Health educators have the responsibility of encouraging individuals to live healthy lifestyles and to promote habits, which will prevent disease and other nutritional problems. They will commonly address such subjects as proper nutrition and the importance of exercise, in addition to safe sex and screening.
After assessing the needs of their clients, health education workers will then determine how best they should present the necessary information, which may be in a lecture, classroom, health screening, or video format, and they will usually promote ideas which are compatible with a government or their employers.
Health educators will then implement their plan which may require funding or grants, and after the completion of this program, they will then evaluate the success of it. In a hospital or medical care facility, they will usually work one on one with patients, educating them about their diagnoses and the steps that they should take to improve their lifestyle. These professionals will frequently help patients find resources which can help them with their illness, which can include brochures and classes, in addition to extracurricular educational programs.
In colleges and universities, they will work with students in order to prevent risk factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, and dangerous sexual activity. A health educator may also be found in secondary schools where they will teach about the dangers of alcohol and drug use, in addition to how to practice safe sex.
When working in the private sector, these individuals will create programs that will address the needs of employees in a firm, creating presentations which will fit around a worker’s schedule.
Most will work 40 hours a week, with some working on weekends and nights in order to provide public lectures to audiences regarding health and nutrition. They may also have to travel to different business work sites and colleges and other educational institutions in order to give presentations.
Most health educators will require a bachelor’s degree education although some may be able to get by with an associates degree. These professionals hold about 62,000 jobs in America, with 20% working for state and local governments. Employment should grow significantly over the next 10 years as governments and businesses increasingly recognize the value of preventative health.
In 2006, the middle 50th percentile of health educators made between $31,300 and $56,580, with those working in surgical hospitals earning the highest rate of pay.