Today, a solid career is more important than ever before. And it is common knowledge that the health field is one of the best one can enter when looking for a job with huge growth potential, solid job stability, good salary, and lots of personal rewards. But not all health oriented jobs require one to administer bedside care.
A job as a health educator allows a person to enjoy all the benefits of a job in the health field without having to administer one on one care to patients. It’s a great option for those who are interested in helping people but who feel that the actual hands on care isn’t right for them for one reason or another. Plus, it offers great benefits and excellent salary to those in the field. If you’re thinking of entering the field of health education, read on to learn more.
What Is a Health Educator?
A health educator, put simply, is a professional who develops, oversees, manages, and provides health education programs to a group of people. Some may work in schools or universities delivering health education to students, but often they will work in the public sector assisting communities or families understand how to maintain healthy lifestyles. Job duties include:
- Collection and analyzing of information related to health
- Use of data to identify needs within a population and use of data to determine what areas need to have more education provided
- Planning of programs that help educate and encourage communities or individuals about healthy lifestyles and environments
- Implementation of those programs as well as regular monitoring, evaluation, and modification of the programs as needed to ensure maximum benefit is gained.
- Assist other health professionals or community organizations in promoting better all-around health
- Development of educational programs that target specific issues within the health field.
In general, health educators will do all that they can to provide resources, information, and education to those in need with the goal of improving health and lifestyles.
The field of health education has various challenges that are unique to it. Those who assume a role as a health educator will need to have certain qualities that will help them excel in their position. Strength in the following areas is important for becoming a health educator.
- Good People Skills – Health educators work with the public on a regular basis, and being able to communicate effectively with them is important. Additionally, the job frequently requires discussion with others in the health industry or the public sector.
- Critical Thinking Skills – Part of the job requires gathering of data and then the analyzation of that data to determine what issues need to be focused on, what solutions exist, and whether or not a program that is in use is effective. Strong critical thinking is a must.
- Strong Math Skills – Again, the fact that the job involves the gathering and analyzation of data means that good math skills are a must for anyone looking to enter the field and thrive in it.
- Public Speaking – While it’s not always required, many in the field end up having to present data or engage in public speaking. Again, not all in the field will but it is good to develop public speaking skills to one degree or another.
Nature of the Work
Health educators do a couple of things in most cases. In general they will spend most of their time gathering data and implementing new strategies to help improve the overall health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Along with analyzation of data and development of programs, they will also discuss health concerns with patients or the public. Jobs are found in hospitals, nonprofit agencies, government agencies, colleges, and more.
Education and Training
To become a health educator a person must hold a bachelor’s degree in the field. Certification from the NCHEC is a good idea as well since it will help show potential employers that you’re serious about the job. It isn’t always an outright requirement, but in most cases it will strongly help one find the work they are looking for in the field.
Currently the average salary for health educators is about 20.11 dollars per hour or roughly $41,830 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The specific salary will vary depending on employer and location.