The COVID-19 pandemic has had almost everyone thinking about their health more than usual. But the truth is that public health needs to be an ongoing priority, whether we’re facing a pandemic or not.
Not everyone has access to the information or care they need to stay healthy and happy. That’s why health educators are so important, especially now that many people are getting their information online. There’s a lot of good information on the internet, but there are also a lot of myths surrounding common health concerns.
If you’re passionate about helping people live better lives, then health education could be the perfect career path for you. As a health educator, you’ll empower people of all ages to take control of their health and promote healthier communities. Here’s what you’ll need to do to become a health educator.
Research and Specialize in a Health Area
Human health is an extremely broad field and it’s just not possible to be an expert in every related topic. Although health educators are tasked with making health information accessible to the general public, they need to have in-depth knowledge of the information they are sharing. There are many different public health roles and further specialization within those roles.
Think about what interests you the most. Is it infectious diseases? Mental health? Diet and nutrition? It’s usually better to narrow your focus down to a specific health area or population so you can provide the most helpful information possible.
Obtain a Degree in Your Field of Choice
To become a health educator, you’ll need to obtain a degree in a related field. Generally, you’ll need a master’s degree if you want to be competitive in the job market. You need to have in-depth knowledge of key health concerns affecting the general public and you have to be able to effectively share and teach that information.
Most people who get into health education choose to get a master’s degree in fields like public health education, health promotion, school health education, or community health education. If you can, it’s always best to choose a community-focused health degree as that will serve you well in your future career.
Understanding the Current Health Landscape
The biggest health concerns facing our communities shift over time. As we learn more about disease prevention, hygiene, diet, and other factors in our health, the focus shifts. New threats also emerge as viruses adapt.
Before modern treatments were available, for instance, illnesses like tuberculosis and syphilis were huge problems. With antibiotics and early detection, they can now be treated. In the future, however, antibiotic-resistant diseases may create new threats. Nothing is static!
Right now, the biggest focus is on the COVID-19 pandemic, of course, but other community health concerns, like mental health and drug abuse, are being discussed more and more as well. The opioid crisis, anxiety and depression, and other problems are affecting communities all over the United States and in other parts of the world.
As a health educator, you will need to keep up with the health landscape as it changes. You’ll need to know what is affecting families and how health education could help to keep them safe. It’s an evolving field that requires you to constantly learn and seek out new information
Network and Prepare for Your Interview
Once you have the degrees and skills needed to become a health educator, you need to make a great impression on employers. Networking, as in any field, can be crucial in meeting the right people. Talk with others in your field, be helpful, and get to know people!
Whenever you land an interview, it’s important to prepare. Make sure your resume is tailored, presents you in the best possible light, and is error-free. Do some research on the employer in advance and practice interview questions with friends and family. Above all, be yourself!
Get Started Now!
There’s never been a better time to get into public health fields. If health education aligns with your skills and interests, then it might just be a great fit. Health educators as a whole find their jobs extremely fulfilling and allow them to help make the world a better place. It may take a while to land your dream job, but be patient—it’ll be worth all your hard work in the end.