Individuals with a master's degree in health education have the necessary knowledge to work as health educators, whose main purpose is to inform and change minds regarding health. Positions in this field can be found in a variety of areas such as corporate offices and inner city health clinics.
Health educators provide communities and corporations with innovative practices for disease prevention and healthy lifestyles. Undergraduate courses in biology, psychology or communications may serve as preparation for a master's degree in the field. Many students who enter a master's degree program in health education may have received an undergraduate degree in nursing or psychology.
Though a bachelor's degree is a minimum requirement for a job in health education, a master's degree or doctoral degree is often required for a job in the federal government and state public health agencies. The graduate program prepares educators to address issues in health promotion, school health, community health, and public health education.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree at minimum; graduate degree required for some positions|
|Certifications||Voluntary but recommended; Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) for educators with a bachelor's degree; Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) for educators with advanced education|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||12%|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$56,690 for health educators in general; $96,760 for health educators working for the federal government|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Master's Degree in Health Education Coursework
Students of a master's degree program in health education generally take classes in science, research methods, communications and motivation. The coursework prepares the student to take an exam to become a Certified Health Education Specialist, a credential offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Students may focus their graduate coursework in community health, health promotion or school health education. Some programs require students to complete an internship or write a master's thesis prior to graduation.
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Career Information: Master's in Health Education
Health educators design, implement, conduct and evaluate health education programs. Their goals are to change attitudes and behaviors about health and fitness of community members and increase health literacy. A health educator might work as a community outreach advocate in an inner city HIV/AIDS clinic. Another might work as a corporate wellness specialist, developing corporate fitness classes or employee wellness programs. Health educators work in a variety of settings, including corporate health promotion departments, non-profit community health agencies, college health centers, state and local health departments, faith-based organizations and healthcare facilities.
Salary Information and Job Outlook: Health Educators
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 57,570 health educators were employed in 2015. The agency expects employment in this position to increase at a rapid rate of 12% (faster than the average for all occupations) between 2014 and 2024, as a result of increasing healthcare costs (www.bls.gov).
The annual average salary for health educators was $56,690 in 2015, though this varies by industry. Those who worked for the federal government brought in the most income as of May 2015, at an average of $96,760 annually, reports the BLS. Health educators working in specialty hospitals made significantly less, averaging $72,960.
If you want to become a health educator, having a master's degree will open your options and increase the likelihood that you will earn a larger salary, but a bachelor's degree is accepted by some employers. Health educators working for the federal government earn the best salaries in this field.