Public health clinicians earn almost 20% less than private-sector counterparts

Clinicians working in the public health sector earn between 10%-19% less than those working in private sector care, according to a new analysis of U.S. Labor Department data, published Jan. 25 in the American Journal of Public Health.

For the analysis, they compared data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wage Survey, and referenced 44 Standard Occupational Classification codes with health department occupations. They then compared median salary information across the 44 occupation codes to the salaries of workers in similar occupations in the private sector. 

"To develop a sustainable public health workforce, health departments must consider adjusting their salaries if possible, market their strong benefits or public service mission, or use creative recruitment incentives such as student loan repayment programs for hard-to-fill roles," the researchers wrote. 

Adding more clinicians to the public health space is something that is sorely needed, specifically for infection control, an initiative undertaken by the Infectious Disease Society of America

Part of the issue specifically for infectious disease professionals working in the public sector, IDSA explained in a Jan. 24 update, is that "few established career development pathways exist for ID physicians interested in working with public health departments."

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