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Online Colleges for Health Education

In today's world, we can cure diseases our ancestors once thought were incurable… but such miracle treatments are anything but cheap. One way people are dealing with increasing premiums and cutting costs is through health education. As the old saying goes, “A penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Working closely with individuals and health care companies alike, health educators are dedicated to raising awareness about disease and illness prevention while encouraging a healthy lifestyle. If you become well educated about health education, you’ll be able to save family, friends and clients — not to mention yourself — plenty of pain and money by promoting healthy living habits across the board.

Best Online Colleges for Health Education

We've created a list of the top ranking online Health Education programs using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the National Center for Education Statistics, analyzed with our unique methodology. (You can read more about our ranking methodology at the bottom of this page.) The five fully accredited schools below offer various concentrations and degree options for those interested in pursuing a career in Health Education.

1

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,830
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
76.60%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
14
School Type
4-year

BYU-Idaho is an institution of higher learning for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that offers a Bachelor of Science in public health: health education and promotion. This degree is designed for those interested in a public health career focused on educating a population in order to protect their health. The benefits to pursuing this degree are numerous: BYU-Idaho scored second place for graduation and admissions out of the eleven schools we analyzed, as well as No.4 for tuition and percentage of health education degrees awarded in 2015. The school's program even prepares students to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination offered through the National Committee on Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC). With such all-around high marks in our metrics, it seems clear that Brigham Young University-Idaho is an accessible option for those seeking an online health education degree.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Location:

525 S Center Rexburg,
Idaho 83460-1690
2

Mississippi University for Women

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,781
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
63.04%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
8
School Type
4-year

Mississippi University for Women, also called the W, ranks second among our featured online colleges for health education. Although historically a women's college, over 30 years ago the W opened its doors to men, and today it offers an online Bachelor of Science in public health education program to applicants of all genders. The program will accept up to 62 hours of community college credit hours towards the online health education degree, making it a good choice for transfer students, including those with an AA or AS degree. There is also the option of a 2+2 program, a style of program that involves completing two years of study at a community college, followed by two years of online study at the W.

Out of all 11 colleges reviewed in our study, none awarded a higher percentage of health education degrees in 2015 than the Mississippi University for Women. The W achieved a rather high No.5 rank for graduation rate as well, further enhancing its good standing on our list.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

1100 College Street Columbus,
Mississippi 39701
3

Western Oklahoma State College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,196
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
61.73%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
7
School Type
2-year

Western Oklahoma State College is the oldest two-year college still in existence in Oklahoma. Its Associate of Science degree program in health, physical education and recreation is designed to offer high-quality courses that fulfill the lower-level requirements at most senior colleges. The school has much to recommend it: it is the most affordable on our list of online colleges for health education, and it also boasts an open admissions policy, meaning any applicant who applies to the school can be accepted so long as they have already earned a high school diploma or a GED certificate.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

Location:

2801 N Main St. Altus,
Oklahoma 73521-1397
4

Appalachian State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,852
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
15.35%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
School Type
4-year

Appalachian State University has the highest graduation rate of all our featured online colleges for health education, and offers a Bachelor of Science in health promotion. This degree prepares students to be health promotion leaders, helping people to stop smoking, lose weight, eat better, stop abusing drugs and manage stress. Applicants to the program must have a minimum of 30 semester hours of transferable lower-division coursework, and are encouraged to complete either an Associate of Arts degree or an Associate of Science degree before entry.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Location:

287 Rivers St. Boone
North Carolina 28608
5

Eastern Oregon University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,742
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
62.36%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
School Type
4-year

Eastern Oregon University was founded in 1929 as a college for women studying to be teachers and is now coeducational. It offers a bachelor's degree program in physical activity and health, and participants in the program can choose between three different concentrations: physical education and sport; exercise science; and community health.

  • The physical education and sport concentration focuses on science-based approaches and practical applications of movement analysis and techniques for teaching motor development.
  • The exercise science concentration is highly applicable in the field of health sciences and will prepare students to go on to graduate programs for health professions, including physical therapy, dietetics and physician assistant.
  • The community health concentration prepares students to design and implement health promotion programs, addressing physical and mental environmental health concerns of communities.

This variety in concentrations allows students to tailor their education to suit their interests and career goals. Between the number of concentrations and the reassuringly high admissions rate -- the second-highest of the schools we analyzed that did not have an open admissions policy -- Eastern Oregon is certainly an option worth keeping in your thoughts.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and its predecessor agencies

Location:

One University Blvd La Grande,
Oregon 97850

Degree Overview: Health Education

Research shows that health education programs lead to students making healthier choices about food and exercise, and they help keep students from participating in risky behaviors. To be effective, health educators must have up-to-date knowledge and strong communication skills in order to convey this information to students. But what courses does a health educator need to take, and what other skills will they find useful during their careers? This section gives a brief overview of both.

Online Health Education Courses

Typically, health education programs culminate in bachelor's degrees -- the standard degree level required for most health educators. Students in online bachelor's degree programs often explore theories behind, and methods for, health behavior and health education. Courses usually found in online bachelor's degree programs in health education include:

  • Anatomy
  • Child development/behavior
  • Human sexuality
  • Nutrition

Other courses may deal with subject matter such as diseases and lifestyles, group counseling, organic or inorganic chemistry, community health, exercise physiology, psychology and teaching strategies. Some programs merge health education with physical education, and some students double major in these complementary subjects. Other programs may emphasize health education at particular grade levels (for example, elementary students).

When pursuing some positions, students may find it wise to increase their education by earning a master's or doctoral degree. At this high-end graduate degree level, curriculums tend to be more focused and specialized, preparing students for specific careers such as community or school health educator, public health educator, dietician/ nutritionist, sports management or exercise physiologist. These programs usually include writing a thesis or dissertation; conducting research into specific aspects of health; and interning with health organizations or schools.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Online education for health education is designed to prepare students to share essential health information with certain populations. This means that these programs usually highlight certain skills that are the foundation for future health educators' work, and students should aim to hone these skills as they earn their degrees:

  • Verbal and written communication: Whether they're creating health information pamphlets, applying for public health grants or doing presentations to school groups, health educators will inevitably find themselves utilizing both verbal and written communication.
  • Interpersonal: Health educators work with diverse populations, from other countries, cultural or ethnic backgrounds, educational levels, age groups and socioeconomic classes. And they must clearly and effectively share critical information in a way that's compelling and understandable. All of this requires strong interpersonal skills, and online colleges for health education generally emphasize these skills throughout their courses.
  • Analytical: Health educators often collect and interpret research data in order to evaluate programs or determine the educational needs of certain populations. This means it is important for educators to be comfortable working with data.
  • Problem-solving: Health educators may encounter challenges in regards to reaching certain populations, explaining difficult concepts or developing programs with limited budgets or other constraints. They will need to be good at solving problems and working with others to overcome difficulties.

Health Education Career Outlook

Demand for health educators and community health workers is expected to outpace many other occupations as the nation continues growing trends toward health and wellness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 13 percent growth in health educator careers from 2014 through 2024 as private, non-profit, government and other organizations hire more health educators in an effort to improve health outcomes for American citizens - and to reduce healthcare costs.

Physical Education Teachers and Coaches
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$70,260
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
20,300
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
9.1
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Doctoral or professional degree

Many people remember their favorite P.E. teachers regardless of how many years have passed since they were in school. The gym serves as the classroom for physical education teachers -- and can be a welcome break from classroom drudgery for students.

P.E. teachers usually work in public or private high schools and middle schools, helping students develop an understanding of proper body movement in exercise and sports. It is also common for such teachers to coach one or more sports teams at their schools -- since many are experts in the strategies and skills of format sports such as basketball, football, track or baseball -- or to have an additional role as a health teacher due to the education they receive to earn their teaching credentials.

Adapted Physical Education Specialists
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$59,450
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
10,500
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
7.2
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Adapted physical education specialists create unique P.E. programs to suit the skill level of special-needs students. It is their duty to help improve the fitness and gross motor skills of these students by instructing and working with them in adapted sports or physical-based games. Typically, they work with students who have intellectual or physical disabilities that prevent them from participating in regular P.E. classes, creating activities where participation trumps winning as the end goal. These instructors not only need to have a deep breadth of knowledge in education and physical training, but also in human behavior and treatment of behavior and physical disorders as well.

Health Educators
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$57,900
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
19,500
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
12.2
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

As the name implies, health educators help people live healthier lives by changing behaviors and developing strategies that promote increased wellness in individuals, organizations or communities.

Health educators plan and help implement programs designed to increase awareness of personal health and wellness. Oftentimes, they work in residential health care facilities, but many others work in educational institutions and public health departments. These professionals provide guidance to their agencies and institutions about development and delivery of educational programs that increase public health.

The nature of the work in most health educator careers is very social and involves a high level of interaction, as well as supervisory and management skills. Health educators typically earn at least a bachelor's degree in health education or health promotion; however, many positions in the field require candidates to hold at least a master's or doctoral degree.

Physical Therapy Professors
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$125,430
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
77,200
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
19
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Doctoral or professional degree

Physical therapy professors develop and deliver curriculum to train and instruct students in the profession of physical therapy.

Like all professors, people involved in physical therapy professor careers work in a classroom setting and deliver instructional materials either face-to-face, or online for certain courses that don't require hands-on instruction. They are responsible for maintaining grade books, and grading student class work, as well as assignments and papers. They also prepare and administer tests, and some provide high-level research on topics related to physical therapy.

Physical therapy professors also must stay abreast of changes in the field. Many take continuing education courses after completing postsecondary education, which typically culminates in a master's degree, although a doctoral degree may be required for certain teaching positions.

Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria, using the weights specified:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 20%
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 10%
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 10%
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 30%
  5.  Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 15%
  6. Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 15%
  7. Appalachian State University • Health and Physical Education, K-12 (BS) • Dec 31, 1969 • http://www.appstate.edu • http://www.appstate.edu/academics/majors/id/health-physical-education-k-12
  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor • Health Educators and Community Health Workers • Dec 17, 2015 • http://www.bls.gov • http://https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm • Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition
  9. BYU Idaho • BS in Public Health • Dec 31, 1969 • http://www.byui.edu • http://www.byui.edu/online/certificate-and-degree-programs/public-health • Online Learning
  10. Eastern Oregon University • Physical Activity & Health • Dec 31, 1969 • http://www.eou.edu • http://https://www.eou.edu/physical-activity-health/
  11. Lisa Perry • Facts on Health Education • Dec 31, 1969 • http://www.healthiergeneration.org • http://https://www.healthiergeneration.org/_asset/5h6ljs/08-732_HEFactSheet.pdf
  12. The College Board • Major: Health Teacher Education • Dec 31, 1969 • http://https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org • http://https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/education-education-specific-subject-areas-health-teacher-education • BigFuture
  13. Methodology Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources

  1. BYU Idaho FAQ page, accessed 2017, http://www.byui.edu/online/future-student-faq
  2. *Mississippi University "About the W" page, accessed 2017, http://www.muw.edu/about-muw
  3. *Western Oklahoma State College, Accreditation Information, accessed 2017 https://www.wosc.edu/index.php?page=accreditation
  4. *Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, accessed 2017, https://sacscoc.appstate.edu/
  5. *Eastern Oregon University Accreditation, accessed 2017, https://www.eou.edu/accredit/
  6. Health Educators and Community Health Workers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm
  7. Physical Education Teacher Job Description, Fremont County School District, http://www.fremont14.k12.wy.us/Upload/DistrictDocs/Job_Descriptions/Physical_Education_teacher.pdf
  8. Adapted Physical Education Specialists, Onet Online, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2059.01
  9. Health Educators, Onet Online, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1091.00
  10. Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary, Onet Online, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1071.00
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Sources and Methodologies