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What Does a Health 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.

How To Become a Health 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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Average Salary
$43,356
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
26,612
Job Openings

Health Educator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Health Educator

Top Careers After Health Educator

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Average Salary for a Health Educator

Health Educators in America make an average salary of $43,356 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $55,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
$43,356

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range45k - 73k$58k$57,826
Washington, DC
Salary Range42k - 68k$54k$53,980
Atlanta, GA
Salary Range39k - 63k$50k$49,807
Reno, NV
Salary Range39k - 60k$49k$49,082
Bellevue, WA
Salary Range40k - 57k$48k$48,177
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range37k - 60k$48k$47,602
$28k
$73k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Health Educator Consultant
Health Educator Consultant
State of Florida
State of Florida
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$73,18101/27/2021
$73,181
Health Educator Consultant
Health Educator Consultant
Florida Department of Transportation
Florida Department of Transportation
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$73,18101/27/2021
$73,181
Health Educator
Health Educator
County of McHenry
County of McHenry
01/12/2021
01/12/2021
$45,83101/12/2021
$45,831
Health Educator II
Health Educator II
Sc Department of Public Safety
Sc Department of Public Safety
01/12/2021
01/12/2021
$33,49401/12/2021
$33,494
Health Educator
Health Educator
Florida Department of Transportation
Florida Department of Transportation
01/08/2021
01/08/2021
$32,26301/08/2021
$32,263
See More Recent Salaries

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Health Educator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Health Educator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Health Educator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Health Educator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Health Educator Demographics

Gender

female

71.1 %

male

24.1 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

60.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

18.7 %

Black or African American

12.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.3 %

French

12.4 %

Portuguese

3.4 %
See More Demographics

Health Educator Education

Majors

Nursing
10.7 %

Degrees

Bachelors

44.5 %

Masters

38.2 %

Associate

5.4 %

Top Colleges for Health Educators

1. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

5. Texas A&M University

College Station, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,870
Enrollment
53,194

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

8. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$43,884
Enrollment
6,917

9. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

10. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Health Educator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.9% of health educators listed public health on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and instructional skills are important as well.

  • Public Health, 9.9%
  • Health Care, 9.7%
  • Health Information, 7.9%
  • Community Health, 6.9%
  • Health Education, 5.5%
  • Other Skills, 60.1%
  • See All Health Educator Skills

Best States For a Health Educator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a health educator. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Alaska. Health educators make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $65,505. Whereas in New Hampshire and Maryland, they would average $62,927 and $57,660, respectively. While health educators would only make an average of $51,902 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Health Educator Jobs:
182
Highest 10% Earn:
$99,000
Location Quotient:
1.89
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Maryland

Total Health Educator Jobs:
635
Highest 10% Earn:
$89,000
Location Quotient:
1.81
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Connecticut

Total Health Educator Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$104,000
Location Quotient:
0
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do Health Educator Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

NursingMay 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoNursingMay 2019

What do you like the most about working as Health Educator?

Helping other people who can't help themself Show More

What do you NOT like?

Not teaming up because I trust team work is always the best to acquire knowledge and provide good result. Show More

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Top Health Educator Employers

1. Interactive Health
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$34,798
Health Educators Hired: 
122+
2. Kaiser Permanente
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$43,211
Health Educators Hired: 
107+
3. WebMD
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$42,251
Health Educators Hired: 
97+
4. Cigna
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$40,420
Health Educators Hired: 
46+
5. Planned Parenthood
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$37,174
Health Educators Hired: 
46+
6. Peace Corps
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$35,316
Health Educators Hired: 
43+

Health Educator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020