A public health administrator is a health professional who focuses on the health of an entire community of people by ensuring that the community has adequate healthcare and health information. While a doctor focuses on the health of his patients, a public health administrator makes sure that doctors are present where they are needed and that all people have the information necessary to make informed health decisions. There are many different roles that a health administrator could fill, ranging from hospital management to government work. Such jobs generally require the management and organization skills necessary for business as well as enough knowledge of science and health issues to make informed decisions about keeping the community healthy.
As the title suggests, administration is a significant aspect of a public health administrator's career. Public health administration involves managing employees, preparing a budget, and assigning and overseeing projects, just like any other administration job. Sometimes, a public health administrator must also handle tasks such as marketing and communication with other public health administrators, government workers, and doctors.
The "health" aspect of public health administration is also important. The goal of a public health administrator is to ensure that the community in which he works remains as healthy as possible. This involves keeping people aware of environmental threats, such as toxins, infections such as the influenza virus, and myriad other health-related threats. It also involves ensuring that healthcare is widely available and easily accessible for those who need it.
A public health administrator may work in a wide variety of settings, depending on personal preference and the needs of a community. Most public health administrators also work on various government health committees that manage health issues in communities ranging in size from small towns to entire countries. Others may manage hospitals or manage the health administration for a school district. Some, usually after working in the field for some time, choose to work at a university to teach health administration.
There are several possible educational paths that one could take to become a public health administrator. Many colleges offer degree programs in health care administration and public health administration. Courses in science and health-related topics and business courses, such as finance and management, are also very helpful, as a public health administrator must apply a firm knowledge of healthcare issues to fiscally responsible management decisions. While a bachelor's degree combined with job experience may be sufficient for some public health administration jobs, higher degrees are generally recommended if not required.