Earning an Online Health Education Bachelor's Degree
An online health education degree gives learners access to information and skills that build individual and community health competencies. Students also learn to share information about health and wellness with others. Online health education degrees open career opportunities in the private and public sectors, in schools and government organizations, and in service to populations around the world.
By choosing an online health education program that best meets their professional goals, learners can begin careers in the health education field. Programs offer managerial and leadership training while building networks of health education professionals who can collaborate with one another in practical settings. Bachelor's degrees in health education also prepare students to continue to graduate study in other health-related fields.
Overview of Health Education Degrees
A bachelor's in health education introduces students to fundamental information on human health, bodily systems, diseases and illnesses, and scientific aspects of human wellness. Learners also receive training in the development, implementation, and adaptation of health education programs and plans. Through the interaction of these competencies, health education students achieve competencies in identifying, addressing, and preventing health issues and problems that face patients, clients, and communities.
Learners who want to improve the overall health and wellness while giving people the tools to better their lifestyles and surroundings find rewarding opportunities through a health education program. Exploration of cultural, social, and environmental aspects of health further prepares health education students to address the needs of individuals, groups, and populations. Health education learners apply what they learn to clinical, and community settings, using their knowledge to promote health effectively and efficiently.
Health educators become advocates, influencing healthcare practice and policy as they work directly within healthcare systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare professions will experience an 18% growth by 2026, making an online degree in health education a practical, competitive endeavor. The 14% growth forecast for community and social workers offers a similar positive outlook for health education learners.
Applicants to an online health education program must provide documentation of a high school diploma or GED. Students may need to meet GPA requirements, but these vary by school and department. Most schools require applicants to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher for admission. If students do not meet admission requirements, provisional or conditional admission may be possible. Provisional or conditional admission includes close monitoring of student progress throughout their degree program. Colleges and universities also require first-year applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores, though specific tests and score requirements may differ by school and program.
Transfer students with an associate degree or previous college coursework must submit transcript information and, if they demonstrate completion of prerequisite classes, can advance to degree-specific courses with little delay. Transfer students can work closely with admissions professionals and program representatives to establish course equivalencies and receive credit for previous work.
Fees that accompany formal applicants may be waived if students demonstrate financial needs. You can check with individual schools to see if waiver programs exist. Once applicants gather their material and submit them to potential schools, they can often monitor the status of their application online.
What Will I Learn?
Online health education programs include general education coursework, core classes, and elective courses. Over approximately 120 credit hours, learners study general humanities, writing, and science topics before entering degree-specific classes. Most programs require students to complete 40 -60 credits of general education.
In an online health education program, learners complete 36-45 credit hours of health education coursework. Areas of study include healthcare systems, health administration, public health, and health education programming. As part of the health education curriculum, students may also complete a capstone course, research project, internship, or some combination of all three. Through 20-30 additional credit hours of elective classes, students can tailor their degrees and study topics that interest them personally and advance their professional goals. Elective classes can be applied to a minor or degree specialization.
Courses on wellness across the human lifespan introduce students to the specific needs and restrictions that influence health. Learners explore the human life cycle and how factors such as nutrition and fitness affect human development. Students study techniques and tools to promote wellness by addressing social, political, and economic aspects of wellness at all ages as well.Issues of Public Health
Classes that explore issues of public health look at theories and practices of public health assessment and education. Learners explore contemporary issues, including poverty, pollution, and policy, and how they relate to public health in local communities and global populations.Epidemiology
Epidemiology coursework looks at the distribution of disease, illness, and other health risks. Learners assess determinants of diseases and illnesses by looking at clinical and laboratory tests, techniques, and data-collection practices used in epidemiological research. Classes also include information on local, state, and federal policies, procedures, and responses to epidemiological factors and findings.Exercise and Wellness Programming
Classes on exercise and wellness programming combine information on how to develop exercise and wellness plans with methods to deliver programs to individuals and groups. Students learn to assess the exercise and wellness needs of patients, clients, and communities of for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Learners practice designing achievable plans, investigate methods to support and motivate individuals and groups, and train to adapt their initiatives as appropriate.Health Communications
Health communications coursework introduces learners to terminology and field-specific language. Students explore tools and techniques for communicating health information to the public, including social media, electronic resources, and health software. They also learn best practices for engaging the public, studying marketing for health campaigns.Social and Behavioral Health
Classes on social and behavioral health provide students with the fundamental theories, practices, and tools of social and behavioral health. Learners also look at the impact factors including gender, race and ethnicity, economics, and family have on health. Coursework incorporates information on cultural and organizational influences that impact human behavior and health.
What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor's Degree in Health Education?
Bachelor's degrees in health education help learners develop valuable skills applicable to careers in education, healthcare, and community service. By exploring fundamental aspects of human health, its influences, and how it affects behavior and relationships, health education students can enter careers that provides essential public support. As effective communicators, health educators offer information to others and give them opportunities to improve their health. Health education graduates also develop competencies that help them continue in master's, Ph.D. and professional programs in medicine, public health, and counseling.
Online human education bachelor's degrees include general education courses that build writing, communication, and critical-thinking skills. Degree-specific coursework trains students in the theory, practice, and research of health education by providing materials with the goal of building the future of the profession. Students also develop advanced competencies in public health, global issues, education practices, and community engagement.
Health education programs online also teach learners to motivate individuals and communities. By studying techniques for health promotion and healthcare advocacy, future health education professionals learn how to assess the needs of others and implement and adjust health plans using critical thinking and decision-making skills developed during their health education degree. Programs that offer internships give learners access to experiential learning, which can sometimes lead to employment offers.
Through coursework on social and behavioral health, learners explore how environments and circumstances affect human health. By looking closely at the human body from scientific, psychological, and cultural perspectives, students learn about the complexities of human health. Combining these perspectives results in analytical skills that health education learners apply to future careers and continued study.
Potential Careers & Salaries
Online health education degrees prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry, education, and community and social engagement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 2.4 million new jobs in the healthcare industry by 2026, creating numerous opportunities for health therapists and counselors. With almost 400,000 new jobs estimated in the community and social service field by 2026, health education students have even more options for entry-level and advanced careers. Community health workers will experience an estimated 16% growth while school counselors are expected to grow 13%.
Healthcare and community and social service professions offer annual mean wages above the national average for all occupations. With a bachelor's degree, healthcare and community service practitioners earn more than their field counterparts without college degrees. Healthcare assistants and aides, who are not required to hold a bachelor's degree, earn below the national average annual wage. The same holds true for social and human service assistants.
Medical and health service managers work as administrators and executives in healthcare organizations and facilities. They coordinate patient care, keep records, maintain health information, and oversee other medical and health service workers. Medical and health service managers also monitor the quality of health services, articulate clinical and departmental goals, and ensure regulation and policy compliance.
$98,350 per year
Health educators and community health workers assess the health needs of individuals and communities, developing and implementing plants to improve overall wellness. Health educators and community health workers provide programs, interact with groups and communities, and conduct outreach to help individuals find healthcare resources and information. They may also keep data and report findings to other health education professionals.
$45,360 per year
Social and community service managers supervise and coordinate social and community programs, working closely with individuals and groups to identify needs. By accessing resources, developing plans, and monitoring program success, social and community service managers provide services to specific populations, including children, families, and minority groups. Managers also supervise social and community service workers and manage budgets as appropriate.
$64,100 per year
Community health coordinators work with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and community-based groups to plan, implement, and monitor community health initiatives. Community health coordinators provide resources for specific groups, including families and poverty-stricken populations, counsel individuals and groups, keep current on research and trends in community health, and may supervise other community health colleagues.
$42,560 per year
High school teachers develop lesson plans, assess student learning, grade assignments, and communicate with students and parents about student success. Teachers also work with colleagues and administrators to develop curricula, implement policy, and maintain educational standards. They work with students inside the classroom but may also supervise learners in other school-related settings. They also prepare and administer standardized tests and may help students prepare for postsecondary education.
$59,170 per year
Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Health Education?
A bachelor's degree in health education provides students with opportunities for a variety of entry-level careers. Learners who enter positions as healthcare workers, community health professionals, and health educators can advance within their roles using the skills and competencies they develop in an online health education program. Degree specializations and elective coursework add to the array of knowledge health education students bring to their positions. Bachelor's programs also prepare students to pursue certifications and field-specific credentials that open up new job possibilities and build industry expertise.
Health education degrees online also give learners the knowledge, research skills, and resources necessary to continue to graduate study. Learners who want to advance to leadership and executive positions within the healthcare and health education fields benefit from the specialized content contained within a graduate program. Health education students can study medicine, public health, and healthcare administration at the master's or Ph.D. level.
Accreditation for Health Education Bachelor's Programs
Most colleges and universities hold national or regional accreditation awarded by an agency or organization recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). National accreditation indicates a school offers career-oriented, technical, and vocational programs while regional accreditation is awarded to schools that provide research-based and academically rigorous programs. CHEA and ED supervise accrediting bodies to make sure they apply their educational standards fairly and appropriately.
While health education programs online carry the accreditation status of the institutions that offers them, they may also hold programmatic accreditation. Programs and departments may hold programmatic accreditation from a field-specific agency or organization. Health education programs may be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). When applying to an online health education degree, it is important to check the accreditation status of your potential school and program. Accreditation status may impact financial aid and transfer credit options.
Health Education Professional Organizations
Membership to a professional organization for health education offers students and practitioners access to professional networks, industry-resources, updates in the field, and continuing education opportunities. Many organizations and associations provide certifications and credential programs designed to enhance competencies. Through publications, research collaborations, and communication links, health education practitioners can work together to enhance the field and advocate for their clients, patients, and students. Members of professional organizations and associations may also receive industry-related discounts, access to events, and career service mentorship.
HECA brings together health care education professionals from various disciplines to facilitate collaboration and cooperation. HECA is committed to improving healthcare through evidence-based data, communications, and education. Members of HCEA have access to resources, updates, networking opportunities, and scholarship programs.
SOPHE promotes public health education by building networks of public health practitioners, educators, and policy makers. Members of SOPHE work to strengthen awareness of the role behavior health plays in health education by spreading information about the risks and issues facing groups such as children, ethnic and racial groups, and underrepresented minorities. Members have access to education resources, awards and grants, and policy updates.
APHA works to enhance public health of all individuals and all communities by strengthening the public health profession. Through publications, professional development, events, and advocacy programs, APHA builds communities of public health students, educators, and practitioners. Members benefit from career development resources, policy updates, and discounts on APHA books, periodicals, and conference attendance.