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Health Education Salary

What is the average salary of a health educator?

The salary for health educators can vary greatly depending on the type of employment setting, region of the country, years of experience, tenure and rank, and the availability of the skilled individual. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the mean annual wage for health educators nationwide was $55,260 as of May 2014. This is somewhat higher than the $47,230 mean wages earned for all occupations combined in the U.S., according to May 2014 BLS data. However, wages did vary for the job. Those with a median income in the lowest 10 percent earned $29,650 or less while those with median wages in the highest 10 percent earned $90,260 or more, shows BLS data.

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What are the rewards of a job in this field?

For college or university instructors, influencing young individuals entering the field and sharing your joy of the profession may be a reward. Also, those who are interested in health and improving day-to-day living may want to share their knowledge and insight with others, helping them to create healthier, more active lives.

Is this profession in high demand?

The BLS reports that job demand for health educators is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022. This job growth is faster than average and could result in 11,200 new jobs becoming available during this time. A factor in this demand is that education can be used to reduce health care costs by teaching people about better habits and behaviors, as well as available health care services, with the hope of improving health care outcomes. Education also can be imperative in prevention or early identification of serious conditions, including lung cancer, HIV and heart disease, according to the BLS. Health educators can also teach people already diagnosed with an illness, such as asthma, about managing their condition to prevent unnecessary trips for urgent or emergency care.

Preventative screenings will also be available more frequently due to a change in federal law expanding health care coverage and services for people. Health educators will be imperative in providing information about the availability of these preventative services, any of which could be beneficial in identifying or helping to prevent disease at an early stage.

Is there room for advancement?

According to the BLS, job opportunities could be the best for those who speak a foreign language. That is because communication is imperative, particularly if a person is a non-native English speaker and does not understand the available types of health services. Other health educators could have a job advantage simply by completing a college degree and working with a specific population, disability or medical condition, reports the BLS. A bachelor's degree in health education or health promotion is typically needed to enter the field.

Another available route to begin a career in health education is to obtain certification. The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification is offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., and is awarded after the applicant has passed an exam. Every five years, 75 hours of continuing education is needed to maintain this credential, according to the BLS.

Those wanting to work for the federal government or even in public health often need to have a master's degree or sometimes doctoral education, reports the BLS. However, a variety of educational programs can be found at the graduate level, including in community health education, health promotion and public health education. At this level, professionals may want to pursue the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) credential available through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.

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Sources:

  1. Health Educators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211091.htm
  2. Health Educators and Community Health Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm
  3. May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000

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