CDC Careers

CDC Careers

Working at the Pinnacle of Public Health

What's the best thing about working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the world's top public health organizations?

For Hilda Shepeard, a team leader and senior health communications specialist at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, it's not the prestige or pay: "There's an enormous opportunity to really do something meaningful -- you're touching people's lives."

Here's a closer look at what these public health protectors do and how they got where they are.

Infectious Disease Containment and More

The CDC's 8,500 employees have plenty to do. The agency's current priorities include stemming the spread of infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, and increasing the nation's preparedness for bioterrorism, natural disasters and other potential public health emergencies.

Most CDC job opportunities are typically for medical officers, epidemiologists, microbiologists and public health advisors/analysts. Their main activities range from researching health problems and disease-control programs to identifying epidemics, carrying out lab science, and advising state, local and foreign governments on public health matters.

But the CDC isn't just about detecting and stopping infectious diseases. For example, in response to increasing violence in society, the agency created the Division of Violence Prevention to help curb youth violence, child mistreatment and other forms of abuse.

Also playing key roles in fulfilling the CDC's mission are business disciplines such as program management, information technology and communications. Says Shepeard of her department: "We develop health communications strategies regarding sexually transmitted diseases to try to influence individual and community behaviors. It doesn't matter how good the science is; if we don't communicate it, we haven't done anything."

Life at the Pinnacle of Public Health

Even though it's always stretched for resources, the CDC is an employer of choice for the best and brightest in public and allied health. The CDC is "the tip of the iceberg" of public health careers, says Bernard Turnock, MD, MPH, author of Public Health: Career Choices That Make a Difference. "They have a much higher proportion of highly skilled professionals than do state or local agencies."

Occasionally the CDC hires the most promising students straight out of graduate school, including those new grads with a master's in public health. But "for the most part, (the) CDC is hiring skilled professionals," often from state or local public health agencies, says Raymond Thron, chair of the doctoral program in public health at Walden University.

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.

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 ($59,383 to $77,194 in 2009) to GS-15 ($98,156 to $127,604). 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.

Latest Jobs

Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/25/2015
New York, NY, 10017
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/25/2015
Deerfield, IL, 60015
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/25/2015
Deerfield, IL, 60015
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/25/2015
New Hyde Park, NY, 11042
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/25/2015
Atlanta, GA, 30326

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-206