CQUni Knows Victoria
Bachelor of Public Health
When I left school in Year 12, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do. I got a job with my local council and I’ve been there for about nine years now. I work for an administrative team. We do a lot of work for different departments in council, and all these reports and inspections were coming through and I was typing them up and I started reading them and thought it was really interesting what they went out and saw. I started talking to the [environmental] officers and engaging with them. They were really welcoming and invited me to come out and do inspections for a bit of work experience. I loved it!
I spoke to one of the coordinators of that area and I asked ‘what do I need to be able to do this job?’ – I didn't even know you needed a degree at the time. They sent through the job description and it said a public health or environmental health degree and I thought ‘oh okay, that exists!’ So then I did a lot of Googling and that's when I started to get an idea of the courses out there. There's so much more available to you than you know.
I’ve always liked the idea of being able to help others, so it was natural when I found out what public health was all about, it really interested me. The variety of work that [environmental officers] go out and respond to is quite diverse. Most of it is food-related, like if there’s a complaint regarding food poisoning. There’s also noise monitoring; I’ve been out to events to monitor the noise levels, as well as food stalls, and make sure that they’re compliant. And there's also issues with acidity in soil, so when you're excavating and stuff like that you need to make sure that things within safe levels for people to start working. I’ve done some really weird things as well, like exhumations.
I really liked CQUni because they offered the course online which really worked into my work life. Because I work full time, I can’t really afford to go part time or be on campus a lot. Study is mainly all online, except there are certain residential schools that you do have to attend. If somebody was looking at public health as a study option, I would definitely recommend CQUni, just because it is available online and supportive. You can email the lecturers and they get back to you so quick – that makes a big difference.
You need a degree to work in public health because there’s a lot of science involved in legislation. You need to know what you’re talking about and have a certain level of knowledge in those kinds of practices. I’m doing the environmental health major but I picked the subjects for health promotion as my minor. Health promotion is based on being proactive in teaching people about how to do things the right way instead of the compliance side. The course knowledge is quite transferable so it can be used in government as well as the private sector.
I want to be an environmental health officer and after completing my course I feel supported enough that I can definitely get there. I think being more of a mature-aged student has helped me because I don’t think I would have been as dedicated if I was young. I’ll be the first one in my family to have completed a degree once I graduate. It’s something that keeps me going. What I’d say to a younger me would be, ‘let’s go and do it!’