Job descriptions and industry overviews

Health promotion specialist: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:40

Health promotion specialists provide information and guidance on good health.

A runner in the mountains, promoting health.

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

Health promotion specialists’ work focuses on encouraging people to access health-related services (such as sexual health testing) and to make changes in their lives to improve their health.

Depending on the focus on the role, you may see other job titles used, including:

  • health improvement practitioner
  • health protection practitioner
  • public health nutritionist
  • smoking cessation advisor
  • substance misuse worker
  • teenage pregnancy coordinator.

Typical duties include:

  • carrying out research into people’s health needs
  • designing and managing programmes to increase people’s awareness of services that will meet their health needs
  • running workshops and training sessions on good health, diet, exercise and other changes that people can make in their lives
  • creating training and publicity materials
  • exploring new ways to deliver health information – for example, via social media campaigns
  • liaising with, supporting the work of and providing expert advice to voluntary, charity and statutory organisations
  • managing projects
  • keeping track of progress and reporting on this to funding bodies
  • keeping up to date with current health promotion trends.

Graduate salaries

If you work in the NHS, your salary will be part of a nationally agreed pay scale, and you’re likely to earn around £21,000 initially. Your salary will increase as you gain experience and can apply for higher-level roles The average salary for a health promotion officer, according to Glassdoor, a job comparison site, is £32,000.

In the charity/voluntary sector, salaries are often similar to those in public sector organisations.

Typical employers of health promotion specialists

  • The NHS
  • Local authorities
  • Voluntary and charitable organisations.

With experience, you could move into a health policy development role or work as a consultant.

Jobs are advertised on specialist jobs boards. You’ll also find jobs advertised on local authorities’ and health trusts’ websites.

Qualifications and training required

There are no set entry requirements for health promotion roles, and there are routes into this area for both graduates and school leavers. Registration as a public health practitioner with the UK Public Health Register is voluntary.

Some employers typically prefer graduates with degrees in public or environmental health or education, health promotion, health studies, nursing, or sport and exercise. However, experience of working with people with health problems is just as important because of the need to build trusting relationships with service users.

This means that previous paid or voluntary work experience in any role with a health promotion or public health focus will improve your chances of finding a job.

Key skills for health promotion specialists

Successful candidates will have:

  • the ability to communicate with – including listening to – people from a range of backgrounds, many of whom will face challenges in their lives
  • project management skills
  • the ability to keep clear records
  • communication and design skills
  • team working abilities
  • time management skills
  • the ability to adapt to changing situations.
  • the ability to be sensitive to others’ situations.

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