Holistic Health Educator: Job Description, Salary and Requirements
A holistic health educator proactively assesses a community's health issues and promotes positive lifestyle changes by distributing information and knowledge that fosters wellness. These educators focus specifically on treating the individual as a whole rather than treating single illnesses. While a minimum Bachelor of Arts in Health Education is usually requisite, additional training, licensing, and degree requirements may apply depending on the educator's area of specialization.
Holistic Health Educator Job Description
A health educator assesses and addresses a community's prevailing health issues with the intent to prevent illness, promote positive lifestyle changes, and improve overall wellness. Holistic health is a specialization that falls under the broader category of 'health education.' Holistic medicine treats the whole person rather than a person's illnesses - it addresses mind, body, and spirit in relation to the patient's environment. Depending on the educator's chosen modality, he or she may be more specifically skilled in such fields as kinesiology, biofeedback, massage, or chiropractic medicine.
Holistic health educators' responsibilities extend beyond their own primary field of study. They must assess the health needs of a community and decide how to best address them within the given demographic. Educators may then research, fund, and promote their findings - often heading or working with a committee or task team - with methods such as informational brochures and pamphlets, lectures, and health screenings or televised public health announcements. A holistic health educator should have the ability to evaluate the program's success and determine which methods to keep and which to change for future implementation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported health educators' average annual wages to be $53,100 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). This average varied slightly according to different industries, which include outpatient care, government, higher education, and hospitals. The BLS stated that employment was expected to grow by 37% between 2010-2020 due to the anticipated increase in health care costs. Holistic health educators should anticipate minor statistical variations in salaries and job openings due to the specialized nature of the field.
Holistic health educators should possess solid research and writing skills and enjoy working with people. Those seeking entry-level positions usually need a Bachelor of Arts in Health Education, and while it is not required in all states and by all employers, some do require that one pass the written exam given by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. and become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). A health educator may maintain certification over five years by completing 75 hours of continuing education courses.
Because many public health educator positions require a master's degree, one may earn a Master of Science, Master of Education, or Master of Arts through graduate programs in areas such as public, community, and school health education. Those in the field of holistic health are bound to additional education and certification requirements that vary widely across different holistic modalities; for instance, a holistic health educator who specializes in massage therapy must follow state and job-specific guidelines for training and licensing.
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