Becoming a Health Teacher: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a health teacher career? Get real job duties, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a health teacher is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Health Teacher Career

A health teacher educates students on how to live a healthy lifestyle. Continue reading for the pros and cons of this career field.

Pros of Being a Health Teacher
Many work specializations/options (based on intended audiences)*
Work in a comfortable environment*
Help improve others' health*
Career opportunities are available among different types of employers*

Cons of Being a Health Teacher
Working individuals who are living with cancer or HIV may be emotionally stressful*
Weekend and evening work hours may be required when working with adults*
Licensure (with possible mandatory continuing education) is required for some specializations*
Some environments may be stressful (particularly those in school settings)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description

As a health educator, you would give instruction on various health-related topics. You may give lectures or hold discussions based on the course topic. You must also be well-versed in the subject matter to answer any questions that may arise from students. In addition to lectures, you may also have to gather and hand out material for students to review and take home with them. Those who work in a school setting will need to grade papers and review tests.

Specializations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that if you work in a non-academic setting, such as a healthcare facility, government agency, non-profit organization and private business firm, you would be called a health educator. You could provide training for many types of audiences that include adults and children. In an academic environment, you may be a health teacher for various educational institutions and grade levels. For example, you may choose to teach adults in postsecondary institutions, such as colleges, universities and vocational/technical schools.

If you work as a kindergarten or elementary school health teacher, you would usually train children in kindergarten and/or grades 1-5. As a middle school health teacher, you would typically teach grades 6-8. Your work as a high school health teacher would ordinarily involve students in grades 9-12.

Salary Info and Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, the 2014 annual median salary for health educators was approximately $50,430. The BLS also reports that postsecondary teachers earned about $62,330, while high school teachers earned $56,310 during the same year. Elementary and middle school teachers earned $54,120 and $54,940, respectively, in 2014. From 2014-2024, the employment for health educators was expected to increase 12%; this is due to an increased emphasis in preventative care.

What Are the Requirements?

The BLS reports that a bachelor's degree is the entry-level educational requirement for health educators, middle school teachers, elementary school teachers, kindergarten teachers and high school teachers. However, some schools may require that high school teachers obtain a master's degree after receiving their teaching certification, according to the BLS. Postsecondary teachers typically need a doctorate, but some employers will accept a master's degree.

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in health education and related disciplines, such as health promotion, are available on-campus and through online formats. The BLS reports that fieldwork, such as through student teaching and internships, is usually a curriculum requirement for your profession. Some online degree programs may be presented in a hybrid (both online and in-person coursework) format to facilitate required on-campus or in-field components.

Licensing

Government regulated licensure is not required for postsecondary teachers, however, K-12 public school teachers are required to obtain a state license. Licensure requirements vary among states, and passing an exam, such as the National Teachers Exam/Praxis Series, is commonly required.

What Employers Are Looking For

Work opportunities for health teachers are available nationwide. In addition to meeting educational requirements, employers also look for candidates who have practical experience - either through professional work experiences or student teaching/internships (for recent graduates) - and excellent communications skills. Continue reading for health educator job postings from May 2012.

  • A preparatory school in NY wants to hire a high school health teacher with experience in teaching high school or middle school students. You must have at least a bachelor's degree; however, a master's degree is preferred. Knowledge of relevant health-related (curriculum) technology is also required.
  • A healthcare center in MA is looking for a health educator with a bachelor's degree. You must have four years of related work experience and knowledge of second languages in Spanish and/or Portuguese. Two years of experience as a counselor in a reproductive health environment is preferred.
  • A school district in WY would like to hire a health teacher to assist with program development. You must hold specific, current licenses and have prior high school teaching experience. Experience in 6+1 traits methodology and literacy skills integration is preferred.

How to Stand Out in the Field

While government administered certification is not required for non-academic health educators, the BLS reports that some employers will only consider candidates who have obtained the Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) credential. The CHES credential is offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing and earned upon meeting specific eligibility requirements and passing an exam. Continuing education is required to maintain the CHES certification.

Also, by joining a trade association, you would have networking opportunities, which may be advantageous for standing out in the marketplace. There is a wide variety of trade organizations to consider, including the American Association for Health Education and the National Teachers Association.

Alternative Career Paths

Dietitian/Nutritionist

If you like the idea of providing educational health information in a non-academic environment, then perhaps becoming a dietitian or nutritionist is an option for you. You would advise people on food and nutrition to maximize their health. According to the BLS, the educational requirement is usually a bachelor's degree, and the 2011 annual median salary was about $54,000. However, dietitians and nutritionists require licensure, and the predicted employment rate from 2010-2020 was 20%.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

As a substance abuse and behavioral disorder (SABD) counselor, you would provide treatment information and support people with substance addictions. The BLS reports that while some SABD counselor positions require a college degree, other entry-level opportunities only require a high school diploma, licensure and on-the-job-training. SABD counselors earned an annual median salary of about $39,000 in 2011, and from 2010-2020, employment was expected to increase 27%.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Health Education
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Educator
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood Administration
      • Undergraduate in Early Childhood
  • Online Programs Available
    3. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nutrition Education
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MPH - Health Education and Promotion Focus
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
    Master's
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education
      • Master of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Christian Education
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Teaching and Learning (EdD)
      • Higher and Postsecondary Education (EdD)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Education - Special Education and Wilson Reading System Certification
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
      • EdD - Learning Analytics in Higher Education
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • M.Ed. - General Education
      • M.Ed. - Early Childhood Education
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    9. City University of Seattle

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. Education
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Master: Education - Leadership in Educational Organizations
      • Master of Education - Elementary Education
      • Master of Education - Secondary Education

Featured Schools

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • M.S. in Health Education
  • Master: Nursing/Nurse Educator
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Undergraduate in Early Childhood

Which subject are you interested in?

American University

  • Master of Science in Nutrition Education

What is your highest level of education?

Benedictine University

  • MPH - Health Education and Promotion Focus

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Argosy University

  • Teaching and Learning (EdD)
  • Higher and Postsecondary Education (EdD)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Education - Special Education and Wilson Reading System Certification

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
  • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching

What is your highest level of education?