Teacher Education for Health Teachers

Health teachers provide students with information about exercise, healthy lifestyles and nutrition. Find information about degree and licensing requirements for teachers here, as well as what you can learn in a health education program.

Is a Career as a Health Teacher for Me?

Career Overview

Health teachers plan and implement lessons about healthy eating and personal fitness. In some cases, they may also teach students about human sexuality and disease, as well as the dangers of harmful substances, such as drugs and alcohol. The majority work in either public or private secondary schools. In order to work as a public school teacher, you'll need a state-issued license.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), openings for middle school teachers were projected to grow by 12% nationwide between 2012 and 2022, with a 6% growth in employment expected for high school teachers in the same period. Teachers in rural areas and inner cities may be in special demand. In May 2013, the BLS reported that the mean annual salary for middle school teachers was $56,630, while high school teachers earned an average of $58,260 a year (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a Health Teacher?

Educational Options and Requirements

A bachelor's degree in teacher education with a focus on health education or health and physical education is the minimum requirement for obtaining an instructional position. To work at the high school level, you'll most likely need a master's degree or a graduate certificate in health education. Bachelor's degrees usually require fours years of full-time study; a master's degree and some graduate certificate programs can take an additional two years to complete. Both undergraduate and graduate programs can help you prepare for your state's teacher licensing examination.

A bachelor's degree program in health education can include the study of hygiene, nutrition, human development and preventive health. You may also study family planning and drug and alcohol prevention. Topics in lesson planning and classroom management will be covered; you'll also complete a student teaching experience. Some health education programs combine training in physical education. Graduate programs can also be found online; however, internships usually take place at a local school.

Certification

In addition to a teacher's license, you can pursue a professional certification from a national association for health educators. For example, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers a certification for health educators who specialize in early adolescence through early adulthood. The National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) also offers national certification for health educators. Requirements include successful completion of a skills assessment exam in health education and fulfillment of continuing education requirements.

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