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So a public health career is your choice, and you are you are ready to go? Here is a checklist that could facilitate the journey.

Pre-professional experience

Some say is the polite form of very polite form of getting your hands dirty. You may have heard this a gazillion times ‘Voila!’ A career in this field is not an exception to the rule. Get some practice of a profession before you embark on your studies.

‘Exposure before training, is this even possible?’ I hear you ask.

It is quite simple really, volunteer, take time to work as an intern, join a fellowship programme…put yourself out there

 There are plenty of organizations out there seeking volunteers and its unimaginable how the spirit of volunteerism not only creates a positive awareness about health but gets everyone involved. I did volunteer during my soul-searching period with a humanitarian organization, the Red Cross, and Red Crescent movement.

The range of health activities ranged from disaster management, health promotion, logistics in supplies delivery in areas with conflict, this sort of exposure enabled me to relate to the human needs during emergencies while giving me the chance to help others.

This was more than I could have asked for a soul-searching period but I digress. Getting back my point be willing to work in a team and the knowledge gained will be immense.

You could schedule this during the weekend, summer break or better yet take a couple days off during your holiday and take volunteer abroad placements… Volunteer Vacation!

Some internships may be paid while others unpaid. As a volunteer, the organization may cater to your needs such as meals, accommodation, laundry while others may not.

However, this should not deter you to remember the core of public health is service to humanity. You may be receiving way more in expertise than you are actually giving…. food for thought!

School vs Time

So exposure is off the bucket list and you need technical knowledge. You need to hit the books again. here are options to explore, most degree courses in public health contain compulsory units also known as core subjects, while non-degree certificate courses allow one to focus on what captures your interest like health promotion, emergency relief, outreach nutrition, climate change and health.

Here are some timelines undergraduate courses range from 3 to 4 years, graduate courses take 1 or 2 years and could lead ultimately to doctorate/ Ph.D., diploma and postgraduate certificate ideally will take 6 months to a year to study. And guess what! most institutions of higher learning are now offering various short courses which take up to 4 weeks ………so no excuses.

Time vs Location

So you have the time but you currently working…. wait… not so fast don’t hang in the boots just yet! There’s actually an answer to this dilemma. Get online!

Welcome to the era of digitization and take a moment to thank the worldwide web for this one.  You can study from the comfort of your home. What you get will be access to learning material, webinars with tutors from across the globe and my favorite discussions with other students from all over the globe just a click away.

Self -paced learning could not have come at a better time, be the holder of a verified certificate, earn your credits and pick a public health topic you wish to learn.

Location vs Fees

Start saving early if you wish to carry out your degree in Public Health, that said the amount of payment for education depends on the university you will be attending.

Some good news though most teaching institutions may have a scholarship database which is something you should explore. If you think online your organization could actually assist in your professional development.

Again take advantage of the free online courses. Some of the certificate in public health courses are free and offered by some of the top universities across the world.

Finally remember when in doubt, tap into your resources these include your mentor, a teacher in the field, an expert who has been out in the field get some coffee.

Hearing others experience could guide you in the Public field…ENJOY THE RIDE!

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