Impact Lives

How to Become a Public Health Educator

Woman lecturing to classDo you want to make a positive impact on your community through health education? If you’re passionate about helping people and enjoy teaching them how to live a healthier lifestyle, pursuing a career as a health educator may be the right move for you.

Here are some key tips and information on health education careers.

What Is Health Education?

As you might expect, the field of health education is founded on the idea of promoting wellness among individuals and communities. In addition, professional health educators may also be responsible for:

  • Collecting and analyzing health-related data
  • Assessing patients’ needs
  • Creating, executing and monitoring the effectiveness of health improvement strategies
  • Helping to create health care policy
  • Securing funding and leading public health campaigns
  • Teaching people how to improve their health and manage certain health conditions
  • Guiding people toward health-related resources and serving as an advocate for their health care needs
  • Training health care professionals and community health care workers1

There are a wide variety of health educator jobs available, from teaching high school health classes to incentivizing company employees to adopt healthy behaviors to acting as a patient navigator. Potential employers include health care facilities, universities, public health departments, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses2.

Career Outlook for Health Educators

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for health educators is 13 percent, almost twice the national average for all occupations between 2014-20243. This is due to the increasing need for employers in health-related industries to educate consumers, provide higher quality care, improve patient outcomes and reduce costs4.

As of May 2016, the median annual salary for health educators was $53,070. However, the top 10 percent earned more than $95,000 per year. On average, those who worked in hospitals tended to earn more than those who worked in government agencies and nonprofit organizations5.

To get an entry-level position in health education, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in health education or health promotion. If you’re looking to obtain a leadership position, you’ll need a master’s degree in public health education, health promotion or a related field. Most employers also prefer to hire people with the Certified Health Education Specialist designation6.

Hiring managers also tend to seek candidates with the following skills:

  • Analyzation
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Teaching
  • Public speaking
  • Interpersonal
  • Bilingual7

Finding the Right Education Option for You

If you are thinking of earning an advanced degree, consider enrolling in the online Certificate in Health Education and Promotion at Benedictine University. It can be taken as a standalone program or in conjunction with Benedictine's online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program, which is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

The online certificate program at Benedictine University can help prepare you to become a leader in the health education field. It requires the successful completion of four core courses: Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health, Cultural Context of Health, Public Health Education Methods and your choice of one of two electives, Public Health Education Programs and Skills or Grant Writing for Public Health.

To learn more about the Benedictine Graduate Certificate in Health Education and Promotion or the online Master of Public Health, please visit the website or call (866) 295-3104 to speak with a program manager.

1“Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. What health educators and community health workers do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-2 (accessed April 25, 2017).
2 “Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. What health educators and community health workers do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-2 (accessed April 25, 2017).
3 “Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-1 (accessed April 25, 2017).
4 “Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. Job outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-6 (accessed April 25, 2017).
5 “Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. Pay.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-5 (accessed April 25, 2017).
6 “Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. How to become a health educator or community healthcare worker.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-4 (accessed April 25, 2017).
7 “Occupational outlook handbook: Health educators and community healthcare workers. How to become a health educator or community healthcare worker.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-4 (accessed April 25, 2017).