Certified Health Education Specialist Training and Certification Info

Explore bachelor's and master's degree programs for aspiring health education specialists. Get information on coursework, certification and career options.

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Essential Information

To become a Certified Health Education Specialist, an individual needs at least a bachelor's degree in health education, but many health education professionals possess master's degrees. Certification is offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing and requires completing an approved academic program and passing a multiple-choice exam of 165 questions. Certification is available at two levels and must be renewed periodically. Health educators who want to become public school teachers will need to meet their state's licensing requirements, which usually include completing an approved teacher education program and passing competency examinations.

A bachelor's degree program in health education trains students to educate individuals of all ages in a variety of settings. Courses cover topics such as disease, adolescent health concerns and the basics of public health education. Master's degree programs in health education usually focus on public health trends and problems. Students learn to develop and implement programs to tackle these issues. A thesis is often required, as is an internship.


Bachelor of Health Education

Bachelor's degree programs in health education are most often offered as a Bachelor of Science. They combine training in today's topics in health with strategies for successfully educating people in health issues, along with how to implement successful programs. The goal is to train entry-level health education professionals who work in a variety of settings, from public health departments and schools to private businesses. Many schools offer their bachelor's degree program through the education department, so with further training an individual may be able to prepare for certification or licensure as a health or physical education teacher in a public school setting.

Program Coursework

Most bachelor's degree programs in health education are tailored to meet the specifications of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. The typical program also includes an internship and general education classes. Some course topics may be:

  • Public health foundations
  • The spread of disease
  • Community health observation and assessment
  • Adolescent health issues
  • Preventing sexually transmitted diseases

Career Options

A bachelor's degree program in health education can prepare an individual for a variety of job opportunities in health promotion. Among them are:

  • Community health educator
  • Wellness promotion specialist
  • College health promotion specialist
  • Worksite health coordinator
  • Health communication specialist
  • International health promotion

Continuing Education

In addition to offering Certified Health Education Specialist credential programs, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing has continuing education opportunities in the form of seminars, journals and other resources (www.nchec.org). Those interested in becoming teachers should check with their state because certification and licensing requirements may vary. Teacher licensing generally involves passing a national exam and graduating from an approved training program.


Master of Health Promotion and Education

Master's degree programs in health education are typically a focused approach to community and public health issues, trends, research and plan implementation. Students in this type of a program learn how to spot health trends and problems and devise programs to help prevent them. They learn how to arm the community with information and resources so people can protect themselves from the spread of disease or preventable health issues. There are many options on the master's degree level, such as the Master of Public Health, Master of Education or a Master of Science. Many master's degree programs may also lead to certification as a public school teacher.

Education Prerequisites

Some programs require only a bachelor's degree while others require specific degrees, such as nursing, physical education or biological sciences. In addition, college-level coursework in human anatomy, physiology and psychology may be required.

Program Coursework

Most programs also include a thesis or similar research project and an internship opportunity. Course topics may be:

  • Statistics and research in health education
  • The spread of disease
  • Human movement and exercise
  • Bringing wellness into large organizations
  • Promoting health and wellness in the community
  • Health assessments

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As health care costs continue to increase, the role of health educators will grow in an effort to keep people out of hospitals and doctors' offices, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicted jobs for this profession will grow about 37% from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The average salary for health educators was $53,100 in May 2012, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing has a Certified Health Education Specialist program that involves a rigorous exam. Individuals interested in taking the exam should have a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from a health education program. Applicants also must submit transcripts from higher education degree programs that show a certain amount of hours of health education coursework.

Recertification happens every five years and requires applicants to earn continuing education credits. The commission also has continuing education resources for professionals in the field. Many schools offer doctorate programs in health education for those who want to do research in the field or teach aspiring health educators.

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Health Education Specialist Degree and Certificate Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
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    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants to master's programs must have already earned a bachelor's degree. Applicants to doctoral programs must have already earned a master's degree.
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    Online Programs

    • Doctorate
        • Doctor of Philosophy in Education
        • Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
    • Master
        • Master of Arts in Education - Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
        • Master of Arts in Education - Distance Learning
        • Master of Arts in Education

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
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    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED and completed some college. Master's degree applicants must have a bachelor's or higher.
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    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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    • Master
        • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Dyslexia Studies & LBLD
        • MS in Higher Education Administration
        • MEd in Elementary Education
        • MEd in Educational Leadership
        • MEd in Early Childhood Education

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must hold a Bachelor's degree or higher
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants to master's programs at the University of Kansas must have already earned a bachelor's degree.
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    • Master
        • Master's - Curriculum and Instruction

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