A health educator’s job is to teach members of the public how to improve their overall health, e.g., in relation to nutrition, exercise, or smoking. Many health educators work for the state, local, and national governments, helping to implement nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation and other programs, as well. A bachelor’s degree will gain you entry into the field, but a health education master’s really provide the skills and knowledge required for this rewarding career.
This page gives you more information about what is involved in studying the degree, where you can study it, and the job and salary prospects after completion. Training for a health education career consists of at least a bachelors degree in health education, but more often a masters. Related professional areas to check are nutrition, dietetics and health promotion.
Unlike doctors and other medical personnel, these health educational professionals usually work with basically healthy people, trying to teach them how to remain that way. Some things they might do in a typical job is work one on one with people to help them quit smoking, eat better, or exercise more, or offer community classes in those and other similar subjects. They may also work with patients with diseases, helping them be as healthy as possible despite their limitations.
What is studied in a health education masters?
Many people come into their health education careers from some other, related field such as nursing or psychology. Since working with the public is a large part of these educators’ jobs, people in the field must be comfortable interacting with many different types of people on a regular basis.
Programs of study for these degrees consist of relatively equal parts communication and health training. Topics such as policy development, research, administration and financial management are mixed in among biostatistics, epidemiology, behavioral science, and other science courses. In order to effectively implement programs, these professionals need to be both knowledgeable in the field, and able to communicate their knowledge to others easily.
There is a certification program for these educators, called the Certification Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential, but it is not required by many employers. If a student elects to pursue certification, there is a required exam and 75 hours of continuing education mandated within every 5 year period to maintain the certification. State government positions are the most likely to require that potential employees have this credential.
What are the career prospects after graduating with a masters?
These professionals are teachers, first and foremost, with a specialty in keeping people healthy. One of the places they find employment is through schools, working as health teachers. They also work at colleges, teaching students what they can do to stay healthy, and often mentoring student groups that attempt to educate their peers. With a doctorate or master’s in health education, it is also possible to obtain a position teaching health education as a member of faculty of a two-year or four-year college.
Those that work in the government might perform different tasks, depending on what type of government they work for. A lot of their time is likely to be taken up by developing educational materials for distribution and serving as liaisons between the public and public officials. They also coordinate efforts such as non-profit fundraising and community programs.
The current career outlook for the field is quite favorable for these health education degree holders. An increase of 18% in jobs in health education is expected to occur over the next few years, before 2018. Experience is a major factor in landing a job, so internships, volunteering, or taking summer jobs in the field are recommended for prospective educators in the field. Pay in the field is modest to moderate, with the middle 50% making between $33,170 and $60,810 a year.