Public health is a brand of medicine that deals with the health of the population as a whole.
As a public health worker, you are charged with finding the causes of diseases and preventing them from spreading.
Public health workers are also tasked with looking for ways to prolong life and promote human health.
In a country like South Africa, where there are hosts of diseases plaguing the population — especially malaria, HIV/AIDs, and other issues like teenage pregnancy and drug abuse — there has been a continuous demand for the services of public health workers.
This is also true for other developing nations of the world. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a public health worker should expect a comfortable pay due to the high demand as most developing countries are notorious for cutting salaries of workers irrespective of the job specifications.
Fortunately, there are several non-governmental organizations in developing countries that take the role of a public health worker very seriously and still hold them in high regards. These organizations pay attractive salaries to these workers for their services which is one of the reasons why the course is considered a hot cake in South Africa.
The overpopulation of public health workers will not benefit a country or the public health workers themselves as this might lead to cuts in their salaries since there will be many of them who are willing to work for a small paycheck so long they have a job.
Salary of Public Health Workers in South Africa
There are several factors that affect the salary of a public health professional and the most important is the area of specialization the professional chooses to identify with.
Public health professionals earn between R$ 6,660 – R$ 12,950 on average. However, these figures are simply conversions from the dollar equivalents paid by NGOs. An entry-level public health worker could earn as low as R$ 2,590 while senior public health workers would take as little as R$ 5,550 for their services.
Once again, the area of specialization comes into play as you can find some senior health professionals earning as high as R$ 22,200 per month just because of their area of specialization.
Epidemiologist Salary in South Africa
Epidemiology is one of the most important and most lucrative areas of specialization in public health. An epidemiologist is a professional who is tasked with identifying the causes of diseases and finding possible ways to prevent them from spreading.
In other words, an epidemiologist is a public health professional who studies disease outbreaks, patterns, locations, causes, prevention, and how people are affected.
Epidemiologists are required to have more than just knowledge of biology and chemistry but also mathematics as they will have to make use of statistical analysis while in the field.
Their duties are quite strenuous as their research is used in the control and prevention of diseases. This is one of the reasons they are highly compensated.
They can find employment opportunities in academia, health centres, NGOs, and government health organizations.
Epidemiologist Salary in South Africa — R$ 7,400 – R$ 14,800
Public Health Biostatistics Salary in South Africa
Biostatistics is an area of public health that is closely related to epidemiology. Biostatisticians develop and analyze data that track how diseases spread throughout the population.
Through their research and data analysis, they are able to make estimates during disease outbreaks or uprising of issues that would affect the population. They also analyze the risk factors of diseases and how effective vaccinations would be for certain diseases.
Biostatisticians are closely related to epidemiologists and earn a comfortable pay.
Biostatistician Salary in South Africa — R$ 3,700 – R$ 18,500
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Environmental Health Technology Salary in South Africa
Environmental health professionals address environmental risk factors that can give rise to diseases and health conditions through research and data analysis. These professionals are able to predict the effect of climate change on the human environment and on humans themselves.
They work with many other science professionals to ensure the success of their research. Today, this area of specialization is becoming lucrative as the dangers in the environment that pose serious risks to human existence is on the increase.
These professionals don’t earn as much as biostatisticians and epidemiologists
Environmental Health Scientist Salary in South Africa — R$ 2,960 – R$ 7,400
Behavioural Science and Health Education Salary in South Africa
Behavioural health scientists are professionals who specialize in coaching individuals on how to make healthy lifestyle choices. These professionals spread information on the prevention of diseases like HIV/AIDs and teach the public ways they can prevent these diseases.
Behavioural health scientists work mostly in academia and public organizations or as community health workers. They can also work in NGOs and private organizations.
Behavioural Health Scientists Salary in South Africa — R$ 2,590 – R$ 3,700
Factors Influencing the Salary Structure of Public Health Officers in South Africa
Area of Specialization: The area of specialization is one of the main factors that determine how well a public health worker will earn. I have already stated that Biostatisticians and Epidemiologists earn more than public health workers who specialize in other areas. This is, majorly, because their job specifications are more strenuous and require deeper research. They are also highly regarded as their research plays an important role in the prevention and control of diseases.
Work Experience: The number of years of experience a public health worker has, determines the salary structure of the worker. Experienced public health workers will earn more than entry-level public health workers.
Educational Qualification: While having a B.Sc or B.tech in Public Health is the minimum requirement for most jobs, having extra qualifications like a Masters in Public Health is advised as it increases your chances of being picked over other candidates. There are some jobs that will require applicants to possess either a Masters or PhD before being considered for the position.
Type of Organization: Salary structure vary from organization to organization; while some organizations offer attractive salaries and benefits to their workers, other organizations cut the pay and remove other benefits like allowances and bonuses.
If you want to earn a comfortable pay as a public health worker regardless of your area of specialization, then you should consider only reputable or multinational organizations as they tend to pay higher than other organizations.
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