Unsurprisingly, the healthcare industry is one of the largest growing industries globally and will continue to evolve over the following years. More and more students today dream of making a career in the healthcare sector because of its large variety of career opportunities and career growth. However, the field does not restrict itself to just doctors and physicians; today, the field opens a wide range of career opportunities for students with different skill sets. One such field is health education.
Health education is the study within public health wherein professionals promote health among individuals and the community and help prevent diseases through various programs. Health professionals in this field aim to identify medical issues, seek a solution, and develop a healthy community. Suppose you are passionate about educating people and at the same time willing to work in the healthcare industry. In that case, this field is the right career option for you. Read on below to learn some of the major subfields in health education:
1. PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING
Are you thinking of nursing as your career path because you love to help people in need and provide them with utmost care? How about evaluating the bigger picture instead? While a nursing career helps you primarily focus on delivering care to one patient at a time. In contrast, pursuing a career as a public health nurse involves quality care of the entire population. As a public health nurse, you may work solely or with an interdisciplinary team. Your typical day-to-day responsibilities would include:
- Evaluate health issues and trends to identify health risks
- Offer care services at high-risk locations
- Advocate local and national governmental bodies to improve health services in underserved regions
- Devise and implement health education programs to prevent medical problems
It would help if you acquired a bachelor’s degree in nursing to gain an entry-level job in this field. Passing an exam for licensure can help you practice in your state. However, an online masters degree in nursing can help you take a step further in your career and provide comprehensive care.
The field encompasses studying the cause, patterns, and effects of disease outbreaks in a population. As an epidemiologist, you will investigate how the disease occurred and what preventive measures are necessary to control it. Following are some of the primary responsibilities of epidemiologists:
- Develop methods to conduct research and gather data.
- Use software programs to analyze data.
- Work together with government officials and other health professionals on policy issues to reduce disease outbreaks.
- Keep up-to-date with recent developments in technology and medical trends and discoveries.
A minimum of master’s or postgraduate degree in epidemiology or a related field is necessary. Some of the common subjects you will be studying in your degree program would include biological science, statistics, molecular biology, microbiology, etc.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental health refers to studying those elements in the atmosphere that negatively impact health and the prevention against them. Issues such as air and water pollution, climatic change, greenhouse gases, EMF radiation are continually deteriorating the entire population’s health. World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 24% of death worldwide occur due to environmental factors. Due to this fact, the role of environmental health specialists is more important than ever.
Since this is a vast field, you can pick one particular area of interest and play your part in mitigating the risks of environmental concerns. You can acquire the role of environmental engineer, scientist, quality inspector, or health specialist in this field. On any given day, professionals of this field perform the following duties:
- Conduct research, evaluate the data, and create reports
- Develop programs to fix issues and protect people from health hazards
- Create general health rules, regulations, and policies to ensure safe hygiene
- Perform frequent audits on organizations that don’t comply with health guidelines
4. COMMUNITY HEALTH
As the name implies, this field deals with wellness and promotes safe health practices within the community. Some of the courses you may study during your degree program include biology, healthcare policy, sociology, etc. After completing studies, your job entails you to reach the underprivileged areas of your community and provide the necessary resources. Being a community health worker, you will have to address the community’s health concerns and improve health standards. Some of the work settings where you can work as a community health worker include NGOs, schools & colleges, government, and private sectors. The typical job responsibilities include:
- Initiate programs to spread awareness about different diseases and preventive measures
- Educate people about health risks, hygiene, diet programs, and exercises
- Consult with health professionals to come up with better health solutions for the community
- Acts as a liaison between the government and society and speak up for growing health concerns
- Visit older people, pregnant women, severely ill people to evaluate the condition and assess varying needs
Many people believe that the health education field requires professionals to work in hospital settings and clinics only. While this is true, there are several other areas where you can work. Some of these include private educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. Health education is continually growing as BLS projects this field’s growth by 13% by 2029. It is good news for upcoming graduates as this signifies plenty of job opportunities.