What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Health Education Program?
Health education master's programs help students gain a deep knowledge of major concepts, theories, and historical trends within the health education arena. These graduate programs generally emphasize the application of field concepts and theories, preparing students to develop and critique health education offerings and programs.
Many health education programs require field experience along with coursework. Online students generally complete an internship or job placement in their local community. These experiential components help learners gain practical skills and bolster their resume.
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What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Health Education Program?
Specific course offerings and titles vary by program and school. However, most students earning a master's in health education online take at least some of the following courses.
- Healthcare Statistics:This course explores differential and inferential statistics, along with their applications in healthcare and health education. Coursework covers topics related to data collection and dissemination, and students learn to interpret research findings in the field. Learners develop the skills necessary to contribute to quantitative research in health education.
- Public Health Leadership:Experienced health education professionals often pursue leadership roles. This course provides the core skills necessary to succeed as a leader in the field. Students explore topics including healthcare structures, costs, and program accessibility. Students also learn about relevant economic concepts and examine healthcare leadership from an ethical perspective.
- Health Education and Communication:Health educators need strong communication skills to effectively create and deliver health education programs. This course examines the fundamentals of health education programs. Learners also explore best practices for communicating culturally relevant and literate health education initiatives. Students analyze existing programs and develop their own campaign.
- Community Health Assessment:This course builds knowledge related to health behavior principles, issues in the healthcare system, and healthcare policies. Learners explore methods for assessing and improving community health. The class covers topics including disease prevention and the promotion of better health practices. Students may also analyze existing community health data.
- Health Program Development:Students in this course learn the fundamentals of designing a public health program. Participants examine methods for designing programs, and they learn how to implement health programs. Coursework explores core concepts in health education, leadership, and community health.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
Students earning their master's in health education online must typically complete either a capstone or thesis project. Some programs may also require a comprehensive written or oral examination.
While completing capstone projects, students generally take a capstone seminar course, during which they work closely with a faculty member and sometimes other students. A common capstone project for health education students involves designing a healthcare program.
Thesis projects typically require students to work independently -- but under the supervision of a faculty advisor -- to complete a formal research project and paper. Thesis projects may involve fieldwork and research into trends in healthcare policy and education.
What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Health Education Program?
Many health education master's programs offer students the opportunity to pursue a specialization or degree concentration. Available specializations vary by program, but the options below are common to many health education programs.
- Community Health: This concentration prepares learners to promote community health. Students explore topics in community health assessment, and they learn to design and implement public health programs. Students also take courses in data analysis and evaluation
- School Health: This concentration prepares students for certification as school health professionals. Coursework typically meets state licensure requirements. Learners take courses on topics such as drug abuse and violence prevention, sexual health, and wellness.
- Workplace Wellness: This concentration prepares students to create and run employer-sponsored health and wellness programs, many of which incentivize employee participation. Coursework explores program development and issues specific to health promotion in the workplace.
What Can I Do with a Master's in Health Education Degree?
Earning a master's in health education can lead to a variety of careers. Graduates can pursue jobs in health education and related fields. Master's degree-holders often qualify for advanced positions with higher earning potential. The occupations below are common options for graduates with this degree.
- Health Programs Management Director These professionals often work in academic settings, such as universities and colleges. They often serve in university health centers and work alongside faculty and staff to create health and wellness programs.
- Adjunct Faculty A master's in health education may qualify graduates to work as adjunct faculty at some colleges. Adjunct health education faculty members teach courses in their field. These professionals work on a contract basis.
- Wellness Consultant Wellness consultants often work as independent contractors. These professionals help various types of organizations create and implement wellness programs for employees. Wellness consultants may also be called health coaches and employee wellness coordinators.
- School Health Educator These health educators can work in public and private schools, alongside school nurses and other health practitioners. School health educators assess student wellness and design health programs to address the needs of the school community.
- Community Health Educator Community health educators work in public health settings, such as hospitals and government agencies. These professionals educate the public about health issues. They also implement wellness programs and promote health initiatives.
How Much Can I Make With a Career in Health Education?
Although no degree guarantees a specific position or salary, professionals with a master's in health education often qualify for advanced roles with higher earning potential. The table below includes some careers in the field that master's degree-holders can pursue, along with the median salary of each. Individual salaries vary based on factors including experience and location.
Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.
Median Annual Salary: $54,220
Job Growth 2018-2028: 10%
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Dietitians and nutritionists advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal.
Median Annual Salary: $60,370
Job Growth 2018-2028: 11%
Health Specialities Teachers, Postsecondary
Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and technical subjects beyond the high school level.
Median Annual Salary: $97,370
Job Growth 2018-2028: 23%
Social and Human Services Assistants
Social and human service assistants provide client services in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.
Median Annual Salary: $33,750
Job Growth 2018-2028: 13%
Community Health Workers
Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.
Median Annual Salary: $39,540
Job Growth 2018-2028: 13%
Online Master's in Health Education Program Accreditation
Higher education institutions in the U.S. can hold regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation being older and more prestigious. Programs at accredited institutions may also receive field-specific accreditation. For example, health education students can look for programs with accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
CAAHEP accreditation ensures that a health education master's program meets set academic standards. Additionally, candidates with a degree from a CAAHEP-accredited program may stand out in the job market.
How to Pay for a Master's in Health Education Degree
Although the task of paying for a master's in health education online program may seem daunting, students can pursue a variety of options to help fund their education. Some schools offer program-based funding opportunities, and all schools should help students determine their eligibility for state and federal financial aid.
Techniques for Financing a Master's in Health Education
- Research Assistantships Many health education programs provide research assistantships for graduate students. These programs partially or completely waive tuition in exchange for a student's assistance with faculty and department research projects.
- Teaching Assistantships Graduate students in health education often work as teaching assistants, helping full-time faculty members in the department in exchange for a stipend and/or tuition remission. Teaching assistants aid professors with the instruction and assessment of undergraduate courses.
- Federal Loans and Grants Health education graduate students often qualify for federal student aid. Many learners take out federal loans, which they must repay. Need-based federal grants are less common for graduate students than for undergraduates.
Best Online Master's Programs in Health Education
The University of Florida in Gainesville enrolls close to 58,000 students each year and offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees across 16 colleges. Students can pursue an online master's in health education and behavior through the College of Health and Human Performance.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited college or university. The program requires the submission of GRE scores and gives preference to applicants with some degree of professional experience in the field.
The master of science degree comprises 30 credits and can be completed entirely online in one year. The core curriculum follows the guidelines established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Courses cover topics such as epidemiology, theories of health behavior and practice, health communications, and patient health education. The program prepares students to take the Certified Health Education Specialist exam. Degree candidates must take and pass the exam to graduate from the program.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida International University
Serving a population of nearly 54,000 students, FIU offers more than 190 degree programs across 10 schools and colleges. Students who wish to pursue a career in health education can explore the master of public health program available at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.
The program comprises 45 credits broken down as follows: 15 credits each of general and public health coursework, nine credits of electives, and six practicum and culminating experience credits. Candidates can request a waiver of the practicum requirement if they have at least three years of relevant work experience. If a waiver is granted, students must enroll in an approved three-credit course to meet the 45-credit requirement.
The curriculum includes courses in public health statistics, data management and applied epidemiologic analysis, environmental health risk assessment, and community health promotion.
Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of upper-level coursework. FIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of West Florida
Established in 1963, UWF serves an average of just over 13,000 students each year. The five colleges that make up the university offer more than 100 programs of study at the bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels. UWF offers a postgraduate program in health education through the master of public health degree.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher from an accredited institution. Applicants must also submit their latest GRE scores, which are at least 150 on the verbal and 146 on the quantitative.
An online program, the MPH comprises 42 credits and offers specializations in global health; health education, promotion, and behavior; and generalist MPH. Students must complete the required core coursework satisfactorily before enrolling in classes in their specialization area. The core courses include the following: epidemiology, social and behavioral science in public health, environmental health, biostatistics, and public health policy. Candidates must also complete a six-credit practicum and applied practice experience.
University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill offers a postgraduate health education program through the master of public health degree. The online program offers four concentration areas, namely, nutrition, applied epidemiology, dietetics, and MPH leadership.
The Gillings School reviews applications for the MPH on a rolling basis. The program follows a cohort model of education and has four starting dates throughout the year. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The program does not require the submission of GRE scores.
The 42-credit program includes 15 credits each of core and concentration coursework, nine credits of electives, and a three-credit culminating experience. After completing the 15-credit MPH Core, students must pass a 20-minute oral comprehension exam before proceeding in the program. Candidates who choose the leadership, nutrition, or epidemiology concentration must complete a 200-hour practicum experience. Students who choose the registered dietician concentration complete 1,000 hours of supervised practice.
UNC-Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of California-Berkeley
Starting out in 1868 with 40 students and three fields of study, Berkeley now enrolls more than 35,000 students and offers over 350 programs across 14 schools and colleges. Students looking for an online master's in health education program can explore the postgraduate degree in public health at Berkeley.
Students can complete the 42-credit online MPH within 27 months. Applicants must show completion of a college-level statistics/epidemiology course with a grade of B+ or higher. Applicants must also hold a bachelor's degree and have at least two years of experience in public health or a related field.
The program offers a concentration in health policy and management, and epidemiology and biostatistics. Alternatively, students can design an interdisciplinary program by enrolling in classes from a variety of study areas including health policy and economics; epidemiology, infectious disease, and regulatory science; global health; and spatial data science for public health.
Berkeley is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Chartered as the East Carolina Teacher Training School in 1907, ECU opened with 123 students and offered one- and two-year teaching certificates. Today, more than 28,000 ECU enrollees pursue undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral degrees offered across 18 schools and colleges. The College of Health and Human Performance offers an online master's in health education.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in health education with a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited college or university. Applicants with a non-health education degree may need to complete prerequisite coursework. They can do so as enrollees in the MA program, but prerequisite coursework credits will not count toward the degree. The program requires the submission of GRE or MAT scores.
The program comprises 30 credits and offers three pathways to the degree: thesis, internship, or coursework only. Regardless of the pathway students opt to pursue, they must complete 18 core coursework credits. The core curriculum includes courses in epidemiology, needs assessment, and intervention strategies for health education and promotion.
East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Like many schools established in the late 19th century, Northwestern State University of Louisiana began in 1884 as an institution for training teachers. Today, more than 11,000 enrollees choose from over 50 programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels across 17 schools and colleges. NSU offers an online 33-credit master of science in health and human performance that can be completed without campus visits.
The MS program features a concentration in health promotion. Students complete six foundation coursework credits, 21 credits of core content, and six credits of applied learning, which includes a field study. The core curriculum includes courses in epidemiology, strategies for health promotion, planning and organizing health promotion programs, and current health issues. The program also offers a concentration in sport administration.
Online enrollees can fulfill the field study component of the program in their home region after securing the approval of their program administrator. Northwestern State University of Louisiana is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Illinois at Springfield
Each year, the four academic colleges that make up the University of Illinois at Springfield enroll approximately 4,000 students and offer 50 programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Students who wish to pursue an online master's in health education can explore the university's 48-credit master of public health program.
Enrollees can pursue a general MPH program or an MPH in environmental health. Regardless of which option students pursue, they must complete 32 credits of core coursework. The core curriculum includes classes in biostatistics, epidemiology, public health policy, and research methods in public health.
Degree candidates must also complete a four-credit internship experience. MPH candidates must take a written comprehensive exam after completing the credit requirements (except for the internship). The university offers joint degree programs that make it possible for MPH candidates to earn a master's in public administration or a master's in human services with their MPH degree.
University of Illinois at Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
When OSU opened in 1891, one year after it was chartered on Christmas Day 1890, it welcomed 45 students to the school. Today, the university enrolls over 24,000 students each year and offers more than 200 programs of study across seven schools and colleges. The Graduate College offers a master of public health with a focus on rural and underserved communities.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a (preferred) 3.0 GPA from an accredited college or university. OSU requires MPH applicants to submit a 1,500-word statement of purpose along with three letters of recommendation (optional).
Students complete the 42-credit program entirely online. Courses follow eight- and 16-week formats and are delivered asynchronously. The curriculum includes coursework in general epidemiology, statistical methods in education, health behavior theory and practice for public health, and strategic health communications campaigns. The program includes a graduate certificate that students can earn on their way to the MPH.
Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Illinois at Chicago
The School of Public Health at UIC offers a master of public health degree that can be completed in two years. The school includes four divisions: community health sciences, environmental and occupational health sciences, epidemiology and biostatistics, and health policy and administration. Depending on their career goals and professional interests, students can pursue one of several areas of concentration under each major division such as public health informatics or maternal and child health.
The MPH curriculum includes coursework in health policy for epidemiologists and biostatisticians, public health law and ethics, and evidence-informed community health interventions. The program includes classroom instruction and field experiences and culminates in the completion of a capstone project.
MPH candidates can take advantage of joint degree programs in medicine, law, anthropology, and social work, among other options. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits UIC's School of Public Health; it is the only CEPH-accredited institution in the state.
University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Starting out in 1887 as the State Normal College for Black Students, FAMU remains the only historically black university in the State University System of Florida. FAMU enrolls an average of 10,500 students each year. It offers 98 programs at the bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral levels across 13 schools and colleges.
Students interested in an online master's in health education program can explore the master of public health degree available at the Institute of Public Health, which is part of FAMU's College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and at least three years of related work experience. The program requires applicants to submit their latest GRE scores.
The online MPH comprises 50 credits and can be completed after two years of continuous full-time enrollment. The program requires the completion of a practicum experience during a student's final semester. Practicum coordinators work with online enrollees to identify appropriate public health practicum sites within their geographical area.
FAMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN
The College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University offers a master of public health degree that students can complete entirely online. The Council on Education for Public Health accredits all degrees offered by the college.
The MPH consists of 43 credits and offers concentrations in five areas: biostatistics, community health, epidemiology, environmental health, and health services administration. Students complete 16 credits of foundation coursework regardless of the concentration they choose to pursue. Each foundation course comprises four credits: analytic methods in public health; health systems, regulations, and policies; community-based methods; and health leadership and management.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in health education or public health with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The program does not require the submission of GRE scores. Applicants with a degree in another field of study must enroll in the foundation of public health class. Credits for this course do not count toward the required credits for the degree.
East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Mississippi University for Women
The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the Mississippi University for Women offers a 39-credit master of public health degree that can be pursued entirely online. The program prepares graduates to take the Certified Health Education Specialist exam.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. They must also submit an admission essay and schedule an interview with a faculty member to be considered for the program.
The curriculum includes 21 credits of core coursework, nine public health credits, six credits of electives, and a three-credit culminating activity. The core curriculum covers a range of topics such as community health education methods, health program administration, and theories of health behavior. The public health core concentrates on three main areas, namely epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental and occupational health. Approved electives include classes in nutrition, stress management, and gender issues in health.
Candidates can choose to write a thesis, complete an internship, or submit a capstone research project in health education as the culminating experience for the program. Mississippi University for Women is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
Founded in 1892 as a teachers' college, CMU currently offers more than 300 programs across seven colleges and enrolls an average of 16,000 students each year. The master of public health degree serves students looking for an online master's in health education.
The MPH program comprises 48 credits and maintains an emphasis in rural health and underserved communities. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. The program requires the submission of GRE, GMAT, or MCAT scores. Applicants who meet certain criteria may request a waiver of this requirement.
The program follows a cohort model of education, The curriculum includes courses in health policy and management, biological bases of public health, epidemiology, and rural health. Candidates can choose to write a thesis or complete an integrative learning experience as the culminating activity of the program.
Central Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins University comprises nine academic schools and enrolls more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Students can pursue a master of public health degree at JHU's Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The MPH degree consists of 80 quarter credits, or 53 semester credits. Enrollees complete 40-60 quarter credits (26-40 semester credits) of core coursework. Electives and the capstone research project make up the remaining credit requirements. The curriculum includes coursework in social and behavioral aspects of public health, evolution of infectious disease, public health biology, and an asset-based approach to working with vulnerable youth.
Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and have a minimum of two years of experience in public health or a related arena. Applicants must also submit the latest scores from a graduate admission exam such as the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, or GMAT. The program waives certain admission criteria for applicants with specific academic background or professional experience.
Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Scholarships for Master's in Health Education Students
HOSA Future Health Professionals Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be HOSA members who are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in public health or a related field. HOSA considers applicants for a variety of available scholarships.
Apply for Scholarship
AHIMA Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in a graduate program in health information management or a related field can apply for these awards. Applicants must be AHIMA members and hold a minimum 3.5 GPA.
Apply for Scholarship
Barbara A. Cooley Master's Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Master's students enrolled in a health education program at an accredited university can apply for this award. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit an essay and two letters of recommendation.
Apply for Scholarship
Christie Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Applicants must submit proof of enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate program in health education or a related field. Applicants must also submit a formal application and a letter of recommendation.
Apply for Scholarship
Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
Who Can Apply: Graduate students in health-related fields can apply for this fellowship. Fellows dedicate time to a public health community service project and develop leadership skills.
Apply for Scholarship
Professional Organizations and Resources
Students earning a master's in health education online can benefit from joining professional organizations. Students and professionals in health education can attend conferences, pursue scholarly publication, and take advantage of networking opportunities through these organizations.
- American School Health Association:ASHA connects health professionals, educators, clinicians, and administrators. Members develop programs and policies that improve the learning and lives of students. The association offers webinars and an annual conference.
- Association for Community Health Improvement:Affiliated with the American Hospital Association, this organization provides health education resources, including professional development and networking opportunities. Members can access conferences, webinars, and volunteer opportunities.
- Council on Education for Public Health:This council provides programmatic accreditation to public health programs. CEPH also offers student resources and career opportunities in health education.
- HOSA Future Health Professionals:This student-focused organization oversees scholarship and grant opportunities, state and national conferences, and an alumni network. Members can also access publications and internship opportunities.
- National Area Health Education Center Organization:This organization represents health education centers across the country. Health education students can access a database of health education centers and can take advantage of continuing education opportunities.
- National Commission for Health Education Credentialing:NCHEC awards credentials to health educators, including the certified health education specialist designation. NCHEC's website offers study tools, exam resources, and information on continuing education opportunities.
- One Health Commission:This organization offers a collaborative platform for health professionals in various disciplines. Members can attend global events and access health education resources.
- Shape America - Teacher's Toolbox:This online database of resources can help health education students design health education programs and campaigns. These free online resources can be adapted for any learning level.
- Society for Public Health Education:SOPHE provides resources to help health educators improve public health. The society offers awards, fellowships, scholarships, and access to scholarly publications.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:This government agency provides a variety of resources for health educators. The department offers information about programs and services, explanations of laws and policies, and access to grant opportunities.