As with many positions in the health care field, job opportunities for health promotion specialists are on the rise. Health promotion specialists work to improve the health of individuals, particularly those in populations that experience disproportionate rates of preventable diseases and adverse health conditions. Those with a degree in health promotion tackle ill health by incorporating medical and behavioral science into an educational plan for patients and health seekers.
Places of Employment
Health promotion specialists, more commonly referred to as health educators, have titles that include community health specialist, public health educator and health coordinator. Specialists often work in hospitals, clinics, nonprofit organizations, and community-based organizations like community health centers and rape-response organizations. Government agencies at the local, state and federal levels employ health promotion specialists to fill health department positions.
Health promotion specialists working in government are tasked with developing and monitoring community public health education programs, assessing and meeting the health education needs of various demographic groups. They also create campaigns and initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. Examples of this include commercial campaigns to encourage regular exercise and initiatives to promote HIV testing. In addition to these duties, specialists meet with local, state and federal government officials regarding public health issues that affect the communities in which they work. Writing or editing educational health literature is also part of the job of a government health promotion specialist. Those who work in nonprofit organizations and hospital settings are also responsible for developing and writing health education materials for community members. Specialists hold health classes for patients with the goal of helping to understand and control issues ranging from diabetes to heart disease. Schools, corporations, nonprofits and other organizations often consult with health promotion specialists for ways to promote a healthy lifestyle within their company structure or organization.
Education and Degree Requirements
Due to the complex and sensitive nature of work as a health promotion specialist, many organizations require a master’s degree in health promotion, health and exercise science or public health. However, some entry-level positions are available with a bachelor’s degree in public health, nursing or social work with public health as an area of concentration. In some cases, employers prefer applicants with Certified Health Education Specialist certification.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts continued growth in the health promotion field. A 37 percent job increase is expected within the decade spanning from 2010 to 2020, which beats the growth average for most other occupations.