Agile Work

agile work v,

to bring together people, processes, connectivity and technology in order to find the most appropriate and effective way of carrying out a particular task; used here to denote the adaptability of public health professionals in working in partnership and applying their expertise in different areas or fields

How do you start working in Public Health?

Where to Start?

The best place to get a feel for public health management or commissioning work is to contact someone working in the field and ask to shadow them for a day.

In the UK, this can be done by simply googling your local public health team in a local authority, a regional team in Public Health England or an area team in NHS England. This will bring up the contact names of the local director of public health, consultant in public health or other senior managers. Then drop them an email, telling them your interest in public health and whether it is okay to shadow them. We are quite used to receiving these emails and usually very obliging to help.  

A next step is to do some work experience. This can be for a week or up to a month. With this, you'll get the opportunity to do some project work and get greater exposure to the variations that happen with public health specialist work.  

Do I need a Masters in Public Health? 

I get asked this question quite a lot. A Masters in Public Health (MPH or MSc in Public Health) is beneficial, desirable even but not essential. There are many managers working in public health that don't have a MPH but to further your career in public health, it is good to pursue a masters degree but it doesn't have to be public health, it can be in a related area that will benefit your career progression. It really depends upon your entry level. Some people will enter public health management and then as part of their personal development plan (PDP) or continuing professional development (CPD), they will apply to do a MPH, which may get funded by the organisation you work in. True that many applications will have MPH down under qualifications, but getting shortlisted is more than qualifications, it is demonstration of skills, application of knowledge and above all, a passion to do the job in question.

Where are the public health jobs advertised?

Posts in public health management in the UK tend to be advertised on NHSJobs and on relevant local authority sites (for local public health teams). 

Publichealthjobs  have posts advertised in a wide range of fields.  See Twitter or on their website

Further information

Public Health Jobs has collated very blogs on what it is like working in public health. Please see  Public Health Blogs - Public Health Jobs.