Health Education Specialist

What is a health education specialist?

A health education specialist teaches behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities.

Health education specialists offer knowledge, skills, and training that complements the work of others — health care providers, policymakers, and human resource personnel.

Health educations specialists:

  • Assess the health needs of people and communities.
  • Develop and manage health education programs that help individuals, families, and communities maintain healthy lifestyles.
  • Test the effectiveness of programs and educational materials.
  • Help people find health services or information.
  • Provide training programs for other health professionals or community health workers.
  • Advocate for improved health resources, policies, procedures and services that promote health.
  • Collect and analyze data to learn about a particular community to improve programs and services.
  • Address Climate’s Impact on Health [pdf]
  • Serve as a resource to assist individuals, other health professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
  • Supervise staff who implement health education programs.

Where do health education specialists work?

  • Healthcare facilities, hospitals and clinics
  • State, county, and public health departments
  • Schools and universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Businesses and industries

Health education specialist employment is expected to grow by 12 percent from 2014-2024. Growth is driven by efforts to improve health and reduce healthcare costs. U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 21-1091 Health Educators.

Why is health education important?

  • Health education improves the health of people, families, and communities.
  • Health education focuses on prevention of illness and disease.
  • Health education reduces costly premature death and disability.
  • Health education reduces the financial and human costs of medical treatment.

What is a Certified Health Education Specialist?

A Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) is an individual that meets eligibility requirements and passes a competency-based exam of skills and knowledge of the Eight Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists.

MCHES® is a master’s degree level certification that includes a set of advanced eligibility requirements. Certification is provided by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. This certification requires an ongoing commitment to continuing education.