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Best Online Degrees in: Health Education

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Health Education

Value
The award for best value in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education goes to University of Florida (UF). According to PayScale, the average return on investment (ROI) for in-state UF graduates is 10.3%, and 7.6% for out-of-state graduates. The ROI is greater for those who received financial aid. In-state graduates who received financial aid see an average ROI of 11.8%, and 8.2% for out-of-state graduates who received financial aid.

Flexibility
Ashford University wins the award for most flexible school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. Students are given deadlines for each assignment, but when they work on their assignments is entirely up to the students. Ashford also has mobile apps that allow students to complete their assignments from just about anywhere, adding to their flexibility. Ashford has been given an A+ rating for their flexibility by students on College Prowler and CliffsNotes.

Career Support
University of Florida wins the award for best career support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. Their Career Resource Center has developed many services specifically for online students who are unable to visit the physical campus. Their services include tools and resources for researching careers, peer assistance, career planning, professional development workshops, career searches, resume critiquing, mock interviews, and much more.

Financial Support
The award for best financial support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education goes to University of Florida (UF). According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 99% of UF students are receiving financial support, 98% of which is through grants and scholarships. The total amount of grant and scholarship aid being received by students amounts to more than $40 million.

Technology Support
The award for best technology support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education goes to Ashford University. The online learning environment is designed to be user-friendly and is regularly updated with the latest technology, tools, and programs in online education. Students are also able to download Ashford’s mobile apps on their tablets and smartphones, allowing them to access their classroom on the go. Ashford’s tech support has been ranked No. 9 in the nation by students on College Prowler.

Student Engagement
University of Florida is receiving the award for best student engagement in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. Their online instructors strive to keep each student engaged and active in the class by encouraging discussions and the exchange of ideas between students. U.S. News & World Report has ranked them No. 26 in the nation for student engagement in their “Top Online Bachelor’s Programs” ranking.

Disability Support
University of Florida wins the award for best disability support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. Their Disability Resource Center will work with each student and find ways to accommodate their needs. In addition to this, they work to educate students with disabilities about their legal rights, and they encourage them to engage in critical thinking and gain a sense of empowerment.

Library and Research Support
The award for best library and research support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education goes to University of Florida. Their virtual library provides user-friendly navigation tools to help their students search through the catalogs and databases and find the books, journals, articles, reports, dissertations, and whatever else they need. Students can also contact subject-specific librarians and ask for assistance and advice through email, live chat, and over the phone.

Learning Support
The award for the best learning support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education is being given to Ashford University. Their user-friendly, technologically advanced online classrooms are designed to allow students and instructors to exchange ideas and offer advice and guidance. Students can access their virtual classrooms from just about anywhere through Ashford’s mobile apps. The library services are available to help students research and find information. Also, academic advisors are assigned to each student to provide guidance, answer questions, and check on their academic progress.

Faculty Credentials
University of Florida is receiving the award for best faculty credentials at a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. They make sure each of their faculty is fully qualified and capable of teaching and mentoring in an online learning environment. U.S. News & World Report has ranked University of Florida No. 17 in the nation for faculty credentials in their “Top Online Bachelor’s Programs” ranking.

Faculty Accessibility
Ashford University is receiving the award for most accessible faculty in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. Students can contact and interact with their instructors through the virtual forums in their classrooms. Faculty also provide their students with additional contact information, such as email and phone number, so students can reach them if they have any questions or concerns.

Alumni Engagement
University of Florida wins the award for best alumni engagement in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. Their alumni association allows graduates to stay in touch and expand their professional networks, and stay up-to-date with what is happening at the university through their social media networks on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, and the school’s own Gator Nation Network. They hold alumni events, offer career services, and provide numerous benefits for their members, including discounts at retail stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Prior Learning Options
Ashford University is receiving the award for best prior learning options in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education. They will transfer previously-earned credits from an accredited institution, as well as award non-traditional credits based on experience. Students are able to earn credits based on their military training, professional training and experience, and by completing the College Level Examination Program.

New Online Student Orientation
The award for best new student orientation in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in health education goes to Ashford University. To help students through the online learning process, Ashford assigns an academic advisor to each student to offer guidance and answer any questions the student may have. Ashford also requires new online students to complete an introductory course that will allow them to become familiar with Ashford’s online classroom, participating in discussions, and completing assignments.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education

Online health education degrees are designed to equip students with the knowledge they need to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle. Health education as a social science focuses on best practices proven to prevent disease, promote health, and even reduce premature deaths by encouraging target populations to make important voluntary changes in their behavior, from encouraging hand washing and immunizations to prevent the spread of flu to making dietary changes to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Many online programs in health education are degree completion programs that allow students who have already completed an associate degree in an area of allied health or health studies to finish out a bachelor’s degree.

Online bachelor’s degrees in health education can typically be completed in four years of full-time study, although degree completion programs are often designed to be completed in two years, since they build on the foundation of an associate degree. However, program length varies from school to school, and the time it takes to complete a program can be lengthened if the student has not completed the necessary prerequisites to enter the program.

Class Curriculum

Students start out building a solid foundation for their major courses by taking courses in psychology, college writing, public speaking, mathematics, statistics, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and medical terminology. Major courses are focused on teaching students how to develop, plan, implement, and evaluate health education programs, as well as how to gauge the health education needs of different communities and culturally diverse population groups. Major courses might include the following:

  • Personal and Family Health. In this course, students survey the many key areas of personal health that are vital the overall health and well-being of individuals and families. Such areas might include psychological health, tobacco and drug dependency, fitness and nutrition, and preventing the spread of communicable diseases and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Community and Environmental Health. This course explores the relationship between the environment and the health of a community, with a focus on current issues that affect communities today, such as poverty, population growth, access to medical care, and air pollution. Emphasis is often on strategies that can be implemented to influence the quality of the environment and therefore enhance the overall health of communities.
  • Methods and Materials in Health Education. In this course, students learn how to develop instruction that is tailored to meeting specific objectives in health education, as well as how to evaluate instruction to determine its effectiveness. Emphasis is on research-based methods and tools that have been shown to be effective in meeting established objectives.

Many online programs in health education incorporate an internship. These internships take place in approved public health agencies or other health education settings and help students gain the experience and skills they need in program development, implementation, and evaluation to hit the ground running in their future careers. Students also gain crucial experience working with community organizations and utilizing the resources available through these organizations. Internships are arranged by your school’s internship coordinator, and all internship experiences take place under supervision.

Building a Career

Health educators work in a variety of different settings, including healthcare facilities, colleges, public health departments, nonprofits, and private businesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Potential career titles might include health and lifestyle coach, public health educator, community health educator, prevention specialist, community outreach program manager, or community program assistant. Some health education positions will require or prefer additional qualifications, such as CPR certification or a registered nurse license.

To be qualified for entry-level work as a health educator, you will typically need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in health education or a related area. However, some employers will require job candidates to also be credentialed as a Certified Health Education Specialist though the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., the BLS explains. The certification process requires you to pass an exam that measures the competencies of entry-level health educators.

The median yearly salary for health educators was $45,830 as of May 2010, the BLS noted. Health educators working in hospital and government industries had higher median salaries, at $58,440 and $48,900, respectively. Employment for health education professionals is expected to grow at a fast rate of 37% between 2010 and 2020, the BLS projects. Even so, employment in the field is not guaranteed; your ability to obtain work will vary based on where you live and the economy, while your salary is determined by your level of experience and education, the size of your employer, the complexity of your roles and responsibilities, and other considerations.

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