Skip navigation

The public health workforce

Public health professionals come from a diverse range of backgrounds and all walks of life with the aim of improving and protecting the public’s health.

The roles of public health professionals can range from a Chief Medical Officer who advocates for public health in government; a public health consultant leading an evaluation of a sexual health service; doctors and nurses who provide healthcare; epidemiologists, statisticians and researchers who use data to inform action; environmental health officers who prevent and control environmental factors that affect our health; emergency service staff who save lives; and teachers and community champions who educate parents, children and citizens.

Though public health initiatives may arise from a wide range of individuals and organisations, there is a professional public health workforce who deliver activities to promote public health.

You can watch our 'day in the life' videos to find out more about what a typical day as a public health professional looks like.

Composition of the public health workforce
World Health Organisation 2022

The specialist public health workforce

Central to leading the collective efforts to improve public health is the specialist public health workforce.

Public health specialists are senior public health leaders who have either completed the five-year specialty training programme in public health, or gathered equivalent experience and gained specialist registration via the UK Public Health Register.

Public health specialists are strategists, senior managers, or senior scientists in public health who could work in a variety of settings including local government, central government, national agencies, the NHS, universities, the defence services, the private sector, or the voluntary and social enterprise sector. 

This group of specialists deal with complex public health issues, leading work with senior colleagues to plan and deliver policies and programmes to maximise the potential for people to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.

A day in the life of a public health professional
Find out more
Find out more about specialty training
Find out more
Become a Member

Become a Member

FPH is the professional home for public health in the UK and abroad. We support over 5,000 members across all career stages enabling them to drive the profession forward and achieve our vision of improving public health.

More details