According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health education jobs are projected to grow 16% by 2026 -- much faster than the average occupation. In 2016, there were over 118,000 health education jobs available. If teaching people about health and wellness appeals to you, this might be the right career path for you.
Health education jobs are not like traditional teaching roles. With a health education degree, you can work in public and private hospitals, businesses, doctor's offices, and community health centers. Most positions require at least a bachelor's degree, which sometimes include teaching certifications. To teach at the postsecondary level, you often need a doctorate, while requirements for non-teaching jobs in health education vary across the education spectrum.
Health education programs are interdisciplinary, blending together different approaches to help individuals and communities learn more about health and wellness best practices. The top programs are accredited by both a regional accreditation body and a programmatic accreditor, like the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Health Education Program?
Specific coursework requirements vary by program, but you can expect a mixture of core and general education requirements. It's best to consider the type of health education job you want and then research programs specific to that occupation. For example, if you want to become a social worker, choosing a bachelor's in health sciences and education with a social work specialization will give you the expertise you need to pursue that career.
Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Health Education
While there can be a lot of variation in curricula, there are a few courses that most accredited online health education programs have in common. Below, you will find a sampling of course offerings found in some of the top programs. Note that these examples are part of the core degree curricula. You will also need to complete general education requirements not specific to health education, like writing and math.
Introduction to Community Health Education
Social and Behavioral Health
Principles of Epidemiology
Methods and Materials in Health Education
Introduction to Clinical Informatics
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Health Education?
Online bachelor's in health education programs take about four years to complete. Most programs require 120 credits and students complete 1-2 courses at a time over six week periods. If you have already completed college courses, you may be able to transfer that credit to your new program, which could mean graduating with your health education degree online sooner.
Some programs are individually paced while others offer cohort learning. Individually paced programs allow students to set their own pace and schedules while cohort learning moves students through the program in a group at a set pace. Cohort programs often create a stronger sense of community, whereas individually paced programs offer more flexibility.
Is Online Learning Right for Me?
To succeed in an online program, there are several habits you must develop. First, make sure to dedicate specific time to your studies. Create a study schedule and try to work over several days rather than all on one day. Second, connect with other students and with the instructor, and seek help if you are confused or falling behind. Take advantage of online office hours to get to know your instructors. Many online courses also have virtual classrooms where you can interact with other students, which helps build a support network.
Time management is key when taking a program online. If you do well with managing your own time and staying motivated, an online program would be a great fit for you. However, if you do better with outside enforcement of deadlines and study time, a traditional program or a hybrid program, in which some classes are taken on campus, might be a better fit for your study style.
Health Education Certification
Once you complete your health education degree online, you will likely need to seek specialized certification for your chosen career. Sometimes these come as part of your program, but they often require additional studying and a written or practical exam. The major certifications related to health education jobs are NCHEC certified health education specialist, CPH certified in public health, and registered environmental health specialist/registered sanitarian.
Once certified and employed, you should stay current with health education best practices by engaging in professional development activities like workshops, classes, conferences, webinars, and podcasts. If you go on to earn your doctorate in health education, you could also become a postsecondary teacher, helping educate the next generation of educators.
Health Education Careers
Completing a health education degree online opens up a plethora of career opportunities, like community health manager, employee wellness coordinator, or public health inspector. With so many job options, you can find a career that fits your personality, ability, and interests. Below are a few example careers that online health education degree graduates can pursue.
Health Educator and Community Health Worker
|Description||Community health workers teach everyday people about good health and wellness practices. They work in hospitals, schools, doctor's offices, nonprofits, corporations, and private businesses. This career requires at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree means higher pay and more responsibility.|
|Median Annual Salary||$46,080|
|Projected Job Growth Rate||16%|
Medical and Health Services Manager
|Description||Medical and health services managers oversee health organizations. These managers help improve service quality, train staff, and serve as facility representatives at public events or investor meetings. Some medical and health services managers have master's degrees, which some employers require, but many have only a bachelor's degree.|
|Median Annual Salary||$99,7300|
|Projected Job Growth Rate||20%|
Social and Community Service Manager
|Description||For every public-facing healthcare organization, somebody has to keep things running. A social and community service manager coordinates these organizations, ensuring that clients get top-notch care and social workers have the support they need.|
|Median Annual Salary||$65,320|
|Projected Job Growth Rate||18%|
|Description||These professionals work with schools, hospitals, or government agencies, helping patients, students, and employees build healthy habits around diet and exercise. They are responsible for keeping people up-to-date with the latest developments in health sciences and encouraging them to stick with nutrition plans.|
|Median Annual Salary||$45,198|
|Projected Job Growth Rate||N/A|
Health Promotion Coordinator
|Description||Similar to a wellness coordinator, a health promotion coordinator helps companies develop programs to encourage healthy habits among their employees. This can include organizing incentive or fitness programs and managing health screenings.|
|Median Annual Salary||$44,846|
|Projected Job Growth Rate||N/A|