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Health Communication: Career Information, Outlook and Requirements

Degrees in health communication typically cover medical rhetoric, public health, media relations, healthcare management and marketing fundamentals. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for health communication graduates.

A career in health communication can involve communicating with individuals and communities about health matters or relaying information to the public at large about health concerns. For example, a health educator may hold meetings to inform people about health risks, while a public health journalist may publish reports on various public health matters. All jobs require at least an undergraduate degree.

Essential Information

Degree programs in health communication are found as undergraduate as well as master's-level programs and often include internships or practical field experience. These programs include coursework in marketing, advertising, journalism, biostatistics and epidemiology, health communication technology, health education strategies and media relations.

Career Health Educator Public Health Journalist Wellness Coordinator
Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree, industry certifications helpful Bachelor's Degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 12% -8% (all reporters and correspondents) Statistics not available
Median Salary $51,960* (2015) $36,360*(all reporters and correspondents; 2015) $42,043**(2016)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

Career Options

Health communication professionals educate and inform the public about health-related issues, such as injury and disease prevention, healthcare policy, obesity and smoking cessation. Professionals in this field can be employed with local or state health departments as well as federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health. Private companies, such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, and non-profit organizations also hire health communication professionals. Job titles in this field can include health educator, public health journalist and wellness coordinator.

Health Educator

Health educators create programs to provide the community with information to maintain healthy lifestyles. They may assess the needs of people in the community and develop programs accordingly. Health educator positions require at least a bachelor's degree and some positions, such as those in federal and state public health agencies, require higher level degrees.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job opportunities for health educators, which includes health communication workers, would grow 12% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS reported that health educators earned a median annual salary of $51,960 as of May 2015.

Public Health Journalist

Public health journalists report on news, trends and events in public health and may work for newspapers, magazines, websites or health organizations, or they may work independently. Generally, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education required, and some employers may require additional industry certifications and on-the-job training.

The BLS provides information on all reporters and correspondents and projects a decline in employment opportunities of 8% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also reports a median annual salary of $36,360 for all reporters and correspondents as of May 2015.

Wellness Coordinator

Wellness coordinators create and implement health promotion programs for companies that provide employee wellness programs. Coordinators provide workplace health and nutrition implementation and may analyze and assist with cost reduction and policy changes. Generally, a bachelor's degree along with workplace experience are required for wellness coordinators.

Payscale.com reports a median salary of $42,043 as of October 2016, but job responsibilities and salary can be dependent on geographic location. Job outlook information for wellness coordinators was not available.

Careers in health communication require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Degree programs for wellness coordinators, public health journalists and health educators may include courses in subjects such as health education, journalism, media relations and advertising to help prepare for their careers.

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