Public health in Australia
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on public health management, policy and strategy. At the same time, health care is shifting away from a 'break it then fix it' approach towards a more preventative focus.
With their interdisciplinary, population-wide approach to wellbeing and disease prevention, public health professionals are uniquely equipped for the challenges. Thanks to modern technology, diagnostic advances and insights from behavioural economics, they have the tools to engage with more people than ever before.
While COVID-19 has brought public health into the spotlight, it’s about much more than just epidemiology. It also incorporates:
- Indigenous health
- sexual and reproductive health
- education health including promotion of exercise and nutrition
- mental health such as suicide prevention
- tobacco, alcohol, gambling and junk food labelling and advertising
- environmental health such as the health impact of bushfire smoke
- vaccination and immunisation
Public health professionals are valued not only in the public sector, non-government organisations (NGOs) and academia, but also the private sector. For example, in private hospitals, consulting and research firms, pharmaceutical companies and training organisations. Your career in public health can be as focused or as broad as you like. You could work in small, remote communities to improve rates of preventable disease, take on government roles supporting national public health campaigns or research worldwide infection trends.
Who should study a postgraduate public health course?
Whether you're already a healthcare professional or work in an entirely different industry, you're bound to learn many skills and gain interesting knowledge in this innovative area of study. Working in public health is a rewarding experience as you have the ability to make positive contributions and changes on an individual, community, national and global scale. Since studying public health can open doors to different jobs, anyone who wants to positively promote health, prevent disease and empower people to manage illnesses and disabilities will find their place in the industry.
Universities tend to have different entry requirements for each level of study but this is what you can generally expect. Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor to confirm your eligibility to apply for a postgraduate course.
- A completed Bachelor's degree in any discipline.
- Alternatively, universities including University of Technology Sydney accept 5 years of approved relevant work experience.
- A completed Bachelor's degree in any discipline.
- A completed graduate diploma in a similar discipline to public health.
- Applicants who haven’t completed an undergraduate degree can be admitted to a graduate certificate program with relevant work experience. From here, graduate certificate graduates will be eligible to apply for the Master of Public Health program with credit granted for completed units.
Skills gained and learning outcomes for online public health postgraduate studies
Online postgraduate study enables you to build theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills, while you work.
Students gain a comprehensive understanding of public health theory and research to inform best practice standards. You can immediately apply what you learn to make a greater impact in your current role and future-proof your career.
Topics covered may include:
- Global population and health leadership: Examine global health systems and explore public and population health from an environmental perspective, to prepare for future environmental and health challenges.
- Health promotion and disease management and prevention: Explore the increasing prevalence of both non-communicable and communicable diseases at local, national and international levels.
- Social, cultural and ethical perspectives: Learn more about diversity in health. Build a comprehensive understanding of the various perspectives involved, gaining insight into the role of cultural and societal beliefs, attitudes and behaviours in shaping health disease risk and health outcomes.
- Public health and data analytics: Develop an epidemiological mindset to critique, interpret and synthesise biostatistical and other health-related data and research findings.
- External determinants of health: Learn how social, economic, political and environmental factors can impact the health of communities.
As part of your postgraduate study in public health, you’ll learn how to:
- Critically apply macro and micro principles to specific scenarios, taking into account the impacts of society, culture, the environment and other key public health factors.
- Use knowledge, technology and policy in innovative ways to address environmental and health challenges characterised by uncertainty.
- Lead and evaluate health programs that promote and improve population health.
- Prevent, detect and manage the spread of diseases.
- Analyse, interpret and develop responses to outbreak data, and critically appraise the use of public health programs, policies and approaches to communicable disease control.
- Guide health policy recommendations across a variety of communities and contexts.
- Develop programs that address social determinants of health and align with global and national policies and commitments.
- Evaluate healthcare-related practices and draw upon research to support public health, health services planning and management decisions.
- Apply research methods to a variety of public health problems and develop advanced data analytics and technology capabilities to suit your career goals.
Career outcomes for online postgraduate public health courses
The world of public health is vast and so are the opportunities. Careers in public health are diverse and can be guided by your own experience, interests, values and aspirations. Whatever impact you want to have on the world, postgraduate study can help you make it happen.
A few of your career options include:
- The average salary is $110,000 per year.
- Epidemiologists study diseases – their origins, spread and impact.
- COVID-19 has put epidemiology, once a relatively niche field, firmly in the public eye.
- Draw on science and mathematics to spot patterns, predict future trends and monitor health threats.
Health policy advisor
- The average salary is $100,000 per year.
- Health policy advisers formulate advice on regulatory and policy matters, developing strategies to achieve public health outcomes.
- These roles have strong future growth prospects, with job growth tipped to grow by 11 per cent by 2024.
Health promotion officer
- The average salary is $80,000 per year.
- Health promotion officers research public health issues (e.g. diabetes) and develop and implement communications strategies to improve population health outcomes.
- Job postings for health promotion officer roles increased by 64 per cent in recent years.
Other possible career paths include:
- community health worker
- disease and infection investigator
- health data analyst/biostatistician
- hospital/health service administrator
- health educator
- emergency preparedness and response coordinator
- public health policy coordinator
- public health program manager
- health communications specialist
- research analyst
Choosing the right online public health course for you
Ready to create lasting change? Postgraduate study in public health will prepare you to:
- make a real, sizable impact on health care in Australia
- seize the opportunity to make a change in a post-COVID-19 health setting
- always be in demand and secure your future
- contribute to leadership teams and decision-making and have an impact where it matters most.
Studying a postgraduate qualification in public health means learning from respected professionals, global experts and experienced clinicians. You’ll explore evidence-based public health policies and approaches as well as learn how to apply them within different communities.
Online learning gives you the flexibility to fit your studies around work, social and family life. You can log on from any device, any time and have access to support every step of the way. With intakes every two months, you can study one course at a time, 100 per cent online and accelerated, instantly adding value to your career and organisation.
Master’s degrees allow you to build skills and knowledge across different areas of public health – for example, health promotion and disease management and prevention. Most have graduate certificate and graduate diploma qualifications embedded within them, so you can work toward your master’s at your own pace, acquiring new skills and career-boosting qualifications along the way.
If having options throughout your studies is important to you, choose a university that offers both specialist and generalist graduate certificates that all lead to a master’s degree. You should also look into the electives you can do. If life gets busy, you can always take breaks as required.
Before choosing a graduate certificate, check the graduate diploma or master's degree it's embedded within. Some graduate certificates are specialist, whereas others are generalist. If you are starting a graduate certificate with the idea of studying for your master's degree in the future, confirm this pathway is available with your chosen course. Choose a public health course above and speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor to confirm you have chosen a pathway that aligns with your goals.
Take the first step in making a decision by reviewing the courses on offer in detail. If you can't find all of the information you are seeking, speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor who can help you understand what course is right for you.
Compile a list of the key questions you seek to answer while deciding which course to do. This list might include (but is not limited to) the following:
- what does a public health course entail?
- how do the available courses differ?
- what are the points of difference for the universities offering the courses I'm interested in?
- does this program give me the skills and knowledge I need to progress my public health career?
- if I pick a specialisation/major, can I change my mind part-way through and study a different specialisation or take a generalist path?
- if I wanted to come back and study again in the future, are pathways available?
- what support do the universities offer students?
- are there any additional fees?
- who teaches the course?
Why choose accelerated online study
We list programs from our Australian university partners that are offered in the online accelerated mode of study. This mode is specifically designed to cater for busy people, who are balancing work and life while continuing their education as they build or change their careers in health and social care roles. Select a course above to enquire and connect with a Student Enrolment who can assist you with the enrolment process.