How To Become A Health Educator
Career Video: Health Educator
If you are interested in a career that would allow you to promote good health and wellness practices then you consider becoming a health educator. In this profession, you will have the opportunity to come up with programs and activities geared towards improving the health of the members of the community or the special populations you serve. You will hold lecture sessions where you will teach residents different topics about health, ways to manage disease and other related concerns. You will also assist those who are trying to look for health services and resources.
Health educators often work together with community health workers in helping residents achieve the best of health. Their roles, however, are different. Health educators are the ones who plan the programs, develop and evaluate the educational materials and train community health workers who, in turn, implement these programs. Health educators also serve as advocates for issues related to health and wellness.
To succeed as a health educator, you need to have excellent leadership skills since the job will require you to organize communities. You also need to possess good interpersonal skills inasmuch as you will be talking with people of different backgrounds and from varied cultural orientations. Moreover, you need to know how to analyze data, solve problems and determine the best course of action to take for a particular issue. Finally, you also need to know how to write in a clear and engaging manner since you will be developing educational materials and resources for your health teaching activities and programs.
Why Become A Health Educator
A career as a health educator will best fit those who have a passion for wellness and helping communities become truly healthy. By teaching residents to make necessary lifestyle changes to achieve good health, health educators play a vital role in helping them reduce their medical costs. On the practical side, health educators are expected to be in high demand in the next few years. Another motivation is the high regard that health educators receive from the people they work with.
Health Educator Work Environment
Health educators typically work for government agencies and state, local and private hospitals. They are also found in ambulatory healthcare services, religious organizations and nonprofits. The work schedule is usually fulltime, with most of the time spent in the community they are assigned in to implement programs and activities and participate in other events. They also do some of their work, such as making reports and preparing educational materials, in their office.
Health Educator Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of health educators is $53,800. Community health workers, on the other hand, receive $37,640 annually.
Health Educator Career Outlook
The job outlook of health educators is set to be very positive in the next few years. Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the employment rate of health educators in the years covering 2012 to 2022 is set to grow at a fast pace of 21 percent. The demand will come from the desire of governments and businesses to reduce the cost of healthcare while achieving quality of life at the same time. Reforms undertaken by the federal government in the field of healthcare will also prompt the need for more health educators to assist the influx of patients who will have more access to healthcare services.
Health Educator Degree
The entry point for this career is a bachelor’s degree, preferably in the field of health education or health promotion. However, it’s always desirable to have a master’s degree or even a doctoral degree since this is the educational requirement if you want to work with the federal government or public health departments in your state.
Although voluntary, it is also a good idea for new health educators to get certification which would attest to their expertise. For entry-level professionals, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc offers the Certified Health Education Specialist certification after passing a test. Those who hold experience and postgraduate education can get the Master Certified Health Education Specialist from the same institution.