Learning-by-doing is the foundation of the Community Health Education program at the University of Maine at Farmington as students gain hands on knowledge through field work in the community- a valuable aspect of UMF’s program.
Students who major in Community Health Education (CHE) will receive a Bachelor of Science in CHE and be eligible to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) upon graduation. The CHE program includes a required practicum and internship that allows students to assess individual and community needs for health education; planning, implementing and administering strategies, interventions and health education programs; conducting evaluation and research related to health education; serving as a health education resource; and communicating and advocating for health and health education. There are many field placement options for CHE students!
Community Health Education student Mina Craig recently studied in India, where she was involved in a project studying the access to public health in rural villages. She also studied how social and environmental determinants impact one’s access to healthcare. Community Health Education student Mariah Jane Sloat interned as a Cancer Health Outreach Educator at The Patrick Dempsey Cancer Center for Hope & Healing in Lewiston. A Community Health Internship can open many doors for students.
Along with a degree in CHE, students have the option to choose from a variety of minors and concentrations, including:
- School Health Education concentration- teach in K-12 classrooms in Maine (and many other states)
- Outdoor Recreation Programming concentration
- Child and Adolescent Health minor
- Coaching minor
- Environmental Studies minor
- Health and Medicine minor
- Physical Fitness minor
- Nutrition Education minor
- Addiction Rehabilitation certificate
- Alpine Operations certificate
Students will learn from faculty members with a broad range of expertise and specialties, including: chronic disease prevention, men’s health issues, cancer prevention, college students behavior change, theories of health behavior, women’s health, genetics, public health biology, global health, infectious disease, international epidemics, gender, sex & culture, international health & policy, intimate partner violence, mothering, women’s health, stress management, suicide prevention, and many more! With such a variety of topics, students are sure to find a path that they are passionate about!
So what exactly can I do with a Community Health Education degree? Well, there are endless possibilities, but some of the most common careers are…
- Environmental Health Specialist– Environmental health specialists develop plans and programs to prevent and control environmental problems that affect the health of the population. Educating the public on the health risks of environmental contaminants is also one of the duties of an environmental health specialist.
- Health Educator– Health educators work to educate the public about healthy living and promote wellness. Educating the public about health topics may include creating programs and education materials. Health educators may work in hospitals, public health agencies, nonprofit organizations or businesses.
- Occupational Health and Safety Manager- Occupational health and safety managers work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in order to keep a close watch on employer compliance with employee safety policies. In collaboration with health administration teams, these community health workers are involved with the removal of harmful biological or chemical agents. These managers provide guidance and advisement in coming up with ways to meet OSHA regulations and control potentially dangerous situations or items.
- Family Planning– Including pregnancy education, post-mortem education, parenting classes, mother coaching, and neonatal/infant health
- Personal training, physical fitness consultant and instructor
- Advocate for underserved populations (rural communities, low-income families, immigrants, non-English speaking individuals, those with disabilities, the elderly, etc.)
- Disease control and prevention- Provide education, review hygiene protocol, provide community resources (vaccination clinics, Planned Parenthood/Family Planning, emergency services, etc.)
If you like learning about people, environment, behavior, and health, love helping others, and want to give back to the community, then a degree in Community Health Education would be perfect for you! To learn more about the Community Health Education degree, and the other minors and certifications offered, visit the UMF Community Health Education page.