The Health Education Program (formerly housed in the School of Education and Urban Studies) prepares students for early career positions in the field of health education. Persons professionally trained as health educators are vital members of the public health workforce - the cadre of professionals from varying disciplines responsible for ensuring the health and well-being of the population. The US Department of Labor classification (SOC 21-1091.00) defines health educators as “those that provide and manage health education programs that help individuals, families, and their communities maximize and maintain healthy lifestyles”. Health educators carry out their work in varied settings: health care organizations, corporate worksites, local, state and federal government agencies, and within non-governmental agencies.
Program Goal and Objectives
The goal of the Health Education Program is to support the mission of the School of Community Health and Policy in the development of professionals who will reduce health inequities, promote health and transform urban communities, through the training and development of professional health educators. The program’s objectives are to:
- Provide a curriculum that prepares early career health educators with the knowledge and skills to fulfill their identified professional responsibilities.
- To prepare students to recognize and address the social determinants of inequities in health.
- To foster an interest in the health education needs for urban communities.
Seven areas of responsibilities expected of the health education professional in promoting and maintaining population health were identified and validated through a Health Education Job Analysis (2010) and Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis (2015) and by consensus agreed upon by the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations. The core curriculum for the health education degree addresses the knowledge and skills areas needed for these seven areas. This includes being able to:
- Assess needs, resources and capacity for health education/promotion.
- Plan health education/promotion.
- Implement health education/promotion.
- Conduct evaluation and research related to health education/promotion.
- Administer and manage health education/promotion.
- Serve as a health education/promotion resource person.
- Communicate, promote, and advocate for health, health education/promotion, and the profession.
The national credentialing examination for health education is based on the above seven areas of responsibility. The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) national credentialing exam is optional for those earning the health education degree.
The major degree is a BS in Health Education, considered a generalist degree that encompasses the core competencies consistent with program goals and objectives. In addition to the core competencies for the health education degree, there are options for areas of concentration. Each concentration requires courses that provide a more specific application of the core responsibilities focused by setting and health issues. Each is briefly described as follows:
- The generalist degree prepares the early career professional for health education with a broad knowledge and skill set within the health education field upon which to build a career pathway.
- The community health concentration prepares the early career professional to work in a community setting and focus specifically on community-based health initiatives operated by public sector and/or non-governmental agencies.
- The environmental health concentration provides additional training for the health educator to fulfill in the seven key responsibilities with a focus on identifying and ameliorating threats to health in the physical environment as well as advocating for conditions which support healthier living.
- The health administration concentration prepares health educators to serve in various administrative roles in health care organizations functioning to ensure the day to day operations of services. These individuals have additional training in areas of management and increased understanding of policies affecting the work of health educators.
In addition to the concentrations, there is an advisement track for students interested in pursuing a career in Physical Therapy. There is no undergraduate degree offered in this field at Morgan State University. However, the Pre-Professional Physical Therapy Advisement Track does provide students who will receive the Bachelor of Science in Health Education degree with a recommended sequence and specific set of courses that are generally needed to apply to physical therapy doctoral programs, the degree needed for licensure as a Physical Therapist. Students will work with a Physical Therapy advisor to determine an approved graduation plan that reflects the best academic progression for their specific career goals.
In addition to completing all general education and university required courses, students majoring in Health Education must complete the Health Education major core courses, along with the courses specified in a selected area of concentration or an approved track plan. This also includes specified supporting courses. Health Education students must receive a grade of “C” or better in all major, generalist or concentration courses and prerequisite courses. This includes all math and natural science courses, even those that fulfill general education requirements. A minimum of 120 credit hours is required of students pursuing the Health Education, B.S. degree. These credit hours are distributed as follows:
General Education and University Requirements 44
Supporting Courses 12
Major Requirements 36
Concentration Requirements 28