Health education degree programs typically include studies in exercise physiology, community health, and teaching strategies. Program curricula may include student teaching experiences and internships, as well as theses or dissertation projects.
Health educators may require state licensure. They might also earn professional certifications through a national organization.
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Health Education
Prospective students interested in health education often major in a subject like kinesiology or community health education. These programs cover topics in physical education, disease prevention, and human development. Bachelor's degree programs in health education often include a supervised internship or student teaching experience. There are no specific education prerequisites for these degree programs. An inherent aspect of all bachelor's degree programs is the completion of a specified number of general education courses. Some of the core classes common to most health education programs include the following:
- Health education teaching strategies
- Effects of drugs on society
- Physiology and anatomy
- Physical conditioning
- Fitness evaluation and diagnosis
Master's Degree Programs in Health Education
Master of Public Health, Master of Science, Master of Arts, and Master of Education programs in health education often emphasize the research and leadership aspects of the field. Programs are sometimes designed for students with working experience in nursing or similar occupations. Master's degree programs in health education require prospective students to have completed a bachelor's degree program from an accredited college or university. Master's degree programs in health education typically offer some areas of specialization with the program, such as aging studies, psychology, and work-site wellness. Most master's degree programs in health education offer students the choice of taking a thesis track or a non-thesis track. Students who choose the thesis route generally earn fewer classroom credits than non-thesis students. Topics commonly discussed are noted below:
- Exercise physiology and mechanics
- Health education foundations
- Health program planning
- Degenerative and communicable diseases
- Health program analysis
Doctoral Degree Programs in Health Education
Many colleges offer Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), or Doctor of Health Education (D.H.Ed.) programs for those interested in advanced research and academic positions in the field. Students in these programs learn advanced techniques used to design, manage, and assess health education programs. Graduates often work for private companies, schools, school districts, or government agencies. Doctoral degree programs in health education typically require incoming students to hold a master's degree in a related discipline prior to admission. Some schools will have additional education prerequisites, such as a certain amount of credits or coursework in classes like biology, statistics, and health promotion. Students spend a large portion of their time working on a dissertation project, which they present and defend before graduation. Subjects commonly covered in these programs often include:
- Health education ethics
- Health behavior theory
- Applied research methods
- Instructional design
- Educational law
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of health educators is expected to increase by as much as 10% between 2018 and 2028. The median yearly salary for health educators was $54,220 as of May 2018, as measured by the BLS.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
Prospective health educators should research their state's certification and licensing requirements. After graduating from a bachelor's degree program in health education, students have the option to earn the professional credential of Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
Those interested in teaching others about health and wellness may want to pursue a career in health education by earning a bachelor's degree and licensure. Students interested in more advanced careers, including post secondary academic teaching, may seek a master's or Ph.D. in the field.