A public health administrator is a professional who focuses on community health care education and the management of public health care programs. People in this field need to have a wide variety of skills, including both managerial abilities and health care knowledge. In order to become a public health administrator, a person typically needs a strong educational background in health administration, and at least some practical experience in the field of public health care.
One of the most straightforward ways to become a public health administrator is through college education. Many administrators in the field possess at least a four-year undergraduate degree in health administration, though many also pursue graduate degrees in the field as well. If a person already has a four-year degree in another field, a master's degree or equivalent in health administration may be the way to open the door to careers in public health care.
At a traditional university, a master's degree in health administration or public is typically a two- or three-year program. For those with full-time jobs or other responsibilities, possible alternatives include more convenient distance learning or online graduate degree in the subject. While these programs can still be very rigorous, they generally allow more flexibility in class schedules than a traditional program. Many graduate programs can also be tailored to a specific area of study within the world of public health, so it may be wise to research the best educational path to become a public health administrator in a specific discipline.
During education, it is important for a person who plans to become a public health administrator to gain practical experience in the field. Many schools that have degree programs in this field can also be an excellent resource for internships and job opportunities. While some practical work may be required for degree completion, a student may want to go above and beyond requirements to try and bolster practical knowledge for life after graduation. Summer jobs, internships, and volunteer work can help create a resume that boasts both theoretical and real-world knowledge of what it takes to become a public health administrator.
It is sometimes possible to become a public health administrator without formal educational training. Taking an entry-level position in the field of public health care can eventually lead to opportunities for career advancement in an administrative role. It is important to remember, however, that some organizations may be more willing to consider outside applicants with degrees than internal workers without them. It may help career prospects to take night classes or even a two-year program in health administration while working for a public health organization.