Preparation for Great Career Opportunities

What Will You Be Able to Do as a Health Educator or Community Health Educator? 

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Watch the video and learn from the 18 Ed.D. Degree graduates what you will be able to do as a career, after graduation. Learn the answer to the question, “Why Get the Ed.D. from Teachers College?” Learn more about the EdD Careers Webinar.

Health Educators Enjoy a Broad and Exciting Scope of Work

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022):

Health education specialists typically do the following:

  • Assess the health needs of individuals and communities
  • Develop programs, materials, and events to teach people about health topics, such as managing existing conditions
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and educational materials
  • Help people find health services or information
  • Provide training programs for community health workers or other healthcare providers
  • Supervise staff who implement health education programs
  • Collect and analyze data to learn about a particular community and improve programs and services
  • Advocate for improved health resources and policies that promote health

Community health workers typically do the following:

  • Discuss health concerns with community members
  • Educate people about the importance and availability of healthcare services, such as cancer screenings
  • Provide basic health services such as first aid, diabetic foot checks, and height and weight measurements
  • Collect data to help identify community needs
  • Report findings to health education specialists, healthcare workers, or social service providers
  • Provide informal counseling and social support
  • Conduct outreach programs
  • Make referrals, provide transportation, and address other barriers to healthcare access
  • Advocate for individual and community needs

Health education specialists and Community Health Workers' Duties

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022; 2021):

Health education specialists have different duties depending on where they work, as explained below:

Although most health education specialists work in offices, they may spend a lot of time away from their desks to carry out programs or attend meetings.

  • In healthcare facilities, health education specialists may work one-on-one with patients or their families. They teach patients about their diagnoses and treatment options. They also lead efforts to develop and administer surveys for identifying health concerns in the community and to develop programs that meet those needs. For example, they may help to organize blood-pressure screenings or classes on proper installation of car seats. Health education specialists also create programs to train medical staff to interact more effectively with patients.
  • In nonprofits, health education specialists create programs and materials about health issues in the community they serve. They help organizations obtain funding, such as through grants for promoting health and disease awareness. They also educate policymakers about ways to improve public health. In nonprofits that focus on a particular disease or audience, health education specialists tailor programs to meet those needs.

Community health workers

  • Spend much of their time in the field, communicating with community members, holding events, and collecting data.
  • They understand the communities they serve, which allows them to act as intermediaries between residents and healthcare and social services providers. 
  • They identify health-related issues, collect data, and discuss health concerns within the community. For example, they may help eligible residents of a neighborhood enroll in programs such as Medicaid or Medicare and explain the benefits that these programs offer. 
  • Community health workers address barriers to care and provide referrals for needs such as food, housing, and mental health services.
  • Community health workers share information with health education specialists and healthcare and social services providers so that programs and care better suit the needs of the community. 
  • They also advocate for the wellness needs of community members and conduct outreach to engage residents, assist with healthcare navigation, and improve coordination of care.
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