- Most universities require that public health teachers hold at least an M.P.H. or a Master’s in Public Health.
- If you plan on working in public high schools you may also need to secure a teaching credential.
What you study:
While pursuing a degree in public health you are likely to study all of the following:
- Basics of Epidemiology
- Principles of Public Health Policy
- Statistical Methods
- Environmental Health
- Public Health Education
Briefly introduces the public health teaching occupaton. Produced for the US Department of Labor.
A Day in the Life
Your day as a public health teacher begins in the classroom. You arrive at the college where you work about 15 minutes before your first class is due to arrive. Depending on where you work you may be called either a public health teacher or a health specialties teacher. Regardless of your title you are responsible for educating students about health issues and keeping track of developments in your specialty area.
Your students arrive right as class is scheduled to begin. You are teaching an introductory seminar on public health issues so you begin by discussing an influenza scare that has been in the news recently. Understanding the history of public health issues is important and you make sure that you talk with your students about other flu scares. You field questions and moderate a discussion about the media’s coverage of the new pandemic.
Before your students leave you assign them a midterm essay. You hand out an instruction sheet and go over the prompts. Because most of the students haven’t had your class before you explain your expectations and give them tips about conducting research. As your students filter out you set up an office appointment with a young man who is thinking of pursuing a degree in public health. If he chooses to pursue this path you will act as his adviser.
After all of your students have left you gather up your instructional materials and head to your on-campus office. You spend the rest of your morning grading papers and updating your student tracking system. You plan to have a quick lunch in your office before you get ready for drop-in office hours.
During drop-in office hours you assist students who need help with assignments and course readings. One of your advisers come in to let you know that she’s landed an interview at a public health agency. You talk to her about the interview and make a note in your calendar to follow up with her later in the week.
You also use this time to start working up a midterm exam for your public health policy class. It’s your responsibility to design exams and to create grading rubrics for each of your courses. You work closely with your fellow faculty members to ensure that you are meeting department expectations.
After you finish another course you can head home for the evening. Of course you bring papers that still need to be graded with you. Once you’re at home you’ll finish grading your papers and will go over your lesson plans for the next day before enjoying your free time.
Certifications and Licensing
Many health educators work with only a B.A. or M.P.H. degree. However some institutions require that health teachers hold Certified Health Educator Specialists or CHES certification.
As a public health teacher you will spend much of your working day in a classroom setting. You will also maintain an office at the primary educational institution where you work and may complete work from home.
- American Association for Health Education: The AAHE website provides targeted advice for university professors health education professionals and public health students. Those who are interested in pursuing careers in this field will find a wide variety of information about professional development on this site.
- Association of Community Health Nursing Educators: Those individuals who want to enter the field of health education while holding a nursing degree will find event listings and online resources at the ACHNE site.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Health Educators: This U.S. Department of Labor handbook offers quantitative information about salary ranges and employment outlooks in this field. While this information is extremely useful it’s important to consult sites that offers a more qualitative view of this profession.
- Society for Public Health Education: SOPHE’s website provides resources training opportunities and advocacy information for both experienced and new professionals in health education. Public health students can network with SOPHE chapters in their area through the website.
Salaries by City
See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.
|State||City / Region||Typical Salary||Salary Range||Job Count||% of All Jobs|
|AL||Birmingham – Hoover||$45730||80||0.02%|
|AR||Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway||$44180||120||0.04%|
|AZ||Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale||$51350||870||0.05%|
|CA||Bakersfield – Delano||$34290||160||0.06%|
|CA||Hanford – Corcoran||$34290||90||0.25%|
|CA||Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area)||$39800||1500||0.04%|
|CA||Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area)||$56250||860||0.09%|
|CA||Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura||$50920||130||0.05%|
|CA||Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario||$40250||450||0.04%|
|CA||Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville||$61380||550||0.07%|
|CA||San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos||$44500||440||0.04%|
|CA||San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area)||$58980||470||0.05%|
|CA||San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara||$53510||560||0.06%|
|CA||San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles||$42180||50||0.05%|
|CA||Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area)||$45800||510||0.04%|
|CA||Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta||$44540||80||0.05%|
|CA||Santa Cruz – Watsonville||$41980||70||0.09%|
|CA||Santa Rosa – Petaluma||$48550||80||0.05%|
|CA||Vallejo – Fairfield||$36170||90||0.08%|
|CA||Visalia – Porterville||$60590||50||0.04%|
|CO||Denver – Aurora – Broomfield||$55110||360||0.03%|
|CT||Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk||$46780||80||0.02%|
|CT||Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford||$52000||260||0.05%|
|DC||Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area)||$64710||1260||0.05%|
|DE||Wilmington (Metro Area)||$65410||90||0.03%|
|FL||Cape Coral – Fort Myers||$38950||110||0.05%|
|FL||Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach||$40060||80||0.05%|
|FL||Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)||$43290||260||0.04%|
|FL||Lakeland – Winter Haven||$42100||40||0.02%|
|FL||Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area)||$40660||350||0.03%|
|FL||Naples – Marco Island||$64470||30||0.03%|
|FL||North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota||$45320||80||0.03%|
|FL||Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford||$41680||400||0.04%|
|FL||Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville||$46650||130||0.07%|
|FL||Panama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach||$34680||30||0.05%|
|FL||Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent||$36430||160||0.10%|
|FL||Port St. Lucie||$39340||40||0.03%|
|FL||Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater||$35950||350||0.03%|
|FL||West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area)||$39720||150||0.03%|
|GA||Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta||$79080||2260||0.10%|
|GA||Augusta – Richmond County||$55810||70||0.03%|
|IA||Davenport – Moline – Rock Island||$52370||90||0.05%|
|ID||Boise City – Nampa||$43580||200||0.08%|
|IL||Champaign – Urbana||$45650||80||0.08%|
|IL||Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area)||$62360||1120||0.03%|
|IL||Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area)||$61360||40||0.01%|
|IN||Elkhart – Goshen||$48910||40||0.04%|
|IN||Gary (Metro Area)||$65850||N/A||N/A|
|IN||Indianapolis – Carmel||$53910||340||0.04%|
|IN||South Bend – Mishawaka||$47360||30||0.03%|
|KY||Lexington – Fayette||$34780||80||0.03%|
|KY||Louisville – Jefferson County||$41410||170||0.03%|
|LA||New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner||$54010||160||0.03%|
|LA||Shreveport – Bossier City||$50190||70||0.04%|
|MA||Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area)||$47710||990||0.06%|
|MA||Brockton – Bridgewater – Easton (Metro Area)||$40150||30||0.03%|
|MA||Framingham (Metro Area)||$46450||30||0.02%|
|MA||Leominster – Fitchburg – Gardner||$31970||N/A||N/A|
|MA||Lowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area)||$35000||30||0.03%|
|MD||Baltimore – Towson||$56810||450||0.04%|
|MD||Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area)||$97940||1220||0.22%|
|MD||Hagerstown – Martinsburg||$24900||140||0.14%|
|ME||Portland – South Portland – Biddeford||$38200||160||0.08%|
|MI||Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area)||$49520||170||0.02%|
|MI||Grand Rapids – Wyoming||$63640||50||0.05%|
|MI||Lansing – East Lansing||$72780||130||0.07%|
|MI||Muskegon – Norton Shores||$24980||N/A||N/A|
|MI||Saginaw – Saginaw Township North||$60220||30||0.04%|
|MI||Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area)||$56210||190||0.02%|
|MN||Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington||$49450||760||0.04%|
|MO||Cape Girardeau – Jackson||$32710||40||0.09%|
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