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Public Health Educators

At a Glance

  • Prevent disease and promote health through education programs
  • Work in a variety of settings
  • Speak in front of groups
  • Usually work regular business hours
  • Have a bachelor's degree
  • Work for government agencies, schools, and social service organizations

Career summary

Public health educators plan, direct, and carry out health education programs.

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Public health educators teach people about wellness. They work in a variety of settings, including:

Health educators assess health needs and plan education programs in the community, school, or work place. They talk to community members, students, or employees. Depending on where they work they may also talk to managers, health specialists, or civic groups.

After gathering information, public health educators set up goals for a health education program and plan actions to meet those goals.

To carry out programs, they may make presentations to groups of people or plan workshops and conferences. For example, they might:

In addition, educators communicate with the public about health needs and resources available in a community. They may help people find nutritional or health services. Sometimes they set up health screenings for high blood pressure and other conditions.

Health educators prepare materials such as pamphlets or videos. They may specialize in one area or a particular disease. They also may oversee staff who deliver health education programs.

Following implementation of a program, public health educators evaluate the program's effectiveness. To do this, they talk to people and collect data to determine if goals have been met. They write reports of their findings and make presentations to local officials, managers, or health care providers.

Related careers

This career is part of the Human Services cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to public health educators.

Common work activities

Public health educators perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, public health educators:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Public health educators frequently:

It is important for public health educators to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for public health educators to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Public health educators need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a public health educator, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most public health educators have at least a bachelor's degree in public health or a related health field. Some public health educators have a nursing degree with a specialty in community health. Others have a social work degree with emphasis in health and nutrition.

A limited number of colleges and universities offer programs in public health. However, many others offer nursing and social work programs. Some offer nutrition and related programs that are good preparation for this field.

It is becoming more common for individuals in this field to have a master's degree in this field or a related one.

Work experience

Some public health educators begin their careers as registered nurses, biologists, or physicians. After a period of working in their profession, they switch to public health education.

On-the-job training

Public health educators update their knowledge continually. Public health threats, laws, and medical treatments change quickly. To keep up, educators attend seminars and classes.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to become environmental health and safety specialists or officers. For specialists, training lasts from 11 to 19 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job. Initial training is not offered for officers. They need at least a bachelor's degree to enter the military occupation. Most training is on the job.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements. You need a very strong background in math and science to work in this field. Take as many math and science courses as you can.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers may prefer to hire public health educators with specific backgrounds or degrees. For example, a public health department may prefer to hire a nurse with a specialty in community health. Employers may prefer applicants with an advanced degree for some positions. Employers sometimes look for applicants with experience in a specific area. Internship experience may be helpful.

Most employers prefer applicants who have excellent communication skills. Public health educators work with groups of people and prepare educational materials. They must be good speakers and good writers. Employers look for educators who are energetic and enjoy working with people.

Costs to workers

Some workers join professional associations, which may have membership fees and annual dues.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Health educators (SOC 21-1091)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $19.19 $23.01 $28.43 $33.78 $40.48
Monthly $3,326 $3,988 $4,927 $5,854 $7,015
Yearly $39,910 $47,860 $59,140 $70,260 $84,200
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $17.35 $20.63 $26.12 $29.45 $31.79
Monthly $3,007 $3,575 $4,527 $5,104 $5,509
Yearly $36,072 $42,909 $54,330 $61,264 $66,134
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $18.58 $18.59 $23.98 $24.90 $34.74
Monthly $3,220 $3,222 $4,156 $4,315 $6,020
Yearly $38,645 $38,662 $49,884 $51,777 $72,270
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $21.09 $26.03 $29.87 $35.07 $38.57
Monthly $3,655 $4,511 $5,176 $6,078 $6,684
Yearly $43,873 $54,143 $62,122 $72,946 $80,226
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $17.54 $22.83 $29.32 $35.18 $38.91
Monthly $3,040 $3,956 $5,081 $6,097 $6,743
Yearly $36,484 $47,497 $60,986 $73,182 $80,917
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $22.60 $24.96 $30.37 $33.53 $36.11
Monthly $3,917 $4,326 $5,263 $5,811 $6,258
Yearly $47,010 $51,902 $63,175 $69,759 $75,095
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $18.49 $22.07 $28.04 $37.63 $47.95
Monthly $3,204 $3,825 $4,859 $6,521 $8,310
Yearly $38,458 $45,902 $58,320 $78,287 $99,747
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $19.83 $22.39 $27.05 $35.10 $44.89
Monthly $3,437 $3,880 $4,688 $6,083 $7,779
Yearly $41,253 $46,567 $56,264 $73,014 $93,364
    Vancouver Hourly $17.02 $19.13 $24.54 $34.99 $44.58
Monthly $2,950 $3,315 $4,253 $6,064 $7,726
Yearly $35,406 $39,783 $51,051 $72,779 $92,742
    Yakima Hourly $17.75 $23.16 $27.59 $32.53 $37.14
Monthly $3,076 $4,014 $4,781 $5,637 $6,436
Yearly $36,937 $48,174 $57,393 $67,657 $77,236
United States Hourly $15.40 $19.13 $26.07 $35.90 $47.37
Monthly $2,669 $3,315 $4,518 $6,221 $8,209
Yearly $32,030 $39,800 $54,220 $74,660 $98,530

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. Wages also vary by the educator's level of experience, education, and responsibility.

Benefits vary by employer. Most full-time public health educators receive typical benefits. These include vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. Government employees usually receive a retirement plan. Part-time educators rarely receive benefits.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Health Educators (SOC 21-1091)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,512 13.2% 16.1% 232
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 44 22.7% 13.4% 7
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 16 18.8% 8.6% 2
    Benton and Franklin Counties 34 35.3% 15.0% 7
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 11 18.2% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 32 18.8% 15.2% 6
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 629 8.3% 14.1% 88
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 64 15.6% 14.6% 10
    King County 446 17.5% 19.6% 74
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 42 9.5% 13.8% 6
    Pierce County 52 25.0% 15.2% 9
    Snohomish County 40 12.5% 12.4% 6
    Spokane County 67 11.9% 13.9% 10
United States 62,100 10.3% 5.2% 8,000

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will grow faster than average. As health care costs rise, more attention and money are being given to preventative health care approaches. New federal laws will also lead to more screenings being available. Public health educators will be needed to help people find health care services they need.

Job prospects should be best for people who have formal training or who have specialized in a specific area of public health. People who speak a second language should also have good job opportunities.

Other resources

American Public Health Association (external link)
800 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
American Public Human Services Association (external link)
1101 Wilson Boulevard, 6th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209
Explore Health Careers: Public Health Overview (external link)
Society for Public Health Education (external link)
10 G Street NE, Suite 605
Washington, DC 20002


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational clusters