Ways in Which Health Education Specialists Can Stay Up To Date in the Field
Statistics released by the U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Health Statistics 2008 Census show that the number of health educators (SOC Code 21-1091) in the United States was more than 66,200 (Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) 1). SOPHE states that the number of health educators being employed was expected to have an 18% rise due to the rise in healthcare cost (1). Health education specialists need to stay up to date in the field to stay competitive and continue providing professional services.
First, health education specialists should be trained in their areas of specialty. They should enroll for baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in their relevant area of study (SOPHE 1). Other training opportunities include community-based adult education programs, online courses, reverse mentoring, seminars, workshops, publications, national, or professional associations, and career journals (SOPHE 1). All these will give the specialists platform to learn the new changes that have taken place in the field.
Secondly, health education specialists need to be certified by sitting for the C.H.E.S. national certification exam. Formal recognition for passing a skills test or completing a program in one’s industry does not only make one stay up to date but also gives them additional credibility with the employers and clients. C.H.E.S certification gives the specialist an above-average employment growth. It is recognized nationally as opposed to the state certifications and registries (Goodman et al. 6)
CHES simply means Certified Health Education Specialist. For a person to be C.H.E.S certified, he/she needs to demonstrate competence and knowledge about the Seven Areas of Responsibility of a Health Education Specialist. Certified Health Education Specialists have attained the level of proficiency set by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC) and have successfully passed the CHES examination (Goodman et al. 7).
Goodman, Jeff, Elaine M. Auld, Cherylee Sherry, Robert Strack, and Jerrica Mathis. Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Education Specialists. Washington, DC: Society for Public Health Education, 2013. Print.
Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). “What is a Health Education Specialist?” Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), 20 Oct. 2010. Web Mar. 13, 2014, < http://www.sophe.org/Sophe/PDF/What%20is%20a%20Health%20Ed%20Specialist_10.20.10.pdf>.