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Public Health Salaries in California

While the citizens of California face a number of public health challenges, the state has been highly proactive and frequently leads the nation in public health initiatives such as smoking prevention campaigns. California’s public health officials work in concert to address public health issues through a combination of research, public health program implementation and public policy – and are well compensated for their efforts.

The state of California aggressively funds its public health initiatives and had the sixth highest per capita spending in the nation as of fiscal year 2013-14, according to the Trust for America’s Health. That year, California spent a total of more than $2.48 billion on improving the health of its residents. This level of spending provides ample funding for the salaries of public health officials who work to improve the health of California’s residents.

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The California Department of Public Health employs many of the state’s public health officials and acts in many different ways to protect the public. Its Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) takes a threefold approach to this. It monitors pollutants and their related diseases, researches their impact, and informs both the public and public health officials of their findings. For instance, many local public health officials are not trained to evaluate the health threats of smoke from wildfires, and the EHIB educates them on this process.

California’s Department of Public Health also acts aggressively to prevent and reduce diseases caused by occupational factors. The Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control works closely with community members and stakeholders.

The combination of California’s high level of spending on public health, highly educated public health officials, top-notch academic research institutions and think tanks – not to mention a legislature that is willing to pass ground-breaking public health bills – all contribute to a positive climate for public health officials to work in the public interest.

Public Health Salaries in California’s Major Counties

The California Employment Development Department provides salary data for a number of public health professional classifications in Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties for 2014. While the salary for a given position can vary widely, professionals with degrees such as the Master of Public Health are likely to earn on the higher end of the salary scale:

Los Angeles County

Public Health Profession
75th Percentile
Community and Social Services: Community Health Workers
$45448
Community and Social Services: Health Educators
$62899
Community and Social Services: Healthcare Social Workers
$78874
Community and Social Services: Rehabilitation Counselors
$43930
Community and Social Services: Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors
$41038
Computers and Mathematics: Statisticians
$104204
Healthcare Practitioners: Occupational Health & Safety Specialists
$93226
Life and Social Sciences: Biological Scientists
$87027
Life and Social Sciences: Environmental Scientists & Specialists
$103771
Life and Social Sciences: Epidemiologists
$71344
Life and Social Sciences: Microbiologists
$102731
Life and Social Sciences: Social Science Research Assistants
$57782
Life and Social Sciences: Social Scientists
$115752
Life and Social Sciences: Sociologists
$90834
Public Administration: Social & Community Service Managers
$94266

San Francisco County

Public Health Profession
75th Percentile
Community and Social Services: Community Health Workers
$56493
Community and Social Services: Health Educators
$96990
Community and Social Services: Healthcare Social Workers
$93850
Community and Social Services: Rehabilitation Counselors
$41122
Community and Social Services: Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors
$51979
Computers and Mathematics: Statisticians
$144893
Engineering: Mining and Geological Engineers
$119704
Healthcare Practitioners: Occupational Health & Safety Specialists
$115086
Life and Social Sciences: Biological Scientists
$97677
Life and Social Sciences: Environmental Scientists & Specialists
$124114
Life and Social Sciences: Microbiologists
$125902
Life and Social Sciences: Social Science Research Assistants
$55411
Life and Social Sciences: Social Scientists
$101650
Life and Social Sciences: Sociologists
$92726
Public Administration: Social & Community Service Managers
$91312

A Statewide Salary Analysis of Public Health Professionals in California

For comparison, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of the hourly and annual salaries of California’s public health officials for 2014.

Occupation
Employment
Annual mean wage
Social and Community Service Managers
13800
76110
Statisticians
2680
103590
Mining and Geological Engineers Including Mining Safety Engineers
560
111620
Biochemists and Biophysicists
5140
105880
Microbiologists
4750
95750
Biological Scientists All Other
7710
83910
Epidemiologists
760
80310
Environmental Scientists and Specialists Including Health
15880
83120
Sociologists
540
86500
Social Scientists and Related Workers All Other
3760
78620
Social Science Research Assistants
3070
50300
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
9940
38860
Rehabilitation Counselors
11300
35220
Healthcare Social Workers
13570
67860
Health Educators
7420
58710
Community Health Workers
6160
42250
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
6020
79630

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