Studying Health Education, Career Opportunities for Health Education Graduates in Nigeria

Health Education
About Health Education

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, but learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.

Formal education is commonly divided formally into such stages as preschool or kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and then college, university, or apprenticeship.

Health education is a social science that draws from the biological, environmental, psychological, physical and medical sciences to promote health and prevent disease, disability, and premature death through education-driven voluntary behavior change activities.

Health education is the development of the individual, group, institutional, community and systemic strategies to improve health knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behavior. 

Health education is a profession of educating people about health.[1] Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health, as well as sexual and reproductive health education.

Health education can be defined as the principle by which individuals and groups of people, learn to behave in a manner conducive to the promotion, maintenance, or restoration of health. However, as there are multiple definitions of health, there are also multiple definitions of health education.

The scope of Health Education

Health, Population and Environment Education is important to provide them with a safe and clean environment. The scopes of health education are various places, organization, and subjects through which health education can be acquired. Population education is related to every aspect and activity of human beings. Environment education aims to develop a healthy environment through the conservation and management of the environment.

Health education provides knowledge on health-related aspects and develops the altitude of people to maintain sound health. Environment education gives information on biological, physical and socio-cultural aspects of environmental education and motivates the people for the use of resources in order to maintain ecological balance. Health, Population, and environmental education are integrated subject, has a crucial role in creating healthy living and a balanced ecosystem.

Skills needed in Health Education

Communication skills (verbal & written)

Communication skills are crucial for your success as a public health professional. Most organizations employ public health professionals to design, develop and implement health education programs and support services for their members. Strong communication skills will help you understand the core values of your employees and interact efficiently with the members.

Strong work ethic

A strong work ethic will help you make the best of the situation and deliver the best results under the circumstances. Employees wish to employ professionals who are responsible and work hard to achieve the ultimate goal of the organization.

Teamwork skills

Public health professionals cannot work in isolation. It is practically impossible to implement programs independently. You collaborate with other staff members such as social workers, healthcare professionals and the managers for the success of your program.

Initiative

Most employers expect their public health professionals to be self-starters. You should take the initiative and a proactive approach to organize the public health programs and solve everyday problems associated with them.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are essential for your success at any organization. A healthy relationship with management, colleagues, and clients is the basis of a successful program.

Problem-solving skills

The implementation of a public health initiative is associated with a variety of problems including budgeting, operation, and customer satisfaction. You must demonstrate good problem-solving skills which will help overcome these issues.

Analytical skills

Analytical skills are closely linked to your ability to manage day-to-day responsibilities related to the project and problem-solving skills. Your employers expect you to analyze the situations and act as per the norms of the organization.

Flexibility/adaptability

The field of public health is changing constantly. You should work proactively to keep track of current developments in the field and adapt or change your program accordingly.  You should also accommodate the feedbacks and requirements of the clients. Some employers may also be looking for flexible schedules or hours of work.

Computer skills

Basic computer skills such as MS Office and the Internet are important in today’s era of technology.

Technical skills

Your ultimate success as a public health professional will depend on your technical skills specifically related to your field, and your ability to implement your education in a real-world scenario. It is your responsibility to demonstrate how your technical knowledge will help prospective employers achieve their organizational goals.

Coordination

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness 

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Persuasion

Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Operations Analysis 

Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

What Trained Health Educators Do?

  • Assess individual and community needs
  • Plan health education programs
  • Develop health education programs 
  • Coordinate health education programs
  • Implement health education programs
  • Manage health education programs & personnel
  • Evaluate health education programs
  • Write grants
  • Build coalitions
  • Identify resources
  • Make referrals
  • Develop social marketing and mass media campaigns
  • Organize/ mobilize communities for action
  • Handle controversial health issues/content
  • Advocate for health-related issues
  • Encourage healthy behavior
  • Use a variety of education/training methods
  • Develop audio, visual, print and electronic materials
  • Conduct research
  • Write scholarly articles 

Job Opportunities and Career Prospects for Health Education Graduates in Nigeria

Specialist Careers in Health Education:

Certified Education Specialist
The certified educational specialist, or CHES, works to help patients improve their overall well-being and quality of life through healthcare-related educational programs. While their work is just as focused on the community at large as that of other specialists, the healthcare educational specialist tends to focus more on interactions with individual people in traditional clinical settings — making the world a better place, one person at a time.

Healthcare Information Analyst
The information analyst works with healthcare providers in an effort to foster broadly-focused educational campaigns. Their work is essential to identifying existing, widespread problems in clinical healthcare settings, as well as in pinpointing current shortcomings in existing public awareness initiatives. While they may participate actively in actual outreach programs, their role is primarily in the gathering and analysis of relevant information. To that end, they may design surveys, questionnaires, and interviews, as well as software intended to gather relevant data over time.

Community Promotion Specialist
This specialization, within the overall field of healthcare and public awareness, focuses primarily on overall community awareness. Their community may be a large organization, a government body, a metropolitan area, or some other broad demographic; typically, it encompasses thousands of otherwise varied and diverse individuals (unless their focus is on a particular racial, ethnic, or other narrowly-defined demographic). The goal of the CHPS position is to gather and analyze healthcare-related information, report on their findings, and design campaigns to help the most important information reach their community at large.

Product Development Specialist
The corporate world offers increasing opportunities for healthcare educational and promotional professionals. One of the most expansive career opportunities available to people with this qualification is that of the product development specialist. This includes a broad range of responsibilities, but what it amounts to in a nutshell is a two-pronged approach to public wellness: the specialist assists in the design process, minimizing potential health risks, and is also responsible for developing materials relating to the proper use of a product or service.

Healthcare Promotional Specialists
A promotional specialist is something of a general practitioner within this profession’s range of careers, in terms of how they interact — and who they interact with. Some might work with large organizations or other communities, while others might take a patient-by-patient approach. Where they tend to focus is on particular areas of concern. There are HPS professionals who focus on a wide range of growing concerns today, from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to infectious viral organisms, to dental problems in children within a particular county or state.

Other Careers include;

Community development worker
Further education teacher
Health promotion specialist
Health service manager
Medical sales representative
Adult nurse
Counselor
Occupational therapist
Personal trainer
Physician associate
Social worker
Health Educator

The above is not exhaustive and some of the careers listed above may also require additional professional education or training beyond that received for the Health Education Degree.

Admission Requirements for the study of Health education in Nigeria

In UTME, please note that the English Language is Compulsory for this course. Therefore, the three (3) other JAMB UTME subject combination needed to study Health Education under the Faculty of Education in the above Universities include;

English Language and three other relevant subjects.

The O'level subject combination and requirements needed to study Health Education;

You require; Five SSCE credit/TC II merit passes to include English Language and Mathematics.

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