Earn a Community Health Degree Online
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Plan and promote health programs by earning an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Community Health Education.
The online bachelor's program focuses on improving the health of individuals based on their lifestyle needs. You'll explore effective ways to plan, develop, implement and evaluate community health programs. You'll also learn the critical components of public health education such as social and behavioral health, research and assessment, epidemiology and chronic and communicable diseases.
Learn how to:
It also aligns with the educational requirements for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination, offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Successful student graduates will have fulfilled the educational requirements to be eligible to sit for the CHES examination.
With community health a concern throughout the United States and around the globe, the need for health educators and community health workers is on the rise.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections show that through 2028, the growth in employment could be as much as 11% for those positions – much faster than the national average of 5% for all occupations. Growth would be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors and utilization of available healthcare services.
At a community level, health educators help overcome health disparities that ensure equal access to healthcare for specific demographics. “We look at the issues that are going on in our communities through a social justice lens,” said Southern New Hampshire University adjunct faculty member Dede Teteh, a certified health education specialist and public health researcher.
The 5 largest employers for both community health workers and health educators, according to the BLS2, are:
SNHU's online BS in Community Health Education program can help prepare you for a variety of roles within the high-growth public health education field, including:
Graduates with an undergraduate degree in community health education will also be well positioned to pursue a master's in public health online should they seek additional professional advancement in the field.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, Southern New Hampshire University has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
As an Southern New Hampshire University student, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 peers, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate your industry. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
See why 96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.*
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
In the online community health education program, you'll explore how to effectively plan, develop, implement and evaluate community health education programs.
You'll also learn the critical components of community health education, such as social and behavioral health, research and assessment, epidemiology, and chronic and communicable diseases.
When you earn your health education degree online at SNHU, you've completed a program that was designed to set you up for success in the health field – created by subject-matter experts who know the skills you need to have under your belt. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites some of those important qualities2 as:
SNHU's bachelor's in community health education prepares you for the professional certification examination to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). According to NCHEC, the CHES credential shows employers that you've mastered the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists, outlined in the 2015 Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis project.3 Those areas are:
The BLS notes that while health educators typically need at least a bachelor's degree, some organizations do require CHES credentials beyond the education requirements.2
In your final term at SNHU, you'll take part in your Community Health Capstone. A capstone gives you the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the knowledge and skills acquired throughout your program in an original, comprehensive paper.
The curriculum in the community health education degree provides you with 12 credits of free electives within your program – meaning you get the opportunity to choose 4 courses in community health education, integrated health professions and public health education.
Plus, you get 30 credits of free electives in your overall community health degree program. That's ideal for students with transfer credits, or even those who want to broaden their skill set and explore areas of interest.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Total Credits: 120
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Community health education is a unique, growing field focused on promoting, protecting and improving the health of individuals, communities and organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 11% growth for this specialty through 2028, fueled largely by a push to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.2
As a subdiscipline of public health, community health takes a more personalized approach to a community’s wellness needs. Whereas public health specialists gather and analyze data on large samples of society, health educators work with individuals and organizations to plan, implement and evaluate initiatives such as nutrition programs or anti-smoking campaigns, according to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.3
Community health educators often work in offices and labs, schools and universities, government offices, hospitals and clinics. Typically, they interact one on one with people, taking a very hands-on approach to making improvements in health and well-being.
Health education is vital to sustaining the well-being of America’s communities in myriad ways, education being just one of them. Community health educators improve access to healthcare, ensure health equity, influence policy and boost economies.
In a similar vein, community health education impacts policymaking. From campaigns and legislation to prevent smoking to programs that boost awareness and prevention of diabetes, public health workers provide research and guidance to inform policy development.
Finally, health education can boost a community's economy by reducing healthcare spending and lost productivity due to preventable illness. Obesity and tobacco use, for example, cost the United States billions of dollars each year in healthcare expenses and lost productivity. Programs designed to help combat these issues improve both the physical and financial health of communities.
Community health educators look at the holistic health of neighborhoods, cities and towns to identify issues and trends. Once they understand the underlying factors, they collaborate with public health departments, schools, government offices and local nonprofits to design health education programs and other resources to address a community's specific needs.
Sometimes community health educators are called upon to address a public health crisis. In 2018, Dr. Kenetra Young, an online faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University, received a Hometown Health Hero award for her efforts to contain an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Detroit, Michigan. Young earned the recognition after leading community intervention efforts that strengthened coordination between city departments and educated at-risk populations.
"I was doing it to help the population in the community," Young said. "I was out there enjoying what I was doing."
Community health educators operate in many capacities in all sorts of communities, including:
Community health educators need to be clear communicators, effective program developers, adept at interpreting laws and regulations related to health issues and skilled evaluators of program effectiveness.
As health-consciousness permeates the workplace, community health educators are also becoming a vital part of private sector organizations. They help companies identify key workplace health problems and offer advice to management about how to improve policies and conditions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), community health education degree holders can find opportunities in an array of settings, including:
Job titles include community nutrition educator, community health program coordinator, director of outreach and partnerships, education coordinator and prenatal program director. In 2018 the BLS reported a median annual wage for health educators of $54,220, with the highest 10% earning more than $98,530.2
Many community health centers are certified as Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). Provided through the National Committee for Quality Assurance, PCMH certification is a model of care that puts patients at the forefront. SNHU prepares every health profession student for real-world team-based models of care through integrated health professions courses.
A community health education major is a practical degree that prepares students for the real-world community health problems they'll face in the field. Students enrolled in SNHU’s BS in Community Health Education learn to positively influence the health behavior of individuals, groups, and communities while addressing lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity, sexual behavior and drug use, as well as living conditions that influence health.
Successful graduates of SNHU’s program are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Issued by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc., the CHES exam is fully accredited by the National Commission of Certified Agencies to meet national standards that help community health professionals advance in their profession.
SNHU has provided additional information for programs that educationally prepare students for professional licensure or certification. Learn more about what that means for your program on our licensure and certification disclosure page.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
*According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm (viewed April 7, 2020). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
3National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, on the internet, at https://www.nchec.org/guide-to-health-education-careers (viewed April 7, 2020).