Important Health Educator Skills (With Tips To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A health educator is a medical professional who educates people on how to improve their health and well-being. They create strategies to help others develop healthy behaviours. Understanding the skills that allow health educators to perform their tasks effectively can help you decide whether you want to pursue a career in this profession. In this article, we discuss some important health educator skills, provide tips on how to improve them and detail what health educators earn.

What are health educator skills?

Health educator skills are the abilities that health care professionals use while completing their tasks. Health educators use their skills to discuss health concerns with individuals and groups. They also create educational materials to teach communities how to maintain their health and well-being. Their duties often involve educating groups, time management and teamwork. Since health educators typically work with community members, they also use interpersonal skills to connect with their audience.

Important health educator skills

These are the key skills that enable a health educator to perform their job efficiently:

Communication

Communication skills refer to how people speak to each other to convey information. This skill entails more than simply talking to someone else, as it often also requires active listening, displaying attentive body language and using clear and concise language. Health educators communicate daily with people to teach them about healthy habits and strategies they can use to improve their well-being. They may talk to individuals about their health or share health information with large groups while giving a presentation, requiring communication skills to provide effective guidance.

Problem-solving ability

This is the ability to identify an issue and suggest effective solutions to fix it. This skill often requires creativity, analysis and reasoning. Health educators use problem-solving skills when they work with individuals to create wellness plans for their specific health conditions. They evaluate these issues and use critical thinking skills to discover possible solutions. When speaking to a larger group, they may create pamphlets that provide tips the audience can follow to decrease their chances of developing certain diseases, therefore tailoring their strategies to the number of people they are teaching.

Time management

Submitting work on time requires professionals to adhere to previously established deadlines. Health educators often employ time management skills, as they typically have many daily tasks to complete, such as conducting educational programmes, training new staff members and communicating with groups of people. They may prioritise how and when they perform particular duties to ensure they complete their tasks efficiently.

Teamwork

Teamwork refers to working effectively with other people. While health educators may complete some of their tasks individually, they often work in group settings. Health educators collaborate with community members to improve health and wellness and work with colleagues to create or present materials jointly. They may also collaborate with other health professionals, such as doctors or nurses, to develop health programmes for patients.

Related: 10 Skills You Need For Team Building (And How To Develop Them)

Cultural competency

As a health educator, you might regularly encounter diverse groups of people. This means dealing with individuals having different beliefs, practices and customs. It is important that health educators respect all cultures and do not discriminate against people due to their personal beliefs. For instance, as a health educator, it may be necessary to talk to people from big cities to small towns, even if you had an urban upbringing. Working with everyone, irrespective of their differences, is one of the key skills of being a health educator.

Adaptability

Working in different circumstances is one of the key skills health educators need. Depending on your work requirements, you may travel to different places, from small towns to big cities. This requires being adaptable to all kinds of situations and working comfortably in any environment. For instance, while some health educators may work with hospitals and health clinics, others may travel to rural areas and set up makeshift camps to educate communities.

Instructional capacity

A health educator teaches others how to keep themselves fit and healthy. Health educators conduct workshops, classes and other health promotion programmes to impart proper guidance and education. Health educators also require leadership skills to guide patients and instruct them on how to better take care of themselves.

Basic medical knowledge

It is important that health educators are familiar with basic medical concepts, since they assist physicians and nurses. Health educators can read articles, medical journals and evidence-based literature to know more about the latest medical research. This can also help them to analyse patients' needs and provide more effective solutions.

Computer literacy

As a health educator, you may create presentations, edit databases or browse the internet for information. You may also prepare detailed reports after a seminar or workshop. To do this well, you need a working knowledge of computers. You can also leverage your computer proficiency to receive promotions or impress your superiors.

Related: Computer Skills: Definition And Example

How to improve health educator skills

Here are five steps you can follow to improve your health educator skills:

1. Get a degree

The first step to being a health educator is to receive proper training. It helps if you have a bachelor's degree in public health, health studies or a similar field to pursue a career as a health educator. Furthermore, candidates who earn a master's degree in health education and receive more in-depth training are more likely to move to management or supervisory positions in the field.

Often, professionals who hold a bachelor's in medicine or a similar field and have worked for years in healthcare switch their professions to become health educators. Experience as a medical professional coupled with the desire to help patients can lead them to this field of work. For example, a psychologist who has many years of experience may decide to use their skills to work as a health educator in their community.

2. Continually develop industry knowledge

The health industry is continually evolving and coming up with new developments and technologies. Health educators are responsible for utilising these rapidly progressing developments to enhance the health and welfare of individuals and communities. It is important that health educators continually learn and stay up to date with new research and methodology to educate people about these advancements and teach them how to lead healthier lives.

While earning a degree in health education is useful for acquiring foundational knowledge of the field, most professionals opt for diplomas and certifications to increase their qualifications and expertise. It may be helpful to attend seminars, workshops and conferences relating to healthcare. You may also volunteer on committees or receive on-the-job training to upskill yourself.

3. Practise public speaking

Effective public speaking skills can help you capture the attention of people. While being a good speaker can be effective in any field, it is especially useful if you are a health educator. Being a good public speaker can help you alleviate patient anxiety or other causes of concern. You can also talk to your patients about their ailments and explain how they can take care of themselves.

Since health educators educate large groups of people, you may also want to improve your leadership skills so that people are genuinely interested in listening to you. Start enhancing your speaking skills by communicating with friends, colleagues or at your place of work. You may also volunteer to present at a health seminar or organise a workshop to interact with large groups of people about health education. Whenever communicating with an audience, try to convey your message in simple words through examples and clear explanations of a topic.

Related: Types Of Public Speaking Skills And How To Improve Them

4. Prepare written materials

Creating materials, such as presentations, pamphlets and wellness plans, requires effective writing skills. Sometimes health educators also coordinate with physicians to provide health charts to patients. This content is important because it benefits individuals even after a presentation or meeting has concluded. Therefore, it is important that educators use effective writing to communicate health information clearly.

5. Be supportive and accessible

Since health educators deal with all kinds of health concerns, people expect them to be supportive and dependable. As a health educator, it is also important that you are empathetic to your patients' ailments or other concerns. While working in healthcare can be challenging and time-consuming, a positive attitude and a willingness to help others can help you be successful.

How much does a health educator earn?

The average base salary of a health educator is ₹30,500 per month. The salary depends on a number of factors like education, location, experience and the type of employer. For instance, an experienced health educator working in a private hospital in a tier-one city can earn more than a fresher working in a small health centre in a rural area.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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