Public health educators are responsible for promoting healthy lifestyles and educating the public about health issues such as nutrition and wellness. The public health educator may teach classes on nutrition, food safety, prenatal care, child care, parenting family planning, and prevention of sexually transmitted disease. A public health educator is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating health education programs to determine impacts and outcomes.
Most public health positions require completion of a degree program in public help, with many also requiring a masters degree. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Public Health Educator Job Responsibilities
Public health educators conduct periodic community health assessments to determine which health issues need to be addressed in the community. They also organize community groups and volunteers to address health issues and health disparities among different groups. Health education audiences may include adults and/or children.
Health educators also write original health education materials and curriculum. Health educators in business and industry are responsible for employee wellness programs. Health educators write grants to obtain funding to implement health education programs and special projects. Health educators with advanced degrees may teach in college health education programs or engage in health education research at major universities.
Health educators may also be self employed as consultants, grant writers and trainers for other agencies. Health educators with advanced degrees and several years of experience often work as supervisors, health education directors or executive directors of health and human service agencies. The role for health educators will be important in the coming years due to efforts to implement health care reform. Job responsibilities will focus heavily on preventive health strategies as a means of reducing health care costs.
Public Health Educator Training and Education Requirements
A bachelors degree in public health education or closely related degree area qualifies one to work as an entry level health educator. Ideally, the public health educator will have at least a bachelor’s degree in public health education or health promotion. However some health educators may come from disciplines such as nutrition, nursing, exercise and sports science and biology. Courses taken should include community health, epidemiology, nutrition, teaching methods in health education, first aid, parent education, communications, human sexually, sociology, psychology, biology, physiology, and school health education. At the graduate level courses required include research in health education, biostatistics, epidemiology, grant writing, public health leadership and program management and evaluation. At the graduate level, a public health education would earn a Master of Public Health degree, a master’s in health education or a master’s degree in health promotion. A public health educator should have good oral and written communication skills, knowledge of strategic planning and community health assessment skills. Health educators can earn doctoral degrees at several universities in the U.S.
Public Health Educator Salary and Wages
The salary for public health educators varies widely depending on the setting and the geographical location. In the government and non-profit sectors salaries depend largely on how much money is allocated either through public funding or private grants. In county health departments health educators in entry level positions may earn $29,000 per year while in an urban teaching hospital or workplace wellness program a health educator with five years of experience may earn over $40,000 per year. Master’s level and certified health educators can earn between $60.000 – $80,000 per year. Self-employed health educators may enjoy unlimited earnings depending upon the area of expertise.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Public Health Educator Certifications
Public health educators can obtain certification through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Persons seeking this certification must already hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in health education or be within 3 months of earning the degree to sit for the examination. A minimum passing score is required on the examination which covers basic areas of responsibility in health education. The certified health education specialist examination is generally given twice during the year, in April and October, at a college or university that has a public health education degree program. Those seeking certification can order the appropriate study materials from NCHEC. After passing the exam the health educator earns the title of certified health education specialist or CHES. To maintain the CHES designation, the health educator must earn 75 hours of approved training every five years. NCHEC has recently developed an advanced level of certification known as the master certified health education specialist. Some states have their own credentialing programs or professional registries for health educators.
Public Health Educator Professional Associations
Public health educators have several professional organizations to join. Among the professional associations of interest to public health educators include the Society for Public Health Education or (SOPHE); the American Association for Health Education (AAHE) and the American Public Health Association (APHA). Each of these associations has a state affiliate. There are fees associated with membership and members can take advantage of professional development. leadership and networking opportunities. Public health educators who work in other disciplines are usually eligible for membership in organizations representing those areas.