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.
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:
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):