Learn more about what you can do with a degree in health education. Find information on health education careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular schools that prepare students for careers in health education.
Healthy lifestyles including proper diet and exercise continue to be stressed as foundations for quality of life and longevity. Although many people know the value and importance of healthy living, many do not know how to practically achieve a healthy lifestyle. Health educators, professionals trained in helping people develop healthy lifestyles can be important resources for those seeking to achieve a healthier outcome in their lives.
Professionals working in the field of health education may provide educational supports for communities, families and individuals. Health educators may, for instance, work with community leaders to develop programs to help reduce obesity in the general population. When working with families or individuals, health educators must do more than just provide a plan of action for achieving a healthy lifestyle. Specifically, these professionals must work with the client to assess his or her needs with regard to health education and motivation for change. By providing this type of support for the client the health educator not only creates a plan for improving the client’s lifestyle but also the professional is able to help motivate the client to achieve health goals. This process is one that can be very fulfilling and rewarding for the health educator.
Careers in health education are similar. Differences exist with regard to the specific setting in which health education services are provided. For instance, health educators can be employed in medical facilities to work with patients and their families. One specific example of the role of the health educator in this setting is in cardiac rehabilitation of the patient. Patients that survive a heart attack will receive support services from a health educator including steps that can be taken post discharge to maintain health. Health educators may also be employed in colleges and universities. In this setting, professionals work with students to address relevant health issues including smoking, drug use, alcohol consumption and sex. Health educators employed in secondary schools will provide similar supports for students and will also be responsible for contributing to the development of health education curriculum. Health educators may also be employed by state and local governments to provide expertise in the field of public health.
Salaries for health educators are significantly influenced by the type of organization in which the professional is employed. Additionally, salaries are influenced by the professional’s level of education. Many entry-level positions in health education require a Bachelors Degree. However, many professionals opt to acquire Masters Degrees in order to expand their earning potential and number of job opportunities. Median annual salaries for health educators were $44,000 in 2008. Professionals at the top of their profession were able to command average salaries of $78,260 while those at the bottom of the career ladder had salaries of $26,210. Professionals employed in hospitals including medical and surgical units typically had higher median annual wages than those employed in individual family service organizations: $56,390 and $36,050 respectively. Most positions in health education include full time work. As such, most health educators have access to benefit packages that include healthcare, paid time off and vacation time.
Individuals seeking careers in health education should have a number of opportunities for employment in the coming years. Job growth in the profession is projected to increase by 18 percent through 2018. Demand in the field is being spurred by changes in the healthcare system. A focus on preventative medicine has increased the need for health educators to provide services to patients. Even though many healthcare providers are reducing the services they provide as a result of cost issues, healthcare organizations are investing more money in prevention, as a means to reduce long-term healthcare costs. Health education is an important foundation of this strategy. Public health departments have also begun focusing more heavily on prevention. As a result, more health educators will be needed in this field. Growth in health education is also being fueled by the aging of the Baby Boomer population. As more individuals seek healthcare services, health educators will be needed to provide supports for healthy living.