Public Health Educator Career
The role of the Public Health Educator is to gain an extensive knowledge of Public Health issues and then translate that knowledge into highly effective education campaigns through a variety of mediums in order to educate the broadest group of people possible. There are a wide variety of specializations within the broader field of Public Health Education. They include: Intellectual health, Spiritual health, environmental health, physical health, emotional health and social health. The goal of the Public Health Educator is to help the public in the form of individuals and groups to take on new behaviors that will help them to restore, promote and maintain optimal health within the previously described areas. Of course there are many ways in which one can define health and education but there has been a decided upon definition by the Joint Committee on Health Education. The statement is providing groups, individuals and communities with experiences that promote learning based on sound theories in order to make available the information and requisite skills to make lifestyle decisions that promote health. The World Health Organization also has another definition of its own which you can find on their website.
The seven primary duties that Health Educators are expected to perform include:
- The assessment of needs for groups, individuals and communities for Health Education
- The careful design of strategies for Public Health Education, programs and interventions
- The thoughtful and conscientious implementation of Health Education in one’s community
- The attentive evaluation and research of Health Education for one’s community and in general
- The administration and management of quality Health Education programs
- Becoming a resource for your community as a Health Education expert
- The advocacy and articulate communication of Health Education in your community
Public Health Educator: A Career to Service to Human Beings
The Public Health Educator provides an extremely valuable service to their fellow human beings in their communities. By helping to raise awareness of lifestyle choices and decisions the individual, family and community can make to promote and maintain health, the Public Health Educator helps prevent countless sick days for workers and students. This in turn helps the individual to have the maximum effectiveness either professionally or in terms of attaining their own education. In addition to the benefits of work and school performance, individuals with restored or maintained optimal health tend to be happier and live longer and fuller lives when compared to those with preventable chronic illnesses. The Public Health Educator also helps the individual to practice sanitary and hygiene habits that prevent crippling and deadly diseases from being caught and spread.
Impact on Society
In terms of the societal impact, the Public Health Educator has a tremendously positive impact on society. By helping to raise the overall level of education around sanitary and hygiene habits the Public Health Educator helps to prevent epidemics and outbreaks from occurring. While invisible in that it is preventative the positive consequences for society are huge. In eras prior to public health awareness and sanitation entire cities were virtually wiped out by preventable communicable diseases such as cholera and bubonic plague. In the modern era we experience tremendous stability and relatively incredible levels of health when compared to virtually any prior era in human development. This is due in no small part to the continued efforts of Public Health Educators as they spread the message on sanitation, hygiene and positive lifestyle decisions that impact the health of individuals and ultimately society as a whole.
Education to join the Public Health Educator Workforce
As with most professions the greater your educational attainment, the greater your chances of getting hired, the more tools and knowledge you have at your disposal and the higher pay you can expect to attain. This is also true of the Public Health Educator. In order to become credentialed as a CHES you will need to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree with a major in a health education related field (such as: Health Education, Community Health Education, Public Health Education or School Health Education or otherwise an explicitly Health Education related degree) or having at least 25 semester or 37 quarter hours of course work with a C average in classes that promote the seven areas of competency for Health Educators. To earn the advanced credentialing (the MCHES) you will need to have either 5 consecutive years of experience as a CHES professional or a Master or Doctoral degree in Health Education. In both cases you will need to complete and pass a CHES or MCHES examination as administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.
Salary Potential for Public Health Educators
Just as with other careers, the state in which you work, the organization your work for, seniority, education and credentialing will all impact your earning potential as a Public Health Educator. However, the average Median yearly salary for a Public Health Educator with a Bachelor’s degree and CHES status is $45,830 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics1.
Your first step towards joining the workforce as a Public Health Educator will be pursuing a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Education or a closely related field. If you wish to have a broader understanding of the discipline, a vastly greater chance of getting your choice of employment and a significantly greater salary, you will want to continue your education to attain either a Master or Doctorate of Public Health Education. Finding a credentialed institution of higher learning near you is the first step to take on your journey towards becoming a Public Health Educator