Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in health and wellness and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Health and Wellness
Public health degree programs cover the broad topic areas of health and wellness. Students learn ways to use education initiatives and public institutions in the promotion of well-being and prevention of disease.
Coursework combines classes in education with courses in the social sciences, public policy, and medicine. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma and possess a strong background in communications, chemistry, and biology.
Interdisciplinary coursework in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Public Health covers government, medical science, sociology, and health education. In the majority of these four-year programs, there is a primary emphasis on the preventive aspects of healthcare as opposed to a focus on treatments; topics covered include occupational well-being, environmental health, nutrition, and hygiene.
Students gain experience in coordinating public initiatives aimed at raising awareness of health and wellness. In some programs, students are allowed to specialize in healthcare administration or community health education; however, the breadth of knowledge in the comprehensive subject area is provided in most programs.
Graduates enrolled in these programs are ready for entry-level positions in public health education. Graduates who seek positions as public school health educators or public health nurses will have to obtain state licensure by pursuing further training.
Given the emphasis of coursework on subject areas in various disciplines, incoming students would benefit by having completed a well-rounded high school education. Incoming students to the program are required to have strong skills in communication, science, and critical thinking. They will be helped to obtain these skills by completing high school courses in literature, speech, chemistry, and biology.
Coursework in Public Health B.S. programs is devised to teach students about applying knowledge of wellness, nutrition, and disease prevention, aiming to raise health awareness within the community. Students learn about effective communication of medical information to a diverse population. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:
•Substance abuse issues
•Research and statistics in public health
•Public mental health
•Adult health studies
•Contemporary health issues
Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program in public health can seek various entry-level careers in numerous work environments, including government agencies or in doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals. They can choose from career options such as:
•Physician office manager
•Public health consultant
•Primary school health teacher
Job and Wage Outlook
A much faster-than-average job growth rate of 21% has been predicted for health educators over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the same period, elementary school teachers (including health teachers) and administrative services managers (including managers of physicians’ offices) are expected to see respective job growth rates of 12% and 12%.
In May 2012, health educators brought in an average annual wage of $41,830; during the same time-period, elementary school teachers and administrative services managers earned respective average annual wages of $53,090 and $81,080 (BLS).
Continuing Education Choices
Those who complete a B.S. program in Public Health may opt for continuing education to become either registered nurses or certified teachers. Licensure standards for both professions vary by state. Teachers will need to complete an alternative certification program (ACP) or earn a master’s or bachelor’s degree in education. Registered nurses (RN) must meet state requirements and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before they can work with patients.