diseases requiring a rapid response. For example, providing information which influences the advice given to the public about a disease or pandemic such as COVID-19.

Health improvement and health services: If you work in health improvement or healthcare services, you may interpret longer-term data about chronic diseases, such as heart disease or lung cancer.

What is an epidemiologist?

As an epidemiologist, you can choose to work in two main fields:
- Research epidemiologist: If you work in a research setting, you’ll use statistical analysis and modelling to understand how diseases are caused and how they develop in populations. Research epidemiologists often inform public health policies that help prevent future epidemics and outbreaks of disease.

- Clinical epidemiologist: If you work in a clinical setting, you’ll study diseases first-hand in patients to see how they’ve developed and the effects they have. You’ll usually work in a hospital or another similar environment and you’ll be medically qualified.

Your day-to-day work as an epidemiologist will vary depending on whether you’re based in a clinical setting or a research setting. However, as an epidemiologist, you might be involved in:

- Planning and performing statistical data analysis using specialist computer software
- Providing recommendations on epidemiological issues, such as emerging global diseases, based on scientific knowledge and critical thinking
- Developing and implementing new ways of extracting, reporting and analysing information related to your work
- Conducting research for use in health policies, using both qualitative and quantitative methods
- Providing insights and interpretation for study reports; as well as writing or managing these reports
- Liaising with external colleagues and agencies across the world for collaboration, support or specific expertise
- Collaborating with Government agencies and other global health organisations to aid key policy changes and health strategies
- Communicating statistical analysis and research through publications and presentations
- Planning, coordinating and hosting international conferences and sessions related to diseases, to support global health strategies
- Evaluating the progress of epidemiological programmes and formulating progress reports and other similar documents

Where do epidemiologists work?

As an epidemiologist, you may be based in an office or in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, depending on the type of work you’re employed to do. You might also need to travel to conferences internationally to present your work or coordinate events related to health policy and strategy.

Some epidemiologists are employed to carry out field research. If this is the case, you might need to live overseas for some time while the research is carried out, in environments where infectious diseases are present. Epidemiological field researchers are often employed or recruited by international charities or organisations who aim to relieve disease outbreaks overseas, such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

You might work in either the public or private sector as an epidemiologist. If you work in the public sector, you might be employed by the NHS, Public Health England (PHE), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or a similar organisation. In the private sector, epidemiologists often work for pharmaceutical companies.

How do I get a job as a epidemiologist?

To become an epidemiologist, you’ll need a degree in epidemiology or another relevant, science-based degree, such as public health, medicine, mathematics, nursing, statistics or biomedical science. You’ll also need a master’s degree or a PhD in the field.

If you’re interested in working as a clinical epidemiologist and have a degree in life sciences, the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) is also another option to help you get into the field. There are also similar schemes available in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

After becoming an epidemiologist, you might want to progress to another role within the area, such as a lecturer, a field epidemiologist or a consultant. To become a consultant, you’ll need to be registered with the GMC specialist register or the UK Specialist Public Health Register.

What is an Environmental Health Professional?

Environmental health professionals help people live, work and enjoy life safely. They aim to improve the health and wellbeing of the public in areas including housing, the environment and food safety.

What responsibilities do environmental health professionals have?

Environmental health professionals oversee and maintain regulatory standards in the five main areas of environmental health. These include:
- Noise and environmental pollution
- Food safety and hygiene
- Workplace (occupational) health
- Housing standards
- Public health
Environmental health professionals usually specialise in one of the five areas, but they can work across multiple fields.

What does the role involve?

Environmental health roles might involve:      
- Working with other health professionals on programmes that improve health and wellbeing
- Protecting the public from environmental hazards
- Investigating neighbourhood noise or nuisance complaints
- Investigating contaminated land
- Inspecting food premises for health issues
- Investigating outbreaks of foodborne illness
-Taking samples
- Giving environmental health advice to individuals and communities
- Assessing risks in the workplace
- Advising employers and employees on occupational health risks
- Providing and giving evidence in court cases involving environmental issues
- Investigating workplace accidents
- Assessing health risks from poor housing

What is a public health commissioning?

Public health commissioning is essentially the buying and considering cost-effective ways of delivering a service. However, it is a complex process involving assessing and understanding a population's health needs, planning services to meet those needs, affording those services on a limited budget, and then monitoring the services procured.

Most commissioning revolves around:
1. Block contracts
2. Payment by results contracts between commissioners (e.g. the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities) and providers such as hospitals, ambulance trusts, mental health trusts and the independent sector. There are also contracts with the voluntary or third sector.

What does a job in public health community development involve?

Community development jobs involve working with individuals, families or whole communities, helping them to:

- identify assets, needs and potential opportunities
- plan what they want to achieve
- develop tasks to take appropriate action

This is done by being a link between communities and a range of other local authority and voluntary sector providers, such as the police and fire service.The role often involves addressing inequality (cultural, health, economic or geographic).

Projects are often related to public health work and may include working on specific issues such as improving public transport, active travel and drug abuse, with specific groups such as homeless people, families with young children or ethnic minorities. 

What does a job in dental public health involve?

Dental Public Health professionals focus on improving people’s oral health at a population level (unlike a dentist who works on the oral health of individual patients).

Tasks include focusing on disease prevention, health improvement, surveillance, optimising dental care delivery system, and policy development. Work often focuses on the social determinants of oral health inequalities, the burden of oral diseases on individuals and society, and health services (e.g. the dental workforce).

What does a job in contact tracing involve?

A job in contact tracing involves identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. For example, contact tracing has been used to break the transmission chain of COVID-19 and is an essential public health method for controlling the virus.

The tasks often involve a good deal of detective work, by cold calling people who may have come into contact with someone who has a particular virus.

What does a public health lecturer do?

Public health lecturers usually work in universities or colleges, either in the UK or abroad. They typically have teaching responsibilities, but sometimes have also have academic responsibilities. Day-to-day, the role is likely to consist of teaching students about public health theories and practice and assessing and examining students’ work.

Public health lecturers usually teach accross all the three main areas of public health (health improvement, health protection and healthcare services).
The following are examples of the variety of academic public health roles available:
- Academic clinical fellow in public health
- Clinical lecturer in public health
- Lecturer in public health
- Head of school of public health

Academic clinical fellow in public health

As an academic clinical fellow in public health, you’ll be part of a programme that includes training in two areas. About a quarter of training time focuses on being an academic researcher and teacher, and the rest of the programme is dedicated to the specialty of public health. For this reason, fellowships are ideally suited to people who are committed to a career in academia but have little formal academic training.

The fellowship lasts for a maximum of three years, but you’ll likely be supported and encouraged to apply for funding for a higher degree, such as a PhD, before the fellowship ends. Recruitment for the role is national and is run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Find out more about academic clinical fellowships.

Clinical lecturer in public health

As a clinical lecturer in public health, you’ll have completed a research doctorate or equivalent in your field and show outstanding potential for continuing a career in academia.

The role offers a training programme in both the specialty of public health and in academic research.

Clinical lecturer posts last a maximum of four years and post-holders are encouraged to apply for funding for post-doctoral research or educational training when the position ends. Recruitment for the role is national and is run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Lecturer in public health

As a lecturer in public health, most of your responsibilities are centred around teaching. This includes:
- Teaching in lectures and taking seminars and tutorials
- Assisting with departmental research
- Coordinating course programmes, such as a master’s programme in public health
- Contributing to the delivery of courses coordinated by others
- Supervising students who are studying for undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications

As a lecturer in public health, you can still pursue your own research interests (within the context of your employer’s research priorities), apply for grants to support your research and publish your findings in academic journals, or present them at regional, national and international conferences.

You’ll need to keep up to date with your area of expertise by attending conferences and working in partnership with colleagues. You might also be involved in planning and objective-setting in the academic department where you work.

Head of school of public health

As a head of school, you’ll lead the ongoing development and quality assurance of regional public health specialist training schemes, such as overseeing and assessing training placements.

You’ll also be responsible for overseeing formal academic training for trainees, for example, reviewing the quality of trainees’ master of public health programme. You’ll also work with trainers who provide mentoring and supervision for trainees in their work placements.

What does a job in public health research involve?

Public health researchers usually work in universities or colleges, either in the UK or abroad. They typically conduct research that addresses specific public health issues and sometimes have responsibilities as a lecturer. Day-to-day, the role is likely to consist of researching a specific public health issues and sharing results from their work to influence policy.

The following are examples of the variety of academic public health roles available:
- Research assistant in public health
- Research fellow in public health

Research assistant in public health

As a research assistant, you’ll usually work on one or more research projects as part of a team and report into the principal investigator or research manager. Typical responsibilities include:

- Collecting and analysing relevant data
- Reviewing academic literature
- Helping prepare research reports and papers for publication in academic journals
- Liaising with external bodies to gather information and organise fieldwork
- Accurately documenting all work
- Adhering to policies and processes, including quality assurance

Your research project work may also contribute to your own research towards a higher degree or doctorate, such as a master’s degree, PhD or DPhil.

Research fellow in public health

As a research fellow, you’ll usually hold a PhD in a topic related to public health, for example, stroke research, mental health, obesity or health and wellbeing. Some of your main responsibilities typically include:

- Working with the research board and department staff at your institution to develop an on-going research agenda
- Applying for funds for research projects (which may include some or all of your own salary for the period of the project)
- Overseeing how projects are implemented and ensuring that your research project is delivered on time
- Writing research reports and preparing papers for publication in academic journals or presentation at conferences
- Working directly with other research teams
- Undertaking some teaching duties

What does a job in public health administration involve?

A public health administrator’s job role will vary across different organisations. However, they usually provide administrative support to either an individual or team, which helps with the day-to-day running of a particular project or organisation-wide goal. Duties may include taking telephone calls, organising meetings, taking minutes, word processing, creating spreadsheets and filing.

What is a public health consultant?

Public health consultants and specialists have skills in the three main areas of public health (health protection, health improvement and health services), but they may specialise in one area such as dentistry or epidemiology. They can come from a wide range of backgrounds but have usually worked in the medical sector.

What responsibilities do consultants in public health have?

As a public health consultant or specialist, you'll:
- Deal with and manage complex public health issues
- Plan and deliver public health policies and interventions that influence groups and communities on a local, regional and national level
- Plan and lead the evaluation of public health programmes and policies you’ve delivered
- Provide professional, evidence-based, ethical advice to guide the commissioning of public health services (ensuring they’re high-quality, clinically safe and cost-effective)
- Ensure commissioned public health services will improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities across primary care, secondary care and social careLead on gathering and interpreting information
- Work with a range of organisations
- Be responsible for departmental budgets, manage and supervise staff (such as public health specialty registrars), deliver core training and commission research projects

Where do Public Health Consultants work?

As a public health specialist or consultant, you’ll usually be employed by the local authorities or Public Health England (PHE). Although some public health consultants also work within universities, the NHS, Defence Medical Services or in non-profit organisations.

How do I become a public health consultant?

The main route for to become a public health consultant is to apply to the Public Health Specialty training programme. The application process is competive and takes several stages, which is outlined here. If successful, trainees following this programme are referred to as specialty registrars (StRs). Public health training usually lasts five years, full time. Part-time training takes proportionately longer. The five years usually includes one year (full or part-time) on an academic course, and 48 months in specialty training posts.

Public health consultant roles

There are a range of public health consultant roles available, examples include:

Consultant in dental public health

Consultants in dental public health lead on improving oral health in their local area. They develop and implement dental policies and strategies and provide expert input on a range of dental public health programmes. They also support the development of dental services in related areas, such as nutrition.

As a consultant in dental public health, you'll:
- Lead, and work with, internal and external teams to ensure oral health improvement programmes have an integrated approach
- Develop and use information and technology to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective public health interventions
- Ensure key dental public health targets and strategic objectives are met
- Support the director of public health on dental issues detailed in the director’s annual report (if you’re in a local authority)

To become a consultant in dental public health, you must be fully registered with the UK’s General Dental Council (GDC), be a GDC accredited specialist in Dental Public Health and have a master’s qualification in Dental Public Health or equivalent.

Consultant epidemiologist

Consultant epidemiologists lead on the strategy and surveillance of infectious diseases and environmental hazards. They support the development, maintenance and evaluation of epidemiological surveillance systems.

Consultant epidemiologists also lead projects that investigate outbreaks of disease, effective ways to deal with outbreaks and the cost-effectiveness of different interventions. Therefore, they must analyse and evaluate data and research evidence from a wide range of sources to make recommendations and inform decision-making.

As a consultant epidemiologist, you’ll also have other responsibilities which mean you’ll:  
- Develop priorities, policies and guidelines for the surveillance, prevention and control of infectious diseases
- Prepare plans for the control of communicable diseases
- Help with outbreak response at a local level by providing field epidemiology support
- Lead the evaluation and quality assurance of epidemiology services
- Regularly review the management of outbreaks and incidents of communicable diseases
- Provide support and advice on health protection issues to other public health staff and organisations, including directors of public health, the government and local authorities
- Promote professional standards in all areas of epidemiology including training, research and auditing

What is a Director of Public Health?

Directors of public health are accountable for delivering public health objectives in their area, as well as reporting annually on outcomes and future initiatives. The role is incredibly varied, challenging and rewarding.

To become a director of public health, you must be a qualified specialist in public health, and be registered with either the General Medical Council, General Dental Council or the UK Public Health Register.

Where do Directors of Public Health Work?

In the UK, Directors of Public Health work in local authorities, organisations such as Public Health England or Health Boards (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

All Directors of Public Health in the UK are overseen and supported by the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH).

What do Directors of Public Health do for Local Authorities?

Legally, every local authority must appoint a director of public health. The director works across all three main areas of public health (health protection, health improvement and healthcare services).

Using the best available evidence, public health directors determine the overall vision, strategy and aims for public health in their local area. They then manage the delivery of and report back on, those objectives. The role can also involve:

- Commissioning and organising the delivery of health services that are both clinically and cost-effective
- Leading and providing expert advice to the local authority and organisations that work with them
- Establishing strong working relationships with other local agencies to ensure public health priorities are delivered
- Ensuring public health is a priority for local authorities
- Managing senior staff, including recruitment, personal development, appraisals and handling any disciplinary or grievance issues
- Contributing to training and development programmes
- Managing the local authority’s public health budget

What does a Centre Director do?

Centre directors work within organisations, such as Public Health England or the UK Health Security Agency. They lead and oversee health protection services in a particular region or centre for public health. A large part of their role is to develop regional strategies and plans to help protect public health.

They also oversee the systems for:
- Monitoring of local diseases, such as case statistics and distribution
- Laboratory services, such as microbiological investigation of diseases
- Investigation and management of incidents, for example, a chemical spill or an outbreak of disease

Centre directors work closely with directors of public health within their region.

What is a public health nurse?

Public health nurses play a vital role in promoting and protecting the health of the general public. This might be through promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing the chances of ill-health, supporting people with long-term illnesses or preventing disease through immunisations.

Public health nurses can work in a variety of settings, but often work for Public Health England, local authorities or for the NHS. Some examples of public health nurse roles available include:

- Health promotion nurse
- Health protection nurse
- Tuberculosis (TB) nurse
- Infection control nurse

Health promotion nurse

Health promotion nurses identify the health needs of the communities they work with and the most appropriate ways of helping them improve their health, through programmes called ‘interventions’.

They plan their interventions using the best available evidence and then work with their clients in a community environment to meet their needs. They also provide information and support to promote and optimise good health. Interventions may include:

- Encouraging physical activity
- Tackling obesityPromoting self-care for people with long-term conditions
- Finding and supporting those most at risk of cardiovascular disease

Health promotion nurses often work collaboratively with groups in the community and organisations such as primary healthcare teams, voluntary and statutory organisations.

They also have an educational role; helping to support, mentor and train junior staff. The managerial aspects of the role include:
- Maintaining good working relationships with colleagues and partner organisations
- Completing statistical returns and processing client data
- Identifying areas for improvement within health promotion services
- Responding to complaints
- Participating in clinical supervision for junior staff, undertaking annual staff appraisals and auditing work to ensure high standards of care

Health protection nurse

Health protection teams ensure that the public is protected from infectious diseases and other non-infectious health hazards.

Nurses working in the field have a vital role to play. They work with individuals, families and the wider population, which may include making decisions on behalf of a community or population.

Health protection nurses work with a wide range of organisations, disciplines and agencies to:
- Undertake disease surveillance
- Help manage incidents, outbreaks and control strategies
- Lead or support the implementation of new initiatives, guidance and policy to protect public health

The day-to-day role of a health protection nurse may include:
- Providing reactive health protection advice to health professionals, the public and wider stakeholders following outbreaks of communicable diseases or other health threats
- Undertaking epidemiological investigations and public health risk assessments
- Working with stakeholders to prevent or minimise the impact of non-infectious environmental hazards
- Planning for emergencies; including working with local resilience forums, undertaking community risk assessments and supporting the planning for biological, chemical, radioactive, environmental and nuclear public health threats
- Training and educating around public health
- Participating in research and auditing

Tuberculosis (TB) nurse

Tuberculosis nurses work in the community or within health protection teams to provide care and support for people being tested or treated for tuberculosis (TB). They may also be involved in managing local outbreaks of TB.

TB nurses also visit people at home, ensuring they receive the support that they need to complete their course of TB treatment. They also provide information and advice about TB to their clients and other health professionals.

To help contain the spread of the disease, TB nurses work to establish who has been in contact with anyone potentially infected so they can be traced and then treated if necessary.

Infection control nurse

Infection control nurses establish and maintain effective, efficient systems for the prevention, investigation, control and surveillance of infections in the workplace.

Infection control nurses need to provide strong leadership that encourages and motivates others to follow infection control policies and procedures. They usually have the authority and expert knowledge to advise colleagues on infection prevention standards and ensure this is delivered to patients, carers and all clinical staff.

What is a public health practitioner?

Public health practitioners support the three areas of public health (health improvement, health protection and health services) and work across the public, private, voluntary and community sectors. There are around 10,000 public health practitioners in the UK who work across a number of roles and make up the core public health workforce.

Although they work in different areas of public health, public health practitioners all contribute to public health outcomes and promote and support the health of the public in different ways. For example, they may support local healthy lifestyle programmes, helping people stop smoking and exercise more. Or they might run immunisation programmes and screening in local communities.

Some public health practitioners also play an important role in national and local health campaigns or may work in public health analyst, knowledge and intelligence teams in local government organisations or bodies such as Public Health England, Wales, Scotland or the UK Health Security Agency.

What qualifications do I need to become a public health practitioner?

Public health practitioners should have a degree in a relevant subject or an equivalent level of experience of working in a specialist area. They should also be working to towards or have registered with the UKPHR. They may have additional relevant qualifications, in, eg, project management, training and development.

What types of roles are available as a public health practitioner?

There are several public health practitioner roles available. Some examples include:
- Smoking cessation advisor
- Teenage pregnancy coordinator
- Substance misuse worker
- Public health nutritionist
- Health improvement practitioner
Advanced health improvement practitioner
- Health improvement specialist
- Health improvement practitioner (advanced)
- Health protection practitioner

Smoking cessation adviser

Smoking cessation advisors help people stop smoking long-term. If you’re working as a smoking cessation advisor, you’ll deliver stop-smoking advice in one-to-one appointments, in group sessions or over the phone. You’ll also provide information to your clients on treatments currently available, behavioural support techniques and coping strategies.

You’ll manage your own caseload and will plan the care of your clients, monitor their progress and evaluate the impact of your work. You may need to refer to other practitioners for specialist advice where appropriate.

You’ll need to keep accurate, confidential and up-to-date records for all your clients. Working with other local providers of health, social care and voluntary services, you’ll be passionate about how stopping smoking can make a positive difference to people’s lives.

To become a smoking cessation advisor, you’ll need to be educated to GCSE level or equivalent and have experience of therapeutic service. Other qualifications in counselling, education or social work may be desirable.

Teenage pregnancy coordinator

As a teenage pregnancy coordinator, you’ll engage with teenagers and local communities to develop and deliver projects and activities relating to sex and relationships education. For example, providing increased access to contraceptives and sexual health advice in schools and community centres.

You’ll also be responsible for supporting the targets defined in your local teenage pregnancy strategy and will analyse information about the success of local services. From this, you’ll be able to make recommendations for the development of annual local plans about sexual health.

As a teenage pregnancy coordinator, you’ll need a Level 3 Youth Work qualification or another relevant health-related qualification, as well as specific training in sexual health. You’ll also need experience working with young people in the field of sexual health or teenage pregnancy.

Substance misuse worker

As a substance misuse worker, you’ll be responsible for providing information and support to people who have drug and alcohol issues, and to their families. This may include counselling, motivational interviewing, alternative therapies and therapeutic interventions relating to drug use.

You may work in many different environments as a substance misuse worker, including in schools and clients’ homes. You’ll work with individuals and groups and will likely deal with clients of different ages and from different backgrounds.

You’ll need to be a strong communicator and establish positive working relationships with your clients and their families to build trust, confidence and acceptance. You’ll take a creative and innovative approach to deliver services and you’ll work with other agencies to ensure your clients and their families have access to a range of services. You’ll also keep accurate, confidential and up-to-date records for all your clients.

To become a substance misuse worker, you’ll need to be educated to GCSE level or equivalent and have experience working with people with substance misuse problems. Other qualifications in counselling, education or social work may be desirable.

Public health nutritionist

Public health nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition. As a public health nutritionist, you’ll develop and evaluate community nutrition services that help bring positive change to peoples’ lives. Your day-to-day work is likely to be very varied and could include:

- Carrying out research around food and nutrition
- Using scientific knowledge to provide advice and guidance about the positive and negative effects of food on health and wellbeing
- Contributing to local policies and strategies concerning diet-related diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes
- Identifying opportunities for promoting health through nutrition, such as making sure children in schools and the elderly in residential care homes have access to nutritional food
- Training others, such as community workers and professional groups, in promoting the health benefits of good nutrition to support positive behaviour change
- Organising food and nutrition campaigns in food stores or the media
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact of your work and ensuring it aligns with local and national policies

To become a public health nutritionist, you’ll hold a degree in nutrition or dietetics and have practical experience in public health nutrition.

Health improvement practitioner

As a health improvement practitioner, you’ll contribute to local programmes which influence lifestyle and behaviour change. For example, programmes around stopping smoking, following a healthy diet or exercising regularly.

You might also work with specific groups depending on the role and its locality. For example, providing specialist services for young people, the elderly, people with mental health conditions or the LGBTI community. Your work could include:

- Providing health improvement advice to support the care and education of clients
- Training other health improvement staff
- Working with external agencies to collaboratively improve population health
- Keeping up to date with the latest public health information
- Maintaining systems for collecting data about the health of clients
- Creating publications and reports about health improvement information and initiatives

To become a health improvement practitioner, you’ll have a degree in public health, a related subject or equivalent health improvement knowledge from training, extended courses and experience.

Advanced health improvement practitioner

As an advanced health improvement practitioner, you’ll help people improve their health by creating and influencing positive change. You’ll also work to reduce health inequalities (the differences in the health of people or groups due to social, geographical, biological or other factors). As an advanced health improvement practitioner, you might also be involved in:

- Planning, delivering and developing specialist services, such as smoking cessation and sexual health
- Communicating important public health messages
- Marketing the health improvement service to relevant groups and communities
- Working closely with other agencies to achieve health improvement aims
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact and outcomes of health improvement programmes and initiatives

Health improvement specialist

As a health improvement specialist, you’ll be in a lead role for a particular area of health improvement. For example, specific services targeted at men, women or young people, or a particular condition such as diabetes or dementia. You might be involved in:

- Working with individuals, groups, communities and organisations to influence and improve population health
- Contributing to the development of local health improvement programmes including how they are monitored and evaluated
- Giving presentations and training on topics like child protection, sexual health and healthy eating
- Providing specialised health improvement advice to support the care and education of individuals, groups and communities
- Training, supervising and managing staff
- Developing publications and reports on public health

As a health improvement specialist, you’ll have a relevant public health degree as well as specific public health improvement knowledge from training, experience or qualifications.

Health improvement practitioner (advanced)

As a health improvement practitioner (advanced), you’ll be the lead specialist for your specific health improvement area. For example, developing a programme that helps reduce falls, strokes, heart attacks and diabetes in older people or a programme that provides specific services in a socially deprived inner-city area.

You’ll identify priorities for health improvement programmes across a range of organisations and community groups, and you’ll develop long-term plans for health improvement. It’s likely you’ll also manage a budget and be involved in all aspects of staff recruitment and management.

Other responsibilities may include:
- Promoting the involvement of the public in the development and evaluation of your public health improvement activities
- Evaluating the effectiveness of your activities by undertaking detailed public health audits and public surveys, and analysing the results
- Using evidence to provide highly specialised advice to organisations and communities
- Communicating information relating to sensitive topics such as child protection and sexual health

For the role, you’ll have highly developed specialist knowledge of public health acquired through a relevant degree, plus a master’s qualification or equivalent training or experience.

Health protection practitioner

As a health protection practitioner, you’ll be informed about communicable disease outbreaks such as hospital-acquired infections, measles, tuberculosis or flu; and then interpret, prioritise and act on them.

You’ll work directly with consultants in health protection to identify, investigate and monitor outbreaks of infection or communicable disease in the community. You’ll also contribute to the collection and evaluation of data about these outbreaks. Other aspects of your work could include:

- Advising on patient care, practices and procedures to manage incidents or outbreaks, and helping to evaluate the measures taken to control them
- Providing specialist advice based on the best available evidence to other healthcare professionals to improve the management of cases of communicable disease and the prevention and control of infections
- Advising on health protection matters including chemical incidents, communicable disease control, immunisation and vaccination

To become a health protection practitioner, you’ll need a degree in a relevant subject or an equivalent level of experience working in a specialist area of health protection. You’ll be a registered general nurse, allied healthcare professional or environmental health practitioner and you might have additional relevant qualifications such as project management, training and development.

What does public health lecturer do?

Public health lecturers usually work in universities or colleges, either in the UK or abroad. They typically have teaching responsibilities, but sometime also conduct research. Day-to-day, the role is likely to consist of teaching students about public health theories and practice and assessing and examining students’ work.

Public health lecturers usually teach across all the three main areas of public health (health improvement, health protection and healthcare services).
The following are examples of the variety of academic public health roles available:
- Academic clinical fellow in public health
- Clinical lecturer in public health
- Lecturer in public health
- Head of school of public health

Academic clinical fellow in public health

As an academic clinical fellow in public health, you’ll be part of a programme that includes training in two areas. About a quarter of training time focuses on being an academic researcher and teacher, and the rest of the programme is dedicated to the specialty of public health. For this reason, fellowships are ideally suited to people who are committed to a career in academia but have little formal academic training.

The fellowship lasts for a maximum of three years, but you’ll likely be supported and encouraged to apply for funding for a higher degree, such as a PhD, before the fellowship ends. Recruitment for the role is national and is run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Find out more about academic clinical fellowships.

Clinical lecturer in public health

As a clinical lecturer in public health, you’ll have completed a research doctorate or equivalent in your field and show outstanding potential for continuing a career in academia.

The role offers a training programme in both the specialty of public health and in academic research.

Clinical lecturer posts last a maximum of four years and post-holders are encouraged to apply for funding for post-doctoral research or educational training when the position ends. Recruitment for the role is national and is run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Lecturer in public health

As a lecturer in public health, most of your responsibilities are centred around teaching. This includes:
- Teaching in lectures and taking seminars and tutorials
- Assisting with departmental research
- Coordinating course programmes, such as a master’s programme in public health
- Contributing to the delivery of courses coordinated by others
- Supervising students who are studying for undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications

As a lecturer in public health, you can still pursue your own research interests (within the context of your employer’s research priorities), apply for grants to support your research and publish your findings in academic journals, or present them at regional, national and international conferences.

You’ll need to keep up to date with your area of expertise by attending conferences and working in partnership with colleagues. You might also be involved in planning and objective-setting in the academic department where you work.

Head of school of public health

As a head of school, you’ll lead the ongoing development and quality assurance of regional public health specialist training schemes, such as overseeing and assessing training placements.

You’ll also be responsible for overseeing formal academic training for trainees, for example, reviewing the quality of trainees’ master of public health programme. You’ll also work with trainers who provide mentoring and supervision for trainees in their work placements.