How Health Educators Can Save Insurance Companies Millions

To be a health educator is to prevent disease and promote good health. As a health educator, one plays a critical role in encouraging a healthy lifestyle by providing information regarding various health issues.

We have all heard the expression “prevention is the best medicine”. Hence, prevention is the main goal of all health educators by suppressing illness and disease through education on nutrition, exercise or personal behaviors.

In today’s economy, the cost of our health insurance premiums is playing havoc with our paychecks. Therefore it is imperative that one maintains good health through a proper diet and exercise plan in order to defray health care costs. As Americans we have no control over our health insurance premiums, hence maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce our need for health care is the only answer. Because of the high cost of healthcare today, it is even more important for health educators to be involved within their communities teaching its citizens to lead healthier lifestyles.

By teaching the importance of living a healthier lifestyle, one can hopefully defray medical costs by not needing the services of a health care professional. It is important for us, especially in this day and age to encourage younger generations to lead a healthier lifestyle. News reports are now stating that children are growing unhealthier by the minute and will not outlive their parents. It is important for us in the education system to remember this and to get involved in helping these children as to work hard for future generations.

Guide to Preparing For a PhD in Health Education

Having a PhD in Health Education allows you to educate on others on health and wellness. Much about it is that you will need to be keen on researching, formulating, implementing, and evaluating health promotions. So how do you get yourself one of those qualifications?

First, you will need to search for universities that offer PhD in Health Education. Find out what are the prerequisites, such as what paper qualifications you need and experiences needed, so that you roughly know what the things you may require from graduate school are.

Second, you will need to research on the credibility of the PhD’s given out by those universities. Check how they are accredited and what other people has to say about the programs. You do not want to end up paying for and spending much time on a hoax program. You may also want to narrow down the list by choosing the areas that are more convenient for you. There are even some accredited online PhD’s available at your convenience as well.

Third, inquire about the admission and testing processes. For anyone accredited with a graduate program in Health Education, you are required to sit for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), where you can register yourself with the Educational Testing Service website. The study and exam materials are available in the website and libraries as well.

You might also want to seek for financial advice from your graduate school on how you can be aided financially. You can also inquire about you’re the options available so you are able to make an educated decision on the best program for you, whether it is one that is a campus PhD, or an accredited online PhD.

Fourth, after completing your admissions at the graduate schools you have enrolled for, you will need to attain your GRE scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Once you have chosen the program that you will pursue, you will need submit your GRE scores and transcripts to them, and settle your admission process. You will also need to take note of the curriculum details. Plan your time table according to the curriculum so that you may complete the course within your allocated time.

Lastly, you will need to maintain good grades and submit your well-researched dissertation.

Becoming a Health Educator

When it comes to an entry-level position as a health educator, a bachelor’s degree would usually suffice. However, some employers prefer that apart from that degree, you should also have some experience related to the field, whether through internship or volunteer work. On the other hand, some employers require a Master’s degree for certain positions, especially if you are seeking for advancement.

In the bachelor’s degree, you will basically learn about the theories and methods related to health education. Along the way, you are also expected to develop the necessary skills in order to implement health education programs. In the meantime, taking additional courses such as psychology, human development, and foreign languages can be an added advantage. Going for internships or volunteer activities to do with the field would be an added advantage to your resume as you would then gain hands-on experiences as well as allow you to apply some of the theories and methods that you have learnt throughout the bachelor’s degree course. After that, you can opt to pursue a Master’s in Health Education. In most public sectors, to attain a position as a health educator would require a Master’s degree. Some employers would even sponsor their educators to continue their education in order to keep up to date to the latest trends in the field. You may need to undergo a specific certification to become a certified educator, depending on where you come from.

Apart from the paper qualifications, one will need to have the personality for it. These generally spend much time working with people, and must be comfortable working alone and in groups. As they are educators, they would need to be able to communicate well, and be able to speak comfortably with the public especially since they might need to teach classes or give presentations. Because they would be working with diverse populations, they will need to be culturally sensitive and be opened to the differences. Lastly, they should also be creative as they will need to come up with new programs or materials.

How Post-Secondary Health Education Courses Can Be Used to Enhance Job Readiness Skills

As the focus on wellness and preventative care becomes the norm in order to reduce healthcare costs, colleges and universities can also get involved by promoting health education courses that are already available on campus. Post-secondary institutions whose primary mission is to graduate students, who are workforce ready, should include a wellness component within the course of study. Many of the people investing in wellness education programs are employers seeking to reduce their own healthcare expenses for employees. Employers invest in wellness programs for their employees to boost morale and increase productivity. Workplace wellness programs not only help to increase productivity and ultimately affect a company’s revenue, but the programs also help to cut long-term healthcare costs for employers that provide healthcare benefits. One study indicated that for every $1.00 spent on wellness programs, healthcare costs are reduced by $3.37. In addition the cost of absenteeism is reduced by $2.73 for every $1.00 spent; with over 130 million individuals in the workforce, wellness programs can save employers a significant amount of money each year (Baicker et. al, 2010).

Many post-secondary institutions engage directly with business leaders and community organizations to create relevant programs based on the labor needs of the community. Health education courses can play an important role in helping to prepare students for the workforce because the classes can be used as a form of preventative care. Most health education courses are already offered on campus as part of the general curriculum requirements or as an elective option. Providing health education courses as part of a workforce readiness model can help employers save more money in addition to what they are already spending to create their own wellness programs. Offering a unique set of courses tailored to the needs of the employer that include a wellness component also provides post-secondary institutions with a unique selling point for job training programs.

Health education courses not only act as a form of preventative care, but the courses also help to promote critical thinking, health advocacy, communication skills, self-care, build self-esteem, promote self-awareness, goal setting, civic engagement, health literacy, self-efficacy, decision-making, and problem solving skills. The curriculum in health education courses provides students with diverse learning experiences on a variety of topics such as wellness as a lifestyle, stress management, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, relationship dynamics, communication skills, infection control, environmental health, and injury prevention. In addition, health education courses teach students about drug and alcohol abuse as well as prevention strategies. Currently drug and alcohol abuse costs employers $276 billion dollars a year in lost productivity (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). Health education courses can play a vital role in teaching students the necessary skills to function in the workplace and in everyday life.

Statistical Resources:

Baicker, K. et. al. (2010). Workplace wellness programs can generate savings. Health Aff.2010;29:304-311.

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). 14 short employer cost savings briefs. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.