How to Become a Public Health Educator

Here is how to become a health educator, including the training, skills, and certifications you’ll need.

Public health educators are vital to the health industry because they help provide helpful information to the public about healthy life choices while also assessing the health needs of specific communities.

If you’ve always wanted to pursue a career in this healthcare field, you’ll find this article highly useful.

Health Educator Training & Education Requirements

As suggested by the topic, the goal is to help provide information on steps for becoming a public health educator. We’ve given detailed steps below you’ll need to follow to achieve your goal.

All you have to do is follow the paths provided. Without further delay, let’s proceed to our discussion.

Who’s a Public Health Educator?

To provide a little background, public health educators, also called health education specialists are professionals whose duties include teaching the public about wellness.

In other words, their objective is to help people live healthy lives.

Before these professionals teach, they must assess a community’s health needs. This allows them to focus on such conditions to address them through advice on lifestyle changes.

Health education and advocacy are the primary objectives of these professionals.

Now public health educators have acquired various titles. Some examples include infection prevention manager and director of community outreach & partnerships.

More titles include health department planner, employee wellness program administrator, and health education specialist.

Becoming a Public Health Educator

Having provided a little introduction, there are certain basics you cannot do without in your journey to becoming a public health educator.

First, you’ll need to develop critical skills like writing, teaching, and analysis. You also need problem-solving skills and interpersonal relationships.

  • Writing

Writing skills need to be acquired by aspiring public health educators because they’ll be writing grant proposals, curricula, and program materials, amongst others.

These help with effective communication with your target audience.

  • Teaching

Public health educators’ teaching is a crucial responsibility as they educate clients about health issues while also training staff. Fulfilling these responsibilities requires gaining the skills needed.

  • Analysis

We mentioned earlier that public health educators initially assess a community’s health needs. This action requires analytical skills and critical thinking.

Like the other skills mentioned, this is acquired in training.

  • Problem-Solving

Problem-solving skills are critical to performing your functions as a public health educator. That is because a myriad of challenges come up during planning for programs.

Gaining this skill enables you to find creative solutions to overcoming such obstacles.

  • Interpersonal Relationships

Your job as a public health educator will always involve interaction with people of diverse backgrounds.

As such, it’s essential to have interpersonal skills such as empathizing and being culturally sensitive. Good listening is another aspect of this skill.

Public Health Educator Training, Skills & Certifications

You cannot achieve your objective of becoming a public health educator without proper training. Such training includes education, acquiring field experience, and getting certified.

Let’s have a look at each of these for a better understanding.

i. Educational

The importance of this path to becoming a public health educator cannot be overstated.

First, you’ll need to acquire a bachelor’s degree in public health, health education, or other related fields. This is the basics, as it helps you develop foundational public health knowledge.

For the most part, a bachelor’s degree in public health or related fields would be enough to fill certain positions. However, other employers may have advanced degree requirements.

You might want to get an advanced degree if you’re more interested in administrative or leadership positions.

Speaking of an advanced degree, you can get this by enrolling in a master’s program in public health. Working professionals seeking to boost their career prospects also register for this advanced degree.

As stated earlier, this isn’t always a requirement as some entry positions accept bachelor’s degree holders.

ii. Acquiring Field Experience

Field experience is one of the critical requirements for becoming a public health educator.

Without this, you won’t be able to gain hands-on experience. This can be obtained within a bachelor’s or master’s public health program.

Through internships and field experiences, public health educators get to acquaint themselves with realities within their area of expertise.

What more? You get to put what you’ve learned into practice. Career options include community outreach coordinator, public health program specialist, health services manager, or health officer.

Through hands-on experience, public health educators build their skills in competencies that are core to health education.

These include health education planning, needs assessment, health education & promotion management, and health education evaluation & research.

iii. Getting Certified

Public health educators need to be certified.

Now, there are specific certifications you’ll need to acquire. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing provides basic standards for education.

Having completed such a program, you’ll need to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) exams.

These two certifications (CHES & MCHES) prop up your value in the eye of employers.

So, are these certifications a must for all public health educators? Not really. Some employers accept or consider applications from candidates having no such credentials.

Finding Job Openings

After acquiring training and certification as a public health educator, the next step is finding a job to practice. Your skills allow you to fill in a variety of positions.

Examples of public health educator positions you can fill include academic policy advisor, nurse educator, health teacher, etc.

Of course, your work setting will likely impact your decision on what you go for. Typical work settings include corporate environments and academic and clinical communities.

There are always job openings for persons seeking to establish their careers.

In our discussion, the focus has been on showing clear paths toward achieving your goal as a public health educator. That being said, all that’s needed on your way is to proceed with the actualization of your objectives.

Of course, the opportunities are enormous and can be profoundly satisfying for persons interested in careers in public health education.