Health educators often work towards meeting the needs of underserved populations. These populations may not have ready access to health information that could help them make better lifestyle choices. Health educators provide that information while directing patients to community health care centers and similar facilities that may provide treatment when necessary.
Health educators may also teach basic first aid to members of the community, including laypersons and employees, such as lifeguards, who require training for their jobs.
A health educator can serve populations in a variety of ways, such as:
Conducting health screenings
Encouraging people to follow healthy sanitation and hygiene guidelines
Providing basic health care services to children and pregnant women
Advocating for the rights of underserved populations
Some employers may refer to health educators as community health workers. In many cases, the positions are the same or nearly identical.
Health Educator Job Education Requirements
While requirements vary by state and organization, most health educators need to complete bachelor's degrees to qualify for entry-level positions. Agencies operated by the federal government require health educators to hold master's degrees in subjects such as public health education and school health education. Many state health agencies also require master's degrees. Although less common, some health education employers may consider applicants who have associate's degrees.
Most programs that prepare students for jobs as health educators include internships that give them real-world experience. Those who wish to pursue similar careers with fewer educational requirements may want to consider becomingpatient advocates. Patient advocates usually have high school or bachelor's degrees.
Health Educator Job Market
The job market for health educators is expected to grow quickly between 2012 and 2022. At a rate of 21 percent, it's nearly twice the average speed of growth for U.S. jobs. In 2012, there were approximately 99,400 health educator jobs in the country. By 2022, analysts expect the industry to add 21,400 job openings to that number.
Health Educator Job Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for health educators in 2012 was $41,830. In 2013, top earners made over $87,000 while those in the bottom 10th percentile earned $28,680.
Where health educators work can significantly affect how much money they earn. States with the highest mean wages for health educators include:
District of Columbia ($74,710)
Health educators who want to earn more money may want to apply for positions in these states.