Health education, as the name suggests, is educating people in matters of the health such as wellness, nutrition, and other healthcare practices to manage and promote good health. As a health educator, you may get opportunities to provide health education to school students and work with government and nonprofit organizations to improve community health through education and awareness. When you work with communities, your profile as a health educator also expands to collecting data to understand the issues which can then lay the foundation for dialogue and educational programs.
There is a demand for health educators because there is a need to cut down healthcare expenses and to minimize health issues through knowledge and practice. Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and schools need health educators. Other employers include hospitals, clinics, and businesses.
If you are keen to become a health worker, you need to have finished high school. You can get on-the-job training that will teach you the skills and knowledge required to become a health educator. There are many certification programs offered by various universities as online or campus programs. Certified Health Education Specialist certification is a good place to start. Of course, a bachelor’s degree in health education can give you a step up. There are many good master’s degree programs too such as Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Public Health. Specializations offered in master’s degree programs could include family health, children’s health, and community health.
The course is spread over two years and gives a foundational education which includes general college studies and specific health education such as business practices and principles in healthcare, education delivery, psychology, computer software, health and disease, and age-specific health needs. The degree will help you get jobs with public health organizations and other health advocacy groups. By combining the college degree with practical experience that can be gained through internships and volunteering activities, you will have a solid foundation.
A bachelor’s degree in health education will help you gain the skills needed to design health education programs by taking you through the steps of planning, implementing, and assessing the programs in order make them effective and relevant. The degree will equip you with a thorough understanding of community health, school health, developing curriculum and delivery, special populations, and related technology. Numerous organizations have opportunities for health educators including corporates.
With a master’s degree in health education, you can explore roles in management and leadership positions. You can learn about policy-making, crafting proposals, and research methodologies. The curriculum extends to cover subjects such as diversity, finance, and biostatistics. All this is in addition to learning about education delivery systems.
If you are interested in taking up decision-making roles that involve shaping programs or teaching others, a doctorate degree in health education is ideal. The program is often structured around your goals and the curriculum allows you to learn about designing programs, biostatistics, instructional technology, epidemiology, and disease prevention. A doctorate program culminates with a seminar and dissertation. After completing a doctorate degree program, you should be adept at planning and monitoring programs and creating policies as well as teaching.
Health education is a fast-growing industry and hence, there is a demand for qualified professionals. As a health educator, you will be able to combine your interest in education and expertise in health to create health awareness which has far-reaching impact. Depending on your career goals, you can find jobs in a variety of organizations from corporate and schools to government and nonprofit agencies.