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

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for health education specialists in the Salem, Oregon area. About 590 people are currently employed as health education specialists in Oregon. By 2016, this is expected to grow 21% to about 720 people employed. 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.

Health education specialists earn approximately $23 per hour or $48,660 per year on average in Oregon. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,000 yearly. Earnings for health education specialists are better than earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in Oregon and better than general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Health education specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: community educator, health promotion specialist, and tobacco prevention health educator.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Salem area, including one within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can get a degree to start your career as a health education specialist. Given that the most common education level for health education specialists is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be 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 Salem 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.
  • Rehabilitation Counselor. Counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, or the stress of daily life. Coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities. Assess client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.
  • 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

Oregon State University - Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University, , Corvallis, OR 97331. Oregon State University is a large university located in Corvallis, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,308 students and an admission rate of 86%. Oregon State University has a bachelor's degree program in Public Health Education and Promotion which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.


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Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.