How to become a health teacher in 5 steps
Most states include health education as part of the high school and college curriculum. As certified educators in the field, health teachers are essential to teaching this area of social studies. Understanding more about health education can help you decide if this major is for you. In this article we will explore what a health teacher is, what a health teacher does, what skills benefit a health teacher and how to become one.
What is a health teacher?
Health teachers are educators who help students better understand human health, anatomy, and physiology. It teaches students about important social and social science information such as hygiene, proper nutrition, the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Health teachers are usually in charge of teaching about puberty and sex education. They often help students understand and manage the many changes that come with adolescence and increase students’ awareness of general health and bodily functions.
They work for public and private schools, usually at the high school and college level. Depending on the school and state, a health teacher may also combine majors to work full-time or work for multiple schools in a district. For example, one high school health teacher may teach some health classes and some physical education classes, while another high school health teacher teaches health classes at all four high schools in their district.
What does a health teacher do?
Health teachers uphold educational and moral standards while informing students about human anatomy and general health. A health teacher may also be responsible for:
Explaining complex concepts:
Health teachers explain complex anatomy, physiology, and general health concepts to students in a simpler terminology and format.
Hygiene is part of personal health and the health teacher may be responsible for teaching students about the importance of personal hygiene and how to maintain it.
Puberty and Sex Education:
Adolescence is a time of great bodily change, and the health teacher educates growing students about puberty and how to manage hormonal changes. Sexual awareness and education can help teens make better decisions about their sexual health, including protection, contraceptive options, and other considerations. Health teachers also inform students about the effects of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy.
Health teachers adhere to strict ethical and moral standards set by the educational system and individual institutions.
The health teacher is responsible for grading assignments and posting term grades.
Health teachers prepare students for state testing and in some cases provide practice tests.
The Health Teacher is responsible for maintaining a clean, organized classroom and facilitating learning in an environment with minimal distractions.
Skills to succeed as a health teacher
Health teachers bring specific skills to the job and learn the hard skills of the field during their education. These skills are important in becoming an effective health teacher:
Health teachers work closely with students to explain complex topics. This requires a certain amount of patience and understanding and presents a unique opportunity for youth work.
Teachers are an integral part of a child’s life, and compassion is fundamental to how teachers understand their students. Compassion helps teachers become more aware of their students’ needs and creates a better learning environment for everyone.
Love of learning:
Being a teacher is a lifelong learning journey as much as a learning journey. Teachers who bring a passion for learning help inspire students and motivate them to continue their education.
Knowledge of the human body:
Health teachers teach students about the important topic of personal health. This instruction requires a firm understanding of how the body works in order to modify it for student understanding. Good health information can benefit students throughout their lives.
Health teachers interact with students and staff on a daily basis and occasionally interact with parents when discussing a child’s education. This requires strong language skills and a lot of patience.
Teachers need problem-solving skills to help students navigate complex scientific and personal subjects and deal with difficult situations.
How to become a health teacher
Anyone can become a health teacher, but there are specific requirements to obtain the diploma. These requirements often vary by state, but here are the basic requirements to become a health teacher:
Get a degree
Teachers need a bachelor’s degree to become a state certified teacher. Specifically, health teachers benefit from a bachelor’s degree in health or education. Most colleges and universities have a curriculum, and many also offer health education and health science divisions. You usually complete these programs on campus, but if you’re looking for flexibility, some programs can be completed entirely online.
Get your state license
Each state varies in its teacher licensing regulations, but each state has standards you must meet to become a teacher. Some certifications require a bachelor’s degree, on-the-job experience, and passing a state-approved skills test. Meeting these requirements allows you to obtain a state teaching license and seek employment as a health teacher. Some states also offer provisional licenses for those who do not have immediate experience but need a license to complete testing.
Start teaching and build experience
After state licensure, many health teachers find employment and begin working to gain experience. You can find opportunities for health positions in both public and private schools, or get a position at the school where you completed your student teaching. Continue to learn and build experience as this may create opportunities for higher pay or better working conditions.
Attend a graduate program
Many teachers complete a graduate program and earn a master’s degree in their field. You can choose advanced education for further education and expand your options. A master’s degree makes you very well qualified to teach health education to others.
Continue your education
Throughout your teaching career, you may come across opportunities such as seminars, certification programs, or other curricula to expand your skills. Gaining more certifications or knowledge can help you perform better at your job and give you opportunities in the industry.