Public Health Educator: Salary and Job Description

A public health educator speaks to a group of health care professionals.

Public health educators inform their communities about decisions and lifestyles that promote good health. They educate individuals, families and communities as a whole, and they influence public health policy in hospitals, clinics and governments.

This career path is ideal for prospective students who want to make a real difference in the lives of others. Earning an advanced degree, such as a Master of Public Health (MPH), offers students the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to thrive in this important role and increase their public health educator salary potential.

Public Health Educator Job Description

A public health educator uses research and evidence-based information to design and implement health education programs in their communities. They are responsible for helping individuals, families, communities, health care providers and health-related organizations stay safe and vibrant by delivering timely, organized, and easy-to-understand information about important public health topics.

Typical Work Environment

Public health educators can work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, government agencies, private businesses and nonprofit organizations. Their workday may be spent conducting research and traveling to schools, hospitals or conferences to educate health care providers about pressing health issues.

Key Responsibilities

A public health educator’s responsibilities can vary based on several factors. These include the needs of individuals and communities, the amount of travel required, the size of the community served, and the local economy. Their day-to-day responsibilities commonly include the following.

  • Determining the specific needs of the community through surveys and research
  • Developing health education programs and materials specific to the community’s needs
  • Staying informed about the latest health threats, including communicable diseases, pandemics, and preventable diseases due to obesity or unhealthy lifestyles
  • Implementing health-related programs, evaluating their effectiveness and making changes to these programs as needed to achieve the desired results
  • Collaborating with the community’s health professionals, including doctors, nurses, hospital board members, researchers and others
  • Advising community leaders and elected officials about policy changes that could have an impact on overall community health
  • Proposing newer and safer policies for patient care, particularly during pandemics and epidemics
  • Educating members of communities about the prevention of common health-related issues, such as lead poisoning, obesity, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and influenza
  • Demonstrating the proper methods and actions to prevent the spread of disease

Fundamental Skills for Public Health Educators

Public health educators have many responsibilities that require research, deduction and extensive knowledge. Advanced degree programs teach many of these skills in the classroom, but students can hone others with in-the-field experience. Developing an advanced skill set and gaining real-world experience can impact a public health educator’s salary and provide opportunities for career advancement.

Problem Solving

Keeping entire communities healthy often involves creating wellness plans for individuals based on their specific health needs. The ability to solve these individual concerns with a focus on community wellness requires exceptional problem-solving skills.

Time Management

Public health educators may spend part of the day researching the latest health threats, several hours meeting with health care professionals to discuss concerns, and another few hours speaking to members of the community who are impacted by a specific health issue. Time management skills are essential for completing these tasks efficiently.

Cultural Awareness

Cultural awareness is important for building trust with community members from different backgrounds. Understanding the cultures that make up a community can help public health educators design or adapt programs to be more culturally sensitive. In turn, this cultural awareness can help reduce health disparities and ensure quality care for every member of the community.


Empathy helps public health educators connect with their communities. For example, families facing economic hardship may find it difficult to stay home from work when they are sick. The ability to empathize with these families is important in helping them understand the possible consequences for others in the community. Empathy also plays a role in helping public health educators develop feasible alternatives or compromises that benefit everyone.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is a fundamental skill for any educator. Some of a public health educator’s speaking engagements might inform the public about new discoveries in the prevention of communicable disease, and others could give doctors and nurses the support they need to offer safe, effective treatment during a crisis, such as a disease outbreak or natural disaster.


Public health education is always changing and evolving. As viruses and bacteria mutate, and as scientists and health care providers learn more about the human body, the methods and approaches to prevent sickness and promote good health must adapt. Public health educators must stay updated on the latest research and methodologies to offer sound advice and create wise policies.


Public health educators must be able to explain complex health-related topics in terms that every member of the community can understand. They must be able to communicate more formally with lawmakers, hospital CEOs and other professionals, and they need to be able to converse with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

What Is a Public Health Educator’s Salary?

The public health educator salary varies based on factors such as location, the local economy and the responsibilities associated with the role. Those working in highly-populated metropolitan areas tend to earn more than their rural counterparts, and public health educators who work for private hospitals often earn more than those employed by government agencies.

Per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for health education specialists, which includes public health educators, was about $60,000 as of May 2022. Public health educator salaries can vary depending on location, experience, education and type of employment. For example, health education specialists working in Georgia earned a salary of $92,000 per year, according to the BLS.

The BLS also reports public health educators working in hospitals earned the highest median salaries at roughly $77,700 annually, and those working in government positions earned about $61,700 per year. The top paid 10% of public health educators — including educators with decades of experience or those in management roles — earned more than $106,000 annually.

Promote Excellent Community Health as a Public Health Educator

Public health educators work to keep their communities safe in several important ways. They reinforce the importance of childhood vaccinations, provide helpful advice for staying well during a pandemic, advise hospital staff on the latest research to prevent the spread of disease, and assume a range of other responsibilities. These professionals work alongside doctors, lawmakers, CEOs and the general public to educate, inform and create programs and policies that promote good health.

If you meet the MPH requirements and are interested in a career that directly and positively influences the lives of people in your community, consider becoming a public health educator. The Augusta University Online Master of Public Health program prepares students for many important roles in public health.

You can choose from concentrations in health informatics, health management, and social and behavioral sciences to develop specialized skills tailored to your career goals.

Learn how this research-focused degree can equip you with the tools and knowledge to promote public health at the individual, family and community levels.

Recommended Readings
7 Health Informatics Careers for Master of Public Health Graduates
Biostatistics vs. Epidemiology: Key Topics in Public Health
5 Tips for Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment

American Public Health Association, Public Health Education and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Competencies for Public Health Professionals
Frontiers in Public Health, “Editorial: Insights in Public Health Education and Promotion: 2022”
Glassdoor, “What Does a Public Health Educator Do?”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21-1091 Health Education Specialists
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Education Specialists
U.S. News and World Report, Health Educator Overview
Zippia, “Public Health Educator Skills for Your Resume and Career”

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