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Career and Education Opportunities for Health Education Specialists in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for health education specialists. Currently, 590 people work as health education specialists in Oregon. This is expected to grow by 21% to about 720 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for health education specialists, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.1% over the next eight years. In general, health education specialists promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors.

The income of a health education specialist is about $23 hourly or $48,660 per year on average in Oregon. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,000 yearly on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as health education specialists in Oregon earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: child development specialist, family services consultant, and basic life support / cardiopulmonary resuscitation program coordinator .

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Portland area, including one within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career as a health education specialist. The most common level of education for health education specialists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become a health education specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Health Education Specialist

Health Education Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, health education specialists promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. They also collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments.

Health education specialists document efforts and record data, such as the numbers of applications completed and persons assisted. They also design and present health education and promotion programs, such as training workshops and school or community presentations. Equally important, health education specialists have to design and maintain cooperative working relationships with agencies and organizations interested in public health care. Finally, health education specialists ready and distribute health education materials and visual aids such as films and posters.

Every day, health education specialists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for health education specialists to maintain databases and other data to enable the functioning of health education programs. They are often called upon to design operational plans and policies needed to attain health education objectives and services. They also collaborate with health specialists and civic groups to establish community health needs and the availability of services and to evolve goals for meeting needs. They are sometimes expected to design or direct health needs assessments and other public health surveys. Somewhat less frequently, health education specialists are also expected to design and direct grant applications and grant-related efforts to obtain funding for health education programs and related work.

They also have to be able to layout and conduct evaluations and diagnostic studies to gauge the quality and performance of health education programs and supervise professional and technical staff in implementing health programs and goals. And finally, they sometimes have to collaborate with health specialists and civic groups to establish community health needs and the availability of services and to evolve goals for meeting needs.

Like many other jobs, health education specialists must have exceptional integrity and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Portland include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist. Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
  • Mental Health Counselor. Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.
  • Religious Activities Director. Direct and coordinate activities of a denominational group to meet religious needs of students. Plan, direct, or coordinate church school programs designed to promote religious education among church membership. May provide counseling and guidance relative to marital, health, and religious problems.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Health Education Specialist Training

Portland State University - Portland, OR

Portland State University, 724 SW Harrison, Portland, OR 97201. Portland State University is a large university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,959 students and an admission rate of 80%. Portland State University has a master's degree program in Public Health Education and Promotion which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.


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Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon photo by Fcb981

Portland is located in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 557,706, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $194,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Portland, down from 1,205 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 32.6% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 10.7%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Portland is home to the Barnes Yard and the Haig as well as Cottonwood Bay City Park and Wallace City Park. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Shilo Inns & Resorts and Comfort Inn Portland for temporary stays in the area.