Health Educator Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 12, 2022 | Published August 25, 2021

Updated August 12, 2022

Published August 25, 2021

A health educator is a medical professional who teaches individuals and groups about strategies they can use to improve their health. To effectively complete their tasks and duties, health educators develop and use a wide variety of skills and abilities. Understanding what skills allow health educators to perform their tasks effectively can help you learn which ones to develop if you're interested in pursuing this profession.

In this article, we discuss health educator skills by defining them, listing examples and providing steps you can follow to improve these skills.

What are health educator skills?

Health educator skills are the abilities that certain health care professionals use while completing their tasks. To ensure effectiveness in their roles, health educators possess certain skills, such as communication and problem-solving.

Health educators create educational materials to teach communities how to maintain their health or prevent diseases. Their duties often require writing, time management and teamwork. Since health educators typically work with members of a community, they also use interpersonal skills to connect with their audience.

Related: What Is a Health Educator? A Complete Guide

Examples of health educator skills

There are many skills that an effective health educator has, such as:

Communication

Communication skills include the way in which professionals speak to one another to convey messages. This skill entails more than simply talking to someone else, as it often also requires active listening, displaying attentive nonverbal cues and using clear, concise language.

Health educators communicate daily with members of the public to teach them about healthy habits and strategies they can use to improve their well-being. They may talk to individuals about their health or communicate with large groups while giving a presentation, both of which require communication skills to perform effectively.

Problem-solving

This is the ability to identify an issue and suggest effective solutions to fix it. This skill often requires creativity, analysis and reasoning to employ successfully. One situation in which health educators use problem-solving skills is when they work with individuals to create wellness plans for their specific health conditions.

They evaluate these issues and use critical thinking skills to discover possible solutions. When speaking to a larger group, they may create pamphlets that provide tips the audience can follow to decrease their chances of developing certain diseases, therefore tailoring their strategies for the number of people they're teaching.

Time management

This skill entails an individual completing their duties by a previously established deadline. Health educators employ time management skills often, as they typically have many tasks to complete daily, such as conducting educational programs, training new staff members and communicating with groups of people.

They may prioritize how and when they complete particular duties to ensure they complete their tasks efficiently.

Teamwork

Teamwork refers to working effectively with other people. While health educators may complete a few of their tasks individually, they often work in group settings.

Health educators collaborate with community members to increase health and wellness and work with colleagues to create or present materials jointly. They may also collaborate with other health professionals, such as doctors or nurses, to develop health programs for patients.

Written communication

These skills allow professionals to clearly express ideas through written communication. Health educators create a variety of written material, such as educational programs, progress reports, wellness plans and presentations. Many of these documents contain essential information, which is why health educators often develop high-quality writing skills.

Cultural competency

This skill entails learning about cultures other than your own. Since health educators teach diverse groups of people, they often encounter a variety of cultures with separate practices and beliefs, so it's often important for health educators to remain respectful of all cultures they encounter.

For example, some people may be hesitant to receive certain forms of health care due to their beliefs, so it's a health educator's responsibility to decide optimal strategies for each patient.

Related: Job Description Examples for Health Educators

How to improve health educator skills

Here are three steps you can follow to improve your health educator skills:

1. Continually develop industry knowledge

Public health and factors that affect it constantly change and evolve, so it's typically helpful for health educators to continually learn about their industry to remain updated on new research and methodology.

Pursuing an education by earning a degree offers most professionals foundational knowledge of their field that they can leverage to secure available roles. After attaining a degree, some professionals also opt to pursue certifications, which equip them with increased qualifications and knowledge.

While working in a health educator role, it may also be helpful to attend conferences, seminars or workshops occasionally to remain updated on health-related developments.

Related: What Can You Do With a Public Health Degree?

2. Practice public speaking

To improve your communication skills, consider practicing public speaking as much as possible. Health educators often educate large groups of people, which requires high-quality public speaking skills to achieve

To develop these skills, you could perform preparatory speeches to friends, family or colleagues. You could also seek opportunities to present at a health or medical seminar or conference, which can offer you experience speaking to large groups of people about health education. When practicing, try to enunciate your words and provide clear explanations of your chosen topic.

3. Write outlines and edit your content

Since health educators create plenty of written material, it may be helpful for these professionals to draft content before writing final copies. Creating an outline or rough draft can help professionals plan their topics and potentially develop effective ideas.

Once you've drafted your material, you can proofread and revise them, as well. Editing can also improve writing skills because it allows you to identify and fix mistakes.

Health educator skills in the workplace

Here are a few ways that health educators apply their skills within their workplaces:

  • Teaching classes: When health educators teach groups of people, they use communication skills. The goal of teaching classes or programs is to present information clearly that educates and benefits listeners.

  • Creating materials: Creating materials, such as presentations, pamphlets and wellness plans requires effective writing skills. This content is important because it benefits individuals even after a presentation or meeting has concluded. Therefore, it's essential for these educators use effective writing to clearly communicate health information.

  • Assessing health: Another role of a health educator is to assess the health of individuals and communities. When they accomplish this, they use problem-solving skills to evaluate their conditions and develop programs to help increase their health and wellness.

How to highlight health educator skills

If you're interested in becoming a health educator, here's how you can highlight your skills during the hiring process:

On a resume

One way to display your skills on your resume is to include a skills section that directly lists the relevant health educator skills you possess in bullet points.

You could also highlight your skills by describing them in your work experience section. When describing the roles and responsibilities you performed for previous employers, you can incorporate your abilities into your description.

For example, you could mention that you communicated with patients or used problem-solving abilities to create effective health solutions. It may also be helpful to include keywords from the job description to highlight how your personal skills apply to the requirements of the available role.

Related: How To Become a Health Educator (With Steps)

In a cover letter

A cover letter allows you to describe your skills and abilities in more detail. However, since a cover letter is a brief document, you might include only a few significant examples of your work or education experience. Try to highlight specific and measurable examples that highlight how your skills make you an excellent candidate.

You could write about your ability to implement time management skills to complete your duties efficiently. Consider also emphasizing your enthusiasm for the job and restating how your skills qualify you for the position.

During an interview

You can showcase your skills during an interview by mentioning them in your answers to particular questions. If a hiring manager asks you to tell them about one of your accomplishments, you could describe your experiences speaking in front of large groups of people, which highlight your communication and public speaking skills.

Consider preparing for your interview by researching common questions that hiring managers ask health educators and developing answers that state your applicable skills.

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