Finding a job that rewards you the way you deserve is important. And for different people, that means many different things. In most cases you’ll likely want a job that offers solid pay, excellent benefits, and the knowledge that you’re doing good for the public in general. Becoming a community health educator may offer all of these things, and help you get the kind of career future that you want.
It’s a position that offers a lot to those who fit well into it. But it takes a commitment of time and energy to truly thrive in the position. As such, taking some time to learn more about what it offers is a good idea. Here’s a look at what it involves and what it may have for you.
What Is a Community Health Educator?
A community health educator is a health professional that focuses on promoting good health and disease prevention within a community. They work in a variety of settings within the community including in schools, government positions and even for private companies and businesses. It’s a type of health career that isn’t focused on providing one on one care, but rather on delivering education and resources that allow a community population to help improve their own well-being through changes in their behavior.
The overall goal of the field is to have a positive impact on the health of a community by influencing their behavior in such a way that they make the right health related choices. Things like programs that attack and target obesity, substance abuse, and dietary issues are all examples of how this position can influence the public’s health.
Potential job duties include the following:
- Identifying health related issues within a community and determining what issues need to be addressed to improve health.
- Developing educational resources that help influence quality of life.
- Developing pamphlets and literature that can be passed out to assist in improving overall health and wellbeing.
- Working with local medical professionals and policy makers to influence changes that have a long lasting impact on health in the community.
Working in this field requires a very specific skill set, and having strength in several different areas will help you excel in the position. Areas that you will want to be strong in include the following.
- Good Communication – Working with the public, you’ll need to be able to talk to them and deliver the kind of education they’ll need to improve their quality of life. Good communication skills are the most important part of the job.
- Confidence – Your strategies and efforts will have an impact on the population. As such, you need to have confidence in your abilities.
- Good Organization – You’ll also need to be able to organize information and data, as well as reports and documents. Strong organizational skills are a must.
Nature of the Work
As a community health educator you’ll spend most of your time working to design strategies and programs that help improve the public health. As such, these professionals spend the majority of their time in an office setting creating plans, coordinating with local leaders and health professionals, and reviewing data.
The remainder of your time will likely be spent in classrooms or public gatherings delivering information to the public that will help them gain a better understanding about how to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Education and Training
In order to become a community health educator, you’ll need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Usually, a degree in health education is preferred though some employers may hire educators who have public health or community health degrees. And while the Bachelor’s is the bare minimum degree required, it is usually preferred that you hold a Master’s degree in health education. Some employers will prefer training or certification in other areas of medicine such as phlebotomy, though this isn’t always the case.
Average salaries in the field are roughly $60,000 per year, though that number may be higher or lower depending upon employer, experience, and location within the country. Job demand is expected to increase at a rate that is on par with the national average over the next several years, making it a solid career choice for those looking for job stability.