Accredited Education

What Does a Health Educator Do

Health educators have very important roles in healthcare. They encourage wellness and healthy lifestyles through educating the public about steps and habits that can prevent health problems such as diseases and injuries. Employment of health educators is expected to grow faster than the average job with an increase by 18% in the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With these employment projections, health educators are expected to bring at least 12,000 new jobs to interested candidates.

Health educators aim at educating the public on health and wellness in a variety of ways. They stress the importance of balanced diets, proper nutrition, regular exercise and sleep, and habits to avoid contracting sexually transmitted and other diseases. They hold programs for specific audiences or issues such as those designated for breast cancer awareness, the effects of binge drinking, or those aimed specifically for the elder population. Their programs and events may include health screenings, lectures, demonstrations, and educational materials such as videos or packages.

Health educators can work in a variety of settings including colleges and universities, health clinics, or public health departments. Health educators that work in clinics and medical care facilities work one-on-one with patients and their families. Educators that work in these settings typically counsel patients individually based on their diagnosis. They may also counsel and advise patients about lifestyle changes after they have had major surgeries or procedures. Educators that work in colleges and universities typically counsel and advise students about sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, drinking, and sexual activity.

Most entry-level health educators have at least a bachelor degree. However, some employers prefer a bachelor degree and work experience or a master degree. Health educators spend much of their time with people, so it is important for them to have patience and have strong communicational and social skills. They also need to be comfortable speaking in public as they will likely be giving presentations and/or teaching classes. They also work with diverse populations, so it is important that they are sensitive and understanding of cultural differences.

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