Health educators help solve community health issues by teaching people about behaviors that promote health and wellness. The health education field has grown significantly over the last several years because of national policy emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention. If you would like to develop an understanding of personal, public, and community health issues and aid people in adopting healthy lifestyles, consider pursuing a health education program.
Health Education Degree Levels & Prerequisites
Health education degrees are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Associate’s degrees in health education serve as a stepping-stone to bachelor’s degree programs, taking approximately two years to complete. The prerequisite for associate’s degree programs is typically a high school diploma or GED.
Bachelor’s degree programs take four years to complete and teach students the theories and methods of health education. The admissions requirements for a bachelor’s degree in health education are usually minimum required SAT/ACT scores, a high school diploma or GED, and a minimum required GPA.
Master’s degree programs take approximately two years to complete, while doctoral programs take around three to four years to complete. The prerequisites for health education graduate programs include strong letters of recommendation, a minimum required GPA, minimum GRE scores, and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
Curriculum for Health Education Degrees
Health education programs prepare individuals for a wide range of leadership and management positions in governmental, corporate, non-profit, and academic environments. A bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry-level position, but most positions in the federal government and in state public health agencies require candidates to have at least a master’s degree. Doctoral degrees in health education are appropriate for people who want to obtain faculty, academic, and research positions. Courses that students in health education schools might take include the following:
- Health science
- Foundations of health education
- Standard first aid
- Community first aid & safety
- Personal wellness
- Health & medical terminology
- Nutrition education for special populations
- Drug education
- Emotional health & counselling
Many health education graduate programs offer online degrees, enabling students to fit their coursework around their busy schedules. Some employers may require candidates to acquire the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.
Career Prospects for Health Education Graduates
Health educators are responsible for developing, promoting, and evaluating programs which teach the community about health topics. They also assist people in finding health information and campaign for increased health resources. Successful health educators tend to work well with others, have strong interpersonal skills, and have strong written and verbal skills. Graduates of health education schools are prepared for a wide range of careers in health management organizations, community health organizations, health and wellness centers, health advocacy groups, state and local departments of health, and more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of health educators is expected to grow by 37% from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than average for all occupations. The growth can be attributed to the fact that employers, governments, and insurance companies are trying to curb costs as healthcare costs rise. Health educators teach people how to be healthy, and thus, help them avoid costly diseases. Salaries will vary by industry, location, and level of education. In 2012, the median annual wage of health educators was 48,790. The bottom 10% earned $27,730, while the top 10% earned more than $86,810.
A career in health education is a great fit for people who are interested and committed to helping others lead healthier lives. If you want to obtain the skills and knowledge needed to plan and implement health education programs for a variety of populations in a range of practice settings, earn your health education degree today.
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