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CDC Careers: Working at the Pinnacle of Public Health

CDC Careers: Working at the Pinnacle of Public Health

(Source: Creative Commons)

By John Rossheim | Monster Contributing Writer

Unlike the hiring situation at many other federal agencies, the supply of good applicants often exceeds demand. “Whenever we announce jobs, we find a number of well-qualified candidates,” says Gregory McNeal, a deputy director in the CDC’s human resources center. “It’s very competitive.”

The CDC garners major attention from journalists and elected officials, so its workers need to understand and tolerate a volatile mix of politics and health policy. “Public health isn’t immune to politics,” Shepeard says. “A lot of the mandates I get are from this very conservative administration.” Shepeard, who began her current job in 2000, says it took more than three years to get approval for the new communications programs related to STDs.

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Good Pay, Lush Benefits

While professionals don’t come to the CDC to get rich, they do earn solid salaries. “CDC pay scales are generally higher than state and local government public health jobs, but the same education and experience would pay more in the private sector,” Turnock says.

Most CDC employees are civil servants. Jobs for experienced professionals and scientists typically are rated GS-12 ($56,301 to $73,194 in 2007) to GS-15 ($93,063 to $120,981). These workers generally enjoy better job security than their private-sector counterparts and generous federal benefits. CDC workers also have access to special benefits, including exercise, weight-management and smoking-cessation programs.

Another perk for the CDC’s Atlanta employees is the opportunity to interact with some of the world’s top scientists and policy experts when they come to work at CDC headquarters. “On any given day, you will find health officials from more than a dozen countries at the CDC campus,” Thron says.

While most CDC jobs are in Atlanta, the agency also has offices in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Spokane and Washington, DC, among other domestic and international locations.

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