Job Opportunities and Career Prospects for Health Education Graduates in Nigeria
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Health education is a profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health, as well as sexual and reproductive health education.
Specialist Careers in Health Education:
Certified Education Specialist
The certified educational specialist, or CHES, works to help patients improve their overall well-being and quality of life through healthcare-related educational programs. While their work is just as focused on the community at large as that of other specialists, the healthcare educational specialist tends to focus more on interactions with individual people in traditional clinical settings — making the world a better place, one person at a time.
Healthcare Information Analyst
The information analyst works with healthcare providers in an effort to foster broadly-focused educational campaigns. Their work is essential to identifying existing, widespread problems in clinical healthcare settings, as well as in pinpointing current shortcomings in existing public awareness initiatives. While they may participate actively in actual outreach programs, their role is primarily in the gathering and analysis of relevant information. To that end, they may design surveys, questionnaires, and interviews, as well as software intended to gather relevant data over time.
Community Promotion Specialist
This specialization, within the overall field of healthcare and public awareness, focuses primarily on overall community awareness. Their community may be a large organization, a government body, a metropolitan area, or some other broad demographic; typically, it encompasses thousands of otherwise varied and diverse individuals (unless their focus is on a particular racial, ethnic, or other narrowly-defined demographic). The goal of the CHPS position is to gather and analyze healthcare-related information, report on their findings, and design campaigns to help the most important information reach their community at large.
Product Development Specialist
The corporate world offers increasing opportunities for healthcare educational and promotional professionals. One of the most expansive career opportunities available to people with this qualification is that of the product development specialist. This includes a broad range of responsibilities, but what it amounts to in a nutshell is a two-pronged approach to public wellness:the specialist assists in the design process, minimizing potential health risks, and is also responsible for developing materials relating to the proper use of a product or service.
Healthcare Promotional Specialists
A promotional specialist is something of a general practitioner within this profession’s range of careers, in terms of how they interact — and who they interact with. Some might work with large organizations or other communities, while others might take a patient-by-patient approach. Where they tend to focus is on particular areas of concern. There are HPS professionals who focus on a wide range of growing concerns today, from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to infectious viral organisms, to dental problems in children within a particular county or state.
Other Careers include;
- Community development worker
- Further education teacher
- Health promotion specialist
- Health service manager
- Medical sales representative
- Adult nurse
- Occupational therapist
- Personal trainer
- Physician associate
- Social worker
- Health Educator
The above is not exhaustive and some of the careers listed above may also require additional professional education or training beyond that received for the Health Education Degree.
What Trained Health Educators Do?
- Assess individual and community needs
- Plan health education programs
- Develop health education programs
- Coordinate health education programs
- Implement health education programs
- Manage health education programs & personnel
- Evaluate health education programs
- Write grants
- Build coalitions
- Identify resources
- Make referrals
- Develop social marketing and mass media campaigns
- Organize/ mobilize communities for action
- Handle controversial health issues/content
- Advocate for health-related issues
- Encourage healthy behavior
- Use a variety of education/training methods
- Develop audio, visual, print and electronic materials
- Conduct research
- Write scholarly articles
Skills needed in Health Education
Communication skills (verbal & written)
Communication skills are crucial for your success as a public health professional. Most organizations employ public health professionals to design, develop and implement health education programs and support services for their members. Strong communication skills will help you understand the core values of your employees and interact efficiently with the members.
Strong work ethic
A strong work ethic will help you make the best of the situation and deliver the best results under the circumstances. Employees wish to employ professionals who are responsible and work hard to achieve the ultimate goal of the organization.
Public health professionals cannot work in isolation. It is practically impossible to implement programs independently. You collaborate with other staff members such as social workers, healthcare professionals and the managers for the success of your program.
Most employers expect their public health professionals to be self-starters. You should take the initiative and a proactive approach to organize the public health programs and solve everyday problems associated with them.
Interpersonal skills are essential for your success at any organization. A healthy relationship with management, colleagues, and clients is the basis of a successful program.
The implementation of a public health initiative is associated with a variety of problems including budgeting, operation, and customer satisfaction. You must demonstrate good problem-solving skills which will help overcome these issues.
Analytical skills are closely linked to your ability to manage day-to-day responsibilities related to the project and problem-solving skills. Your employers expect you to analyze the situations and act as per the norms of the organization.
The field of public health is changing constantly. You should work proactively to keep track of current developments in the field and adapt or change your program accordingly. You should also accommodate the feedbacks and requirements of the clients. Some employers may also be looking for flexible schedules or hours of work.
Basic computer skills such as MS Office and the Internet are important in today’s era of technology.
Your ultimate success as a public health professional will depend on your technical skills specifically related to your field, and your ability to implement your education in a real-world scenario. It is your responsibility to demonstrate how your technical knowledge will help prospective employers achieve their organizational goals.
Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.