Groups and individuals alike are interested in taking control of their health. Many of them need assistance to meet their goals. Health promotion and education is a vital role in helping both private and public sectors meet these goals.
Many professionals are employed in the government through state, county, and local health departments. A typical job announcement will include skills such as the following: planning and coordinating health education activities, identifying and assessing target populations, conducting teacher in-service workshops, counseling in healthy lifestyle topics, developing curriculum, media campaigns, conducting pre-program and post-program surveys, doing follow-up evaluations with participants, and providing screening services for blood pressure, cholesterol, and body composition.
Non-profit organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Utah AIDS Foundation, and American Diabetes Association hire health educators who are usually involved in making presentations, implementing community awareness programs, creating curriculum and materials for dissemination, in-servicing teachers, recruiting, training volunteers, fundraising, and hosting special events.
Some health educators are hired in the clinical setting. Job responsibilities may include patient education for individuals and groups, needs assessments, and program development, implementation, and evaluation. A clinical background is highly recommended.
Emergency Medical Services
Health educators with an EMS background find jobs in many settings including hospitals, ambulances, fire service departments, law enforcement, and clinical health care. The skills health educators bring to these settings are improved patient care, illness and accident prevention, public speaking, program planning and evaluation, and needs assessment. Emergency Medical Services, like other healthcare fields, has recognized the importance of preventing illnesses and accidents as opposed to treatment after the fact. The field is moving toward expanded health care and preventive services, and health educators will continue to have a strong impact on this field.
School health educators are prepared and certified to teach in schools at the K-12 levels. They are employed by various school districts and work in scholastic and after-school programs throughout their communities.
Health educators are often hired in corporate settings to work with employees. Employee health promotion programs have been shown to reduce absenteeism, improve attitude, improve overall production, and reduce health care costs. Programs may vary from large in-house programs to external consultants providing services for smaller companies. Good corporate health promotion programs are comprehensive in services meaning they provide corporate and individual needs assessments that include the following services beyond just personal fitness: health screenings, stress management, nutrition, smoking cessation, chronic disease control, drug abuse prevention, weight management, and recreation. Health educators in the corporate setting should have a broad understanding of health promotion, health care, fitness and nutrition, in addition to a knowledge of the resources available in their community.