5 Benefits of Becoming a Health Educator
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been a recent push for health education in an effort to reduce the costs of healthcare in the U.S. This has resulted in an estimated job growth of 37 percent in the field of health education between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is significantly higher than most occupations’. Health educators continuously make a positive impact on the well-being and overall health of our communities. Becoming a health educator is a great way to have a financially stable career while making a positive difference in the world around you. Here are five of the most rewarding benefits of pursuing a career in health education.
A community is not capable of becoming strong if its citizens are not healthy enough to achieve their goals, take care of their families and lead fulfilling lives. Health education promotes mental, physical and emotional wellness, which creates a more productive community. Improved community health awareness contributes to a healthier and stronger workforce, which ultimately improves the financial security of citizens. The Center for Disease Control reports that since 1900, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has increased by 30 years, and 25 of those years are the result of public health initiatives. Health educators have the benefit of knowing their work contributes to a stronger community of citizens who are living longer and healthier lives.
Health education careers are rapidly growing, and the opportunities for vocational and educational advancement are growing right along with them. The rising need for highly qualified health educators has resulted in employers providing assistance for their employees’ continued education. This is tremendously helpful in this type of work, as receiving an advanced degree will qualify you for some of the top-paying jobs in the field. Job opportunities in health education are extremely diverse, and positions are available for those with educational backgrounds ranging from an associate degree to a doctorate. An associate degree or bachelor’s degree will qualify you for careers in areas such as reproductive health, nutrition and public health inspection. Those who go on to receive master’s degrees and doctorates can contribute to the world of public health through much-needed research in areas such as mental health and disease prevention.
In addition to the high growth rate of job opportunities, careers in health education provide financial stability. With a median salary of $45,000 per year, the average health educator is able to live comfortably. The U.S. is continuing to place an emphasis on reducing disease and improving the health of our country’s workforce, giving health educators the added benefit of job security. Government agencies as well as private sectors are continuously creating health initiatives that keep qualified health educators in high demand.
Sharp Interpersonal Skills
Many health educators spend the bulk of their time interacting with the community. This requires excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen to the concerns of others. Heath education careers sharpen public speaking skills, as educators are required to give a variety of presentations that range from high school health classes to pitching government grant proposals. Additionally, health educators must frequently communicate with individuals one on one, which requires impeccable verbal communication and listening skills. Being a health educator often requires conveying highly sensitive and personal information in a compassionate and professional way. These experiences make health educators excellent communicators, which qualifies them for a number of people-oriented career paths.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of becoming a health educator is the tremendous impact you can have on the health and quality of life of countless individuals. Quality health education continues to contribute to reducing obesity, preventing unwanted pregnancies, and finding new treatments for terminal illnesses. Health education has also dramatically reduced the spread of HIV/AIDS and has helped those with HIV to live longer. According to United Nations Population Fund, increased education worldwide could prevent hundreds of thousands of new HIV infections from occurring each year. Becoming a health educator will give you the rare opportunity to save and improve the lives of others while pursuing your passion.
With the job market rapidly increasing and a continued emphasis on health, this is an exciting time to pursue a career in health education. Becoming a health educator will allow you to have a fulfilling and financially stable career while you make a positive impact on your community.
Image by Hernani Larrea from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Amanda Klipp is a contributing writer and has worked as a professor of health management for the past 10 years.