Degrees in Health Education
Health educators work in a variety of settings, teaching the public and students about diseases and other healthcare topics. Find out about the degrees you may need to work in health education, explore common courses you will take, and learn about certification options.
What Requirements Will I Need to Fulfill to Be a Health Educator?
Health educators do their work in a variety of settings, including colleges, community organizations, not-for-profits, public schools, healthcare centers and government agencies. To work as a health teacher or educator you should consider a bachelor's or master's degree program in health education. These programs instruct you in program planning and promoting health.
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both entry-level positions as health educators and public school health teaching positions require a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Most states require bachelor's degrees to seek out any teacher licensing. Check with your state's board of education to find out if you'll need to further your education.
These degree programs can be found online through colleges and for-profit schools. Online bachelor's degree programs may be completion programs building off of associate degrees. Some online programs still require an internship, so not all credits can be completed online.
|Health Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree required for entry-level health educators and public school health teachers|
|Undergraduate Common Courses||First aid, nutrition, epidemiology, medical terminology, healthcare law and ethics|
|Graduate Common Courses||Research methods, sexual abuse, substance abuse, behavioral science, diseases in diversity|
|Certification Options||Voluntary credentials include the CHES, MCHES and NBPTS certification|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$54,220 (for health educators)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||14% (for health educators)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will an Undergraduate Program Curriculum Look like?
A bachelor's degree program focuses study on program development, instruction methods and health education. After you have completed your program you'll have a firm understanding of the healthcare system, scientific research methodologies and the steps taken to implement health education programs. Depending on the program you'll also study teaching methods and classroom management skills. Along with these method and theory courses you'll also study subjects in:
- Instructional technology
- First aid
- Analyzing scientific articles
- Epidemiology (the study of disease transfer and prevention)
- Healthcare laws and ethics
- Medical terminology
What Will I Study in a Graduate Program?
The master's degree program, which may be useful to advance your career, focuses on leadership and teaching skills. The master's degree program instructs you in program evaluating, so that you can analyze current health education programs and create more efficient practices. You'll also continue to promote healthy behaviors and teach wellness. Some of the additional subjects you may study include:
- Substance abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Diseases in diversity
- Program management
- Behavioral science
- Research methods
- Health administration
How Do I Become Certified?
There are two possibilities for certification as a health educator. You can seek the voluntary Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. You can find the examination through the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Once you have earned your CHES credential, you can then pursue your Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) credential. Both exams consist of 165 questions (www.nchec.org).
The second option is administered by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). NBPTS offers a 10-year, voluntary certification for those who would like to teach in Kindergarten-12 classrooms. This national certification accompanies your required state licensure and proves to future employers that you uphold high teaching standards. This additional certification for health teachers can correspond with your teaching credentials (www.nbpts.org).