Health educators teach individuals, talk to communities and participate in healthcare settings on how to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles. They concentrate on improving nutrition, avoiding bad habits (alcohol, cigarettes and smoking) and outlining a list of tools and techniques that patients can use to develop healthy behaviours and avoid life-threatening risks.
Duties and responsibilities
- Compose materials, discuss issues and highlight various treatment programmes regarding health and wellness
- Host community meetings and present health education information
- Plan, implement and monitor patient programmes and treatments that address a person’s needs
- Establish and maintain patient logs to correctly schedule procedures and ensure attendance
- Track patient progress to determine if they are meeting objectives
- Consult and coordinate with medical professionals regarding health education services
- Develop and execute public opinion surveys for data-gathering purposes
- Assess data to determine what is necessary to improve the public’s health
- Conduct media campaigns and engage with the press to discuss health education
- Meet with healthcare and education representatives to talk about resources and staff
- Start and update databases and mailing lists
- Communicate, supervise and delegate technical support staff during community health programmes
- Research, prepare, write and submit grant applications to garner health education funding
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Standard business hours
A health educator will typically maintain a normal 40-hour workweek, although will often work evenings and weekends to host programmes, participate in meetings or run community events.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in health education
To become a health educator, you will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in health education or health promotion. That said, some employers prefer candidates with a master’s or doctoral degree, especially if you work for a government agency or public organisation.
Certification – such as the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) – is another common requirement among employers.
There is a lot of room for advancement for experienced health educators. You can specialise in certain areas (such as lactation consulting, chronic disease prevention, diabetes coordinating, public health analysis and tobacco education), while you can progress to a management position or board membership.