Working life (public health intelligence)

This page describes more about the working life of public health intelligence professionals, example roles and where you could work. 

Working life

Very broadly, the activities of intelligence professionals include:

  • data entry
  • analysis of data
  • information interpretation
  • reporting results of data analysis
  • epidemiology
  • statistics

You could begin a career within public health intelligence as a trainee, progressing to more senior levels through experience and further training. At more senior level, you'd hold a more strategic role, looking out for new approaches to gathering and analysing data about people's health, and influencing how health services develop. 

public health intelligence professional at desk

Public health intelligence roles

The following list doesn't include all of the roles available for public health intelligence roles, but provides examples of the types of roles available. The roles are listed in ascending order of seniority from trainee to principal analyst. Further roles include health economist role and field epidemiologist. 

Trainee public health intelligence analyst (Public Health England)

As a trainee public health intelligence analyst, you’ll initially undertake a range of tasks and projects to gain the skills necessary to work as a public health intelligence analyst. As you gain more experience, you'll analyse, present and interpret statistical data to support the aims of the organisation you’re working in. You may also begin to provide advice and guidance to public health intelligence projects, including acting as the first point of contact for colleagues.

Following training and development, you will be able to:

Formal training opportunities are provided by Public Health England. Similar entry-level roles may be available in local authorities, although the training will not be as formal. You can also find out more information about similar entry level roles in public health intelligence on our entry requirements page.

Public health analyst

Working as a public health analyst involves working with colleagues to deliver high-quality intelligence services. You’ll help to provide analyses of data that improve understanding of health and the factors that influence health. You’ll also be working in partnership with other organisations to influence the way information is used in policy and strategy development. Other aspects of your day-to-day work could include:

In a public analyst role, you’re likely to have a first or higher degree in a relevant subject and suitable experience gained from previous roles.

Senior public health intelligence analyst

Senior public health intelligence analysts have similar responsibilities to public health analysts. However, the advice and support you’d be providing would be at a much higher level of expertise. Equally, your skills in analysis, statistics and epidemiology would be much more specialised. Depending on your specific role within the organisation you are working, your work could include:

As a senior public health intelligence analyst, you may hold a postgraduate qualification in public health or a related field, or may have significant equivalent experience.

Principal public health intelligence analyst

As a principal public health intelligence analyst, you’ll hold a senior position within the organisation you work for. You’ll be ensuring that data is available, that it is appropriately interpreted, and that it is used to make decisions that could have a positive impact on health. Some of your day to day work could also include:

Working as a principal public health intelligence analyst, you’ll hold a Master’s qualification in public health or a related field, or have equivalent experience. It's also likely that you'll have further qualifications or equivalent experience in statistics or related subject.

Head of public health intelligence

Heads of public health intelligence hold one of the most senior positions in the organisation. You’ll work with many groups in the NHS, government and other sectors to ensure that the importance of health intelligence is understood. Depending on where you work, your responsibilities could include:

As a head of intelligence, you'll be an experienced professional and bring significant experience from previous roles. You'll also hold suitable qualifications such as a Master's in Public Health and Statistics or related field. You'll also be experienced and skilled in managing change and developing strategy and policy that can positively influence health and wellbeing. 

Health economist

Working as a health economist, you’ll be involved in various public health projects to provide your expertise on their overall cost effectiveness. It’s likely you’ll be working with a range of other professionals such as other health economists, public health analysts, and researchers and with directors of public health to make the economic case for making changes that aim to improve health and prevent ill-health. Some of your specific responsibilities could also include:

As a health economist, you’re likely to have a postgraduate qualification in health economics and significant experience of applying that knowledge to service development or delivery. You’ll also have detailed knowledge of a range of economic theory and knowledge of epidemiological measures and analysis.

Field epidemiologist

As a field epidemiologist you could have a role in examining outbreaks of infectious diseases such as meningitis, measles, flu, or food poisoning. Or you could be monitoring the health effects from exposures to things like radio waves from mobiles and telephone masts. Your day-to-day work could also include:

Public Health England runs a two-year postgraduate training programme for health professionals who have a keen interest in applied health protection epidemiology and who wish to develop specialist skills in field epidemiology.

Where will I work?

As a public health intelligence professional, you could work in a range of locations and organisations in the UK:

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