Health promotion specialist: job description

Health promotion specialist: job description

Health promotion specialists may work in the community, promoting good health, or in strategic work, developing health policies.
Visits to health promotion units and public health organisations can provide a useful insight into the profession.

What does a health promotion specialist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Some health promotion specialists have skills in specific areas including drink and drug abuse, smoking or teenage pregnancy. Others may work with particular client groups such as the elderly or people with disabilities. Alternatively, they may have a general remit. Responsibilities typically include:

  • 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 organisations
  • managing projects
  • keeping up to date with current health promotion trends
  • supplying other organisations 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

Typical employers of health promotion specialists

The NHS employs most health promotion specialists. Other employers include local authorities, voluntary and charitable organisations, health boards and national health and voluntary sector agencies.

Vacancies attract moderate competition. Jobs are advertised online (particularly on the NHS website), in newspapers, in publications such as Nursing Times (both online and in print); and in vacancy lists produced by NHS trusts and local authorities.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into health promotion for both graduates and school leavers.

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. A postgraduate qualification in public health or health promotion is advantageous – particularly for candidates without a relevant first degree. Previous paid or voluntary work experience gained in any role with a health promotion remit is highly recommended.

To find out about how you can get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, see the public sector and charity area of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for health promotion specialists

Candidates should have a mature, non-judgemental, confident and caring manner. The ability to interact well with people from a wide range of backgrounds, together with good problem solving and project/time management skills are essential. Excellent communication skills are vital, as is the ability to motivate others.