Health teachers, also known as health educators, teach the health and wellness benefits associated with various behaviors and lifestyles. They work in a number of settings, including educational institutions, public agencies and care centers. Depending on their individual workplace, these professionals may provide information on health-related topics such as:
Health teachers may also instruct diverse groups with a range of health concerns. To effectively communicate with different audiences, these professionals often use a combination of health education tools, including:
Health teachers should be well-versed in a variety of health and wellness issues, particularly those affecting their target audiences. In addition, these professionals should have expert knowledge of current prevention, awareness and treatment programs associated with different health concerns. Excellent communication, interpersonal skills and leadership skills are required to succeed in this profession.
Most health teachers in entry-level positions have at least a bachelor’s degree in health education from an accredited online or on-site educational institution. More senior roles may require master’s degrees as well as internships or on-the-job training programs. Some employers may also prefer health teachers with certification or training in specialized subjects (womens’ health, substance abuse) or populations (seniors or adolescents).
All U.S. states require licensing for public school educators, including health teachers. Private schools may have their own guidelines regarding professional experience and credentials. Health educators inside and outside the school system may consider becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through a program offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
The salary for a health teacher can vary according to his or her location, employer and area of expertise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health educators earned a median annual wage of $45,830 in 2010. Professionals on the lowest end of the earnings scale averaged $26,730, while those on the highest end averaged $81,430.
The job outlook is considered favorable for health educators, with 18 percent growth expected through 2018. Prospects may be especially strong for health teachers with internship or volunteer experience.