National School of Tropical Medicine

Tropical Medicine Career Paths


The following questions and answers will help individuals understand what a career in tropical medicine offers:

How can a study in tropical medicine enhance my career opportunities?

The programs offered at the National School of Tropical Medicine can provide useful supplements to pair with other degrees.  For instance, the Diploma in Tropical Medicine is a great credential for physicians and other health professionals who need to know about the specific diseases affecting people who live in poverty or resource-poor settings.  The Tropical Medicine Summer Institute provides intensive, hands-on exposure to tropical medicine for undergraduates planning careers in this field.  

Where do tropical medicine professionals work?

In the United States health professionals with training in tropical medicine are employed in a variety of traveler’s clinics and clinics specialized in refugee health or infectious diseases.  In countries throughout the world, especially developing countries, where tropical diseases are widespread, individuals with training in tropical medicine work as front line healthcare providers as well as developers and implementers of prevention and treatment programs.  In some cases they are employed by international health organizations such as the WHO and other UN agencies , national public health agencies such as the CDC and state and local public health agencies, government agencies such as USAID and USAID contractors such as RTI International, FHI360, and others.  They also work in variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Why pursue opportunities at a tropical medicine school vs. a public health school?

Through the MPH degree offered by traditional public health schools students can be broadly trained but with a few exceptions, they do not obtain hands-on instruction on tropical disease pathogens, their vectors, and the management, treatment, and prevention of tropical infections.  At the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine students have opportunities to see these pathogens via microscopy, study differentiate vector species, learn about specific clinical aspects of these conditions, and how to diagnose, treat and prevent them.

What courses of study can be pursued in tropical medicine?

Currently, the National School of Tropical Medicine offers three options:

Who should consider further study in tropical medicine?

For the Diploma in Tropical Medicine:  Physicians and physician assistants interested in managing and treating patients with tropical diseases in resource poor settings or in travel medicine clinics.  Medically qualified leaders of non-profit and for profit organizations would also benefit from the specific training provided by the DTM.

For the Summer Tropical Disease Institute: Undergraduate students interested in global health or learning about specific tropical diseases.

For the Seminar in Tropical Medicine: Students and professionals seeking to determine if a career in tropical medicine is right for them. This program is also well suited for selected individuals who do not have specific scientific or technical training such as journalists, economists and other social scientists, diplomats and those interested in international relations, managers from NGOs, and foundation program officers.