2023 Best Online Master's Degrees in Health Education
Obtaining a master's in health education explores interdisciplinary subject matter encompassing a wide variety of strategies used to educate individuals and communities about improving health. Below, you'll find several popular options for a master's degree, including programs covering community health education, public health, and health promotion. Students concerned with tuition costs should also explore our list of the most affordable master's degrees in health education.
Online Health Education Master's Degrees You May Be Interested In
Representing the online branch of the Purdue University system, Purdue Global (PG) is a large public university offering an online Master of Science in Health Education and Promotion. This program requires 48 credit hours and can be completed in 1.5 years of full-time study. PG accepts 100% of students under their open admission policy, with 27% earning a degree.
PG uses Brightspace to deliver online coursework. The curriculum prepares students to identify issues and trends, develop and analyze programs, and design and critique research in health education and promotion. Core requirements support this goal with classes like Health Education Program Assessment, Health Education Evaluation and Research, and Health Behavior. Students must also complete a Master’s Capstone in Health Education and Promotion to graduate.
The University of Florida (UF) is a large public university that offers an online Master of Science in Health Education and Behavior requiring 30 credit hours. This program can be completed in as little as 1 year with a three-semester schedule. The acceptance rate at UF is highly competitive at 30%, but 88% of students graduate with a degree.
Students use Canvas to access their online coursework, which is primarily asynchronous. The curriculum prepares students with the skills needed to effectively plan, implement, and evaluate programs. Some core classes are Philosophy & Principles of Health Education, Epidemiology, and Theories of Health Behavior & Practice. Students who enroll in this program are required to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) exam.
Columbia Southern University (CSU), a private, for-profit university based in Alabama, offers a Master of Public Health - Community Health Education requiring 36 credit hours. All applicants are accepted under CSU’s open admissions policy, and 46% graduate with a degree.
CSU students access coursework using the Blackboard learning management system. Curriculum covers topics such as issues and trends in community health, health promotion strategies, and health program planning. Core classes include Public Health Concepts, Applied Biostatistics, and Public Health Research. Students must also finish a Public Health Capstone to complete the degree. Graduates may find employment as community health educators in a wide range of public health settings.
East Carolina University (ECU), a large public university in North Carolina, offers a 30 credit-hour Master of Arts in Health Education. Students choose from a Thesis, Internship, or Coursework option that may affect how long the course takes to complete. ECU’s acceptance rate is 94%, and 68% of students earn a degree.
ECU students primarily use Canvas to access their online coursework. The curriculum provides the knowledge needed to design, implement, and evaluate programs aimed at improving community and population health. Required classes include Foundations of Health Education and Promotion, Research Methods in Health Education, and Intervention Strategies for Health Education and Promotion. Students who complete the degree are eligible to sit for the CHES examination.
The University of Alabama (UA) is a large public university offering an online 42 credit-hour Master of Public Health in Health Education & Promotion that requires 42 credit hours. UA also offers an online 30 credit-hour Master of Arts in Health Studies program designed for working adults. After completing either program, students are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) or Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) exams. UA has a 79% acceptance rate, and 69% graduate with a degree.
UA uses Canvas to deliver online coursework. The MPH curriculum is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to plan, implement, evaluate and advocate for health-related programs, and includes core classes like Theories of Health Behavior, Biostatistics, and Health Disparities.
Texas A&M University (TAMU), a large, public Hispanic-Serving Institution, offers a Master of Science in Health Education. This program requires 36 credit hours, can be completed in 2 years with a full-time workload, and offers both a Thesis and Non-Thesis option. TAMU accepts 64% of applicants, with 83% going on to earn a degree.
At TAMU, asynchronous coursework is accessed via Canvas. Students will learn to work with the literature of health education, develop the needed skills to read and apply relevant research, and prepare for professional leadership in the field. Supporting classes include Research Methods, Health Program Planning, and Systems Theory. The TAMU School of Public Health is not admitting to the MS in Health Education program for fall 2023, but recommends checking this website for updates regarding fall 2024.
San Jose State University (SJSU) is a large public university designated as both an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. SJSU’s Master of Public Health with a specialization in Community Health Education requires 42 credit hours and can be completed in two years with a full-time schedule. The acceptance rate at SJSU is 84%, with a graduation rate of 75%.
SJSU uses Canvas to deliver online coursework. This program aims to provide the knowledge and conceptual understanding needed to develop programs and advocate for health policy. Students will take classes like Health Policy and Organization, Environmental Health, and Public Health Leadership. To graduate, online students must complete a comprehensive exam.
Concordia University-Irvine (CUI) is a small, private, non-profit university with both religious and minority-serving designations. CUI offers a 42 credit-hour Master of Public Health with a Community Health Education concentration that can be completed in 2 years on a full-time schedule. The acceptance rate at CUI is 81%, with 65% of students earning a degree.
At CUI, coursework is accessed via Blackboard. The curriculum provides students a faith-based education leading to a solid foundation in public health that is grounded in research and ethics. Core classes for this concentration include Community Health, Communication and Social Marketing Health Promotion and Education, and Programming and Evaluation in Public Health. Common careers include epidemiologist, program manager, and statistician.
California-based Touro University Worldwide (TUW) is a private, non-profit institution offering an online 36 credit-hour Master of Science in Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Education. Students can complete this program in 1 year by taking two courses per term for six consecutive terms. TUW accepts all applicants under their open admissions policy, while 43% of students graduate with a degree.
Students at TUW use Canvas to access online coursework. The program helps prepare students to assume leadership roles regarding health education programs in a variety of settings. Supporting this goal are classes like Health through the Life Span, Health Behavior and Change, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Public Health. A Capstone Integrative Project must also be completed to finish the degree.
Trident University International (TUI) is a fully online university offering a Master of Science in Health Sciences with a Health Education concentration. This program requires 40 credit hours and can be completed in two years with a normal course load.
Students at TUI access asynchronous and synchronous coursework using the Trident Learning Community portal. This program’s goal is to provide students with the analytical, communication, and implementation skills needed to be effective managers and leaders in various health fields. Core classes for the Health Education specialization include Perspectives in Community Health Education, Biostatistics, and Health Education Program Administration. Students must also complete an integrative project to finish the degree.
List Of Accredited Online Health Education Schools
What Is An Online Master's Degree in Health Education?
Health educators are instrumental in advocating for healthier lifestyles, preventing diseases, and empowering people to make informed choices about their health. An online master's degree in health education offers the expertise and strategies needed to launch health education initiatives, craft educational materials, and work in various healthcare settings.
An online master's degree in health education offers students a comprehensive curriculum that covers topics such as public health, health promotion, behavioral sciences, program planning, and evaluation. Students also delve into subjects like epidemiology and biostatistics, which provide critical insights into health trends and enable the creation of effective interventions. Further, the program integrates technologies and digital tools to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in a dynamic healthcare environment.
A key consideration when choosing an online health education master's program is accreditation. Accreditation indicates that the program meets rigorous quality and educational standards set by independent accrediting agencies. Not only does accreditation demonstrate the program's quality, but it also makes graduates more attractive to potential employers and may be required for professional certifications or licensure.
OnlineU only features accredited institutions on its website.
For those interested in health education, it's worth noting that a master's degree in physical education can be a good alternative option. Both degrees focus on encouraging healthy behaviors and lifestyles, albeit through different lenses — a health education degree delves into health-related concepts and program design, while a physical education degree centers on physical activity, exercise, and human movement.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Health Education Master's Online?
Online health education master’s programs typically take two to three years of full-time study. The duration can vary based on factors such as the specific program requirements, your course load, and your own pace.
Many programs allow for part-time or accelerated options. Part-time students can take fewer courses each semester, which may extend the time to graduation. Meanwhile, accelerated options allow students to complete the program more quickly.
An online format offers flexibility, enabling students to juggle work, family, and education. Asynchronous learning allows students to access course materials and complete assignments at their own pace, making it a perfect option for busy professionals or those with unconventional schedules.
Why Is Health Education Important?
Health education is a vital tool in fostering positive health outcomes, both for individuals and communities. Equipping people with the knowledge and skills to make well-informed choices about their health makes it possible to reduce the spread of diseases and promote healthier lifestyles. In general, health education empowers people to take ownership of their health and well-being, which can positively impact the broader community.
Health education fosters collective action and healthier environments, policies, and practices. By reducing preventable diseases and healthcare costs, they lessen the burden on healthcare systems and provide equitable access to information and resources for underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
What Does a Master's in Health Education Teach You?
A health educator degree program provides a deep dive into public health, health promotion, and the factors that influence health behaviors. Students become experts in designing evidence-based health interventions, conducting cutting-edge research, and understanding the complex social and cultural dynamics that impact health.
Specializations in Health Education
Master's in health education programs often offer various specializations, allowing students to tailor their education to specific areas of interest. With diverse specializations, students can customize their degree to align with their career aspirations.
Common concentrations include:
- Community Health
- School Health
- Global Health Education
- Health Services Management
- Health and Wellness Coaching
- Environmental Public Health
- Occupational Public Health
Common Courses in a Health Education Master's Curriculum
The master's in health education curriculum strikes a balance between theory and practice, providing a comprehensive understanding of the field. Students develop skills in promoting health, preventing disease, and advocating for well-being in diverse settings.
Below are several courses that you can expect to find in a typical health education master's program:
What Can You Do With a Master’s in Health Education?
A master's in health education provides graduates with numerous career paths in the healthcare field. Potential roles include health educators, community health specialists, and public health program managers. Additionally, graduates can obtain specialized certifications, such as Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) or Certified in Public Health (CPH), to deepen their expertise and enhance their employability in specific areas of health education.
For those seeking to delve into research and leadership roles, a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) or a PhD in Health Education can be a good choice. These doctoral degrees in education provide the necessary knowledge, skills, and training for success in academia, research, or high-level positions in public health organizations, enabling graduates to make a real difference in the healthcare landscape.
Here are several career options you can pursue with a master's in health education:
Health Education Specialists
Health education specialists teach and support individuals and communities about behaviors that promote health and well-being.
Community Health Workers
Community health workers develop and implement programs to encourage healthy behaviors and advocate for underserved populations who may lack access to essential health services and social support.
Epidemiologists conduct studies to identify the causes and patterns of diseases and injuries in populations. They use this data to inform policies and practices that promote public health and prevent future outbreaks.
Medical and Health Service Managers
Medical and health service managers oversee the operations of healthcare facilities, lead teams, and ensure that patients receive quality care efficiently and cost-effectively.
These careers offer opportunities to make a significant impact on public health, promote wellness, and contribute to better health outcomes in communities. Coincidentally, many of them also come with higher-than-average salaries and solid job growth prospects.
What Is a Health Educator?
A health educator is a professional who works to improve health outcomes through education and behavior change. They create, deliver, and evaluate health education programs and initiatives that teach and empower individuals and communities to make informed decisions and adopt healthy behaviors. Health educators provide information on a wide range of subjects, including nutrition, disease prevention, sexual health, substance abuse, and mental well-being.
Where Do Health Educators Work?
Health educators work in various settings, each offering unique opportunities to promote public health and well-being. Common workplaces for health educators include schools and colleges, where they provide students with essential knowledge about topics like nutrition, sexual health, and substance abuse prevention. Healthcare facilities rely on health educators to educate patients about chronic condition management, healthy living, and preventive care. They also work with community organizations and nonprofits to tackle specific health concerns within communities. In addition, health educators can work on developing and implementing public health initiatives for government agencies at the local and state levels. Alternatively, they might find themselves in corporate settings, where they promote employee wellness and develop workplace health programs. Their flexibility allows them to adapt their skills to fit a variety of settings while working towards the shared goal of enhancing the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
How To Become a Certified Health Education Specialist
Becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) involves a series of steps to meet the certification requirements. Here's a checklist to guide you through the process:
Get a qualifying degree
To be eligible for CHES certification, you must have a bachelor's or master’s degree from an accredited institution in a health education or related field. Make sure the degree program aligns with the Eight Areas of Responsibility and Competencies for Health Education Specialists, which are the foundational knowledge areas for CHES certification.
Prepare for the CHES exam
Review the CHES exam content outline provided by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). Consider enrolling in a test preparation course or using study materials to get ready for the exam.
Register for the CHES exam
Visit the NCHEC website to register for the CHES exam, pay the examination fee, and schedule your exam date.
Pass the CHES Exam
Take the CHES exam and achieve a passing score. The exam assesses your knowledge of health education competencies and responsibilities.
Complete the application process
Submit your application for CHES certification, which includes verifying your educational background and passing exam scores.
CHES certification is valid for five years. After that, you need to complete the recertification process to remain certified. This includes documenting continuing education and relevant work experience.
Applying for a Health Education Master's Degree Program
A master's degree in health education typically requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. While a bachelor’s in health education or a related undergraduate major may offer an advantage, many programs accept candidates from various academic backgrounds.
To apply for a master's degree in health education, candidates typically need to submit some materials along with their application. These may include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, a statement of purpose outlining their career goals and interest in health education, and standardized test scores (GRE). In addition, prospective students may be required to meet certain prerequisites. These may vary but generally include prerequisite coursework in areas such as biology, psychology, or statistics. Applicants should carefully review the requirements and recommendations of the program they’re interested in to ensure they meet all necessary qualifications.
Is a Master's in Health Education Worth It?
Deciding whether a master's in health education is worth pursuing depends on your professional goals and aspirations. For the right person, however, a health education master’s degree may lead to a gratifying career that both creates a positive impact in a community and provides excellent compensation.
Diverse career opportunities
Impact on public health
High job growth rates
Degree’s versatility and flexibility
Certification requirements for certain employers
Competitive job market
All in all, pursuing a master's degree in health education online can be a wise investment for those passionate about improving public health and wellness. The degree offers a range of career paths and the opportunity to make a positive impact on communities. That said, potential students should carefully consider the financial and time commitments, as well as the competitiveness of the job market, before embarking on this path.