Online degrees in health promotion and health education, also known as wellness studies, train graduates to promote good health habits within their communities. Health promoters and educators learn the importance of diet, exercise, vitamins, and positive behavior in maintaining personal health. They go on to create public education programs on a range of health topics, including obstetrics, tobacco, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, teenage pregnancy, and immunizations.
In the private sector, corporations and companies may hire health educators to full-time positions (or engage self-employed professionals as consultants), to create education and wellness programs for their employees. At schools, health educators help identify and provide outreach to members of high-risk student populations.
Online health programs in promotion and health education are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Associate’s degrees include a basic science curriculum and coursework in human health, fitness, sex and drug education, nutrition, and more. Bachelor’s degrees offer a more rigorous curriculum, with courses in leadership, computer technology, health and social theory, and developing health education programs.
At the master’s level, students can specialize in health promotion management or health education. Health promotion management qualifies students for leadership positions in health care clinics, hospitals, schools, and nonprofits. Specialized coursework can include health communication, exercise physiology, or business administration. Graduate degrees in health education focus on teaching and research skills. You can also prepare for advancement into executive director, senior health educator, or supervisor roles through completion of a master’s or doctoral degree in health education.
Online Career Training Is Progressive
Many entry-level positions in health promotion and education require that job candidates hold at least a bachelor’s degree and possess volunteer or apprenticeship experience. Coursework in education, psychology, school health, human development, and a foreign language are often major components in career preparation. Skills in communication, public speaking, and sensitivity to cultural diversity are also strong professional attributes.
While certifications are not necessarily required, they can strengthen your credentials. Working health education specialists often seek professional certifications through the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing. Candidates should have completed their college training or be within three months of graduating.
To maintain certification, health educations must continue their education, completing seventy hours of coursework over a five-year period.
Career Opportunities Grow Strong in Health Promotion and Education
Education programs cannot guarantee job or salary prospects, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster than average growth across the health education professions, accounting for a 26 percent increase between 2006 and 2016. Ever-rising medical costs have sparked a growth in educator positions as insurance companies and health care providers hope to increase preventative care to the patient population.
More than 62,000 health educators are employed today, with more than 50 percent of them employed by health care or social assistance agencies. Another 20 percent take positions with federal, state, and local government. Other openings are in social advocacy organizations or with grant-making services.
Median 2007 salaries for health promotion and education professionals were in the $42,920 range.