You love your community, and you know that you want to make a difference in the health of the people in your area. Earning your PhD in community based health promotion or community health education can be a great way for you to help people learn the truth about health, emphasize preventive care, and help people get the affordable healthcare treatment they need.
You may be wondering, “what is community-based health promotion?” While the field has been around for decades, it’s come under the spotlight recently with the onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis. In today’s information age, misinformation is everywhere, and many communities are searching to find trusted experts that can help them keep their families safe. There are many different career options for people who are interested in working in community health promotion. Earning your PhD in this field will allow you to make a difference in your community, while also enjoying your interest in medicine.
Let’s take a look at the answer to the question, “what is community health education?” to help you decide if this field might be a good fit for your career goals.
What Is Community Based Health Promotion?
Like public health in general, community-based health promotion can take many forms, and the answer to the question of, “what is community health promotion?” can differ widely depending on the needs of each community. In some areas, community health promoters work to address common health issues within the population. In others, they work to help citizens get access to care. They may also serve as advocates for people who are struggling to get the care or education that they need for their health issues. The job of a community based health promotion educator can differ depending on the needs of the community. In order to be successful in this field, it’s essential to be willing to stay on top of the latest research, adjusting programs and policies in order to meet the changing needs of your community.
What Is Community Health Education?
For many health issues, education is the first step to prevention and effective treatment. You may be wondering, “what is community development approach to health promotion?” For a community health educator, a community development approach means working to assess the needs of a particular area, and then working to meet hose needs. This can involve working with nonprofit organizations, working with government programs, and working with private health services to understand the needs of various populations within a community. Ideally, these health initiatives work in tandem to create a stronger, healthier community.
What Can I Do With A Community Health Education Degree?
Now that you understand the answer to “what is community development approach to health promotion?” let’s answer the question of, “what can i do with a community health education degree?” There are many options for employment after you earn your PhD in community health education. With a doctoral degree, you’ll be looked to as the health expert in your community. Whether you work in local or state government, for a private health organization, or as a private consultant, people in the community will work with you to develop programs and initiatives that benefit the health of the overall population. You may also be the one to create these programs, calling on your fellow health experts to fill in the gaps when it comes to researching and educating your community. Working as a community health educator can be an excellent way to put your passion for quality healthcare to good use.
Accreditation for Community Health Promotion and Education Programs
While there is no specific accreditation body for graduate public health education programs, it’s essential to ensure that you’re completing a program at a reputable university. While this means that you won’t be able to search for program accreditation while you’re choosing the perfect community health promotion and education PhD program for you, there are ways to ensure that you’re choosing a program that future potential employers will see as worthwhile.
Even though there is not a governing body for graduate public health degrees, you’ll want to make sure that the university you choose is accredited in some way. This may mean that they’re accredited by The Higher Learning Commission or a regional accreditation board. Be sure that the accreditation board is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The accreditation board’s website will give you this information. While most PhD programs you’ll come across are extremely reputable, there are some that function as “degree mills,” working to push students through the program as quickly as possible while collecting tuition money. Be sure to do your research on schools that you’re considering, and take your time before you decide to put down a deposit.
When you’re talking with a potential academic advisor before you commit to a school, there are a few questions that you can ask to determine how reputable the institution is, including:
- What’s your alumni involvement like?
- Can I contact a successful alumnus/a of your program?
- How many of your graduates find jobs upon graduation?
- What percentage of students who enroll in your program graduate?
- How long does it take students to graduate, on average?
Additionally, you should be able to find the names of faculty members for your PhD program on the institution’s website. A quick web search can help you see whether they’re reputable. In a PhD program, faculty members should have published researched, and should have a solid internet presence that’s easy for you to find. If you struggle to find information on a school, or come across bad reviews from previous students, it’s a good sign that you should move on to a different program.
Types of Health Promotion and Education Doctoral Degrees
When you’re working through the process of finding the right health promotion PhD program for your career goals, you’ll find that you have many options. Whether you’re focusing solely on health promotion PhD programs, you’re looking at getting a PhD in community health education, or you’re focusing on programs that combine the two titles into a doctorate in health education and promotion, most degrees in this field boil down to the same general idea: helping communities get and stay healthy.
Online, Hybrid, and Traditional Options
When you’re going through the process of earning your health promotion PhD, you’ll find many options for traditional, hybrid, and online programs. There are benefits to each option, and all avenues can allow you to forge a successful path to earning a doctorate in health promotion.
Choosing a traditional option for your PhD in health promotion means that you’ll spend much of your time in the classroom. If you’re able to focus solely on your education right now without having to worry about other responsibilities, a traditional education may be a good fit for you. A traditional education as you earn your PhD in health promotion means that you’ll get plenty of face time with professors, and you’ll be able to participate in on campus research projects in a hands-on way.
Getting your doctorate in health promotion online is another option that can work well for many people. When you get your PhD in health education and health promotion online, you’re often able to create your own schedule for your classwork. This means that you can continue working in your 9-5 job while getting you education in your spare time. Be sure to talk with your admissions officer about the requirements for the online program. While most online PhD in health education and health promotion programs allow you to completely work on your own time, others require that you’re online at specific times to participate in lectures and discussions with others. Many PhD in community health promotion and education programs that take place online are largely made up of nontraditional learners with a wealth of real world and professional experience. This can make for lively discussion boards and group projects that allow you to learn firsthand from other professionals in your field.
If you want to get the best of both worlds, earning your PhD in community health promotion and education through a hybrid program may be a good fit for you. A hybrid doctorate in health education and promotion program combines online education with a traditional education, allowing you to complete some of your classes remotely and others on campus. In a hybrid PhD in community health education program, you may be able to choose which classes you take online and which classes you take in the classroom, or the course schedule may be set for you. Be sure to talk with your admissions officer about scheduling options for your hybrid online health education and promotion doctorate degree so you can ensure that the program is a good fit for your needs.
Specialization Options Within Health Promotion PhD Programs
Whether you choose to learn more about traditional or online doctoral programs in community health, you’ll find that there are many specializations available, including:
- Research – Earning your doctorate in health promotion online with a specialty in research prepares you to be at the forefront of learning more about healthcare. This specialty is relatively uncommon, and earning your PhD in health promotion online with a specialty in research will put you in a unique position upon graduation to work in a research lab that studies how to improve health initiatives in communities.
- Global healthcare – Earning your doctorate in health promotion online with a specialty in global healthcare allows you to study how healthcare differs around the world. This online health education and promotion doctorate degree allows students to take aspects that work from various cultures and understand how those techniques could improve healthcare in other cultures. This specialty also allows students to understand how healthcare access, poverty, food availability, literacy, and other factors affect healthcare in communities around the world.
- Management and leadership – Doctoral programs in community health that focus on management and leadership are perfect for professionals who understand that programs and initiatives need to be set into motion in order for the public to benefit from said programs. Earning your health promotion doctorate with a focus in leadership will leave you well prepared to move communities in the right direction, while leading the people who can make significant changes on a local level.
- Food studies – Many healthcare professionals have begun to emphasize the importance of nutrition, and many online doctoral programs in community health are beginning to offer food studies specialties as well. When you earn your health promotion doctorate with a specialization in food studies, you’ll learn how food deserts, food access, and hunger issues affect communities, and you’ll be able to work to develop solutions to these issues.
- Population healthcare – Doctoral programs in community health that offer a population healthcare specialty allows students to learn about the macro factors that affect healthcare. This type of PhD in health promotion online focuses on how attitudes, psychology, history, access, and other factors affect healthcare issues around the world, and discusses the solutions that need to be put into place to create improved health worldwide.
Careers in Health Promotion and Education with a Doctorate
There are many community health education jobs that will allow you o put your degree to good work. Jobs in community health promotion are on the rise due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the position is now more important than ever. Let’s take a look at some of the jobs in community health education for which you’ll be well qualified after you finish your degree.
When you earn your PhD, it’s likely that many of the community health education jobs for which you’ll be best suited will be in supervisory or research roles. If you enjoy the direct work with community members that you’ve had in your career thus far, remember that you can always jump in with your instructors as they work their jobs in community health education to teach a class, work with the public, and do the grassroots work that you love.
The community health educator job description and the community health educator definition can vary greatly from community to community, and can look different in various healthcare education settings. Let’s take a look at some of the community health promotion jobs for professionals who have their PhD in community health promotion and education.
- Public health program evaluator – One of the most important community health promotion jobs, a public health program evaluator works to find out what’s working and what isn’t working within community health programs. Community health education degree jobs at this level are supervisory in nature, and often require leadership skills and the ability to manage a team.
- Disease specialist – These community health promotion specialist jobs require you to become an expert on a specific disease or group of diseases. These community health education degree jobs can involve staying on top of the latest research, talking with other experts in the field, and developing education programs for the communities and populations most likely to be affected by the disease.
- Non-profit health education supervisor – Community health promotion specialist jobs with non-profit organizations require supervisory experts who have a wealth of knowledge in their field. When you work non-profit jobs in community health promotion, you’ll supervise a team of community health educators who will come to you to ensure that they’re relaying the latest well-researched information.
- University health eduction supervisor – One of the top community health education specialist jobs is working with college students in a university setting. These jobs for community health education majors can allow you to focus on your area of interest, whether that’s sexual health, physical fitness, nutrition, or other areas of concern to the young adult population. These community health educators jobs for professionals who have their PhD often involve supervising graduate student health counselors, helping them as they counsel students on how to get and stay healthy in a stressful university setting.
- Policy developer – If you’re interested in changing the world of healthcare, becoming a policy developer may be one of the jobs for community health education majors that makes the most sense for you. These community health education specialist jobs allow you to have an impact on the legislation that will affect public health for years to come. You’ll also be working to create funding for other community health educators jobs, creating a positive impact on the field.
- Professor – As a public health instructor, you’ll get to teach students much more than the community health education definition and the community health educator job description – you’ll be able to help develop the next group of minds that will shape the policies that affect the health of future generations. Whether you teach introductory classes that answer the question, “what does a community health educator do?” or you teach more advanced classes that work to teach students how to make the policy changes necessary for a healthier future, you’ll be making a difference for the lives of generations to come.
Now that you understand the answer to the question, “what does a community health educator do?” we’ll explore the different salary ranges for people who work in the field.
Salary Expectations for Community Health Professionals
When you’re thinking about getting your degree in community health education and promotion, it makes sense that you want to know more about the PhD in health promotion salary. While you’re likely getting into the field because you care about helping others, you also need to ensure that you’ll be able to make a comfortable living with your community health education salary after you finish your schooling. There are many factors that can affect your community health education jobs salary, but most people with a PhD find that their community health education salary provides them with enough money to live comfortably while still paying back their student loans.
There are several factors that can affect your community health education jobs salary, including:
- Funding – Your community health promotion specialist salary may depend on the funding available to your community or organization. Your community health education specialist salary may be higher in an area that has prioritized public health education as a part of their local budget.
- Cost of living – The cost of living will be a determining factor in your PhD in health promotion salary. The higher the cost of living in your area, the higher your salary is likely to be. As you’re searching for community health promotion specialist salary options, you’ll want to keep cost of living in mind. A job in a large city will likely offer a higher community health education specialist salary due to the fact that the cost of living will be vastly different from that of a small town.
- Experience – Your experience can help to determine your community health education jobs salary. If you’ve worked as a professional in the field for quite some time, you’ll be able to leverage your experience into a higher salary offer.
- Specialty – Your specialty that you choose during your education can also determine your community health education jobs salary. If you choose a highly in demand field, it’s likely that your salary will be higher than a field that has more available people who are capable of doing the job. The research you do within your specialty can also contribute to a higher salary offer.
In general, you can expert the following average salary ranges:
- Public health program evaluator – $49,000/ year
- Disease specialist – $54,000/ year
- Non-profit health education supervisor – $41,000/ year
- University health education supervisor. -$63,000/ year
- Policy developer – $87,000/ year
- Professor – $65,000/ year
Professional Organizations Health Promotion and Education
As you move through your career in community health education, it’s key that you involve yourself in professional organizations. Through connecting with other community health professionals, you’ll enjoy networking opportunities, learn about new job opportunities, and get to participate in classes that allow you to earn continuing education credits to stay current on the latest research in the field.
Community health promotion and education professional organizations include:
- American Public Health Association
- National Commission For Health Education Credentialing
- Public Health Learning Network
- Society For Public Health Education