Highest Paying Public Health Jobs

Public health can be defined as the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through a variety of solutions, including promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing disease and injury, and detecting and responding to infectious diseases. 

With the goal of addressing the health of specific populations instead of the individual, public health initiatives can occur at many different levels and through a variety of strategies. Accordingly, the occupational landscape for public health professionals is full of opportunity. 

In addition to the diverse range of careers and the opportunity to make an impact, the average public health salary may exceed the national salary average for all occupations, depending on the position and area of work an individual chooses to pursue.  

For those considering earning a master’s in public health (MPH), the following list offers insight into some of the highest paying public health jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 


Statisticians can work in many fields, including government, healthcare, and research and development. Biostatisticians use statistics to research questions related to medicine and biology, making them one of the several important players in public health research. Professionals in this role may collect and analyze data, often sharing their findings in reports. This work can be helpful in researching the causes of diseases, the performance of new medications and treatments, and more.  

Mathematicians and statisticians, including those in the public health field, typically are required to have at least a master’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Individuals within this occupation are typically analytical, capable of problem solving, and have an aptitude for understanding mathematics. 

According to data from the (BLS) on the salaries for all statisticians, the median annual wage was $92,270 in May 2020, putting this role among the highest paying public health jobs.  


Epidemiology is the study and analysis of patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions among populations. Epidemiologists use their work to conduct research, influence health policies, and inform community education needs. Professionals in this role will spend time developing and directing studies and analyzing data. Another key duty of epidemiologists is communicating findings to the public and health policy makers. 

To work as an epidemiologist, individuals typically have at least a master’s degree in public health (MPH). Critical thinking and leadership skills are beneficial in this career, as well as an attention to detail and the ability to communicate effectively. 

According to BLS data from May 2020, the median epidemiologist salary was $74,560.   

Health and Safety Engineer

Health and safety engineers are responsible for developing procedures and systems that protect people from illness and injury. This role combines engineering with health and safety to ensure machinery, chemicals, software and other products do not harm people or cause property damage. Individuals in this profession may also be involved in investigations of industrial accidents and injuries to determine if the cause was preventable and provide solutions for preventing similar incidents moving forward. 

Entry-level positions for this career path typically require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, such as environmental health, engineering, public health, or occupational/industrial hygiene. Individuals with a master’s degree may be able to enter the field as a health and safety engineer at a higher level, focusing on the development and implementation of safety systems. 

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for health and safety engineers was $94,240 in May 2020.

Emergency Management Director

The role of an emergency management director is to create plans and procedures for responding to emergencies, such as natural disasters. Emergency management directors also are responsible for leading the response during an emergency and in the aftermath. This is typically done in coordination with political officials, public safety professionals, government organizations and nonprofits. 

Typically, this role requires at least a bachelor’s degree in business, emergency management or public health, paired with multiple years of experience in emergency response. Individuals may gain this experience through working in the military, fire safety, or another emergency management agency. Requiring this type of past experience ensures that candidates are capable of making challenging decisions in a time-sensitive manner. 

The BLS reports that the median annual salary for emergency management directors was $76,250 in May 2020.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers are tasked with planning, directing, and coordinating healthcare services for an organization or department within a larger entity. Some may work as the manager for a facility while others head up clinical areas within a healthcare establishment or a medical practice. In this role, medical and health services managers are responsible for understanding laws, regulations, and technology related to healthcare. 

Before entering the field, medical and health services managers generally have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. However, it is common for some managers to have a master’s degree. Prior experience in an administrative or clinical setting is often helpful or required for this role. 

According to data from the BLS on medical and health services managers’ salaries, the median annual wage for this position was $104,280 in May 2020.

Citation for this content: The MPH online program from Baylor University’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences