Health Educator or Community Health Worker

Are you fitness freak? Do you watch before you eat? Whether your day begins with some Gym training or physical exercise? Do you like to teach people about health and hygiene? If yes, then you can chose for a career in health education. You can build help governments and non-profits in building a healthy society or help health care centers / medical hospitals in teaching ailing patients about health.

Health is a commodity gifted to every being free; however to keep those goodies safe and perfect requires efforts and education. Public health is of utmost importance to any nation. This is why governments allocate significant budget towards public health systems. Health Education is one part of that system.

While health education is offered to learners right from school level, but to those who like to educate others there are various college programmes offering associate degree, degree, diploma etc. And those wish to do more can join a health education programme at masters and research level. These programmes are offered worldwide through medical schools and various university departments and colleges.

If you have good communication skills and wish to do something for the society, then becoming a health educator/community health worker might be the career for you. Health educators play an important role in the society related health education programs. They provide information to individuals, groups and communities in order to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Who is Health Educator?

Health Educator are people who have chosen a career to make individuals, groups or a community aware about the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle. They have done specialized courses and training in order to excel in their field and help individual(s), groups leading a contended and a happy life. 

 Role of Health Educator

The role of a health educator depends upon the the organization they are employed. They may work in health care center(s), schools, colleges, non-profit organizations or public health departments.
Some of the major work responsibilities are:-
  • Collect and analyze data.
  • Prepare reports and make presentations.
  • Handle controversial health issues/content.
  • Write educational material, newsletters, public information reports, and grant proposal.
  • Develop health education programs.
  • Identify resources.
  • Encourage healthy behavior.
  • Develop social marketing and mass media campaigns.

Typical Jobs for Health Educators

Community Health Programmes
  • Community Health Educator
  • Education Program Manager
  • Case Manager
  • Alcohol Educator
  • Family Services Specialist
  • Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Program Resource Coordinator
  • Community Organizer
  • Health Education Programmer
School Health Programmes
  • District Wellness Coordinator
  • School Health Educator
  • Youth Program Specialist
  • Head Start Health Specialist
  • Health Counselor
  • Youth Outreach Coordinator
Business and Non-Profit Health Programmes
  • Health Literacy Program Coordinator
  • Wellness Consultant
  • Health Coach
  • Corporate Trainer
  • Employee Wellness Coordinator
  • Worksite Safety Coordinator
  • Health Marketing Coordinator
  • Cultural Competency Trainer
  • Health Media Consultant
  • Grant Writer
  • Health Journalist
Academia and University Health Programmes
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Curriculum Development Specialist
  • Health Programs Management Director
  • Education Outreach Liaison
  • Health Promotion Programmer
  • Health and Wellness Coordinator
Government and Health Department Programmes
  • Accreditation Coordinator
  • Health Officer / Director
  • Prevention Specialist
  • Health Program Analyst
  • Public Health Inspector
  • Public Information Specialist
  • Health Information Specialist
  • Epidemiology Assistant
  • Environmental Advocate / Educator
Health Care Programmes
  • Community Outreach Manager
  • Health and Wellness Coordinator
  • Medical Resource Manager
  • Patient Education Director
  • Biometric Health Screener
  • Nutrition Services Coordinator
  • Community Benefits Manager
  • Prevention Program Director
  • Lactation Consultant
  • Cancer Information Specialist
Also a certified healthcare professional can work as consultant. Job roles, selection criteria, salary etc are varied depending on the geography you work, level of service, qualification and experience etc.

Skills required for becoming a Health Educator

Analytical skills : For analyzing data and other information.

Communication skills: While making presentation and educating people, having good communication skills- vocal or written is always an asset. 

Interpersonal skills: Meeting new people and maintaining contact always helps people in sharing their problems with the health educator.

Trouble shooting skills:  Creative people with good logic and ability to find solutions make good health educators.

Pros and Cons of being a Health Educator

  • Jobs satisfaction.
  • Faster than average job growth.
  • Higher than average salary potential.
  • Several employment options available.
  • Variety in daily activities.
  • Extended working hours.
  • For certain positions- especially senior levels, certification is a must.
  • Meeting  new people/doing different kind of work daily can be challenging.

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