A Look into Careers in Health Promotion

by frank-stuart

Health promotion officers or practitioners are involved in educating and informing community groups, government bodies and individuals about important health matters. The job can involve developing policies and programs that are designed to improve physical and mental health within the community, and increasing public awareness of particular health issues, from skin cancer screening to tobacco and alcohol problems.

Where can you work?

Health promotion is definitely not a one-size-fits-all profession, which makes it potentially a very interesting career choice to make. There are a wide variety of industries and jobs that a health promotion graduate can go into including:

  • Health and movement industries: This includes government, not-for-profit and private health business sectors.
  • Public / government sectors: Organisations in this sector include federal, state and local government health departments, and agencies such as community health, child health networks, public hospitals, family planning, and so on.
  • Not-for-profit sectors: Not-for-profit organisations include health charities involved in the prevention and control of disease in populations. An example is the YFoundation, which is involved in developing programs, strategies and services for homeless youth.
  • Health business sectors: Private industry opportunities for health promotion positions include working for health promotion consultants, medical insurance companies, the fitness industry, or health product providers.
  • Overseas work opportunities: As well as working locally, graduates may have the opportunity to work overseas with agencies such as the World Health Organisation, or overseas aid organisations.

Day-to-day duties of health promotion jobs

The exact duties of a health promotion practitioner vary depending on the sector and the position. However, daily duties can include the following:

  • Development of health promotion programs and campaigns for various community groups or institutions. This might involve providing information through a variety of media, such as developing advertisements or pamphlets, doing radio broadcasts and / or providing information via websites.
  •  Providing health education and skills to enable people in the community to make informed decisions regarding their health.

This can include providing information and education on nutrition, exercise, smoking, depression, cancer, or other health issues.

  • Developing strategies to increase community awareness of health screenings in the local region, such as BreastScreen or other cancer tests.
  • Educational work in schools on health issues – for example, teaching school students about sexual or mental health.
  • Advocacy for improvements in health, social or environmental policy.
  • Undertaking research on public health issues.
  • Evaluation of health promotion programs.
  • Involvement in community health policy planning.

Since health promotion involves working with a variety of people, such as other health professionals, people who work in organisations and institutions, and the general public, it requires not only educational qualifications, but also the ability to communicate well – both orally and in writing – and to work both independently and within a team.

Post-graduate studies

Graduates also have the opportunity to continue with their studies, undertaking further studies in – for example – public health, health industry management, environmental health and international health.

If you’re interested in a career in health promotion, check out the Fitness & Sports Science courses on offer at ACPE that will help kick-start your career.

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