Online Master's Programs in Health Education

Earning a master's in health education online may offer a flexible pathway to a career change or professional advancement. Master's programs in health education explore theories, issues, trends, and ethics in the field. Graduate programs also provide opportunities to engage with and contribute to research.

Graduates of health education master's programs often pursue advanced roles. Curricula of most master's programs in the field emphasize the concepts and methods used in creating health education programs, preparing students for high-level careers.

This guide contains information about earning a master's in health education online, including typical program requirements and job prospects for graduates.

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.

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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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.

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.

Amount: Varies

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.

Amount: $2,000

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.

Amount: $1,000

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.

Amount: Varies

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.

Amount: Varies

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.