Improving health and preventing disease is a critical concern for every community and has never been more timely. Our Health Education and Promotion (HLED) major is for those who desire to become health education specialists who are trained to help others become healthier. According to the professional association for health education specialists (the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing or NCHEC), health education specialists “work with individuals, families, and communities, as well as public and private organizations to create, implement, oversee, and analyze programs and strategies that promote health and well-being” (https://www.nchec.org/). Through education and engagement, the major fosters the ability to develop sustainable health solutions and health equity to advocate for and strengthen the health of diverse communities as well as acting as reputable health resources.
Our major provides a unique focus on nutrition. Health education as a profession is concerned with educating the public to shift from unhealthy to healthy behaviors to improve their health and quality of life. A focus on nutrition means that students gain a valuable dietary point of view that is fundamental to developing preventative programs for disease risk reduction.
This Health Education and Promotion major was designed by practitioners and educators in public health, community health and nutrition and aligned with the national competencies for health education specialists established by NCHEC. This means students graduating with this major not only gain evidence-based knowledge and practical skills to prepare them for a vocation in health education, but also gain eligibility to take the credentialing examination offered through NCHEC in order to become credentialed as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
There is a strong job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, "projected employment for health educators is expected to increase at the rate of 13 percent by 2029 (increase of 17,000 jobs), at a rate faster than the national average for all occupations in the U.S. The BLS attributes this growth to efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs through health and nutrition education. The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI region is the 7th highest region for employment of health educators in the country."
Health educators focus on teaching people and the public how to get and stay well. Health educators work in a variety of settings, including:
Students are encouraged to visit the NCHEC website to view job descriptions and learn more about professional certification.
The mission of the undergraduate Health Education and Promotion major program is to provide and promote a high-quality education for preparation of competent future health educators and leaders. Preparation includes development of evidence-based comprehensive knowledge and applications to assess community resources and needs, and to plan, implement and evaluate health programs within diverse populations. Through education and engagement, this major fosters the development of sustainable health solutions and health equity to advocate and strengthen the health of local and global communities.
Upon completion of the major in Health Education and Promotion, the student will successfully:
Students must have a cumulative Benedictine University GPA of 2.5/4.000 to complete specific coursework and graduate with this major.
A Second Degree is available to those who enter the program following completion of bachelor’s degree elsewhere. As a minimum, all courses required for the Health Education and Promotion major must be completed, including cognates, in order to complete a Second Degree in Health Education and Promotion.
The Benedictine University Nutrition Programs will be recognized at the community, state, national, and international level for their leadership in developing optimal teaching and learning. The programs will prepare future Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, health educators, community nutritionists, and nutrition managers to address important food and nutrition issues that impact the quality of life of people.