What Does a Certified Health Education Specialist Do?

In a career as a certified health education specialist, you help others achieve their maximum health and wellness through educational programs and guidance. Read the following article to learn about the responsibilities, educational requirements, and employment statistics for certified health education specialists. Schools offering Health Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Responsibilities and Duties

As a certified health education specialist (CHES), you'll work with individuals and communities to improve or maintain their health by engaging in behaviors that promote positive health. You'll also be responsible for setting up and managing various programs aimed at bringing information on exercise, nutrition, and disease prevention to those who need it. It'll be your job to make sure that people receive the health resources that best benefit them and pertain to their personal situations and cultural norms. Additionally, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) cites seven key areas of responsibility for health educators (www.nchec.org). These include the following:

  • Assessing individual and community needs for health education
  • Planning health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  • Implementing health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  • Conducting health education evaluations and research
  • Health education administration and management
  • Providing health education resources
  • Health education communication and advocacy

Important Facts About Certified Health Education Specialists

On-the-Job Training Short-term training provided by the employer
Key Skills Analytical thinking, problem solving, clear communication, social savvy
Work Environment Ambulatory health services, religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations, social assistance
Similar Occupations Dietitians and nutritionists, epidemiologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, school and career counselors, social and human service assistants

Education and Certification Requirements

To become a certified health education specialist, you must first receive a degree in health education, followed by certification through NCHEC. The degree must be in health education or a similarly related discipline that accurately and thoroughly covers the seven key areas of responsibility for health educators. The NCHEC requires at least a bachelor's degree for certification, but a master's degree is preferred by many employers and can lead to more advancement opportunities. Receiving NCHEC certification involves taking and passing the multiple-choice CHES exam that tests your competency in the key seven areas of responsibility.

Employment and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there were 57,020 health educators employed in America as of May 2014, earning average yearly salaries of $55,260. The bottom ten percent made $29,650 or less per year on average, while the top ten percent made $90,260 or more in 2014. The BLS also reported that general medical and surgical hospitals are the industry employing the most health educators; local government agencies employed the second most educators in 2014. The BLS also predicts occupational growth for health educators of 12% between the years 2014-2024.

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