Health promotion specialists may work in the community, promoting good health, or in strategic work, developing health policies. Health promotion specialists help people to improve their health and increase their control over it.
Roles may vary from giving face-to-face advice to individuals to producing strategic policies for health promotion. You may set up schemes promoting a healthy lifestyle, run campaigns and implement government initiatives relating to public health.
You can work in a range of settings, including:
- local communities;
Types of health promotion specialist
It’s possible to cover a number of different health-related issues, or to specialize in one area such as:
- drug misuse;
- the dangers of smoking;
- excessive alcohol consumption;
- healthy eating;
- sexual health.
- designing, managing and promoting health improvement programmes
- raising awareness of good health, diet and exercise through training and workshops
- giving advice to members of a particular community or social group
- devising health policies and schemes for assessing health needs
- liaising with, supporting the work of and providing expert advice to other voluntary, charity and statutory organizations
- managing projects
- keeping up to date with current health promotion trends
- supplying other organizations with specialist information and resources
- making presentations
- writing reports
- campaigning for the adoption and/or enhancement of national health promotion and preventative policies and measures
For graduates, a good degree in any biological, psychological or social science is acceptable, although employers prefer graduates with additional qualifications in health promotion, health studies, nursing, public and environmental health or education.
In particular, one of the following subjects may increase your chances:
- community and youth work;
- environmental health;
- health promotion;
- health studies;
- public health.
Some people enter this job as a second career. They may have built up experience in areas such as:
- environmental health;
- social work;
- excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to network effectively so that you can talk to a range of people;
- decision-making skills for acting on policies and strategies;
- leadership skills and the ability to motivate and influence others in their health decisions;
- an understanding of health issues;
- empathy for people facing difficult situations;
- initiative and problem-solving ability;
- time management skills if you’re working on several projects at once;
- creativity and the ability to think strategically to achieve results and targets;
- research and project management skills.