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Become A Community Educator

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Working As A Community Educator

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $40,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Community Educator Do

Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health workers provide a link between the community, health educators, and other healthcare and social service professionals. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. They collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities. Although the two occupations often work together, responsibilities of health educators and community health workers are distinct.

Duties

Health educators typically do the following:

  • Assess the health needs of the people and communities they serve
  • Develop programs and events to teach people about health topics
  • Teach people how to manage existing health conditions
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and educational materials
  • Help people find health services or information
  • Provide training programs for community health workers or other health professionals
  • Supervise staff who implement health education programs
  • Collect and analyze data to learn about a particular community and improve programs and services
  • Advocate for improved health resources and policies that promote health

Community health workers typically do the following:

  • Discuss health concerns with community members
  • Educate people about the importance and availability of healthcare services, such as cancer screenings
  • Collect data
  • Report findings to health educators and other healthcare providers
  • Provide informal counseling and social support
  • Conduct outreach programs
  • Facilitate access to the healthcare services
  • Advocate for individual and community needs

The duties of health educators, also known as health education specialists, vary with their work settings. Most work in healthcare facilities, colleges, public health departments, nonprofits, and private businesses. Those who teach health classes in middle and high schools are considered teachers. For more information, see the profiles on middle school teachers and high school teachers.

In healthcare facilities, health educators may work one-on-one with patients or with their families. They teach patients about their diagnoses and about any necessary treatments or procedures. They may be called patient navigators because they help consumers find out about their health insurance options and direct people to outside resources, such as support groups or home health agencies. They lead hospital efforts in developing and administering surveys to identify major health issues and concerns of the surrounding communities and developing programs to meet those needs. Health educators also help organize health screenings, such as blood pressure checks, and health classes on topics such as installing a car seat correctly. They also create programs to train medical staff to interact more effectively with patients. For example, they may teach doctors how to explain complicated procedures to patients in simple language.

In colleges, health educators create programs and materials on topics that affect young adults, such as smoking and alcohol use. They may train students to be peer educators and supervise the students’ delivery of health information in person or through social media. Health educators also advocate for campuswide policies to promote health.

In public health departments, health educators administer public health campaigns on topics such as emergency preparedness, immunizations, proper nutrition, or stress management. They develop materials to be used by other public health officials. During emergencies, they may provide safety information to the public and the media. Some health educators work with other professionals to create public policies that support healthy behaviors and environments. They may also oversee grants and grant-funded programs to improve the health of the public. Some participate in statewide and local committees dealing with topics such as aging.

In nonprofits (including community health organizations), health educators create programs and materials about health issues faced by the community that they serve. They help organizations obtain funding and other resources. They may educate policymakers about ways to improve public health and work on securing grant funding for programs to promote health and disease awareness. Many nonprofits focus on a particular disease or audience, so health educators in these organizations limit programs to that specific topic or audience. For example, a health educator may design a program to teach people with diabetes how to better manage their condition or a program for teen mothers on how to care for their newborns.

In private businesses, health educators identify common health problems among employees and create programs to improve health. They work with management to develop incentives for employees to adopt healthy behaviors, such as losing weight or controlling cholesterol. Health educators recommend changes in the workplace to improve employee health, such as creating smoke-free areas.

Community health workers have an in-depth knowledge of the communities they serve. Within their community, they identify health-related issues, collect data, and discuss health concerns with the people they serve. For example, they may help eligible residents of a neighborhood enroll in programs such as Medicaid or Medicare and explain the benefits that these programs offer. Community health workers address any barriers to care and provide referrals for such needs as food, housing, education, and mental health services

Community health workers share information with health educators and healthcare providers so that health educators can create new programs or adjust existing programs or events to better suit the needs of the community. Community health workers also advocate for the health needs of community members. In addition, they conduct outreach to engage community residents, assist residents with health system navigation, and to improve care coordination.

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How To Become A Community Educator

Health educators need a bachelor’s degree. Some employers may require the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. Community health workers typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some states have certification programs for community health workers.

Education

Health educators need at least a bachelor’s degree in health education or health promotion. Students learn theories and methods of health behavior and health education and gain the knowledge and skills they will need to develop health education materials and programs. Most programs include an internship.

Some health educator positions require a master’s or doctoral degree. Graduate programs are commonly in community health education, school health education, public health education, or health promotion. A variety of undergraduate majors may be acceptable for entry to a master’s degree program.

Community health workers typically have a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education. Education programs may lead to a 1-year certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree and cover topics such as wellness, ethics, and cultural awareness, among others.

Training

Community health workers typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Training often covers core competencies, such as communication or outreach skills, and information about the specific health topics that they will be focusing on. For example, community health workers who work with Alzheimer’s patients may learn about how to communicate effectively with patients dealing with dementia.

Other Experience

Community health workers usually have some knowledge of a specific community, population, medical condition, or disability. The ability to speak a foreign language may be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some employers require health educators to obtain the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential, which is offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. To obtain certification, candidates must pass an exam that is aimed at entry-level health educators who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree. To maintain their certification, they must complete 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years. There is also the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) credential for health educators with advanced education and experience.

Most states do not require community health workers to become certified, however voluntary certification exists or is being considered or developed in a number of states. Requirements vary but may include completing an approved training program. For more information, contact your state’s board of health, nursing, or human services.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Health educators collect and analyze data in order to evaluate programs and to determine the needs of the people they serve.

Instructional skills. Health educators and community health workers should be comfortable with public speaking so that they can lead programs, teach classes, and facilitate discussion with clients and families.

Interpersonal skills. Health educators and community health workers interact with many people from a variety of backgrounds. They must be good listeners and be culturally sensitive to respond to the needs of the people they serve.

Problem-solving skills. Health educators and community health workers must think creatively about how to improve the health of the community through health education programs. In addition, they may need to solve problems that arise in planning programs, such as changes to their budget or resistance from the community they are serving.

Writing skills. Health educators and community health workers develop written materials to convey health-related information. Health educators also write proposals to develop programs and apply for funding.

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Community Educator Career Paths

Community Educator
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Team Leader Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Utilization Review Nurse Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Team Leader Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Team Leader President
Advisory Board Member
5 Yearsyrs
Health Educator Adjunct Faculty Registered Nurse Supervisor
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Health Educator Adjunct Professor Nurse Manager
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Health Educator Adjunct Instructor Nurse Manager
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Manager Marketing Director
Community Relations Director
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Project Manager Program Director
Director Of Program Services
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Manager Program Director
Director Of Outreach
6 Yearsyrs
Community Liaison Supervisor Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Community Liaison Office Manager Communications Manager
Community Relations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Community Liaison Administrator Nurse Manager
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Registered Nurse Supervisor Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Education Coordinator Educational Programs Coordinator
Education Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Education Director
Director Of Communications And Outreach
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Coordinator Communications Consultant Communications Project Manager
Communications Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Family Educator 3.3 years
Health Educator 2.6 years
Community Liaison 2.3 years
Community Advocate 2.3 years
Community Worker 2.3 years
Community Educator 2.0 years
Peer Educator 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Community Educator
Internship 12.4%
Teacher 7.1%
Cashier 6.8%
Volunteer 6.7%
Instructor 3.8%
Educator 3.8%
Counselor 3.5%
Top Careers After Community Educator
Internship 7.4%
Volunteer 7.0%
Teacher 6.6%
Instructor 5.2%
Consultant 3.8%
Owner 3.6%
Manager 3.5%
Educator 3.5%

Do you work as a Community Educator?

Community Educator Demographics

Gender

Female

64.6%

Male

23.3%

Unknown

12.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

11.8%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.5%

French

8.6%

Portuguese

6.8%

Chinese

4.3%

German

3.1%

Hindi

1.9%

Mandarin

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%

Italian

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Russian

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Marathi

0.6%

Gujarati

0.6%

Khmer

0.6%

Yoruba

0.6%

Thai

0.6%

Berber

0.6%

Filipino

0.6%
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Community Educator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.3%

University of Memphis

9.9%

University of Mount Union

9.5%

Capella University

7.2%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

6.1%

Walden University

6.1%

Michigan State University

3.8%

University of Florida

3.8%

Barry University

3.4%

University of Central Florida

3.4%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.4%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.4%

Lewis & Clark College

3.0%

State University of New York College at Buffalo

3.0%

Ashford University

3.0%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

3.0%

Monroe College

3.0%

University of Louisiana at Monroe

3.0%

New York University

2.7%

National University

2.7%
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Majors

Business

14.4%

Social Work

11.3%

Nursing

9.6%

Psychology

9.5%

Education

5.3%

Elementary Education

5.2%

Communication

4.1%

Public Health

4.0%

Human Services

3.8%

English

3.6%

Marketing

3.4%

School Counseling

3.3%

Sociology

3.3%

Political Science

3.2%

Health Care Administration

3.1%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Mental Health Counseling

2.7%

Public Relations

2.6%

Health Education

2.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.5%

Masters

31.7%

Other

14.6%

Associate

6.4%

Certificate

3.7%

Doctorate

3.2%

Diploma

1.2%

License

0.7%
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Top Skills for A Community Educator

  1. Community Outreach
  2. Domestic Violence
  3. Hospice
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Plan and implement targeted community outreach and education presentations that are culturally appropriate to the targeted population.
  • Educated public officials, non-profit directors and community leaders about domestic violence in the Asian community.
  • Developed relationships in the community to increase awareness of hospice.
  • Educated patients, families and health care professionals on the health plan policy procedures, rules and guidelines and procedures.
  • Initiated/planned/implemented/evaluated educational programs using multiple innovative delivery models.

How Would You Rate Working As a Community Educator?

Are you working as a Community Educator? Help us rate Community Educator as a Career.

Top Community Educator Employers

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Jobs From Top Community Educator Employers

Community Educator Videos

A Day in the LIfe - Museum Educator

A Day in the Life - Health Educator

Community College Professor, Career Video from drkit.org

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