A degree in child and maternal health can prepare you for careers in advocacy and research, leading to improved public health for mothers and their children. You'll learn about the healthcare in other nations and ways you can improve and promote health situations. Continue reading for more information about the academic opportunities and your career options.
Degree programs in child and maternal health can help you recognize the needs of children and mothers in different social and economic situations around the globe. Your training can help you assist new mothers, care for families in foreign countries or improve awareness of public health pertaining to children and families in the United States. You can also advocate healthy lifestyles and living conditions for children and their families.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to pursue a career in this field, you should be creative, comfortable working with people, aware of cultural differences and willing to work on behalf of individuals suffering from abuse or neglect (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that in 2008, more than 194,700 individuals worked for social advocacy organizations and that in 2010, about 58,150 people worked in health education and 143,080 people worked as healthcare social workers. The BLS projected that between 2008 and 2018 the employment would increase by ten percent for individuals working in social advocacy organizations, by 18% for health educators and by 22% for public health social workers.
By working in these positions, you can inform people about conditions that mothers and children face, organize public events to promote better options, create programs that can improve their lifestyles and promote better care. You can also work with organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development to improve child survival, living conditions, nutrition and care in developing countries (www.pacifichealthsummit.org). As of May 2008, the median weekly wage for people working in social advocacy organizations was $493, according to the BLS. As of May 2010, the median annual salary for healthcare social workers was $47,230 and for health educators it was $45,830, the BLS reported.
For some of these positions, no formal training is required. However, the BLS noted that a good way to gain experience in social advocacy organizations was to volunteer your time. It should also be noted that to work in or manage social organizations, you may need to have at least bachelor's degree-level training in public health, social assistance or management. To become a health educator, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. Through a bachelor's degree program in maternal and child health, you'll gain practical experience helping mothers nurse their children and provide them with the skills they need to care for their babies. You may study problems in breastfeeding and methods for creating an educational plan to help women care for their infants.
Graduate degree programs in child and maternal health are generally available as specializations through master's degree programs in public health. Through one of these degree programs, you'll explore methods for creating and integrating health programs targeted at women and children. Some courses may cover health issues that children, adolescents and women face, biostatistics, research in public health, child development and methods for creating health policies. In most programs, you'll conduct independent research and gain practical experience working with women and children. With this training, you could work in public health, for health social organizations that have a medical or health-related goal or become social worker in hospitals or other medical facilities.