Careers in Health Promotion


What do Health Promotion Specialists Do?

Health promotion specialists find out about their communities, develop health-related programs into action, and then measure success. The type of work health promotion specialists can vary greatly from one day to the next. As a health promotion specialist you may be involved in:

Providing education for health behavior change. Depending on where you work, you may be educating people in many different settings. For example you may teach a smoking cessation class to a group of teenagers at the local health school using the American Lung Association N-O-T program. Or you may teach a weight management class at a local worksite. You could also teach people at the local health clinic how to keep their diabetes under control.

You may also help develop and pass health or legislation that will protect people's health. For example, you may work with the Utah Coalition for Traffic-Safety to have people ask their senator or representative to support upcoming legislation that requires safety belt usage.

Third, you may create health communication campaigns. Maybe you have heard of the TRUTH campaign. This media campaign is designed to help people stop smoking and keep kids from starting to smoke. The Baby your BabyFruits and Veggies: More Matters campaign is aimed at getting people to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. campaign encourages a pregnant woman to visit her physician before the 13th week of pregnancy and have 13 total visits before the baby is born.

Organizing community members and partner organizations or coalitions to plan and implement action health programs is also part of your job. Recently the Safe Kids coalition helped pass legislation requiring public pools to use special drain covers to prevent children from drowning. Safe Kids held a press conference at the start of summer reminding the public about the importance of water. They also provided educational programs to local elementary schools and distributed drain covers at no-cost to privately owned pools.

Employment and Education

Health promotion specialists have job titles such as health promotion specialist, community health specialist, health educator, public health educator, health coordinator, or any number of similar titles. You are likely to find jobs in:

  • State, local and Federal government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Red Cross, and United Way
  • Community-based organizations such as rape crisis centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, or senior citizen centers
  • Hospital or managed care organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, United Health Care, Aetna, or Intermountain Health Care

Average Annual Salary

The average annual salary ranges between: $27,19-$85,690.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, May 2006

Pay is dependent on geographic location, company/business, and advanced eduation or professional credentials.

For current information regarding the job outlook for health educators visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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