What Is a Health Educator?
Those who become health educators enjoy promoting wellness and teaching individuals and communities about healthy behaviors. As a health educator you have the ability to choose a particular area of interest, such as mental health, drug abuse, sexual health, nutrition management, smoking and alcohol abuse, or disease prevention. Health educators also act as liaisons between the community and healthcare professionals, developing educational and outreach programs for various groups.
Health educators work in universities or colleges, public health departments, private businesses, nonprofit agencies, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and more. Your duties will often vary based on where you work. For instance, health educators who work in hospitals or other health care facilities explain health insurance options, diagnoses, and treatment options to patients; organize health screenings; and educate patients on available health services.
The median salary for all health educators was $53,940 in 2017, but salaries vary depending on where you work, your education path, training, and the types of licenses you hold. For example, check out the median salary for health educators working in these environments:
|Industry||Median Annual Salary (2017)|
|Nonprofit, religious & private businesses||$48,640|
|Outpatient health facilities (e.g. assisted living facilities)||$51,130|
Some of the most popular health educator career options are within the public health and community health sectors, as a certified health education specialist or as a health teacher in a K-12 school. We'll examine these careers and their salaries in more detail below.
Public Health Educator Salary
Average Salary: $44,660
Public health educators develop health-related campaigns to educate public groups on a wide variety of healthcare topics. These topics are mostly focused on educating the public about health issues affecting local communities, including drug abuse, public policy changes, disease prevention, and mental health. Public health educators also coordinate emergency preparedness plans for local issues affecting the public, such as hurricanes, tornados, disease outbreaks, etc., and convey that information to the public if any emergency should arise. The median salary among all public health educators was $44,660, but reported salaries range from $30,000-$60,000. This figure also varies depending on experience. For instance, an entry-level public health educator earned a median salary of $43,000 while more experienced educators earned $53,000.
Community Health Educator Salary
Average Salary: $44,356
Community health educators work to educate their community on healthcare services and provide essential health information to other health educators and healthcare providers. Community health educators made, on average, $44,356 in 2018.
Though not a requirement for community health educator positions, people passionate about community health education may consider enrolling in a Ph.D. program in community health education and promotion. A Ph.D. of this nature can prepare you for work in multiple sectors, including within healthcare, non-profits, government offices, and private businesses, in high-level positions like health care researcher, college or university professor, or health policy analyst. These positions may require an advanced degree, but they also have an increased salary potential. A few examples include:
|Position Type||Average Annual Salary|
|Postsecondary Health Specialties Professor||$122,890|
|Health Policy Analyst||$59,691|
Certified Health Education Specialist Salary
Average Salary: $47,282
Certified health education specialists (CHES) are health educators who have earned advanced certification from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. This certification ensures health educators understand the basic responsibilities of being a health education specialist. Certified health education specialists work as health educators at universities, schools, health departments, hospitals, and more. Health educators with the CHES certification assess the health needs of their communities and develop programs to educate people about health conditions, healthcare services, vaccinations, nutrition, and illness prevention.
The median salary for certified health education specialists was $47,282, but depending on experience it could range from $40,000-$70,000.
Health Teacher Salary
Average Salary: $49,009
Health teachers follow a health curriculum set out by their state that covers topics in healthy nutrition, hygiene, disease prevention, exercise, safe sex, and drug addiction and dependency. The requirements to become a health teacher vary based on where you are going to teach, but typically include having a bachelor's degree and state teaching certification.
The overall average salary of a health teacher was $49,009 in 2018, though this salary varies dependent on location, education, experience, and grade levels (e.g. elementary, middle school, etc.). In general, health teachers earn a salary typical to other types of teachers. Median salaries for general K-12 teachers are as follows:
|Grade Level||Median Annual Salary (2017)|
|Kindergarten & Elementary School Teachers||$56,900|
|Middle School Teachers||$57,720|
|High School Teachers||$59,170|
Health teacher positions are also available within postsecondary schools, where you could teach subjects such as pharmacy science, public health, veterinary medicine, and more. The 2017 median wage for postsecondary health educators was $97,870.
All statistics come from PayScale.com (2018) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017).