Careers Paths

A Health Educator: What Is One? A Comprehensive Guide

You might be thinking about working as a health educator if you’re someone who has a keen interest in the wellness and health sector and enjoys the thought of having a good impact on other people’s health. To assist people in creating and upholding healthy habits, health educators team up with both small and large groups of people. You can decide if this career might be a good fit for you by learning about a few of the main duties of health educators.

In this post, we go over what health educator is, their main duties, the typical compensation they earn, the educational criteria they must meet, and the industries in which they might find employment.

Who are the health educators?

A health practitioner known as a health educator instructs both adults and kids on how to integrate healthy and constructive habits into their lives, such as food and exercise. Health educators create resources and initiatives to encourage wellness, collect data, and inform the public about risk factors for disease and good lifestyle choices.

What is the role of a health educator?

Health educators are responsible for a wide range of tasks, such as:

  • Assessing the requirements of the people they provide for
  • Creating activities and initiatives to educate people about a range of health-related subjects
  • Putting together and distributing instructional materials like posters and booklets
  • Facilitating community members’ access to resources and medical care
  • Gathering and evaluating information to discover more about the target audience and actions they can take to enhance their health programs
  • Assessing the success of their programs and resources
  • Advocating for improved health policies as well as assistance for community people
  • Educating people on how to take care of their current medical conditions
  • Managing employees in charge of putting health plans into action
  • Promoting the value of medical treatments like cancer screenings to the general public
  • Providing advice on health issues as well as social support
  • Defending the requirements of people as well as the community at large
  • Increase people’s knowledge of their health and provide them with the tools they need to make healthy decisions
  • Collaborate with and aid a variety of governmental, nonprofit, for-profit, and commercial organizations in the execution of their health promotion initiatives.
  • Conduct community education programs and workshops on topics like heart disease, cancer, cancer prevention, and mental health
  • Create and foster neighborhood collaborations to expand community response to health disparities.
  • Determine the training requirements for persons like volunteers and health professionals that result from national and local objectives.
  • Help other organizations, like educational institutions and neighborhood communities, with specialized guidance and resources.
  • Make sure that programs are founded on the evidence of success and that work is supported by a solid, current understanding of health promotion theory. Advocate for increasing acknowledgment of preventative and promotional strategies that can be applied for a positive influence on a community’s health.
  • Create booklets, posters, films, and brochures to support health promotion in various settings.

Health educators’ working environment

The majority of health educators are employed full-time in workplaces and healthcare settings. They might work for nonprofit groups, corporate companies, and public health departments. They might occasionally work on the weekends or at night, especially if they have important meetings or medical events to attend. They might spend a significant amount of time outside the office engaging with community people and managing programs, depending on their functions.

Five Industries for health educators

Health educators have a broad range of skills that they can apply to a variety of industries and jobs, including community outreach, illness prevention, and advocacy. The five most typical career fields in health education are listed below along with their associated job titles. Please be aware that depending on funding and program, several of these roles may overlap in the sectors they support.

1. Medical care

Health education professionals work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and community outreach initiatives. Consider the following roles in the healthcare industry, each of which has specific obligations in terms of health education:

  • Director of patient education
  • Coordinator for wellness and health
  • Coordinator for neighborhood outreach
  • Care coordinator for patients
  • Manager of medical resources
  • Coordinator of nutrition services
  • Manager of community benefits
  • Lactation advisor
  • Expert in cancer information
  • Manager of medical resources
  • Screener for biometric health

2. Neighborhood and nonprofit

In the community and nonprofit groups, health information dissemination and outreach are also required, especially for marginalized people who might not be able to afford good traditional medical treatment and schooling. The following health educators hold positions with local nonprofits:

  • Health educator for the local community
  • Community engagement expert
  • Program manager for education
  • A case manager
  • Alcohol/drugs educator
  • Family services expert
  • Coordinator for neighborhood outreach
  • Clinical research expert, grant writer
  • Coordinator of a health literacy program
  • Director of health education
  • Coordinator of program resources
  • Community activist

3. Education

There are jobs for health educators in colleges, universities, and both private and public educational institutions. They can work in both public and private sectors for grades K–12 in positions like:

  • Health expert for Head Start
  • Health educators in schools
  • Coordinator for community wellness
  • Health counselor
  • Specialist in youth programs
  • Coordinator of youth outreach
  • Manager of health promotion

The following jobs are available to health educators with higher education:

  • Director of Education
  • Adjunct professors
  • Associate/full professor
  • Specialist in curriculum development
  • Coordinator for wellness and health
  • Director of Management for health initiative
  • Liaison for education outreach

4. Government

With responsibilities in health departments at the local, state, and federal levels, there is a constant need for health education in the civil service. Government money and organization constrain you in professions in health education, but you can still meet the demand of the public. Health educators can fill the following positions in government:

  • Health officer
  • Coordinator for accreditation
  • Epidemiologist
  • Educator in environmental health
  • Coordinator of a program to reduce violence
  • Health advocate and program analyst
  • Coordinator of program resources
  • Inspector of public health
  • Infection control specialist
  • Expert in health information

5. Business

Big organizations frequently either directly employ or collaborate with health education specialists to offer their staff health services, including health preventative, wellness, and instructional programs. Work as a health instructor for a company could include:

  • Programmer for health education
  • Instructor in diabetes
  • media director for health
  • A journalist for health and wellness
  • health advisor
  • Coordinator for employee wellness
  • Director of the cultural competency

In the UK, primary care trusts run by the NHS serve as the primary employers of professionals in health improvement.

Other employers include:

In the UK, primary care trusts run by the NHS serve as the primary employers of professionals in health improvement.

Some other employers are:

  • Charitable organizations like the British Red Cross, Oxfam, and Save the Children
  • Healthy living centers
  • Local governments, which include school-based promotion (like the Public Health Scotland and the Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland, and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities)
  • Organizations that support programs in sports and health
  • Volunteer and philanthropic departments with expertise in health promotion
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

Typical office environments include:

  • Hospitals
  • Local neighborhoods
  • Neighborhoods
  • Schools
  • Prisons

Search for open positions at:

Job titles may differ based on the employer.

Choose your preferred area of expertise in health improvement. To improve your chances of landing a job, you might be able to enroll in brief training courses in particular subjects, such as quitting smoking or working with patient groups.

The level of competition for positions varies by geographic region and individual specializations. The UK government is particularly focused on improving health, and possibilities for people with the necessary abilities are growing.

Professional growth

Although you will receive the majority of your training on the job, you may also take short courses from other sources on subjects like:

  • Teamwork abilities
  • Observing and assessing health promotion
  • Creating health brochures.
  • The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) offers several Level 2 Awards in areas like:
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Promoting healthy eating habits and weight management
  • Promoting quitting smoking
  • Facilitating a change in behavior
  • Comprehending substance abuse.

See RSPH Find a Qualification for more details.

The majority of companies encourage continued professional development (CPD), while others will require understanding if you decide to pursue a postgraduate degree. An employer might occasionally grant a day off for study.

You could want to sign up for the United Kingdom Public Health Registry (UKPHR). Although this is optional, it can help you advance professionally because it will show that you are a qualified health professional.

Prospects for employment

With experience, you can rise to more senior positions like an assistant manager or expert health improvement practitioner. More project and employee accountability as well as more strategic work will be required.

You may pursue specialized training in public health inside the NHS, which would then enable you to apply for posts like a director for public health, where you would set the broad goals for public health in the neighborhood.

Local health improvement units might not have many opportunities for promotion, so any senior positions that do open up will face fierce competition. As a result, you could need to make a sideways move to a different organization, which will enable you to obtain expertise in different fields like governmental organizations or nonprofits.

A planned career path to the managerial level may be available if you transfer to a larger organization. A secondment to another department or job position may also be an option. Another choice is to start a job as a freelance consultant.

Salary of a health educator on average

Although earnings for health educators range widely depending on region, degree, industry, and duties, the average yearly wage is $62,612 nationwide. Salary levels in some cities are often higher than in others. Health instructors can earn the most in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Houston, Atlanta, and Frisco, Texas.

The organization that employs you (such as a primary care trust, hospital, or local council), your location, your specialty, and the strategy implementation level you are working at all affect your salary.

  • Generally speaking, the Agenda for Change (AfC) Pay Rates apply to jobs in the NHS. Health improvement professionals often start at Band 5, where salaries vary from £25,655 to £31,534. This establishes compensation at various levels.
  • After a couple of years of work, you might advance to wages between £32,306 and £39,027 (Band 6).
  • You could graduate to Band 7, where earnings vary from £40,057 to £45,839, once you have accumulated sufficient experience and are employed at a senior level. Working at a key national level may, in some cases, allow you to earn better pay.
  • These amounts are often comparable to salaries earned outside of the NHS.

Education prerequisites

To become a health educator, you must meet the following requirements:

Undergraduate degree

A bachelor’s degree in health education or a closely related field is required at the very least for health educators. The methodologies and concepts of health behavior are taught to students in these courses. Most of these programs provide the chance to conduct an internship where you can work alongside a health educator and get practical experience.

Postgraduate degree

You might be needed to seek a higher degree, such as a master’s or doctorate, by the position you’re pursuing. In the fields of community health, public health, and school health education, graduate degrees are particularly prevalent.


The National Council for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. offers the Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) certificate, which some businesses may demand or prefer in job applicants. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree and take a certification exam to be awarded this certificate. Every five years, you must finish 75 hours of continuing education to keep your certification current.


The majority of employers will want a degree or comparable qualification in a pertinent field, such as:

  • Education
  • Community and youth work
  • Environmental Health
  • Health promotion
  • Dietetics
  • Health studies
  • Public health Nutrition

You might be able to enter with an HND if you have a lot of relevant pre-entry experience or a professional qualification that is relevant. Anyone having the required foundation diploma or degree may apply for a one-year top-up program in health and wellness promotion.

Although not always necessary, a postgraduate degree can be beneficial and may provide you with a competitive edge when looking for work. A postgraduate degree is necessary for some more senior positions, notably those that involve working at the strategic level. Health development, public health, and health promotion are among the topics covered.

Several persons who work here as second careers typically come from the following backgrounds:

  • Social work
  • Environmental Health
  • Medicine
  • Teaching
  • Nursing

Health educators’ skills

The following are the abilities that a health educator has to possess:

Personality traits

To communicate effectively with others, whether one-on-one or in a group, social skills are crucial. Communication, active listening, empathy, the ability to mentor and train others, and a generally upbeat attitude are all examples of interpersonal skills.

Health educators must be able to pay great attention to the person they are talking to and recognize nonverbal clues. To get people to understand how important it is to keep up good behaviors, they must also employ bargaining and persuasion techniques.

Problem-solving abilities

Health educators employ problem-solving techniques to pinpoint the particular difficulties that people might be having and come up with solutions. To enhance the general health and well-being of their communities, they must also be able to come up with original ideas.

Communication abilities

Good verbal and written communication abilities are essential for health educators. They must be able to convey complicated health problems in a way that is understandable and clear. They must also be competent to write documents that transmit medical knowledge. Some health educators would also need to be competent to write proposals to submit funding requests.

Analytical abilities

Information gathering is part of a health coordinator’s job. After gathering this data, they must be capable of analyzing it to identify the community’s greatest needs and create programs to meet them.

Teaching abilities

Health educators must possess good instructional skills, especially public speaking abilities, as they are regularly needed to direct educational programs, conduct conversations, and teach classes.

Computer expertise

To create educational materials containing health information, submit grant requests, and research health-related subjects, health educators must have solid computer abilities.

You must also possess the following abilities:

  • Outstanding communication skills both in writing and speaking
  • The capacity to establish and sustain positive connections with people and organizations, including public, private, community, and nonprofit groups.
  • Good public speaking and group facilitation skills; ability to make decisions and implement plans of action
  • Leadership qualities and the capacity to influence others’ health decisions
  • Knowledge of health-related concerns
  • Compassion for those who are experiencing adversity
  • Initiative and capacity for problem-solving
  • Excellent time management abilities, the capacity to oversee projects and conduct research, inventiveness, and the capacity to meet goals and objectives.

Hours of work

Typical business hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Nonetheless, considerable flexibility is needed because working on the weekends and perhaps in the evenings will be important, particularly when managing community organizations.

Job-sharing may be combined with part-time work, but this must be arranged locally, much like career breaks would. It is occasionally feasible to work for yourself or as a freelancer, for instance in consulting, writing, or research.

How to prepare

  • You will often work from an office, but you may also go to places like sports and fitness facilities, hospitals, schools, and community centers.
  • Working for a national organization puts you in contact with a variety of other agencies, which necessitates regular travel within your community and occasionally farther afield.
  • Having deadlines and goals can put pressure on you.
  • Project-based, fixed-term employment is becoming more prevalent.
  • While working or traveling abroad occasionally in the UK could be necessary, it is uncommon.

Professional experience

Employers will look for evidence of your interest in enhancing your health, as well as ideally some prior experience.

You can participate in related community service projects or job shadowing at a health center or with a nearby organization. To learn more about the options available, get in touch with your neighborhood NHS trust.

It’s also beneficial to have other experience that shows your involvement with the community. This can entail getting active in the neighborhood community center or working with a nonprofit organization that runs outreach programs for residents.


Health educators impart healthcare knowledge to groups such as communities, organizations, or targeted populations. They assess the need for healthcare, develop health education initiatives, and present specialized healthcare education solutions. Also, they have to work with healthcare experts and interest groups to coordinate. Data gathering and the creation of health education initiatives aimed at promoting healthy habits, wellness, and a clean environment will be part of your duties in this position.

Frequently Asked Questions about Health Educators

  • What are the responsibilities of a health educator?

Health educators disseminate health-related knowledge and issues relating to it. They can evaluate the need for health education initiatives and plan them. They may choose to specialize based on certain diseases, conditions, or work or training environments.

  • Can a health educator work in a medical facility?

At hospitals, health educators frequently assist patients in comprehending and adjusting to their diagnoses. Health education professionals may spend considerable time outdoors while executing programs or attending meetings, even though most of them work in offices.

  • Who are health educators?

People are taught about illness prevention and health promotion by health educators. They may collaborate with people, teams, or entire communities. These efforts encourage better-informed choices on matters that affect people’s health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of their communities and families.

  • Which 8 elements make up health education?

The health education curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including sexuality education, injury prevention, and disease control, substance use and abuse, family health, community health, consumer health, environmental safety, and personal and family health.

  • What traits make someone a successful health educator?

For instructors as opposed to pupils, professionalism (20% vs. 5.3%), intellectual activity (20% vs. 3.2%), and role modeling (26.7% vs. 3.2%) were deemed to be the most important qualities.

  • What three types of health education are there?

In the United Kingdom, various forms of health education cover topics like maintaining one’s physical health, using healthcare resources, and the value of the environment to public health.

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