Chronic Disease Health Educator

Professionals in many lines of work are finding it difficult to obtain steady work in a field that they have trained for.  Employment levels are slowly rising, but many industries are still initiating cutback which make consistent jobs hard to find.  Public health careers have remained steady, however, and are experiencing a higher than average growth rate.

Along with providing a stable work environment and good pay, public health careers also address a number of specialties that also aid the community welfare.  The position of chronic disease educator is a good example of a position that can benefit you in your quality of life, and benefit others in their wellbeing also.

What Is A Chronic Disease Health Educator?

Chronic disease health educators help to address interventions, treatments, and lifestyle changes that can improve the quality of life for individuals with lasting conditions.  In some communities where environmental, social, or genetic factors contribute to a widespread prevalence of certain chronic diseases, you would be able to address general interventions.  Most communities are more varied, so chronic disease health educators would conduct workshops and lectures for specific populations within the community.

Chronic disease health educators can expect to have the following tasks as part of the job:

  •   Conducting workshops and lectures on managing chronic illnesses.
  •   Developing educational materials to hand out.
  •   Generating interest in the educational series.
  •   Speaking with community members and assessing their needs.
  •   Tracking progress and outcomes of the outreach efforts.
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These professional skills can also aid you as a chronic disease health educator:

  •   Public speaking:  You will need to be able to conduct yourself well in front of groups.  This will include being both clear and engaging.
  •   Interpersonal skills:  You will need to be able to build trust and connection with the community, and this will also incorporate the use of different interactions with individuals in the population.
  •   Critical thinking:  You will need to evaluate the needs of the community and be sure to address issues that are pertinent.
  •   Professionalism:  You must ensure that your teaching style is professional and ethical, and that you show respect for diversity and culture.

Nature Of The Work

Much of the position of chronic disease health educator is conducted as outreach workshops, lectures, and interactive modules.  You may work with and through hospitals, community clinics, public school, and even library lecture series.  As part of your education you can create instructive kits and workbooks that allow the public to reference the information on a daily basis.

You will also spend time in the office.  This will usually consist of compiling lesson plans, creating education materials, and even answering queries from the public.  You may also be required to track the progress and outcomes of your efforts, and to draft reports on this data. 

Education And Training

Chronic disease health educators require at least a four year degree in order to qualify for employment.  This may be in education, health and wellness, healthcare administration, or a combination of similar subjects.  Some applicants will also hold a Master’s in education, but this is not required in all states.  The higher education can help to speed your advancement, but entry level positions with a four year degree will also help you to gain experience.

Educators at any level will need to be certified.  This requires that you pass the CHES exam in order to gain that credential.  In order to maintain your status, you will need to complete at least 50 continuing education credit hours every three years.

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Median salaries for chronic disease health educators are around $42,000 annually, with entry level positions starting around $30,000.   This figure is also expected to rise as the demand for qualified applicants increases and the focus on public awareness and intervention continues.

As with most jobs in public health, this career option has amazing growth potential.  Chronic disease health educators can expect a projected creation of over 21,000 positions within the next decade.  This offers both good starting positions with competitive pay, and good possibilities for advancement.  If you are interested in working in public health, and enjoy interacting with people in your community, then a career as a chronic disease educator offers you a creative outlet to find job satisfaction and stability.   

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