Login

How to Become a Community Health Specialist

Learn how to become a community health specialist. Research the job description and duties and the education and certification requirements and find out how to start a career in health education. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

View More Schools
Show Me Schools
 Replay
  • 0:04 Community Health Specialist
  • 0:33 Career Requirements
  • 1:25 Career Steps

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Community Health Specialist

Community health specialists, otherwise known as health educators, help develop and implement programs that inform the public on health-related issues. Essential job duties include assessing the needs of the public, developing educational programs and creating flyers and brochures. Employers include hospitals, schools or government agencies. Travel to conduct meetings or run programs might be necessary and may occur during evenings and weekends.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree required, but a master's degree may be necessary to obtain certain positions
Degree Field Health education or health promotion
Licensure and Certification Certification is not required but certain employers highly prefer candidates who are Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES)
Experience 3-5 years of experience with related tasks, like writing reports, analyzing data and public speaking
Key Skills Ability to analyze and interpret data, excellent oral and written communication skills, instructional skills
Salary (2015) $43,840 (median for health educators)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Inova Health System job posting July 2012.

Now let's check out the career steps for community health specialists:

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Pastoral Counseling
  • Community Health Services
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Medical Social Work
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Mental Health Services Technician
  • Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

Career Steps

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Individuals wishing to become community health specialists may pursue an undergraduate degree in health promotion, community health education or a similar discipline. These programs cover theories and practices in the development and implementation of health education programs. Epidemiology, infectious diseases and consumer health are common course topics covered in community health programs. Undergraduate coursework prepares individuals for entry-level positions in community health organizations or graduate-level study.

Success Tips:

  • Enroll in communication and English classes. Community health specialists must possess superior written and oral communication skills. Students wishing to hone their skills should enroll in communication and English classes while working on their undergraduate degree.
  • Complete an internship experience. Internship experiences reinforce material learned in the classroom and allow students to gain practical experience. Students can list the experience gained in an internship on their resume, which can ultimately improve job prospects.

Step 2: Become Certified

Certification is not mandatory, but many employers seek candidates who are certified. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. offers the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) designation. The CHES exam consists of 165 multiple-choice questions testing seven areas, including planning, implementing, communicating and advocating health education. Individuals wishing to take the exam must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree or be within three months of completion.

Success Tip:

  • Prepare for the exam. Before taking the exam, individuals should visit the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. website. Study guides, recommended reading and practice test questions are available to assist students in their preparation.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Many employers look for candidates who have some work experience. Individuals seeking experience can often gain it by participating in an internship after finishing school or through volunteer opportunities in healthcare settings, such as volunteering at a nursing home or a clinic. It's also important to gain experience with certain tasks expected of community health specialists, such as writing reports, analyzing data, public speaking and managing groups, so it's important for prospective community health specialists to find an entry-level job that will give them experience in these areas.

Step 4: Pursue an Advanced Degree

For advanced public health positions in governmental organizations and some advanced positions with private-sector employers, obtaining a master's degree is necessary. The most commonly held degree is a Master of Public Health. Many public health graduate programs offer concentration areas, such as environmental health, epidemiology, global health or health management and policy. In addition to coursework such as urban health education, biostatistics, health program funding and planning and industrial hygiene, graduate students in public health programs might have to complete fieldwork.

Success Tip:

  • Take advantage of internship opportunities. Students enrolled in a master's degree program should complete an internship to gain valuable hands-on experience.

To recap; with a post secondary education, work experience and possibly certification, a community health specialist can earn about $44,000 a year to help develop and implement programs that inform the public on health-related issues.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
    • Master of Science in Health Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS in Health Care Quality
    • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Performance Psychology
    • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MS in Professional Counseling
    • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement
    • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Prevention
    • M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy
    • M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Trauma
    • MS in Addiction Counseling
    • BS in Counseling - Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse
    • BS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Mental Health and Wellness Emphasis in Community Health Administration
    • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology
    • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MBA in Healthcare Management
    • Master of Health Administration
    • Executive Certificate in Health Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?