Health Educators Career Outlook
A job as a Health Educator involves helping to create, develop and implement programs to educate groups on desirable health outcomes. Providing this service to many different groups requires flexibility and understanding of the target audience. From at-risk groups such as drug abusers and the homeless to civic organizations and labor unions, the Health Educator must strive to have excellent communication and organizational skills. Working with health professionals, community leaders and civic groups the Health Educator must establish a plan of action. This requires evaluation of health risks, community mores and the availability of health services. A sociological viewpoint is helpful for the Health Educator as they will not only be attempting to prevent health crises in the community, but they must also recognize the unique social, behavioral, economic and legal realities of their target community.
The Health Educator can perform many functions within a community such as:
- Preparing and distributing educational media
- Planning and implementing community outreach events
- Conducting town halls and other community discussion forums
- Contributing to design of community health facilities
- Working to ensure positive health outcomes for at risk communities
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How Health Educators are of Service to Human Beings
By helping to educate communities, the Health educator works hand in hand with communities to reduce health risk factors such as communicable diseases, environmental pollutants, poor diets, community safety issues and substance abuse. The work of the Health Educator increases community health through preventative and educational means. As community oriented health initiatives are increasing in importance, so too is the impact of the Health educator on society.
The Impact Health Educators Have on Society
The impact on society is one that can have profoundly positive consequences for a community.
Some ways in which the Health Educator impacts the community are:
- Increasing awareness of community health issues
- Decreasing communicable disease outbreaks
- Increasing public safety
- Decreasing medical costs for the community
- Increasing access to community health services
- Decreasing community health risks
- Impact on the Individual
Like many professions in the Human Services field that work towards macro goals, the Health Educator impacts the individual as a secondary effect. By decreasing the outbreak of communicable diseases through education, reduced risk factors and increased access to community health resources, the individual sees an improvement in their own health risks.
Impact on the Family
Similar to the Individual impact above, the impact on the Family is seen as part of the microcosm reflecting the health of the macrocosm of the community. Through prophylactic measures such as vaccinations, education and access to community health resources the family sees a reduction in their own illnesses. This reduces the families economic burden from a decrease in visits to their doctor and associated medical fees.
Education to Join Health Educator Workforce
Most employers are looking for prospective Health Educators who have a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degree from a school that has an accredited program. Some employers will hire candidates who have a medical degree or a Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as Sociology or Anthropology along with relevant work experience. Becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist requires that you meets the standards of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing and have passed the CHES exam.
Health Educator Salary Range
Health educators earn salaries within the range of $55,220 to $98,680 per year.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019. National 50th – 90th percentile range for Health Education Specialists. Salaries based on national data not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.
What’s Next to Pursue a Career as a Health Educator
While some employers will accept a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology or Anthropology along with related work experience, most will be looking for candidates who possess a Master of Public Health or Master of Science degree. Here are some universities with accredited programs to start you on your journey towards a career as a Health Educator.