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Public Health Careers

Public health is about helping people to stay healthy and protecting them from threats to their health

Sometimes public health activities involve helping individuals, at other times they involve dealing with wider factors that have an impact on the health of many people (for example an age-group, an ethnic group, a locality, or a country).

While medicine and nursing are vital for helping and supporting people when they fall ill, work in public health contributes to reducing the causes of ill-health and improving people’s health and wellbeing.

It does this through its work in four main ‘domains’:

Health Protection – protecting people’s health (for example from environmental or biological threats, such as food poisoning or radiation)

Find out more about Health Protection. Watch the new animation created by Health Education England:

Health Improvement – improving people’s health (for example by helping people quit smoking or improving their living conditions)

Find out more about Health Improvement. Watch the new animation created by Health Education England:

Healthcare Public Health – ensuring that our health services are the most effective, most efficient and equally accessible

Find out more about Healthcare Public Health. Watch the new animation created by Health Education England:

Academic Public Health – to influence and guide policy-makers in tackling public health challenges through professional practice and research

Find out more about Academic Public Health. Watch the new animation created by Health Education England:



Public Health Practitioner (UKPHR)

‘Public Health Practitioners’ are key members of our public health workforce and have a great influence on the health and wellbeing of individuals, groups, communities and populations. They work across the full breadth of public health, from health improvement and health protection to health information, community development and nutrition. Unlike a public health specialist, a practitioner may only work in one or two areas of public health.

Many public health practitioners are seeking to demonstrate their professional competence by registering with UKPHR. This is a voluntary register for public health practitioners. To be eligible to apply for registration you should be working as a public health professional and have had at least two years’ work experience in an autonomous public health role. You are required to compile a portfolio which is based on your own work and you will therefore need this amount of experience to be able to meet all the practitioner registration standards.

The South West Practitioner Scheme is hosted and co-ordinated by Health Education England South West. For more information go to:

Further information can found on the UKPHR website: practitioner registration:

UK Public Health Register – How to apply for practitioner registration (

Public Health Practitioner roles and career information can be found here:

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