Professionals in the community health field work to promote and educate the public on health and the prevention of disease and illness. A degree program in community health trains students to work as administrators, health educators and environmental health specialists. Positions are available in hospitals, universities, government agencies and private businesses.
Community Health Degree Description
A bachelor’s degree in community health includes courses in biology, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and epidemiology. Students also pursue coursework in public health topics such as health care policy, health program planning and consumer health. A bachelor’s program in community health may also require students to complete an internship in the field to earn the degree. After completing a bachelor’s degree in community health, students may pursue a graduate degree in public health.
According to Bemidji State University, a bachelor’s degree in community health qualifies graduates for a position as a hospital administrator. Hospital administrators manage, plan and direct health services in a hospital setting. Administrator duties include developing programs to improve the quality and efficiency of the health care services hospitals deliver. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for a medical and health services manager, but some facilities may require a master’s degree in public health, health services or business administration. The median annual salary for a medical and health services manager was $96,540 in 2016, according to the BLS.
Environmental Health Specialist
Community health graduates qualify for a position as an environmental health specialist. Health specialists collect air, water, soil or food samples to analyze to determine the effect of environmental contaminants. Environmental health specialists develop plans and programs to prevent and control environmental problems that affect the health of the population. Educating the public on the health risks of environmental contaminants is also one of the duties of an environmental health specialist. The minimum requirement for an entry-level position is a bachelor’s degree in environmental or a natural science. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for environmental health specialists was $68,910 in 2016.
Health educators work to educate the public about healthy living and promote wellness. Educating the public about health topics may include creating programs and education materials. Health educators may work in hospitals, public health agencies, nonprofit organizations or businesses. An entry-level position as a health educator requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in health promotion or health education. Government agencies may require a graduate degree for an entry-level position. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing offers the Certified Health Education Specialist credential to applicants with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The certification requires applicants to pass a credentialing examination. The median annual salary for health educators was $53,070 in 2016, according to the BLS.