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How To Become a Public Health Educator

There are several possible paths to this exciting career.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for health educators and community health workers is set to grow by 13% between 2019 and 2029.1 This growth rate is faster than average and reflects the need for more cost-effective ways to improve healthcare outcomes across the U.S.2 If you want to make a difference in this high-demand field, you have several paths to success.

As a public health educator, you can create local, regional, national, or global health education programs that give people the information they need to make healthy choices in their lives. You may find work at a hospital, nonprofit organization, or government agency. Below are just some of the steps you can take to start a career in health education.

How Do I Become a Public Health Educator?

Step 1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

An undergraduate degree is often the first step in the public health or health studies career path. If you haven’t yet earned a bachelor’s degree, consider choosing a program in public health or health studies. An undergraduate health education and promotion degree can either set you up for entry-level jobs or to take on graduate programs in the field.

Your bachelor’s degree does not have to be in health education in order for you to become a public health educator. Some people turn to public health education after years of working in the healthcare field with other bachelor’s degrees. For example, someone may earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and get plenty of nursing experience before setting their sights on becoming a public health educator.

Step 2. Gain experience in the field

If you’re not already in the field when you begin earning your bachelor’s degree, you should begin looking for a position where you can gain experience in the field while also putting what you are learning into practice. Career options might include public health program specialist, community outreach coordinator, health officer, health services manager, or a similar position.

Step 3. Earn a Master’s Degree in Health Education and Promotion

Candidates who earn master’s degrees in health education and promotion benefit from in-depth courses, research-based classes, and increased prestige upon graduation. Applicants with graduate-level health education and promotion degrees may be eligible for management positions in the field or other coveted roles.

If your undergraduate degree is in a different field, you can earn a master’s in health education and promotion online to switch careers. In Walden University’s MS in Health Education and Promotion program, you’ll take courses such as:

  • Exploring Health Education in the 21st Century
  • Health Behavior Theory
  • Public Health Administration and Leadership 
  • Grant Writing
  • Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation  

 

These courses help you prepare for a career as a public health educator. 

Step 4. Get the Right Certification

Some online master’s in health education and promotion programs, including Walden’s, follow the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing’s standards for education. Graduates from these programs are prepared to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) exams.

Both CHES and MCHES certifications help potential employers see your value and expertise. While some public health educator jobs are open to candidates without these certifications, others require applicants to hold one of these credentials.

Step 5. Find a great job in the health education field

After earning your master’s degree and becoming certified in your field, you will be well positioned for a number of great positions. You’ll even have your choice of settings, including academic, clinical, community, or corporate environments. 

If you’re ready to take the next step toward a career in health education, consider earning a degree or certificate to strengthen your skills or help you transition into the job you’ve always wanted. Thanks to the advantages of online learning, it’s more convenient than ever to take your education to the next level.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a number of public health and health sciences degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

1Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-1
2Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-6

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