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Health Science Adult Education: An Overview

Many different careers are available these days in the fast-growing field of health science. If you can decide which area of health science is the right one for you, you will be sure to find the program you need at a college or university near you. Read on to explore career options and educational requirements.

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Career Options

Some potential career options in health science include working as a health educator, nutritionist, dietitian or health services manager. These careers generally require earning at least a bachelor's degree, while some positions may require an advanced degree. Certification is sometimes required for help educators, while nutritionists and dietitians often have to get licensed.

Health Educator

If you're interested in a teaching career as well as in working in the field of health science, you might wish to explore a career in health education. Courses in health science are offered at elementary and secondary schools, adult education programs and community colleges. Such courses are required for certification in other professional areas, an example being child care, in which a license is only granted to a provider who receives regular training in CPR and first aid.

In order to teach such courses you will need the appropriate background and necessary certification in your subject area. A health education bachelor's degree can suffice for entry-level positions, while aspiring college-level teachers will need a graduate degree. If you are teaching at an elementary or secondary school, you may be required to have a background in education as well. Depending on your employer, you may need to pursue a certification, such as the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be faster-than-average 19% job growth for health educators between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that having a formal education and being able to speak a foreign language might improve job prospects. It also reported in May 2013 that help educators earned a median wage of $49,210, with most earning between $28,680 and $87,770 a year.

Dietitian and Nutritionist

If you are interested in healthy eating, you may be interested in pursuing a career as a dietician or nutritionist. To work in the field, you'll need a bachelor's degree in dietetics and nutrition or one in food service management or another related field. Your studies will include coursework in subjects such as chemistry, biology, food science, nutrition and physiology. State licensure is usually also required. If you choose to become a registered dietician, you could work in a health care facility, for a government agency or in the food service industry.

According to the BLS, dietitians and nutritionists can expect to have favorable job prospects between 2012 and 2022, with faster-than-average growth of 21% expected over this time frame. Earning certification or an advanced degree might improve job prospects. Although salaries may vary with industry and location, BLS reported in May 2013 that most dietitians and nutritionists earned between $33,980 and $78,720 a year, with the median salary being $55,920.

Medical and Health Services Manager

With more and more employers, and even the self-employed, participating in managed health care programs, the field of medical services management is a vital one. In order to prepare for such a career, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration or a similar field. You could also pursue a master's degree. Some common courses in healthcare administration programs include health information systems, human resources, hospital management, health law and accounting. Some graduate programs also include supervised work experience.

The BLS reports that professionals in the medical health services management field can expect to have job growth that is at a much faster than average pace of 23% between 2012 and 2022. As of May 2013, most of these professionals made between $55,470 and $155,130 a year, with the median salary being $90,940.

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