Do I need additional education to secure a position with my state’s public health department? Any tips on making myself more attractive to public health employers?
How would you prepare for any interview or new position? You need to research the agency, the position, and the duties you would be responsible for. Most agencies have a list of criteria that is required for positions. Many positions in a public health program require master’s-level degrees because they are specialized areas. Beverly Isman, RDH, MPH, and I did a survey of state health departments regarding the education degree required. For the most part, all employees required a master’s degree. Contract employees may have baccalaureate degrees. Many contract positions are still direct service positions but in different settings. Thus, additional education may be required. What makes you attractive to a prospective employer? Preparation. Being prepared for the interview, understanding the duties and responsibilities of the job, and then selling yourself as the best candidate. If that means going back to school to change your career path, then do it. The best candidate is the one who has done his or her homework and is qualified for the position. There are no short cuts. Public health is very different than private practice and requires a different skill set, including the following:
- Project management
- Writing, presentation, and computer skills
- Meeting leadership
- Budget development