For many professionals, one of the best reasons to become a health educator is the opportunity to improve patient care and assist people in their journey through life. As with any occupation, however, it’s worth noting that the salary level can be very important when it comes to achieving career satisfaction.
In the world of health education, there are plenty of opportunities to earn a high salary. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that today’s health educators are earning approximately $51,960 per year, with the top-paid percentage earning an impressive $92,950 per year. Additionally, this particular field is expected to see a growth in demand of around 12% from the 2014 to 2024.
Why Earn a Master’s in Health Education?
Individuals who have this master’s degree will have the required knowledge to earn a position as a health educator, whose main purpose will be to inform people on how to improve their health. Positions within this field can be found in a host of different areas, such as inner-city health clinics and corporate offices.
Health educators provide corporations and communities with innovative solutions for healthy lifestyle encouragement and disease prevention. Undergraduate courses in psychology, biology, or communications can sometimes serve as a preparation for a master’s degree within this field. Many students who enter a master’s degree program in health education usually have an undergraduate degree in psychology or nursing.
Although a bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree required for job in health education, it’s worth noting that a master’s degree, or even a doctoral degree, is often necessary for those who are seeking a position in state public health agencies or federal government agencies. The graduate program is designed to prepare educators to address common issues in school health, health promotion, community health, and even health education.
Impact of Education Level
Students within a master’s program in health education can typically take classes that are related to research methods, science, motivation, and communications. The coursework in these areas is intended to prepare the student to take an exam and become a certified specialist in health education, which is a credential that is offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Students may choose to concentrate their graduate coursework on community health, school health, or health promotion. Some programs will also require students to complete internships or write a thesis before graduation. All of these will contribute to a better salary.
The annual salary for health educators in 2015 was $56,690, but this can vary according to industry. If you want to achieve the highest possible salary in your area, then having a master’s degree should open up your options and increase your chances that you will be able to expand your wages.
Impact of Experience Level
As with many careers, the more experience you have within your chosen area, the higher your potential salary will be. The assumption is that more experienced health educators will have better skills and knowledge, so it makes sense that your experience level would have an impact on your salary.
After you have completed your Masters in Health Education, you will be able to find work opportunities in a host of different environments, including private businesses, community health organizations, and schools. As a health educator, your duties will include giving your chosen group of public, be they students, or corporate employees, more information about how they can stay healthy. Additional, experienced health educators may also be asked to develop programs, like community forums that work to inform the public about issues related to health.
Effect of Location of Work
When looking at different career opportunities in health education, it’s worth noting that opportunities exist in different industries throughout the United States. Usually, the biggest cities are the ones that offer the highest pay for healthcare educators, but that isn’t always the case. It’s important to see what different options are available to you before you make a decision on where to work.
Some of the most popular cities for a career in health education might include:
- Cincinnati, Ohio
This area is currently experiencing a growth resurgence, although employment figures remain somewhat high.
- Columbus, Ohio
This capital city is a great place to seek out growing employment opportunities in the world of health education and administration.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This has a range of employment opportunities available in healthcare education. There’s a great deal of focus on improving the local economy and working with the public to improve health.
When it comes to choosing a place to work that is based on income alone, it’s worth noting that there are five areas throughout the United States that are currently considered to be the best paying locations for health educators. These cities include:
- New York, New York
New York offers is experiencing significant growth within the field of health education. At present, the lowest paid healthcare educators in the city are receiving an income of around $38,667 per year, while the highest-paid 10% earn $72,907.
- Baltimore, Maryland
This is yet another fantastic place for those with a master’s degree in health education. The lowest-paid individuals in this particular career are currently receiving an income of approximately $41,218 per year, while the highest paid percentile are earning around $52,796.
- Atlanta, Georgia
This city has a very interesting range of payment scales for health educators. Though their lowest-paid professionals earn much less than some other cities, those with the highest-paying jobs can earn a great deal more than the average. The average low income for Atlanta is $24,664 while those in the highest paid percentile are earning $84,285 per year.
- Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is neither the lowest nor the highest paying state when it comes to health education, but there is a much smaller gap between the lowest-paid individuals and the highest paid in the city. At the moment, the lowest-paid percentile are earning approximately $36,107 per year, while the highest-paid percentile earn $45,495.
- Washington, DC
This city offers an average of around $46,516 for the lowest-paid health educators, while the highest-paid receive around $69,691 per year.
Once you have earned a master’s degree in health education, it’s possible to obtain a voluntary certification, such as the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certificate that is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. This requires qualified candidates to pass a written test. Also, in order to maintain your CHES certification, you will be required to renew this on an annual basis, and re-take the exam once every five years.
The field of health education is growing rapidly, with a 12% increase in jobs projected from 2014 to 2024. In part, this increase in demand is because people are living longer and baby boomers are now entering retirement age. The health educator of today will be expected to help larger groups of people assess their need for on-going measures in health improvement and illness prevention.
Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016 – Health Educators. (2017, Mar. 31) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211091.htm
Salary and Career Info for a Masters in Health Education. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://study.com/articles/Salary_and_Career_Info_for_a_Masters_in_Health_Education.html
Aveage Salary for Certification: Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Certified_Health_Education_Specialist_(CHES)/Salary