In health promotion programs, students investigate a variety of issues including the trends, causes and impacts of sexually transmitted diseases, the effects of social standing upon the spreading of illnesses, the adverse effects of smoking and the impact of certain illnesses on a community. They gain an understanding of health from a sociological, cultural and psychological perspective, and they learn to use that insight to pass information on to members of the community in the most effective way. Common program fields cover areas such as public health, community education and school health education.
Typical prerequisites for health promotion programs include previous education in mathematics, communication, science and English subjects. Students should also have a strong interest in biology, research methods, health care and statistics. Many undergraduate degree programs in the field require that students complete an internship or gain field experience before graduating. Graduates may then choose to study towards a master's degree program in the field.
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Bachelor's Degree in Health Promotion
A degree in health promotion can provide students with the skills necessary to gain entry-level positions in a variety of community health settings, including public health departments, hospital-based health programs, professional and commercial health organizations, corporate health settings and volunteer organizations. Programs cover the basics of health care, research and community-focused communication. Some core courses in the subject include:
- Medical terminology, first aid and safety
- Human anatomy
- Principles of personal health
- Human sexuality
- Current issues in health
- Drug abuse and the community
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21% of health educators worked in hospitals in 2014, while 22% percent worked in the government. There were 57,570 employed health educators in the United States in 2015. The job growth rate for health educators was expected to be 12% between 2014-2024, which is faster than the average job growth rate for all occupations. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for health educators was $51,960 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Options
There are several options for continued education for graduates of a bachelor's degree program in health education and promotion. Some common advanced programs in the field include a Master of Science in Public Health, a Master of Science in Community Education, a Master of Science in School Health Education and a Master of Public Health. Health educators may also choose to gain certification from organizations such as the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc., which requires the completion of an exam.
Potential health promotion majors can choose to study a 4-year bachelor's degree program in health promotion. Courses such as human anatomy and human sexuality will prepare students for a career in the field.