2020 Accredited Online Health Education Degrees
Health education degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. The field of health education is interdiscplinary and encompasses a wide variety of strategies used to educate individuals and communities about improving health. There are many accredited online schools offering health education degrees, 9 of which stand out as the best online master's programs based on tuition costs and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
Prospective health education students should select a regionally accredited institution. Additionally, those who are pursuing careers as a certified teacher within the public school system should look for a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Health Education Degrees
Online Health Education Degree Overview & Career Information
Prospective online health education students can find programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. At the bachelor's level, students will spend four years on their education and may be prepared upon graduation to enter a wide variety of entry-level positions in such places as wellness centers, advocacy groups, and community centers. A master's degree will allow a professional to move into management and leadership roles within the industry. Those who choose to earn a doctorate may pursue work teaching at the university level, researching, or in top management or consulting jobs.
Online Associate Degrees in Health Education
At the associate level, students are most likely to find programs in community health or health education designed to prepare them for transfer to a bachelor's program. An associate degree will not be enough to find work teaching in the school system, but graduates of a program in a subject such as community health may be able to find work in some community services facilities, commercial wellness centers, or in administrative roles within a healthcare facility.
Programs typically last two years and are made up of 60 credits of coursework. An associate degree in this field can be found at community colleges, with tuition varying depending on the school. Typically, a student can expect to spend less than $8,000 a year on tuition at a community college.
Online associate degrees related to health education tend to be primarily focused on physical education. These programs include general education courses in art, humanities, social sciences, math, and physical sciences. In addition to distribution requirements, online associate degrees in health education include program-specific courses in the areas of public health, youth development, nutrition, psychology, anatomy, first aid, and others.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Health Education
Bachelor's degree programs in health education are widely available at colleges and universities and usually take four years and around 120 credits to complete. Students in these programs will gain the skills and knowledge they need to be able to work in a variety of settings providing education to individuals and groups on the topic of health. While a bachelor's degree alone won't qualify someone to teach health classes in a public school setting—unless the program includes a teacher certification component, it can provide a foundation upon which aspiring teachers can build to pursue teaching certification later, or to move on to master's-level work in the field of education and teaching.
Coursework covers such topics as health communications, grant writing, healthcare ethics, creating health education programs, and more. Graduates may find work with health advocacy organizations, community centers, wellness programs, and medical facilities. Job responsibilities will include teaching people how to maintain good health and how to prevent illness and injuries. Depending on the program, an individual may also meet the qualifications to become a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Online Master's Degrees in Health Education
An online master's in health education prepares students for leadership roles within the industry. These professionals may go on to work in a variety of settings such as non-profit groups, businesses, hospitals, schools, and health departments to create educational programs that teach individuals and groups how to maintain good health and prevent diseases. To learn more about online master's programs in health education, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.
Online Doctoral Degrees in Health Education
While not as widely available, there are doctoral programs in health education for those that wish to devote extended time to research and advanced study of the health education field. By earning a PhD, professionals may be qualified for top leadership roles, consulting work, independent research, and teaching at universities.
PhD program lengths can vary, generally requiring at least three years of study. In order to be admitted to a doctoral program, an individual will need to have a master's degree. This can be in a related field or a different field, but students who have a master's in health education may be able to complete their PhD faster than those who have a master's in an unrelated field. Other admission requirements may include letters of recommendation and a resume. A doctoral degree in health education can be pursued at universities, and tuition can run anywhere from $11,000 to $20,000 a year or more, depending on the program and how many credits a student is able to transfer.
Health education students can expect to take courses in healthcare economics, leadership and ethics, instructional design and program planning, quantitative and qualitative reasoning and analysis, global health, public health policy, and assessing community needs for health education among other subjects. Students will also complete a dissertation which provides them with the opportunity to conduct in-depth research on a topic of their choice.
Online Certificates in Health Education
Certificate programs in health education are available to those who do not wish to commit to a full degree program. Certificates are typically found at the graduate level, meaning that a prospective student will need to already have a bachelor's degree in order to apply. Additionally, students who earn a graduate certificate may be able to transfer those credits to master's degree programs if they choose to pursue one at a later time. Courses that make up a certificate program include administration of health education programs, health communications, cultural context of health, and public health education methods. Upon earning their certificates, graduates will be able to work in a variety of settings, such as social services groups, non-profits, and medical facilities, assisting with the design and creation of health education programs. A certificate can typically be earned in less than a year and usually consists of 12 to 18 credits. Tuition varies depending on the school attended; students may spend $10,000 or more on tuition.
When choosing a degree program it is important for prospective students to keep accreditation in mind. The first type of accreditation that they should look for in a school is regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is when a non-profit, regionally-based organization evaluates a school as a whole to make sure that it meets certain quality standards. Regional accreditation is given to two and four-year colleges and universities that grant degrees. When a student attends a regionally accredited school they know that they will receive a quality education, and they can also have confidence that their degree will be accepted as valid by future employers. Also, credits from a regionally accredited institution are much easier to transfer to other institutions than credits from non-accredited schools.
There are also organizations that accredit specific programs. For example, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits teaching programs. While not all health education programs will be accredited by CAEP, individuals who are looking for a health education program that focuses on working as a teacher within the public school system will want to find a program that is. CAEP accreditation means that the program will fully prepare students to be successful teachers upon graduation. Also, teachers who graduate from CAEP-accredited programs will be more competitive in the job market, as employers can hire them with confidence, knowing that they have received a quality education.
Careers in Health Education
Those who work in the field of health education spend their days teaching others about the importance of good health. This can mean anything from working with a patient to better understand how to address a new diagnosis, to leading workshops on good health for a business's employees. When they are not actively teaching others they are working in communities and within organizations to evaluate health education needs and to come up with programs to help address these needs. Jobs for healthcare educators are available in a variety of locations, including hospitals and clinics, private businesses, schools, non-profit organizations, and the public health department. In order to work in entry-level positions an individual will need at least an associate, and probably a bachelor's, degree. Those seeking advanced leadership positions, teaching jobs at the university level, or research positions, will need to pursue a master's or doctorate. In order to work as a certified teacher within the public school system, the aspiring teacher will need to seek a degree that specifically addresses teaching health classes at this level, and will need to pursue teacher certification.
- Doctor of Health Education Degree Online. A.T. Still University. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.atsu.edu/doctor-of-health-education-degree#admissions.
- Health Education. Ashford University. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.ashford.edu/degrees/online/ba-health-education.htm.
- Health Education and Health Promotion (BS). Arizona State University Online. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://asuonline.asu.edu/online-degree-programs/undergraduate/bachelor-science-health-education-and-health-promotion.
- Health Education AS Major. City College of San Francisco. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.ccsf.edu/dam/ccsf/documents/OfficeOfInstruction/Catalog/Programs/HealthEducation/HealthEducationMajor.pdf.
- Master of Science in Health Education. Kaplan University. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/health-sciences/health-education-master-degree.aspx.
- MS in Health Education and Promotion. Walden University. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.waldenu.edu/masters/ms-in-health-education-and-promotion.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Health Educators and Community Health Workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States of America. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-2.
- Online Certificate in Health Education and Promotion. Benedictine University. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://online.ben.edu/programs/health-education-cert.
- Online Health Education Graduate Certificate. University of Alabama at Birmingham. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.uab.edu/education/humanstudies/chhs/certificate-in-health-education.
- PhD in Health Education and Promotion. Walden University. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.waldenu.edu/doctoral/phd-in-health-education-and-promotion.
- Tuition. Benedictine University. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://online.ben.edu/admissions/tuition?cmgfrm=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F.
- Tuition & Fees. Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.anokaramsey.edu/cost-aid/tuition-fees/.
- What is Regional Accreditation and Why is it Important?. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.wiche.edu/knowledge/14295.
- Why It Matters. CAEP. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://caepnet.org/accreditation/about-accreditation/why-it-matters.