South Carolina spends significantly on public health—more than $98.1 million in fiscal year 2013-14 alone. Additional federal spending in South Carolina that year was 2.4 times greater than this when looking at combined grants from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Health Resources and Services Administration. This spending directly contributes to the creation of jobs in the public health sector, and the level of pay the professionals in the sector earn.
The major agent of change for public health in South Carolina is the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DEHC). The state mandates that healthcare providers report nearly 100 different types of infectious diseases, which are tracked by the state’s epidemiologists. Immediate reporting by phone is required for such highly contagious diseases as Ebola, smallpox, and plague.
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While environmental health specialists address a variety of hazards, they place heavy emphasis on the monitoring and cleanup of South Carolina’s historic superphosphate fertilizer sites. Thirty of the 38 former sites identified so far produced sulfuric acid onsite, resulting in lead and arsenic contamination in surrounding groundwater and soil.
State public health professionals with the DEHC work in concert with colleagues at the federal, state, and local level to address public health problems in South Carolina, all while being well compensated for their expertise.
Salaries for Public Health Professionals in Columbia, South Carolina
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce provides the median salaries for a number of public health positions in the Columbia metropolitan statistical area in 2014. Experienced professionals such as those with a Master of Public Health are likely to earn substantially higher salaries than the median ones shown below.
Community and Social Services
- Health Educators: $41,760
- Healthcare Social Workers: $35,570
- Rehabilitation Counselors: $30,480
- Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors: $38,370
Computers and Mathematics
- Statisticians: $47,520
- Occupational Health & Safety Specialists: $52,640
Life and Social Sciences
- Environmental Scientists & Specialists: $53,790
- Microbiologists: $56,100
- Social Science Research Assistants: $53,140
- Social & Community Service Managers: $45,520
Epidemiologists with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control earned $124,032 in 2015.
An Analysis of Salaries Paid to Public Health Professionals Throughout South Carolina
In the table below, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for public health professionals working throughout South Carolina in 2014: