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What Is a Health Educator?

Written by: North Carolina Central University   •  May 29, 2024

Health educator standing and holding a tablet in an office.

What Is a Health Educator?

Everyone benefits from healthy habits, whether that is eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of exercise, or getting sufficient sleep. While some of these habits may seem like common sense, others can require education. That is where health educators come in; they play a significant role in promoting public health in different communities.

Health educators are public health professionals who may work with children or adults, coaching and instructing them on cultivating habits that promote well-being. Those who have an interest in education and a zeal for health and wellness should know what a health educator is. They may find this role to be richly meaningful. Earning a degree in public health can be an important first step.

What Is a Health Educator’s Job Description?

A health educator’s ultimate goal is to provide the insight and guidance that children and adults need to better steward their health. A health educator may develop materials and programs to convey the importance of sound nutrition, personal hygiene, and regular physical activity. Health educators may also gather statistical data to help them identify the areas in which greater education is needed. The role also encompasses direct interaction with members of the community, including both engaging in one-on-one interactions and leading larger classes.

Health Educator Duties and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of a health educator may vary. However, a typical job description may include the following:

  • Evaluating the health, wellness, and disease prevention needs of a community 
  • Developing programs and events to convey information about a topic
  • Creating and distributing posters, brochures, and other educational materials
  • Helping members of the community access the educational resources they need
  • Assessing the efficacy of programs and materials and making adjustments as needed
  • Teaching people how to manage their health conditions, including diabetes
  • Educating the general public about communitywide resources, such as cancer screenings or vaccine programs

Health Educator Work Environment

Health educators usually work full time in an office or another health facility. These facilities may include public health buildings, such as community clinics; private practices; or nonprofit organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most health educators work in the government, followed by ambulatory health care services, hospitals, social assistance, and educational services. 

What Is a Health Educator’s Salary?

Those who are drawn to this position will naturally have some questions about the salary range, as well as the job outlook. The available data shows that this career field holds great promise.

Health Educator Salary Range

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a health educator is $59,990 as of March 2024. Several factors can affect this salary, including years of experience, level of education, and geographic location. The highest paid health educators work in hospitals, with an annual salary of $77,740. Government health educators have an annual salary of $61,650, followed by those in educational services at $57,390, ambulatory health care services at $56,910, and social assistance at $43,790.

Health Educator Job Outlook

The BLS also notes that the health educator field is positioned for growth. The BLS projects a 7% job growth rate for the field between 2022 and 2032. This rate is slightly faster than the 6% average for all professions.

How to Become a Health Educator

Success in this field depends on gathering the right skills and competencies. Here are a few important steps.

Educational Requirements

First, what are the degree requirements for this position? To gain the foundational skills required for success in this role, aspiring health educators must have a bachelor’s degree. This minimum educational requirement will usually be a degree in the field of health education, public health, or something related.

Master’s degrees are sometimes required, especially for school health educator roles. Even if an advanced degree is not required, it can open the door to higher salaries and levels of responsibility.


While most employers do not require certification, earning one can be an important way to convey professionalism and gain a competitive edge over other job candidates. The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential is the most common and prestigious.

Skills Development

Through their education, on-the-job experience, and credentialing, aspiring health educators may hone a few essential skills. The most important skills for health educators include the following:

  • Interpersonal 
  • Oral and written communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytic thinking
  • Teaching 

Pursue a Career in Health Education

What health educators do plays a vital role in curbing disease, promoting wellness, and helping communities foster healthy habits. If that sounds appealing, consider pursuing a role as a health educator. A good place to start is with an undergraduate degree in public health.

North Carolina Central University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education program that is designed with aspiring educators in mind. This program will provide the skills needed to find work, receive credentials in this field, and make a lasting impact on the health of local communities.

Recommended Readings

Health Promotion Specialist: Overview and How to Become 

How Community Health Programs Promote Public Health

HR Manager Career Overview


Betterteam, “Health Educator Job Description” 

CDC Foundation, What Is Public Health?

Indeed, “What Is a Health Educator? A Complete Guide”

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, CHES Exam

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Education Specialists

ZipRecruiter, What Is a Health Educator and How to Become One

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