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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntfDZQCq2hc.
Quick Facts: Health Education Specialists
2023 Median Pay $62,860 per year
$30.22 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 60,400
Job Outlook, 2022-32 7% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 4,400

What Health Education Specialists Do

Health education specialists develop programs to teach people about conditions affecting well-being.

Work Environment

Health education specialists are employed in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Most work full time.

How to Become a Health Education Specialist

Health education specialists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. Certification may be required or preferred for some health education specialists.

Pay

The median annual wage for health education specialists was $62,860 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of health education specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 6,600 openings for health education specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for health education specialists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of health education specialists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about health education specialists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Health Education Specialists Do About this section

Health educators
Health educators and community health workers educate people about the availability of healthcare services.

Health education specialists teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop strategies to improve the well-being of individuals and communities.

Duties

Health education specialists typically do the following:

  • Assess the health needs of individuals and communities
  • Develop programs, materials, and events to teach people about health topics, such as managing existing conditions
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and educational materials
  • Help people find health services or information
  • Provide training programs for community health workers or other healthcare providers
  • Supervise staff who implement health education programs
  • Collect and analyze data to learn about a particular community and improve programs and services
  • Advocate for improved health resources and policies that promote health

Health education specialists have different duties depending on where they work. The following are descriptions of duties for health education specialists, by work setting:

  • In healthcare facilities, health education specialists may work one-on-one with patients or their families. They teach patients about their diagnoses and treatment options. They also lead efforts to develop and administer surveys for identifying health concerns in the community and to develop programs that meet those needs. For example, they may help to organize blood-pressure screenings or classes on proper installation of car seats. Health education specialists also create programs to train medical staff to interact more effectively with patients.

  • In nonprofits, health education specialists create programs and materials about health issues in the community they serve. They help organizations obtain funding, such as through grants for promoting health and disease awareness. They also educate policymakers about ways to improve public health. In nonprofits that focus on a particular disease or audience, health education specialists tailor programs to meet those needs.

  • In public health departments, health education specialists develop public health campaigns on topics such as emergency preparedness, immunizations, or proper nutrition. They also develop materials for use in the community and by public health officials. Some health education specialists collaborate with other workers, such as on statewide or local committees, to create public policies on health and wellness topics. They may also oversee grants and grant-funded programs to improve the public health.

Health education specialists create workplace programs or suggest modifications that focus on wellness. For example, they may develop incentives for employees to adopt healthy behaviors, such as controlling cholesterol, or recommend changes in the workplace to improve employee health, such as creating smoke-free areas.

For information about workers who promote wellness and coordinate care for different populations, see the profile on community health workers. For information about workers who teach health classes in middle and high schools, see the profiles on middle school teachers and high school teachers.

Work Environment About this section

Health educators
Health educators often work in hospitals, where they help patients understand and adjust to their diagnosis.

Health education specialists held about 60,400 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of health education specialists were as follows:

Government 26%
Ambulatory healthcare services 17
Hospitals; state, local, and private 17
Social assistance 9
Educational services; state, local, and private 6

Although most health education specialists work in offices, they may spend a lot of time away from their desks to carry out programs or attend meetings.

Work Schedules

Most health education specialists are employed full time. They may need to work nights and weekends to attend programs or meetings.

How to Become a Health Education Specialist About this section

Health educators
Health educators need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Health education specialists typically need at least bachelor’s degree. Some employers require or prefer that health education specialists be certified.

Education

Health education specialists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in health education or health promotion. Employers may accept a variety of other majors, including business, social science, and healthcare and related fields. Students may gain additional knowledge and skills through an internship.

Some health education specialist positions require candidates to have a master’s or doctoral degree. Graduate program fields of degree may include community health education, school health education, public health education, or health promotion. Applicants to these master’s degree programs generally do not need a specific undergraduate major.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Employers may require or prefer that health education specialists obtain certification, such as the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. or the Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) credential offered by the Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Health education specialists collect and evaluate data to determine the needs of the people they serve.

Communication skills. Health education specialists must be able to clearly convey information in health-related materials and in written proposals for programs and funding.

Instructional skills. Health education specialists lead programs, teach classes, and facilitate discussion with clients and families.

Interpersonal skills. Health education specialists interact with many people from a variety of backgrounds. They must be good listeners and be empathetic in responding to the needs of the people they serve.

Problem-solving skills. Health education specialists must think creatively about improving the health of the community. In addition, they may need to solve problems that arise in planning programs, such as budget constraints or resistance from the community they are serving.

Pay About this section

Health Education Specialists

Median annual wages, May 2023

Health education specialists

$62,860

Counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists

$51,970

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for health education specialists was $62,860 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,630, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $107,920.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for health education specialists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $79,460
Government 65,340
Ambulatory healthcare services 60,480
Educational services; state, local, and private 59,060
Social assistance 46,220

Most health education specialists are employed full time. They may need to work nights and weekends to attend programs or meetings.

Job Outlook About this section

Health Education Specialists

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists

9%

Health education specialists

7%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of health education specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 6,600 openings for health education specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

An emphasis on promoting healthy behaviors is expected to increase demand for these specialists over the decade.

Governments, healthcare providers, and social services providers want to find ways to improve the quality of care and health outcomes while reducing costs. This objective should increase demand for health education specialists to teach people about health and wellness, which in turn helps to prevent costly diseases and medical procedures.

Employment projections data for health education specialists, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Health education specialists

21-1091 60,400 64,800 7 4,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of health education specialists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Community Health Workers Community Health Workers

Community health workers promote wellness by helping people adopt healthy behaviors. They implement programs and advocate for people who may have limited access to health resources and social services.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,200
Dietitians and nutritionists Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to help people lead healthy lives.

Bachelor's degree $69,680
Epidemiologists Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists are public health workers who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury.

Master's degree $81,390
High school teachers High School Teachers

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor's degree $65,220
Middle school teachers Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades.

Bachelor's degree $64,290
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $84,380
School and Career Counselors School and Career Counselors and Advisors

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills. Career counselors and advisors help people choose a path to employment.

Master's degree $61,710
Social and human service assistants Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants provide client services in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.

High school diploma or equivalent $41,410
Social workers Social Workers

Social workers help people prevent and cope with problems in their everyday lives.

See How to Become One $58,380
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors advise people on a range of issues, such as those relating to alcoholism, addictions, or depression.

Bachelor's degree $53,710
Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists Marriage and Family Therapists

Marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat cognitive, behavioral, or similar disorders in the context of couples and other relationships.

Master's degree $58,510

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about health education specialists, visit

Society for Public Health Education

American Public Health Association

For more information about credentials for health education specialists, visit

Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.

CareerOneStop

For a career video about health education specialists, visit

Health education specialists

O*NET

Health Education Specialists

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health Education Specialists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm (visited May 09, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.