Career opportunities for health education professionals

Health educators play a crucial role in many organizations in various settings to improve health status of people in the organisations.Some of the specific settings where career opportunities exist for a professional in health education are;

  1. Health care settings: These include hospitals (for-profit and public), medical care clinics, home health agencies, Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPOs). Here, a health educator teaches employees how to be healthy. Patient education positions are far and few between because insurance companies do not cover the costs.
  2. Public health agencies: These agencies provide protection, educational systems, as well as clean air and water. Public health departments provide health services and are organized by a city, county, state, or federal government.
  3. School health education: This involves all strategies, activities, and services offered by, in, or in association with schools that are designed to promote students’ physical, emotional, and social development. School health involves teaching students about health and health related behaviors. Curriculum and programs are based on the school’s expectations and health.
  4. Non profit voluntary health agencies: These are created by concerned citizens to deal with health needs not met by governmental agencies. Missions include public education, professional education, patient education, research, direct services and support to or for people directly affected by a specific health or medical problem. Usually funded by such means as private donations, grants, and fund-raisers.
  5. Higher education: Typically two types of positions health educators hold including academic, or faculty or health educator in a student health service or wellness center. As a faculty member, the health educator typically has three major responsibilities: teaching, community and professional service, and scholarly research. As a health educator in a university health service or wellness center, the major responsibility is to plan, implement, and evaluate health promotion and education programs for program participants.
  6. Work site health promotion: This is a combination of educational, organizational and environmental activities designed to improve the health and safety of employees and their families. These work site wellness programs offer an additional setting for health educators and allow them to reach segments of the population that are not easily reached through traditional community health programs. Some work site health promotion activities include: smoking cessation, stress management, bulletin boards, newsletters, and much more.
  7. Independent consulting and government contracting: International, national, regional, sate, and local organizations contract with independent consultants for many reasons. They may be hired to assess individual and community needs for health education; plan, implement, administer and evaluate health education strategies; conduct research; serve as health education resource person; and or communicate about and advocate for health and health education. Government contractors are often behind national health education programs, government reports, public information web sites and telephone lines, media campaigns, conferences, and health education materials.
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