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  • Health Educators

    By Christine Hollander 
    School of Health Sciences

    A health educator teaches individuals and communities behaviors that promote wellness and works to develop and implement strategies for better health.

    As health care costs increase, employment of health educators is expected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, employment of health educators and community health workers is expected to increase 13% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average of all occupations.*

    Job Responsibilities

    Heath educators “collect and analyze data to identify the need of a community prior to planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs designed to encourage health lifestyles, policies, and environments” (SOPE, 2016). They may also assist in administering fiscal resources for health education programs with other health professionals or through specialized organizations. 

    Health educators typically promote health and wellness by:

    • Assessing the health needs of the individual or community
    • Developing programs and events regarding health topics
    • Teaching individuals and groups to manage existing health conditions
    • Handling controversial health issues/content
    • Raising awareness of health-related issues
    • Developing audio, visual, print, and electronic resource materials
    • Conducting research for community needs
    • Assisting with health services and information
    • Supervising staff who implement health education programs
    • Collecting and analyzing data to improve programs and services to the community
    • Conducting outreach programs
    • Advocating for individual and community needs

    A health educator works one on one with individuals and/or families to teach patients about their diagnosis and educate them about treatments or procedures. Health educators are navigators who help patients understand health insurance options and direct them to outside resources, such as support groups or home health agencies.

    Work Environments and Credentials

    Work settings for health educators vary; they include government facilities, hospitals, ambulatory health care, grantmaking services, and professional organizations. Health educators usually need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in health education or health promotion and typically some type of on-the-job training. In some instances a master’s or doctoral degree may be necessary in a school or community health program.

    Many health educators seek credentialing as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through the National Commission for HealthEducation Credentialing, Inc., once they have met the academic requirements for certification. 

    Christine Hollander is a faculty member in the School of Health Sciences. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

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