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CHOOSING A CAREER / SEP. 14, 2014
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How to Become a Health Educator

Health Educator
istock

“Our health and lifestyles have a strong connection. If you cut your your sugar and fat intake, you will avoid many serious diseases. Refrain from smoking and drink only reasonably, and you will have a longer better life.” These are words that are likely to be uttered by a health educator. Health educators are professionals whose responsibility is to teach people, either in group or individual settings about how to lead a healthier lifestyle and avoiding medical conditions.

What Do Health Educators Do?

Duties performed by health educators include but are not limited to:

  •         Assessing requirements for health education programs
  •         Developing events and programs to teach the public about health topics
  •         Planning and executing efficient health education programs
  •         Helping individuals get health information and services
  •         Supervise staff who execute health education programs
  •         Collecting and analyzing data for better health resources and strategies that promote health
  •         Preparing and distributing health education materials as well as bulletins, reports and visual aids such as   videotapes, films, posters and photographs
  •         Developing and maintaining cooperative working affiliations with organizations and agencies that are involved in health care

Salary

Earnings for health educators vary with employers, job title, level of education and experience.

 

Lowest 10 percentile

Median

Top 10 percentile

Annual salary

$27,730

$48,790

$86,810

Source: BLS

Skills

Health educators need to have the following vital qualities for their practice:

  •         Excellent analytical skills for data collection and analysis
  •         Excellent instructional skills
  •         Good people skills
  •         Excellent oral and written communication skills
  •         Aptitude to give issues a logical approach
  •         Excellent judgment and decision making skills
  •         Aptitude to manage time effectively
  •         Service orientation
  •         Outstanding monitoring skills
  •         Good negotiation skills

Qualifications

To train as a health educator, you need to have at least a high school diploma. For entry levels in this profession, you need a bachelor’s degree in health promotion or health education. Some employers might require you to possess the CHES credential. These bachelor’s degree programs contain coursework for methods and theories of health education that enable students gain the skills and knowledge they require to develop health programs and health education materials. Some of the important units taught in these programs include:

  •         Foundations of health education
  •         Applied human physiology with Laboratory
  •         Personal and family health
  •         Community and environmental health
  •         Methods and material in health education
  •         Drug education
  •         Emotional health and counseling
  •         Human sexuality education

There are also several graduate programs in school health education, community health education, health promotion and public health education. Some positions (e.g. those in state public health agencies or federal government) might require you to secure a Master’s, PhD or Doctoral degree. To pursue a master’s degree, a bachelor’s degree is mandatory. However, a relevant associate’s degrees might be considered. Individuals who work in these high positions receive better compensation and higher salaries.

Career Prospects

According to the BLS, job opportunities for health educators are estimated to increase by 21% between 2012 and 2022. This is attributed to endeavours to improve health consequences and minimise healthcare expenses by enlightening the community on healthy behaviours and habits and utilisation of the obtainable healthcare facilities and services.

If you have excellent communication skills and have a keen interest in teaching others in techniques to stay hale and hearty, this career has the perfect package for you!

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