Public health is all about helping people to stay healthy and protecting them from threats to their health.

The Public Health National Recruitment Office (PHNRO) coordinates the recruitment process for training posts in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

There is one round of recruitment in November each year. Successful applicants start in August each year. The number of vacancies changes each year. There are usually 60-90 places offered.

This section provides information on careers in public health and the recruitment process.

Careers in Public Health

The Public Health workforce can be divided into three groups: Specialists, Practitioners and the wider workforce who work in and outside the NHS.

The Health Careers website includes information about more than 350 roles in health (including public health), real-life stories and videos, a course-finder, plus news and events. It is for those of any age thinking about a career in health, and those who’ve already started a career in health and are thinking about their next step.

Non-urgent advice: A career in Public Health will give you the opportunity to:

  • focus on population health to deliver the greatest benefit
  • have a passion to make the world a better place
  • champion those who find it hard to be heard 
  • use evidence and intelligence to convince
  • work collaboratively with all stakeholders
  • influence policy at the national level
  • actively change practice on the ground

Skills and knowledge:

  • analysing and interpreting information on people and health
  • reviewing literature on what works to make a difference
  • effective communication, joint working and leadership

Video: What is Public Health?

A video describing what is Public Health.

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Male voice: Even before a child is born a quest to ensure its long and healthy life begins all over the world. Public health programs work to improve the health and well-being of communities by identifying the risks that affect different people in different places, at different stages of life, and finding the best ways to minimize them. It's about giving everyone the best chance to lead long healthy fulfilling lives from the very beginning to the very end. A child dies every 3 seconds from infectious disease but public health interventions can prevent this by promoting things like breastfeeding immunization and antibiotics where children die because they have no access to safe water or basic sanitation.

Public health programs can make water safe and conditioned sanitary where research shows us who has the highest risk of developing certain conditions.

Public health applies it to the real world.

It turns evidence into the advice and practical help we need to lead active healthy lives away from danger

It helps us make the right choices and form the right habits that impact on our health now and long into the future poor health doesn't just cost lives it, costs money too by preventing detecting and treating disease as effectively as we can.

Public health can help to halt the spiralling costs of treatment saving lives and saving money


Public health is about understanding the huge impact that our financial, social and environmental circumstances have on our health and reducing the differences between us to make us all healthier.

It's about making health achievable in mind and body at home and at work by supporting individuals families and communities in the environments they live and work in.

It's about working to ensure that no one is left out or left behind as we strive for better public health preventing disease prolonging life, promoting health for everyone at every stage of life

Media last reviewed: 7 December 2023

Next review due: 7 December 2024

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