Health educators assist individuals and communities in preventing and changing negative health behaviors and health outcomes that are linked to disease, disability and poor quality of life. They have specialized skills in planning, implementing and evaluating community programs that focus on negative health issues such as smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, unprotected sexual activity, youth violence, inactivity, eating disorders, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, cancer, safety and stress.
Western Michigan University's health education program is divided into two tracks: the community health education track and the school health education or health education teacher preparation.
The school health education or health education teacher preparation emphasis prepares pre-service teacher candidates to be certified to teach health education in public schools. Graduates also find employment in other health education venues such as community health and safety agencies. This program is approved by the American Association for Health Education and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
If you decide to enter WMU's school health education program, you will be required to complete a one-semester internship within a 60-mile radius of the University. You will be placed with a selected mentor teacher and closely supervised by school health education faculty. The internship is designed to prepare you to be a self-reflective teacher with skills based on professional standards from the Michigan Department of Education and the American Association for Health Education. As a result of this experience, you will demonstrate your knowledge, skills, disposition and ability to work with diverse populations, aiding your transition from a pre-service candidate to an entry-level health educator.
As a health education student at WMU, you will also be encouraged to take advantage of networking and professional development opportunities made available to you through registered student organizations such as Eta Sigma Gamma, a national health education honorary focused on the professional development of student initiates as educators, researchers, service providers, and advocates.
Recent WMU graduates with degrees in health education are working as:
- Classroom teachers
- Communication specialists
- Grant writers
- Health and wellness coaches
- Worksite or corporate health program directors
Among the organizations they work for are:
- Community health and safety agencies
- Community-based organizations
- Health insurance companies
- Public health departments