About The Public Health Associate Program

Key points

  • The Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) trains early-career professionals who have a recent college degree and are interested in public health and service.
  • PHAP has over 100 associates fulfilling hands-on public health workforce needs at any given time in nearly all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

Opportunities & Updates

Associate Application

The 2024 associate application period is closed. The next application period will open in early 2025.

Host Site Application

The 2024 host site application period is closed. Check back in early 2025 for the next opportunity.

Two Public Health Associates smile while presenting survey data to colleagues.
PHAP trains associates to work in a variety of public health settings.


PHAP is a competitive, two-year, paid training program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Associates are assigned to state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies and nongovernmental organizations. They work alongside other professionals across a variety of public health settings.

Associates gain hands-on experience that serves as a foundation for their public health careers. After graduating from PHAP, associates are qualified to convert non-competitively to full-time positions at CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Graduates also qualify to apply for positions with public health agencies and non-governmental organizations.

PHAP was established in 2007 to support CDC at the forefront of public health and train field-tested, experienced, and dedicated public health advisors. Since its inception, over 1,800 associates have participated in the program. PHAP:

  • Supports associates' attainment of required performance standards while on the job.
  • Increases host site capacity.
  • Provides associates with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to fulfill program competencies.

Host sites orient associates to their respective agencies/organizations and train them in a wide range of public health competencies. This training fulfills standard program requirements while enhancing the associates' work performance.

PHAP offers a variety of work assignments to give associates experience to develop as public health professionals. Associates are assigned to one subject area that is selected by their host sites. These subject areas focus on the nation's most pressing public health priorities.

Associates' work assignments provide skill-building activities in:

  • Analytics and Assessment
  • Public Health
    • Science
    • Policy and Law
    • Funding and Budgeting
    • Emergency Preparedness and Response
    • Community Dimensions
  • Program Planning, Management, and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • Communication
  • Health Equity
  • Evaluation