Community Health Major
Graduates of the community health major are employed in entry-level positions conducting planning, administration, evaluation, research, and teaching in community health settings. The undergraduate program is concerned with improving health and well-being for all through the promotion of healthful lifestyles, healthy family functioning, community actions for health, and conditions that make it possible to live healthful lives. The program draws on public health, education, psychology, sociology, family science, and other social and behavioral sciences. Students are prepared to work in a variety of settings including family planning agencies, nonprofit agencies, state and federal health agencies, schools, and community health centers. This program stresses community involvement because community health emphasizes an interactive process in which target populations are active participants in their health, rather than passive recipients. Student involvement will take the form of class assignments, practicum, internships, and service. Students will be prepared to assess individual and community needs; plan, implement, and evaluate effective health programs; coordinate provision of services; act as a resource person; and communicate health needs, concerns and resources. Persons enrolling in this option should seriously consider earning a graduate degree in public health or some related area at some point in their career.
Completion of the community health major establishes eligibility to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination. The CHES exam measures the possession, application, and interpretation of knowledge essential to the practice of community health/health education. The CHES certification is a national standard for health education practice and assists employers in identifying qualified health education practitioners.
Interested students may also complete additional courses and apply for provisional certification for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program accredited by the National Council on Family Relations.
Examples of jobs that MSU community health graduates have obtained:
- Health Educator: Yellowstone City-County Health Department, Billings, MT
- Community health educator: State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Helena, MT
- Health Programs Outreach Specialist: Vermont Department of Health
- Health Promotion Specialist/Community Health Educator: The Summit Health Promotion and Fitness, Kalispell, MT
- Resource Coordinator: Supported LIving in Great Falls, Shelby and Conrad Quality Life Concepts, Great Falls, MT
- Case Manager: Women Reaching for Wellness Program in cooperation with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Breast and Cervical Health Program
- Familial Dilated Cardiomyopathy (FDC) Research Project Coordinator: Oregon Health and Science University, Division of Cardiology, Portland, OR
- Environmental Risk Reduction through Nursing Interventions and Education (ERRNIE) Project Coordinator: Montana State University, College of Nursing, Bozeman, MT
- Peace Corps volunteer: Mongolia and Ecuador
- Warehouse Manager/Volunteer Coordinator: Gallatin County Food Bank
- Educational Talent Search Coordinator (youth mentoring): Great Falls, MT
- Americorps Team Leader: Office for Community Involvement, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
- Health Educator: Community Health Associates
- Executive Director: Summer Wind Assisted Living Facility, Boise, ID
- Work Services Specialist: Reach, Inc., Bozeman, MT
- Group Home Instructor: Reach, Inc., Bozeman, MT
- Health Physicist: United States Army
- Clinical Assistant: Planned Parenthood, Eugene, OR
- Child and Adolescent Case Manager: Northeastern Center, Auburn, IN
- Blue Mountain Women's Clinic: MIssoula
- Environmental Health Specialist/Sanitarian: Boise Central District Health Department
- Health Educator: American Red Cross, Washington, DC
- Kinship Care Specialist/Social Worker: Children's Home Society, South Dakota
- Youth Mentoring Coordinator: AWARE Early Head Start, Butte, MT
- Education Manager : Central Maine Medical Center
- Health Educator: Health Maintenance Organization, California
- Employee Wellness: MSU-Northern, Havre, MT
Our graduates have also gone on to school in these areas:
- Health administration and management
- Health education
- Public health
- Nursing school
- Chiropractic school
- Occupational therapy
- Physician's assistant school
- Physical therapy school
Completion of the community health option establishes eligibility to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination.
What is a CHES? Health educators are professionals who design, conduct and evaluate activities that help improve the health of all people. These activities can take place in a variety of settings that include schools, communities, health care facilities, businesses, colleges and governement agencies.
Health educators are employed under a range of job titles such as patient educators, health education teachers, trainers, community organizers and health program managers. Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) are those who have met the standards of competence established by NCHEC and have successfully passed the CHES examination.
The CHES designation after a health educator's name is an indication of professional
competency and commitment to continued professional development (from the NCHEC website)