How to Become a Health Educator
How to Become a Health Educator
Health education is an important discipline that provides instruction on health to a variety of people. Health educators are specially trained professionals who use many different teaching strategies and methods to educate people about a variety of health topics.
What does a health educator do?
Health educators aim to encourage healthy lifestyles and promote overall well being by providing education to individuals and communities about ways to promote general health and prevent health conditions and diseases. They educate and inform people about many different health topics such as nutrition, physical fitness, hand washing and sanitation procedures, how to avoid illnesses and diseases, and safe sex practices. They evaluate the needs of their audience and determine the essential topics to cover and the best presentation method. They deliver health instruction in a variety of ways such as lectures, demonstrations, health screenings, brochures, pamphlets, and videos. Health educators often plan and implement programs and evaluate their effectiveness. They also reserve as a resource for health information and help locate material, services, and other resources that will benefit an individual or community.
What kind of training does a health educator need?
Health educators usually need at least a bachelor degree in health education. Students learn health education theories, human development, and psychology. Many health educators have graduate degrees in community health education, health promotion, or other related areas. Many prospective health educators complete internships to gain practical experience. Most employers provide on the job training for new health educators. Some employers require health educators to complete continuing education courses to stay up to date on their skills. Health educators can gain voluntary certification such as the Certified Health Education Specialist designation offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
What are the prospects for a career as a health educator?
Employment of health educators is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 26% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The constantly increasing cost of health care and the increased need for qualified health educators will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be favorable especially for health educators with advanced degrees and extensive experience.
How much do health educators make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of health educators earn annual salaries between $44,090 and $60,562. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $68,409 (2).
A career as a health educator is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in educating others about health to promote healthy lifestyles and well being. Health educators must have excellent public speaking skills and creative and effective teaching methods. They must be able to motivate others and be sensitive to cultural and individual differences. Health educators must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they interact with a variety of people and groups. They must be able to effectively work as part of team to accomplish their goals.