Integrated Public Health

Health Educator

What is a Health Educator?

A health educator teaches individuals and communities how to live healthy lifestyles to prevent problems that can shorten their lives or, at least, make them unpleasant. They help their clients learn how to eat nutritious diets that are low in sodium, sugar, and fat and to avoid unhealthy activities like smoking and drinking excessively.
These are some typical job duties taken from online ads for health educator positions found on

  • "Provide health and wellness education and advocacy for health care."
  • "Evaluate, design, present, recommend and disseminate high quality, culturally appropriate health education information and materials."
  • "Perform intakes on new and re-enrolling adults in the infectious disease program."
  • "Facilitate classes according to the organization's guidelines."
  • "Maintain patient log of all patients scheduled for procedures."
  • "Plan and implement programs and treatments specifically designed to address the patient's needs."
  • "Consult with physicians and staff regarding related health education services."

To get an entry-level position as a health educator you will take coursework that includes psychology, human behavior, and human development.

Being bilingual will make you more marketable as a job candidate.

You can also complete a bachelor’s degree in Health Education, and then you can, if you choose, become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). While this certification from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. is voluntary, many employers will only hire job candidates who have it. To take the exam that leads to earning this designation, you must have already completed, or be close to completing, a bachelor's degree in health education or promotion. Seventy-five hours of continuing education classes every five years are required to maintain it.

For more advanced positions or if you want a government job as a health educator, you will have to earn a master's degree in a discipline like public health education, community health education, school health education, or health promotion.

What courses at PVCC can help me become a Public Health Educator?

There are a number of courses at PVCC that can help you prepare for a job or career as a Public Health Educator.  Click on the individual course links below to learn more about each course offered here at PVCC:

IPH101 Introduction to Public Health  (NEW!!!  Will be offered for the first time at PVCC this Fall 2018!!)

HES210 Cultural Aspects of Health and Illness    OR   HCR230 Culture and Health

FON241 Principles of Human Nutrition

SPA117 Health Care Spanish I

ASB100 Introduction to Global Health

PSY230 Introduction to Statistics

COM 270 Health Communication

IPH111 Public Health Across the Lifespan  (NEW!!!  Will be offered at PVCC in Spring 2019)

IPH112 Community-Based Health Education in Health and Illness  (NEW!!!  Will be offered at PVCC in Spring 2019)

IPH201 Introduction to Epidemiology  (NEW!!!  Will be offered at PVCC in Summer 2019)

IPH110 Principles of Health and Behavior Change  (NEW!!!  Will be offered at PVCC in Summer 2019)

If you are interested in becoming a Health Educator, one of the first things you should do is contact one of the Integrated Public Health faculty members here on campus.  They would love to answer any questions you have about Health Education or any of the other Integrated Public Health specialties, such as Public Health Worker, Patient Navigator, Health Administrator, or Mobile Integrated Health Care Worker. They will also help you select courses to take and offer advice on jobs and scheduling as well as getting you hooked up with all the resources PVCC has available on campus to make your learning experiences successful.