Community Health Career Information and Education Requirements

Community health professionals can be found working in both public and private sectors, making sure that healthcare and education is available to individuals at the local level. Educating the public and individuals on important health issues is the primary objective of the community health field. A post-secondary degree is a requirement for anyone wishing to work in community health.

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Community Health Career Information

A community health career involves collaborating with various agencies or organizations to educate, develop or implement health education policies or programs. Community health professionals might work in community awareness or outreach programs, evaluate existing programs or conduct research to analyze current public policy. Professionals in this field work for the government, in hospitals or private corporations, and in research and development organizations such as the National Institutes of Health.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), community health careers are predicted to grow 18% between 2008 and 2018. The BLS indicates that the biggest employers for this occupation are government and social and healthcare assistance agencies, such as hospitals or care centers. In May 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited a median salary of $44,000 a year for community health professionals.

Education Requirements

An individual's long-term career goals will help determine degree requirements. Working on the national level in areas of research and policy-making requires a Ph.D. A bachelor's or master's degree in public health is all that might be needed for working on a local, grassroots level. Students enrolled in a community health degree program should expect to encounter coursework that includes science, nutrition, psychology, communication, anatomy and human development.

Certification Information

Certification is not necessary for work in the community health field, but some employers prefer public health employees to have obtained the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. This type of certification is offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing, Inc., to individuals who have a bachelor's degree in health education and pass an examination on health educator responsibilities. Several states may also require individuals to obtain certification for employment in a public health department, which may include completing 75 hours of continuing education over a 5-year period in order to maintain certification.

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