Public health specialists in the Air Force work with medical staff to keep their fellow airmen healthy. They educate Air Force personnel about things like safety procedures and sanitary standards, and also investigate hazardous material (hazmat) situations.
The Air Force categorizes this job as Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) 4E0X1.
Duties of Air Force Public Health Specialists
These airmen work closely with Air Force physicians and nurses to prevent disease outbreaks among Air Force personnel. They conduct food safety and security programs, inspect sanitary conditions and food, and ensure food sources come from approved suppliers that comply with Air Force regulations.
They also may recommend measures to prevent intentional and unintentional contamination of food supplies, and will regularly inspect rations. In the course of investigating any complaints, they may collect and ship food for laboratory analysis. They also make sure any inspection records are up to date by evaluating and completing these records promptly, and train food handlers in best practices.
When there's a possibility of a communicable disease outbreak, these airmen are tasked with organizing prevention and control programs, by interviewing patients, conducting epidemiological investigations and educating patients about health and sanitation protocols.
And one of the most important parts of this Air Force job includes providing medical intelligence briefings about preventive medicine both pre- and post-deployment, to help superior officers plan accordingly to prevent communicable disease outbreaks and contain any existing outbreaks.
To be eligible for this job, you’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent, and have knowledge of basic biology and the physical sciences. High school courses in biology, chemistry and general science will be a plus to applicants for this role.
You have to have normal color vision and a state driver’s license in case you need to drive government vehicles.
Public health specialists need a score of 44 in the general (G) qualification area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). That composite score includes scores from the Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Arithmetic Reasoning sub-tests of the ASVAB.
There's no Department of Defense security clearance required for this job.
Following basic training and Airman's Week, airmen in this job spend 47 days in technical training at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Here they'll learn preventive medicine principles, food and water safety principles, medical food inspection procedures, how to conduct sanitary evaluations and inspections, and how to prevent and control foodborne, waterborne and other communicable diseases. They'll learn principles of epidemiology and basic medical information management.
Similar Civilian Jobs
While there's no true civilian equivalent since the Air Force deals with health conditions in combat and natural disaster situations, this job will prepare you for work in the public sector as a restaurant inspector or food safety inspector. You also may be qualified to work as a consultant to restaurants and other food-related businesses seeking to implement safety standards and procedures for their workers.