How to Become a Health Educator: Career Advice & Information

Overview & Salaries


Health educators improve people’s knowledge about all kinds of health issues. Usually they focus on physical and emotional health, although health educators may teach about all aspects of a person’s wellbeing. Health educators are proactive about helping people, going out into communities and gathering data about people’s health concerns and needs. You’ll find health educators in schools, but also in colleges, community centers, government agencies and healthcare organizations.


Annual salaries for health educators will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2013, the average annual salary for health educators working in the U.S. was $53,800 per year.

For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for health educators, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.

Discover the Best Cities and States to Work in Health Education

California is the leader in employment for health educators, where 7,120 are currently working statewide, and making an average yearly salary of $56,510. New York State is second, with 4,600 health education professionals earning an average salary of $47,480.

The metro areas employing the most health educators are:

  • New York-White Plains (2,510)
  • Atlanta (2,310)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach (1,700)

The metro areas employing the highest concentration of health educators are:

  • Jefferson City, MO (3.55 per thousand jobs)
  • Corvallis, OR (2.72 per thousand jobs)

The metro areas employing the best-paid health educators are:

  • Bethseda, MD (average annual salary $96,050)
  • Atlanta (average annual salary $80,300)

Employment and Salary Information for health educators

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as a health educator. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Health Education

Why Become A Health Educator?

It’s a job for people who want to help people, but it’s a rigorous job, too. Here are some of the reasons to be a health educator:

  • Fast-growing field. Job growth for health education positions is expected to be 21% between 2012 and 2022. That’s a lot of new positions, given there are already around 58,900 health educators in the U.S.
  • Good pay. At an average of $53,800 per year, the pay is decent.
  • Use both sides of your brain. You need to understand numbers and also be good with words, working on campaigns that persuade people to change their health habits.
  • Helping others. The whole purpose of your job is to help people live better, healthier lives. You might help people in your area live longer, prevent disease, or be happier. That’s a good way to spend a day.

Health Education: What You Need To Know

Health educators investigate the health needs of a community by gathering data in the local areas they serve. Then they assess the health needs of those areas. They collaborate with others to plan education programs and campaigns that help the public improve their health. So you need to be able to crunch numbers and reach people to be a great health educator.

A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.

  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research
  • Communications
  • Public Health
  • Collaboration and Teamwork

Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about health education careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.

Degree Options for Health Education Careers

Bachelor’s degree

An entry-level position in health education requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in health education, public health education, school health education, health promotion or a related discipline.

Master’s degree / PhD

Some employers, such as federal and state public health agencies, may require candidates who have earned higher degrees, such as Master’s or PhDs. Many colleges and universities offer programs in these areas. Coursework covers topics such as healthcare ethics, health communications, health research, and health promotion planning.


Employers may also require candidates to be certified before obtaining a position within the organization. The most common certification is the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. For those with more advanced education and experience, the Commission also offers a credential as a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES).