Health Educator Jobs: Salary and Career Facts
Research what it takes to become a health educator. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Health Educator?
Health educators are responsible for promoting health and wellness. They can create community programs to teach people in their area about different health problems and preventative strategies as well as healthy lifestyle options and their benefits. They also try to acquire resources or change policies in ways that will improve health. As part of their duties they may also help people locate health services and assess how effective their programs are. They are responsible for supervising and training community health workers and other staff members as well.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
Master's degree required for some positions
|Education Field of Study||Health Education|
Health Education and Promotion
|Key Responsibilities||Educate students, patients, and communities about health-related topics and behaviors|
Design and execute health promotion programs
Conduct health screenings and educate patients and communities about the results
|Licensure/Certification||Some employers require certification|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||10% growth*|
|Mean Salary (2018)||$59,660*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is the Salary of a Health Educator?
In 2018, health educators earned a mean annual salary of $59,660, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Health educators in the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Rhode Island earned the highest reported salaries. Job growth between 2018 and 2028 is projected to be at a rate of 10%, according to the BLS, which is higher than average. The cost effectiveness of health education services in preventing illness is likely to create employment opportunities for health educators.
What Job Duties Would I Have?
In an elementary, middle or high school, you might work as a health teacher, educating students about topics like anatomy, physiology, healthy eating habits and the dangers of smoking and drugs. In a college setting, you might be asked to give lectures or hold health-related programs in various settings, such as cafeterias, residence halls, libraries or physical fitness facilities.
In a nonprofit setting, you could create health promotion programs that warn against sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, drugs and alcohol. You might work with individuals and families, coordinate health screenings and teach health education classes. You also could organize funding efforts in the event of a natural disaster or an emergency situation, such as a fire or gas explosion, within the community or work to change or improve public health laws.
If you work at a medical facility like a hospital, you might educate patients about pharmaceutical and surgical treatment options and make referrals for support services. You also might create education programs and train staff members. In public health, you could work to improve government-funded health programs. You may aid nonprofit organizations with community health initiatives and with efforts to raise funds.
What Education Do I Need?
Most health educators hold at least a bachelor's degree, although an advanced degree may be required for some positions, particularly those in public health, or for a promotion. At the undergraduate level, you could enroll in a Bachelor of Science program in health education or health education and promotion. A program with an internship component can help you gain experience in the field. At the graduate level, you could enroll in a Master of Science or Master of Education program in health education.
Do I Need Licensure or Certification?
If you want to be a teacher, you'll need to enroll in a teacher education program and complete licensing requirements for your state. Most states will require you to take the Praxis I and II teacher assessment exams and pass a criminal background check.
Completing an undergraduate or graduate degree might qualify you to take the voluntary Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam, which is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (www.nchec.org). After five years as a CHES, you can take the Master Certified Health Educator Specialist exam.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Community health workers and dieticians and nutritionists work in the same career field as health educators. Community health workers do not necessarily need postsecondary training, although they are required to complete on-the-job training. They talk to community members about health issues and concerns and may provide information about healthcare issues and help people locate healthcare services. Dieticians and nutritionists need a bachelor's degree, and like health educators they promote health and disease prevention. The main difference is that they focus on achieving those objectives strictly through dietary choices.