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Public Health Salaries in Washington

The United Health Foundation reported that Washington state’s health ranking increased by five percent between 2006 and 2014, making it the 13th healthiest state in the country. This can be attributed to the fact that Washington residents are some of the most physically active in the nation.

Public health spending in Washington totaled more than $650 million when state funding for fiscal year 2013-14 is combined with federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Such a high level of spending on public health helps to keep the employment levels and salaries high for public health professionals statewide:

  • Environmental health specialists in Washington monitor naturally occurring algal toxins in ocean water, issuing a warning about Pacific Coast razor clams in May 2015. These specialists also work with the CDC to monitor the cholinesterase levels of farm workers exposed to pesticides and identified 23 people that needed to be removed from their jobs because of high levels of pesticide exposure the same year.
  • Epidemiologists with the state monitor the reports of communicable infections to identify trends such as a 400% increase in the rate of pertussis between 2013 and 2014. This information bolstered efforts to improve vaccination levels in Washington State.
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The Washington State Department of Health employs many of the state’s public health professionals. This agency works to improve public health through prevention, disease and environmental health monitoring, and advocacy for progressive public health legislation.

In addition to public health professionals at the state level, Washington’s public health community includes those at the federal and local level, professionals with non-governmental organizations, and academic researchers. Their combined efforts have significantly contributed to improvements in the health of Washington’s residents. For instance, the rate of infant mortality decreased by half between 1990 and 2014.

A Look at Salaries Among Public Health Professionals in Seattle

The Washington State Employment Security Department provides salary data for public health professionals employed in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area in 2014. This information includes the salaries of professionals in King and Snohomish counties.

Highly educated professionals such as those with a Master of Public Health are likely to earn on the high end of the salary ranges reported here:

Public Health Profession
75th Percentile Annual Salary
Community Health Workers
$59114
Health Educators
$65518
Healthcare Social Workers
$69181
Rehabilitation Counselors
$52728
Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors
$54205
Statisticians
$96138
Mining & Geological Engineers
$98030
Occupational Health & Safety Specialists
$93642
Biological Scientists
$89128
Environmental Scientists & Specialists
$96574
Epidemiologists
$95867
Microbiologists
$82888
Social Science Research Assistants
$38355
Social Scientists
$84198
Sociologists
$75109
Social & Community Service Managers
$80933

An Analysis of Public Health Salaries in Washington

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a full analysis of the hourly wages and annual salaries by percentile for Washington State’s public health professionals (2014):

Occupation
Employment
Annual mean wage
Social and Community Service Managers
2900
66350
Statisticians
1010
81790
Mining and Geological Engineers Including Mining Safety Engineers
100
102430
Microbiologists
560
69640
Biological Scientists All Other
1150
75830
Epidemiologists
300
89350
Environmental Scientists and Specialists Including Health
3930
76360
Sociologists
90
66210
Social Scientists and Related Workers All Other
650
68950
Social Science Research Assistants
280
39220
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
2390
43770
Rehabilitation Counselors
6320
39380
Healthcare Social Workers
3000
57210
Health Educators
1430
55280
Community Health Workers
580
46440
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
2340
76020

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