With a career in behavioral science/health education, you help to improve public health by encouraging healthy lifestyles through behavior change and educational outreach. In health education, you could work on developing community-wide education initiatives on health topic such as nutrition or community fitness or create curriculum for training community health workers. Additional examples include:
- Educating young people to recognize and avoid the risky behavior of unprotected sex, alcohol and drug abuse
- Design health promotion programs for smoking cessation initiatives, water and sanitation projects and occupational safety courses
- Develop programs for prescription adherence in the elderly population
- Research self-care practices and behavioral barriers to care to better understand a community’s participation with the health care system
Those working in behavioral science and health education can work in a variety of work fields. Many tend to work closely with the community or population of public health intervention. Those working in this field may take on a variety of roles or have different engagements with the community depending on the program.
The social and behavioral sciences of anthropology, psychology, political science, sociology and health education are nationally recognized subspecialties in public health research, practice and education. While a background in any of these fields in not required prior to pursuing a graduate degree many behavioral science and health education programs do focus on theory as a base of their academic program. Those practicing in the behavioral science and health education field may work in the areas of maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and/or healthy lifestyle promotion. If you concentrate on behavioral science/health education, your coursework is likely to include:
- Health education and behavior change
- Health promotion and disease prevention
- Health system strengthening
- Public health practice
- Social research
You can search for schools in this field on the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health’s (ASPPH) website. SOPHAS is the centralized online application service for students applying to a school or program of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). A complete list of accredited schools and programs can be found on the CEPH website.
- American Public Health Association
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health
- Council on Education for Public Health
- National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
- Society for Public Health Education
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health Fellowships and Internships
- Delta Omega
- National Board of Public Health Examiners
- Certified Health Education Specialist