College and graduate students today have less time than ever before, which is why we created a list of the most affordable online master's in health education degree programs. Health education refers to the professionals working in the health field that educate others. They may work in sessions with patients and their families or work in health care facilities and train new employees. Educators must have both a master's degree and some experience to work in one of these positions. Online programs are perfect for students who work or have other commitments and obligations because they can work on their classes anywhere they have an internet connection. Our list ranks the most affordable of these online master's programs.
Before creating our list, we turned to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to find the most recent data available. The NCES has a College Navigator database that lists college information, including how much the school charges in tuition, its acceptance rates and the number of students currently enrolled. We used the search terms health education master's and degree online and then took the time to make sure each school offers one of those programs online. The total pool of colleges with online master's in health education degree programs included 49 different schools. We then narrowed down that list to include just the top 9. Students can view those schools in the following ranking, which puts the most affordable college programs at the bottom. These programs show students that they can earn a master's in health education without spending $15,000 a year or more.
Ranking Low-cost Online Health Education Master's
9. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health
MSN Nurse Educator
The Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health offers a Master of Science in Nursing for those who want to work as nurse educators. The college designed this program for online students to complete in only 21 months. It features two capstone courses and classes such as Critical Appraisal of Knowledge for Practice, Teaching Learning Principles for Nursing Education, Advanced Nursing Roles & Phenomena and Issues in Advanced Nursing Roles. The program has a rolling admissions policy and accept students who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a 3.0 undergrad grade point average. Nebraska Methodist offers a similar program for those who have an RN license/degree that allows them to transition into the MSN program.
8. SUNY College at Brockport
School Health Education PRE K-12 (MSED)
SUNY College at Brockport offers highly unique online master's in health education program that prepares students for working in elementary and other types of schools with children and teenagers. Its school health education program teaches students how to work with those children and how to teach those students about health and similar subjects. Graduates can get their teaching licenses through the state of New York. The program features six credits of electives and 27 credits of required courses. Those required courses include Foundations in School Health Education, Assessment and Evaluation in School HED, Teaching Methods and Strategies for School HED and a Capstone Seminar that also includes a fieldwork component. SUNY College at Brockport allows online students to do fieldwork in their own areas.
7. Kaplan University- Hagerstown University
Master of Science Degree in Health Education
Kaplan University offers a number of degree programs that students can complete online, but students can also enroll in one of the degree programs available through its campuses in cities like Hagerstown. Its Master of Science Degree in Health Education provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to work in schools, for nonprofit organizations and in dozens of other positions. It includes 56 credits of classes, but students can also transfer in credits they earned prior to enrolling in Kaplan. The program features courses like Public Health Program Development, Community Health Assessment and Health Education and Communication. Students will also work with their advisers to gain practical experience through one or more fieldwork programs.
6. Concord University
Master of Arts in Health Promotion
Health promotion programs like the online program available through Concord University teach students how to promote health topics in the modern world. Students may work with patients and explain to them why they are at risk of developing certain medical conditions or help patients learn more about their health insurance options. This program asks students to take classes online during each of the three yearly semesters. They'll take classes like Research in the Health Sciences, Epidemiology in Health and Program Planning and Evaluation. Concord requires that students maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate with a degree in health promotion. Students must also do at least one practicum, but the university and their advisers will help them find experiences in the areas where they currently live and work.
5. Lamar University
Master of Science in Health Promotion
Lamar University offers a Master of Science in Health Promotion online through LU Online. Students can start in the summer, fall or spring. The program includes 36 credits of courses such as Development and Evaluation of Health Promotions Programs, Educational Foundations Technology, Multimedia in Education, Teaching with Technology and Epidemiology of Diseases & Vital Stats. Lamar offers this as a thesis program for students who want to do a final paper or project and as a non-thesis program. The non-thesis program requires that students do six credit hours of professional experience or work. Non-thesis students can also take classes that count towards a certificate as a Career Health Education Specialist.
4. East Carolina University
Health Education & Promotion – MA in Health Education
Students who want to study health education and promotion can earn a Master of Arts degree from East Carolina University through its online program. The program is open to students living in North Carolina and those residing in other states. Online students can do service learning projects in their own cities and internships for course credits, and ECU allows online students to sign up for study abroad opportunities too. The courses that these students take include Introduction to Epidemiology, Evaluation of Heath Education and Promotion Programs, Research Methods in Health Education and Sexuality Education in Health Education. Students can enroll in a thesis or non-thesis version of this program, but non-thesis students must do an internship in place of a final paper or project.
3. Mississippi University for Women
Health Education, M.S.
The Mississippi University for Women gives students the option of doing a thesis or doing an internship to get course credit in its Health Education program, which awards graduates a Master of Science degree. Students can also do a capstone and create a final project rather than write a final paper. Thesis and capstone students can do an internship, which will count as one of their required electives. They only need to take six semester hours of electives to graduate. The program also features seven required/core courses, including Health Program Evaluation, Foundations of Health Education and Community Health Education Methods. Students can also take classes on managing stress, teaching nutrition and drug and alcohol treatment.
2. University of the Cumberlands
Master of Science in Health and Human Performance
The Master of Science in Health and Human Performance that the University of the Cumberlands offers has two concentrations available: coaching and fitness leadership and health and fitness promotion. Both of these concentrations help students learn more about teaching and educating others. Students take two courses from within either concentration and six required courses that include Applied Statistics, Health and Fitness Psychology, Exercise Testing and Prescription and Applied Nutrition. The University of the Cumberlands also offers courses on working with kids, strength training and current issues in the field. Online students must keep a portfolio of their work and present this portfolio to the department before they graduate.
1. New Mexico State University – Main Campus
Master of Public Health
With a tuition rate of less than $6,000 a year, the Master of Public Health program that New Mexico State University offers through its Main Campus is the most affordable online master's in health education degree program around. It is available as an MPH in Health Management, Administration & Policy that focuses more on working behind the scenes in a health care facility. The community health education concentration is better for those who want to work with patients. Some of the courses in this concentration include Foundations of Public Health Education, Research and Resources in Community Health, Community Organization in Public Health and Public Health Planning.
More Information for Students
Even after looking at our ranking of cheap health education master's programs, students will likely have questions about paying for school, what they can do with their degrees and how much they can make. We created a list of commonly asked questions and answers to those questions.
What is Health Education?
Health education is a general term that refers to all types of education that relate to health. This includes both community health educators and those who teach in private and public schools. Professionals working in community centers and facilities will work with larger groups of people. They may need to identify how a sexually transmitted disease spread around the city or find what caused several groups to develop the same condition. Educators working in schools will address the needs of the students in that school.
What Do Health Educators Do On the Job?
The things that health educators do on the job depend on where they work. They are often responsible for identifying the needs of a large or a small group of people and coming up with plans and programs to meet those needs. Those who work in community health centers will also coordinate with government programs and departments. Educators are also responsible for planning and developing new programs and implementing those programs too.
Where Do They Work?
Earning a master's in health education online qualifies graduates to work in different fields and industries and in different jobs. Many work in health departments at the local or state level and care for a large group of people or a certain population. Others work in either public or private schools and work with younger students in elementary school or older kids in junior high and high school. Colleges and universities also hire educators to work with students. Jobs are available in hospitals and other medical facilities too.
What are Some of the Other Jobs Available?
Not everyone who enrolls in an online health education master's program wants to work as a teacher or an educator. Graduates can also find work as health coordinators and health promotion specialists. Coordinators typically work in administration positions and help patients with their medical and health care needs. They may make arrangements for patients to rent or obtain health care equipment that they can use at home after leaving the hospital and help patients find ways to get to doctors' appointments. Coordinators can also help patients schedule any upcoming appointments and take care of any future treatments they might need.
Health promotion specialists often work with larger groups of people to help them better understand the importance of living a health lifestyle. They might create programs at a community center to help locals stop smoking or stop using alcohol and/or illegal drugs. Specialists can work with patients suffering from certain diseases like diabetes too. They help patients understand the lifestyle changes they need to make and can help them find nutritionists and others who can help.
Some of the online programs today only accept students who have a valid nursing license. These programs teach students how to work as nursing educators. A nursing educator is someone who works in a nursing program and has both a graduate degree and at least two to five years of nursing experience. They train incoming students on how to take vital signs and how to work with patients in a hospital. Students develop the skills they need in the real world in these programs and develop the bedside manners that they will carry with them throughout their careers.
How Much Do Teachers Make?
Students enrolling in health education online graduate programs can become licensed teachers in their own cities and states, even if they do not have an education or teaching undergrad degree. They will also need to pass a criminal background check, which the police will do after a student submits his or her fingerprints for testing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the median pay for high school teachers at around $58,000 a year. Those working in junior high and elementary schools typically earn a little less.
The BLS found that the states with the highest number of high school teachers include Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Teachers working in Alaska earn more than those in other states and typically bring home more than $80,000 a year. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California also pay high school teachers more. The need for high school teachers will only grow in the future.
How Much Do Health Educators Make?
The BLS puts the median wage of health educators and community health specialist at more than $44,000 a year, which is more than $21 an hour. This lower pay rate applies to those who have no college degree and less experience though. Those with a graduate degree can make between $50,000 and $75,000 a year as a recent graduate, but they have the potential to earn even more later in their careers. Hospitals and nonprofit organizations pay health educators the most, while outpatient centers and public health centers pay the least. Graduates can work for private hospitals or public facilities.
California hires more health educators than any other state in the country, but students will also find a large number of these professionals working in New York, Florida, Georgia and Texas. Many states in the South have a high need for health educators because so many older people retire to those states. Those working in Maryland earn the highest annual salary at more than $86,000 a year. Graduates working in Washington DC, Rhode Island, Nevada and Georgia also earn more than those working in other states do.
What is a Thesis?
Health education master's online programs often offer both a thesis and a non-thesis version of the same program. Students who enter the thesis track will need to take a class on research methods to learn what they need to do to complete a thesis. A thesis is essentially an extensive research project. Once a student picks a thesis topic, the student will submit that topic to an adviser and get approval to work on that subject. Students will then do extensive research and write an original paper based on that work.
A capstone is similar to a thesis but allows students to do some type of final project. Instead of just writing about the best ways to educate patients on a disease, a student might implement a program in a local nursing home to show how that program can help. Many colleges and universities offer a non-thesis option for students who do not want to do a final paper or project. Those students can take two or more classes to learn more about different areas of health education and promotions and get the same number of credits that thesis students do.
What is the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010?
The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 is a student loan forgiveness program introduced in 2010 to help students enrolling in health care programs. Student loans are available to students at all educational levels. Online graduate students can borrow a little more than $20,000 a year and pay off their loans after they graduate. As these are unsubsidized loans that accumulate interest as soon as the student receives the loan, many find that they owe a significant amount once they earn their degrees. This ACT applies to all federal student loans but does not apply to loans borrowed from private lenders, including private student loans and alternative student loans.
This ACT allows students who qualify to make loan payments equal to no more than 10% of their incomes. Once a student makes timely payments for 20 years, the government will forgive the remaining balance on those loans. Under the old program, students made payments for 25 years before they qualified for loan forgiveness. Students graduating from online master's in health education programs can also look into other loan forgiveness programs that include those that let them work for the government for a set period of time and have their loans forgiven.