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Learning Center Experience
What is your passion? What would you like to do to help people feel better and live a healthier life? Who do you want to help? How can you be most beneficial to your community?
I believe these are questions health educators must ask themselves on a daily basis.
In my current role as a health educator, I am a full-time professor and owner of a wellness-consulting firm. My company, Stick and Carrot Industries, LLC, is a consulting firm specializing in the health and well being of organizations and individuals. As a seasoned health educator, my experience includes developing, designing, and implementing health and wellness initiatives and workplace wellness programs. I believe in giving individuals the tools to make small steps to take control of their health and wellness.
The life of a health educator needs to be one which serves as an example to others. So, what does my typical day look like? I get up, have a kale smoothie, and then head to the gym. I typically mix my workouts up with cardio and strength training-to be honest I love strength training more. I then come home and begin my work day, which includes grading, emailing and phoning students, faculty meetings, and developing and redesigning public health and health education courses.
I think part of being a good health educator is to try new things and get out of your comfort zone-this way you can help others do the same. After lunch I usually take a little time to work on my consulting business, then it is back to the grind with students and peer faculty work. In the evening I enjoy cooking nutritious and healthy meals for my family. Now that the weather is nice, we try to be outside as much as possible.
My day may look very different from other health educators, one because I work from a home office. While your day-to-day setting could look much different, the principles are the same: to help others!
What type of education should a health educator have? Most health education roles require at least a bachelor's degree, with some positions requiring a master's degree or additional certification/designations.*
I personally hold an undergraduate degree in nutrition and exercise from Oklahoma State University. I received a master's degree in community health promotion and a PhD in Behavioral Health Science from the University of Arkansas. I currently hold an MCHES (Master Certified Health Education Specialist) certification and work as a full-time faculty for Kaplan University in the Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Health Education programs.
If you are considering this profession, here are some specialty areas for newly engaged health educators to consider. Daily activities could include mentoring, designing wellness programs, counseling behavior changes, and promoting wellness:
I also urge you to look into different professional organizations, this will help you find your "niche" or at least give you some information to jump-start your career. Some organizations you might find interesting depending on your area of interest are SOPHE, ACSM, APHA, or NCHEC.
Remember, as a Kaplan University student, the teams you have along your educational journey way are here to help. This involves everyone from Admissions through to your final Capstone class. Please know you we are happy to help in any way we can. Good luck!
*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017 Edition, Health Educators or Community Health worker, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-4
Kindann Barahona is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. Kaplan University’s degree and certificate programs are not endorsed by Stick and Carrot Industries, LLC.
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