Public health and related fields are among the fastest growing employment sectors in the NY region and nationally, with an estimated 250,000 new workers needed nationally by 2020. More than 25% of public health workers have retired in the past decade and only 20% of the current workforce has formal training in public health. With the retirement of individuals without formal educational training in public health, those with AS and BS degrees will be prepared to replace them and thereby respond to the workforces needs.
This broad definition of the public health workforce definition includes some categories of workers who are not included in standard enumerations, such as those employed in the occupational safety and health in industry, unions, and government; those engaged population-focused health education work on behalf of community based organizations (heart disease, cancer, or diabetes) as well as large health care systems; and lastly, those employed by both governmental agencies and other health settings.
Official public health agencies are the most common employers of the nearly 500,000 identifiable public health workers in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national employment of health educator and community health workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. New York State and the New York City metropolitan region rank in the top three in the nation for employment for community health workers and health educators. Growth in employment will be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce health care costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors and utilization of available health care services.
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