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Public health (doctor)

Public health consultants and specialists are concerned with the health of a population rather than individuals. They look at finding ways of making communities and environments healthier.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine. Applicants usually need to have either a MBBS or equivalent medical qualification or a first degree (1st or 2:1 or equivalent grade) or a higher certificated degree (Master’s or PhD). The eligibility criteria are subject to change annually and should be checked carefully on the Faculty of Public Health website before making an application. Training typically takes 5 years which usually includes one year (full or part-time equivalent) on an academic course, and 2 years in specialty training posts.Length of training can vary according to your circumstances

Expected working hours and salary range

Doctors may work up to 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings. Salaries for public health trainees (specialty registrars) will have nationally agreed pay scales starting at around £30,000 and rising to around £47,000 per annum. Public health consultant salaries range between £60-100,000 or more depending on the employer and level of experience at time of appointment.

Desirable skills and values

You'll be flexible to cope with multiple and changing demands, meet tight deadlines and have a high level of intellectual skill. You'll have political awareness as well as an ability be tactful and diplomatic and be able to advise, challenge, advocate and influence. You'll be able to understand other cultures and work across organisational boundaries.


Public health specialists (Specialty Registrars) would usually complete their training in order to be able to apply for a consultant post. Experienced consultants may progress to more senior roles, such as local, regional and strategic director roles for Public Health England or in local authorities.
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