In 2014, the United Health Foundation named Kansas as 27th in the nation based on certain key public health factors. The news wasn’t all bad though, as that year the state was praised for its low level of drug-related deaths, high rate of high school graduates, and infrequency of low birth weight among newborns.
Still, the state continues to face several major public health challenges, including:
- High rate of occupational fatalities
- Low per capita funding for public health
- Limited immunization coverage among teens
Right now, Kansas’s best resource for handling public health issues is its esteemed community of public health workers like research scientists, public health program directors, public health inspectors, and epidemiologists, all of which earn very respectable salaries.
Examples of current health initiatives led by this elite team of interdisciplinary public health professionals in Kansas include:
- Project Oasis: program dedicated to expanding the GraceMed Clinic in southern and western regions of Wichita
- Workwell Kansas: project focused on promoting worksite wellness strategies throughout the state
- Healthy Afterschool Program: plan to provide healthy eating and physical activity options at local schools
- Tobacco Free College Challenge: venture designed to develop ways to create tobacco-free college campuses
One of the biggest employers of public health workers in Kansas is the State Department of Health and Environment. Along with well-paying job opportunities, public health workers employed by the state government also enjoy health benefits, tuition and education reimbursement, and flexible hours. Recent online job advertisements posted by the Department of Health and Environment offered the following hourly pay rates:
- Environmental Scientist: $21.13/hr.
- Engineering Associate III: $23.31/hr.
- Epidemiologist: $22.16/hr.
- Lab Improvement Specialist: $22.16-$25.68/hr.
- Rural Health Program Analyst: $22.16/hr.
- Health Facility Surveyor I: $21.65/hr.
- Chemist: $22.16/hr.
Spotlight on High Demand Public Health Occupations in Kansas
Many professionals pursue careers in public health because workers that do so are increasingly sought after, and therefore can command high salaries in Kansas. In fact, when the Kansas Department of Labor released its limited catalogue of high demand, high wage occupations in 2013, many job titles affiliated with public health were featured. Examples include:
- Medical and Health Services Managers: $85,680/yr.
- Medical and Public Health Social Workers: $43,310/yr.
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialists: $58,420/yr.
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists: $61,430/yr.
- Social and Community Service Managers: $54,890/yr.
- Social Scientists and Related Workers: $74,680/yr.
- Health Educators: $47,010/yr.
Average annual salaries for several other major occupations that are frequently recruited for public health purposes in Kansas are as follows:
- Statisticians: $80,890/yr.
- Health and Safety Engineers: $74,180/yr.
- Microbiologists: $54,670/yr.
- Biological Scientists: $70,170/yr.
- Community Health Workers: $32,600/yr.
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: $38,630/yr.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: $28,580/yr.
- Miscellaneous Community and Social Service Specialists: $36,050/yr.
Although these average salary statistics are great general indicators of public health pay expectation in Kansas, many professionals experience greater or lesser pay averages depending upon marketability factors such as: education, experience, geographic location of employment, professional credentials, and industry of employment.
For example, more seasoned workers often hold a graduate degree such as a Master of Public Health (MPH), which could lead to higher-end salary offers.
Analyzing Salaries Among Kansas’ Public Health Professionals
The United States Department of Labor has provided the following data to offer a deeper look at public health salaries in Kansas (2014):