PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The health education program offers a wide range of courses designed to prepare individuals to practice the art of health education as health specialists. The undergraduate teaching program, Health Education and Lifetime Wellness, prepares individuals to teach secondary students in public and at all grade levels in private educational institutions. The Community and Public Health program enables individuals to prepare for leadership positions as public/community health educators, patient/clinical health educators, and business/industry health educators. The Health Education Program is listed in the Association for the Advancement of Health Education Directory. The Health Science Technology Program prepares health professionals to teach health sciences in high schools.
The graduate program in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation prepares students with an emphasis in Health Education to teach Health Education on the collegiate level and as directors of programs in Public and Community Health. In addition, both the undergraduate and graduate degree prepares students to become certified as professional Health Education Specialists.
EMPLOYMENT OBJECTIVE: School Health Educators, Public Health Educators, Community Health Educators, Clinical Health Educators, Patient Health Educators, and Business/Industry Health Educators.
DESCRIPTION OF HEALTH CAREER: Health educators work to encourage healthy lifestyles and wellness through educating individuals and communities about behaviors that promote healthy living and prevent diseases and other health problems. They attempt to prevent illnesses by informing and educating individuals and communities about health-related topics, such as proper nutrition, the importance of exercise, how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, and the habits and behaviors necessary to avoid illness. They begin by assessing the needs of their audience, which includes determining which topics to cover and how to best present the information. For example, they may hold programs on self-examinations for breast cancer to women who are at higher risk or may teach classes on the effects of binge drinking to college students. Health educators must take the cultural norms of their audience into account. For example, programs targeted at the elderly need to be drastically different from those aimed at a college-aged population. After assessing their audiences' needs, health educators must decide how to meet those needs. Health educators have a lot of options in putting together programs to that end. They may organize a lecture, class, demonstration or health screening, or create a video, pamphlet or brochure. Often, planning a program requires working with other people in a team or on a committee within the organization that employs them. Also, health educators must plan programs that are consistent with the goals and objectives of their employers. For example, many non-profit organizations educate the public about just one disease or health issue and, therefore, limit their programs to cover topics related to that disease or issue. Next, health educators need to implement their proposed plan. This may require finding funding by applying for grants, writing curriculums for classes, or creating written materials that would be made available to the public. Also, programs may require dealing with basic logistics problems, such as finding speakers or locations for the event. Generally, after a program is presented, health educators evaluate its success. This could include tracking the absentee rate of employees from work and students from school, surveying participants on their opinions about the program, or other methods of collecting evidence that suggests whether the programs were effective. Through evaluation, they can improve plans for the future by learning from mistakes and capitalizing on strengths.
LENGTH OF PROGRAM: Four year undergraduate program; masters of science programs require 30-32 semester hours beyond the undergraduate program.
DEPARTMENT: Health and Human Performance
CONTACT: Dr. Dianne Bartley, 615-898-2811 or Box 96
For more information about the health education program, visit their website at http://www.mtsu.edu/~hpers.