Earn a Community Health Degree Online
- $330/credit (120 credits)
- Transfer up to 90 credits
- Provides education requirements for CHES exam
- Gain skills to help your community achieve wellness
- Learn about topics critical to preventing and treating illness and injury
- No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
Community Health Education Degree Program Overview
With an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Community Health Education degree, you can make a positive difference in the communities that need it most.
The online bachelor's program focuses on improving the health of individuals and their communities based on their needs and resources.
For student Jacqueline Graham, this program gave her so much more than what she learned in the classroom. Graham says, "it was truly life-changing," giving her the confidence to not only complete the program but go on to pursue her master's.
This program 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.
What You'll Learn
- How to plan, develop, implement and evaluate community health programs
- Strategies for assessment and analysis of health programs
- Identification of health disparities
- Global, social and ethical responsibility
- Promotion of effective health communication campaigns
- Statistical constructs and epidemiological principles
How You'll Learn
At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.
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.
Through 2031, employment is projected to grow 8% for health education specialist positions. Growth is driven by efforts improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs through promotion of healthy behaviors.1
In 2021, the BLS reported a median annual wage for health education specialists of $60,600, with the highest 10% earning more than $102,480.1
Understanding the numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors—like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.
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.
Health education specialists can work in a variety of settings. According to the BLS, here are the top 5 employers of community health workers and health educators:1
- Hospitals – state, local and private
- Individual and family services
- Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations
- Outpatient care centers
The BLS notes that while health educators typically need at least a bachelor's degree, some organizations also require Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credentials.2 The CHES credential is offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).
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:
Community Health Educator
Educate people about the availability of healthcare services in their area.
Develop health and wellness programs for a community or corporate organization.
Coordinate treatment programs and address questions from patients and families.
Social and Community Service Manager
Coordinate and supervise programs and organizations that support public well-being.
Earning your degree in community health education can also help advance your current career in the field by giving you the opportunity to explore the subject more in-depth. Daniel Amato '21 was able to earn his degree while working in the field, giving him the opportunity to build off his existing passion and knowledge.
"I thought to myself … imagine what I would learn from this degree program and what I could accomplish from there," Amato said.
The BS in Community Health Education program is designed to help you build a strong foundation from which you can use to launch the next chapter of your life. Whether you wish to go straight into the field or want to continue your education by earning a master's in public health online, this program can help you get there.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Community Health Degree
Why SNHU for Your Online Health Education Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
Prior coursework could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. You could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience, or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- U.S. News & World Report named SNHU the 2021 Most Innovative University in the North and one of the nation's "Best Regional Universities"
- Awarded the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology by The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
93.6% of online students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Expanding 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:
- Completed free undergraduate application
- Prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you
- Test scores are not required as part of your application
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
If you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going:
- Complete a free undergraduate application
- Submit any additional documents required
- Work with an admission counselor to explore financial options and walk through the application process
If you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a Difference in Your Community
Alexisa Humphrey '20
"My capstone was my most loved and valued class. I was able to focus on my passion in helping a community that is poverty-stricken and provide the youth in that area a way to reverse some unfavorable behaviors."
Courses & Curriculum
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 qualities1 as:
- Analytical and problem-solving skills. Health education specialists collect and evaluate data to determine the needs of the people they serve. They may need to solve problems that arise in planning programs, such as budget constraints or resistance from the community they serve.
- Instructional skills. Health education specialists and community health workers lead programs, teach classes and facilitate discussion with clients and families.
- Interpersonal skills. Health education specialists and community health workers interact with people from a variety of backgrounds. They must be good listeners and be empathetic in responding to the needs of people they serve.
- Communication skills. Health education specialists and community health workers must be able to clearly convey information in health-related materials and in written proposals for programs and funding.
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 Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis project.2 Those areas are:
- Administer and manage health education/promotion
- Assess needs, resources and capacity for health education/promotion
- Communicate, promote and advocate for health, health education/promotion and the profession
- Conduct evaluation and research related to health education/promotion
- Implement health education/promotion
- Plan health education/promotion
- Serve as a health education/promotion resource person
The curriculum in the community health education degree provides you with 12 credits of electives within your program – meaning you get the opportunity to choose 4 courses in community health education, integrated health professions and public health education.
"I have learned so much in the years since I have been a student," said student Jacqueline Graham. "This major is wonderful, and the courses are interesting. There is so much to learn."
Plus, the community health degree program has plenty of free elective space overall. That's ideal for students with transfer credits, or even those who want to broaden their skill set and explore areas of interest.
Daniel Amato '21 was one student who brought a lot of credits into his program.
"I transferred credits to SNHU, which helped me complete my degree much faster," he said. "My credits ended up completing all my electives, so all I had to do for my community health education degree was my core classes. It was much quicker than I thought it would be."
Classes are taught by instructors who have experience in the field.
"The instructors at SNHU are so very helpful, and they all want their students to succeed," Graham said. "They are very accessible, so you will never feel alone or that you cannot have access to them because it is online."
"My instructors were knowledgeable and passionate about community health education," he said. "They allowed all of us to bring our own experiences into the classroom and use them within our studies. It made for a fun learning environment, because we got to read each other's stories and bounce ideas off each other."
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
All undergraduate students are required to take general education courses, which are part of SNHU's newly redesigned program, The Commons. The goal of The Commons' curriculum is to empower you with some of the most in-demand skills, so you can succeed not only in your academic career, but in your personal and professional life too.
We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
Earn Math Credits
Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|BS in Community Health Education|
|Courses May Include|
|BS In Community Health Education Online|
|CHE 110||Introduction to Community Health Education||Explore the field of community health education through community health organizations, epidemiology, planning and assessment strategies such as Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), and the status of the nation's health. Examine the responsibilities, competencies, and skills of the community health education entry-level professional. Healthy People 2020 and Centers for Disease Control are used as important resources. Students begin to develop and implement program ePortfolios.|
|CHE 220||Communicable Diseases||Explore the nature and cause of human communicable diseases based on an understanding of pathogenic, behavioral, and environmental factors through the concepts of pathological process in public health. Review historical and contemporary disease patterns as they relate to common communicable diseases. Students learn disease prevention, treatment, and control approaches along with strategies promoting healthy behavior.|
|CHE 300||Methods and Materials in Health Education||The goal of this course is to explore innovative, meaningful, and effective teaching and learning approaches and materials in community health education. Students learn about curriculum planning and development, teaching strategies, creative learning resources and materials for workplace and community health education settings. Topics include developing health education materials and methods that are culturally and age appropriate.|
|CHE 350||Program Administration||This course provides a strong foundation of the theories, principles, and practices in program administration of public health education and health promotion programs in a variety of settings on local, state, national, and international levels. Topics include: healthcare services and public health, the uninsured, public health law, emergency health preparedness.|
|CHE 460||Health Communication, Social Marketing, and Advocacy||This course explores the roles of communication and social marketing as indispensable tools in health promotion and disease prevention. Students learn about the power of effective health campaigns in changing health behaviors. Public debate, advocacy skills and policy development are examined in terms of their interrelationship.|
|CHE 490||Community Health Capstone||This capstone course is the culminating experience for the Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education. This course builds on the theories and concepts of all courses students have taken within the program of study. The capstone course provides students with the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their course work in an original comprehensive paper, and to assess their level of mastery of the stated outcomes of their degree program in community health education. This course is taken in the student's final term.|
|IHP 200||Wellness Across the Lifespan||Examine the stages of human development and life events that influence health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Students focus on a developmental framework as a frame to explore early adulthood through old age and death.|
|IHP 330||Principles of Epidemiology||Learn basic principles of epidemiology with emphasis on applications in healthcare management. Examine specific epidemiology tools used for purposes of planning, monitoring, and evaluating population health. Consider methods for managing the health of populations, understanding the factors that influence population health, and strategies that healthcare organizations and systems can use to control these factors.|
|PHE 327||Research and Assessment in Public Health||Students in this class will develop the introductory knowledge and skills to apply assessment instruments, data collection, research designs, and statistical analysis to assess need, assets, and capacity for health education programs. Existing data sets will be introduced that will increase access to information to develop and implement health promotion projects that are fiscally feasible while meeting specific health promotion needs of a targeted population.|
|PHE 340||Social and Behavioral Health||The course provides an overview of the contribution of the social and behavioral sciences to health behavior. Social and behavioral science fundamentals (principles, theories, research, and techniques) that are employed to address current and past public health problems are examined. Key concepts such culture, race/ethnicity, gender, poverty/disparities, factors related to behavior change, community, organizational climate, family are examined from a social and behavioral sciences perspective.|
|PHE 423||Evaluation Methods in Public Health||This course will cover contextual issues surrounding evaluation, evaluation designs and methodological issues, steps involved in conducting an evaluation, communicating the results, and ensuring that evaluation findings are used by intended users.|
|PHE 425||Programming Planning in Public Health||The purpose of this course is to provide basic knowledge in public health sciences, and practical skills to effectively plan, implement, and manage programs that address public health problems in a variety of settings. The course explores key concepts, theories, and methods in planning and implementing successful health promotion programs and healthy public policy.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Minimum Hardware Requirements
PC (Windows OS)
Apple (Mac OS)
Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.
Currently supported operating system from Apple.
8GB or higher
8GB or higher
100GB or higher
100GB or higher
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
SNHU Purchase Programs
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
- Laptop or desktop? Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.
- Note: Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.
- Office 365 Pro Plus is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for Microsoft 365 plans for business, education and government.
- Antivirus software: Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.
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.
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
We also 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.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
|Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*||$693||$231||$6,930|
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
Additional Costs No Application Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is community health education?
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 8% growth for health education specialists through 2031, fueled largely by a push to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs through promotion of healthy behaviors.1
As a sub-discipline 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.2
Community health educators often work in individual and family service offices, government offices, hospitals and outpatient care centers. Typically, they interact one on one with people, taking a very hands-on approach to making improvements in health and well-being.
Why is health education important in a community?
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.
"I chose this program of study because I have a passion for helping others," said Alexisa Humphrey '20. "Medical bills are very costly, no matter your tax bracket. Some of those issues could have been prevented with some education. As a health educator, I plan to do just that in my community, especially with the pandemic."
How do you educate a community?
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."
What are examples of health education activities at the community level?
Community health educators operate in many capacities in all sorts of communities, including:
- College campuses to help combat drug and alcohol abuse and promote exercise
- Nonprofits to help raise awareness about specific illnesses and health issues
- Private practice to help individuals with chronic medical problems
- Fundraising and policy development
"I wanted to study this program because I was already working at a community health center as a sexual health educator," said Daniel Amato '21. "I had learned about a topic in one of my courses, and literally the next week, we were using it at work! It was a neat connection for me, and at that moment, I knew I was learning beneficial information."
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.
What jobs can you get with a community health education degree?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), community health education degree holders can find opportunities in an array of settings1, including:
- Schools and colleges
- Nonprofit organizations
- Private companies
- Government entities and public health departments
- Hospitals and community health centers
- Individual and family services
- Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations
- Outpatient care centers
Job titles include certified diabetes educator, clinical instructor, community health consultant, education coordinator, health education coordinator, health education specialist, health educator, health promotion specialist, public health educator, public information officer – and more.3 In 2021, the BLS reported a median annual wage for health education specialists of $60,600, with the highest 10% earning more than $102,480.1
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 professions student for real-world, team-based models of care through integrated health professions courses.
What is a community health education major?
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.
Is a community health education degree worth it?
If your goal is to work with populations that need health information, then this community health degree program is for you.
"I would recommend this program to any student," said student Jacqueline Graham. "For a student like me, that was out of school for a long time, after taking this program, I feel like it has totally given me the confidence I needed to graduate and to pursue my master's degree in public health."
Daniel Amato '21 is already working in the community health field, and he felt it would be the ideal foundation degree.
"I found it that much more interesting to be engaged in my courses because I was connecting what I was learning in the classroom to the outside world," he said. "You know when teachers would always lecture the class about having to know a certain topic because 'you will use this someday'? I never believed them until I began working on my bachelor's at SNHU. It was like a lightbulb went off in my brain. ... I am happy I chose this degree program, and I’m excited to build on what I’ve learned from it."
Alexisa Humphrey '20 also knew her program was worth it, even before graduation.
"The program met all my expectations," she said. "I was able to help myself while educating my patients on various health-related issues and give them valuable resources they can share with others."
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3)
1Bureau 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 Oct. 21, 2022). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, on the internet, at https://www.nchec.org/guide-to-health-education-careers (viewed Sept. 2, 2021).
3O-NET online at https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1091.00%20 (viewed Dec. 9, 2022).
Licensure and Certification Disclosures
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.