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Eichmann, RDN, and Kerrie Berends, PhD School of Health Sciences Faculty
array of allied health professionals are interconnected by their scope of
practice to provide education and care to their patients through prevention or
treatment of diseases. Health educators may specialize in personal, community,
consumer, environmental, or public health. Whatever the focus, the key is
education that centers on health. The scope of practice of general health
educators is broad and most professionals end up selecting a specific focus
area (Career One Stop).
educators work closely with allied and supportive disciplines which focus on public
health and disease prevention. Health education incorporates a myriad of health
and science industries such as biology, research, education, health, medicine,
and psychology with a focus on disease and illness prevention.
sciences is the foundation of a health educator’s background, and many seek a specialized
focus in public or community health. Health educators can assist in the
planning, implementing, monitoring, organizing, evaluating, and directing of
public or community health education programs. Public health educators can work
with health care providers to create health education materials, flyers,
brochures, and videos.
educators can also choose to work with individuals, families, and the public on
the prevention of disease and the promotion of fitness, exercise, healthy
movement, active aging, or individual sport training. Patient/client education
could be provided in direct one-on-one education settings or as part of a small
or large group. In addition, educators may have the opportunity to teach new
and experienced health professionals.
How does the
work of a health educator shift the way we think about the future of health? The
primary focus of health education is to help improve the level of activity and
increase knowledge of health topics to contribute toward the prevention of
disease. The United States government recognizes the importance of preventative
care and now provides many services free of charge. According to the CDC, “[g]etting recommended prevention
services and making healthy lifestyle choices are key steps to good health and
well-being.” With the large shift toward prevention, screening, education, and
early intervention, health educators can play a large role in the process.
educators can receive training by earning a degree in health education, health
promotion, or another related wellness degree from a nationally accredited
university. In addition, specific certifications and endorsements can be earned
through private and state credentialing authorities. Certain states or
employers may require additional credentialing or certifications such as the
Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) (http://www.nchec.org/ches) or completion of a post-graduate degree in health
Stop. Occupation Profile: Health Educators. Retrieved from http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?nodeid=2&optstatus=000110111&next=occ_rep&jobfam=21&soccode=211091&stfips=&level=&id=1&ES=Y&EST=health+eductor
Prevention Checklist. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/prevention/
Overview. National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
Retrieved from http://www.nchec.org/ches
McKay, D. R.
(April 8, 2015). Health Educator: Career Information. About Careers. Retrieved
Kelly Eichmann, RDN & Kerrie
Berends, PhD are faculty
members at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely
those of the authors and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
Public Health and Health Education: What’s the Difference?
The Importance of Health Educators
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And if you are considering pursuing a health sciences degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Health Sciences and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
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