After a recent speaking engagement, a young woman asked me about “careers that allow one to communicate scientific research and the resulting findings to a general audience, such as health education specialists or medical science liaisons.” She is currently a PhD candidate, and looking to moving into this field upon graduation. I was not familiar with either of these fields, but here’s what my research uncovered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hires both Health Education Specialists and Public Health Educators. They also offer training in public health careers. Their board of commissioners is a mix of PhDs, RNs, MPHs and more. They also have a list of Responsibilities & Competencies that gives a good idea of what someone in this position would do.
For Medical Science Liaison, I found the Medical Science Liaison Institute, which has some great introductory information, including a warning for PhD scientists thinking about going into this field. This job title doesn’t seem to be as popular.
However, a search for “health education specialist” on LinkedIn found 443 people who have or had that job title who are connected to me in some way, while a search for “medical science liaison” found 1272. If I was seriously interested, I’d contact some of them and see if I could do some informational interviews.
Both of these job titles are subsets of the public health career field. There is a National Council for Health Education Credentialing which offers not only certification as a health education specialist, but job postings and news in that field.
Do any of you know more about careers in this field? Post your thoughts in the comments.