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5 Career Opportunities for Public Health Educators

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, but it has also sparked a renewed focus on public health education. Community wellness has put heavy emphasis on topics like proper handwashing techniques, social distancing and other precautions individuals can take to reduce viral spread. This emphasis on health education reduces the risk of preventable illness while also making communities safer.

Public health education professionals will benefit from this trend, as their unique skill sets will be more in demand than ever before. Professionals in this field can begin honing their abilities and knowledge with an advanced degree in public health.

Why Should You Choose Public Health Education for a Career?

Public health educators serve the greater good by promoting healthy practices in the communities or organizations they are a part of. According to the CDC Foundation, professionals in the field of public health “try to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services and conducting research … ” Health education initiatives are incredibly valuable to the global community and are implemented through the following methods:

  • Researching disease prevention
  • Detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases
  • Partnering with community stakeholders to promote healthy lifestyles
  • Limiting health disparities and promoting equal access to healthcare

Career Paths for Public Health Educators

Public health education is most certainly a growth industry, and individuals who earn an advanced degree in this field tend to have more access to leadership opportunities, as well as increased compensation rates. Here are five career pathways open to graduates with advanced degrees in public health education:

  1. Community Health Educator (average yearly salary: $48,140)

Health educators are the first line of defense against the spread of disease or illness. The educational initiatives they design can help protect communities against viral outbreaks or unexpected environmental health issues. They are also responsible for the following:

  • Advocating for improved health resources
  • Overseeing health education programs
  • Collecting and analyzing health data
  1. Diabetes Educator (average yearly salary: $82,891)

Patients with illnesses like diabetes sometimes require more attention than traditional medical treatment. The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists states that diabetes educators can “guide patients so they understand their diabetes and how it affects their personal lives, and work with them to set (and meet) behavior change goals to improve their health.” Additional duties may include:

  • Providing instruction on healthy eating and nutrition
  • Educating patients on their medications
  • Helping patients learn to monitor and interpret their glucose levels
  1. Medical Resource Manager (average yearly salary: $104,280)

Medical resource managers oversee health services at various types of medical facilities. They must be well versed in research as they are expected to stay current on any new developments in their field, changes in policies or regulations and any recent technological advances. Other responsibilities may include:

  • Organizing and maintaining facility records
  • Determining goals and objectives for the organization
  • Training, educating and supervising facility staff members
  1. Health Coach (average yearly salary: $60,247)

Health coaches typically work with clients on an individual basis. Much of their work involves helping clients set wellness goals and educating them on how to reach them. They may also take a holistic approach to health by delving into their clients’ relationships, professional lives and physical activity levels. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition lists the following as additional duties of a health coach:

  • Assisting clients in constructing sustainable fitness, nutrition and wellness routines
  • Helping clients explore their wellness motivation and goals
  1. District Wellness Coordinator (average yearly salary: $60,568)

According to the article “School Wellness Coordinator Responsibilities, district wellness coordinators “develop and oversee wellness programs and initiatives, create and roll out health-based curriculum and respond when necessary to health crises.” These important health education professionals are responsible for crafting their districts’ wellness policies as well as the following duties:

  • Overseeing exercise and nutrition programs
  • Establishing wellness guidelines all district schools must meet
  • Creating vaccination or preventative illness programs

Now is a promising time to be a public health education professional. Graduates from a program like the MSEd in Public Health Education at Southern Oregon University will be ideally positioned to embark on rewarding careers that, in addition to being financially rewarding, will also positively influence their communities. 

Learn more about Southern Oregon University’s Master of Science in Education with a Concentration in Public Health Education online program.

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