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How to become a Health Promotion

health promotion careers

What does a Health Promotion do?

Health promotion specialists, also known as health education specialists, aim to educate people to live healthy lives. They work in hospitals, schools and workplaces, with entire communities or individuals to improve the health and well-being of the population. The nature of the work can include raising awareness of such things as the importance of a balanced diet, taking regular exercise, and the dangers of smoking or excessive drinking. Other areas of priority may include reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease and cancers, and educating the community on mental health, sexual health, and drug misuse.

Health promotion specialists can be involved in a variety of activities to promote good health, including:

  • working on public health campaigns such as screening and immunisation
  • working in partnership with a range of organisations, such as the NHS, voluntary organisations, local authorities and the police
  • researching the extent of public knowledge on particular health issues
  • writing leaflets and brochures, and producing other resources such as posters and videos
  • organising exhibitions and events
  • running training courses and workshops
  • working with the press and TV.
Health promotion specialists may work on specific health campaigns, such as giving up smoking, or their role may be to provide information and advice to key people like managers in health authorities and local councils. Alternatively the work may involve collaborating with other health professionals, such as doctors and nurses, whose duties include health promotion.

What's the working environment like working as a Health Promotion?

The working hours are typically 9am to 5pm, although you may have to work evenings and weekends. The job often involves working with a range of organisations and you may occasionally need to travel outside your local region.

As a health promotion specialist you would normally be office-based. However, due to the partnership approach of the work, you would spend much of the working day training or visiting other organisations.

What does it take to become a Health Promotion?

To be a health promotion specialist you need:

  • an understanding of public health issues and how raising awareness can improve health
  • good verbal and written communication skills
  • good organisational skills
  • good time management and project management skills
  • to be able to collaborate with a range of different organisations (public, private and voluntary)
  • to keep up-to- date with the latest research findings in health, and also on national and local government policies relating to community health promotion
  • good research and analytical skills
  • to be self-motivated.

Health Promotion Career Opportunities

There are relatively few health education specialists, probably less than 1,000 in the country, and most opportunities are in large towns and cities. National Health Service authorities and trusts, local authorities or voluntary organisations may employ health promotion specialists.

Career development is not very structured and health promotion specialists tend to enter employment at a senior level and remain at that level for some time. Health promotion units tend to be small and prospects may be limited unless you are prepared to move to another part of the country for job opportunities.

The profession is changing, and the public health function is being strengthened as the occupational standards for the profession are reviewed. It is possible to move into public health and there is some overlap with other occupations in this area.

Competition for posts is strong and increasing.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Health Promotion that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

Society of Health Education and Promotion Specialists
Health Development Projects Office
School of Health and Policy Studies
Perry Barr
B42 2SU
0121 331 5511

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655

Skills for Health
Goldsmiths House
Broad Plain
Tel: 0117 922 1155

Health Scotland
Woodburn House
Canaan Lane
EH10 4SG
Tel: 0131 536 5500

Health Professions Wales
2nd Floor
Golate House
101 St Mary St
CF10 1DX
029 2026 1400

Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland
18 Ormeau Avenue
Tel: 028 9031 1611

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