How Do I Become a Public Health Administrator?

Public health administrators strive to improve the health of communities; they direct the organizations that disseminate information to prevent disease and promote health. They work for governmental agencies, educational institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. Read on for information on what you need to do to become a public health administrator. Schools offering Health Services Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


You typically need at least a bachelor's degree to become a public health administrator. As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, while some community health workers can enter the field with just a high school diploma, many employers require medical and health services managers to have a master's degree. Many universities offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in public health or public health administration. While it is not necessary to major in public health to become a public health administrator, you should take courses in business administration, communications, health, and finance. It is important to note that many administrators begin their careers in health care-related fields and transition into public health administration after or concurrent to the completion of a master's degree.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Median Pay$61,732
Job OutlookOver 20% growth in employment for medical managers, health educators, and community health workers (faster than average)
Work EnvironmentPositions available in a wide variety of industries; workers may need to attend conferences and workshops to stay up-to-date in the field, and may be required to give presentations at community events
Similar OccupationsEpidemiologists, Dietitians and Nutritionists, Social Workers, Counselors and Therapists

Sources:, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find Employment

Public health administrators find work in hospitals, state and federal public health departments, not-for-profit organizations, and educational institutions. Some people gain experience in related positions (health inspectors and doctors, for instance) and then transition to a career in public health administration.


Obtaining certification may help you find a job or advance your career. Certification is a sign that you have competencies in public health administration. Those with certification use the initials CPHA after their name to signify that they are certified public health administrators. The Public Health Practitioner Certification Board (PHPCB) administers the exam to those who have at least a bachelor's degree, three years of administration experience, and three years of supervisory experience in a private or public health center. Competencies are tested in five areas: public health practice; public health policy, advocacy, and law; public health administration; program development and evaluation; and community health assessment.

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