Health improvement officers make people aware of the importance of good health. They run campaigns and produce materials to encourage people to change to a healthier lifestyle. They deal with matters such as smoking, drug and alcohol misuse, diet, exercise, immunisation, sexual health, care of mothers and children, and older people's health.
You could be:
planning health education policies and putting them into practice
working with doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, social workers, community workers and others to promote good health
writing leaflets and posters and commissioning videos
giving talks and arranging exhibitions and events
producing teaching materials to be used in schools, workplaces and communities
advising health professionals and community leaders
giving information through newspapers, television, or by speaking to schools and community or voluntary organisations
managing projects and budgets and writing reports
undertaking and participating in research projects.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Health improvement officers who are working for the NHS are on the Agenda for Change pay scale. The current pay scales are from April 2022. They would usually start on Band 5, £28,384 to £35,365 a year.
Those in a senior position are on Band 6, £35,522 to £43,286 a year. Those with managerial responsibilities can be on Band 7, £43,422 to £50,506 a year.
You would work in a range of locations such as health centres, hospitals, leisure centres, charities or local authority buildings.
Working hours are usually 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. However, evening and weekend work may be involved.
You need a degree (SCQF Level 9-10), usually in a health, social or behavioural science subject, or a relevant postgraduate qualification (SCQF Level 11).
Robert Gordon University offers the MSc in Public Health and Health Promotion.
You may also enter with a professional qualification and experience in nursing, health visiting, teaching, environmental health, social work or medicine.
If you are a new entrant, it may help to get some voluntary experience first.
A driving licence is useful and may be necessary.
Most health promotion officers work in the National Health Service (NHS), local authorities, in the community or for health related charities.
What Does it Take?
You should be:
keen to promote healthy living
able to work with people from all backgrounds
able to motivate, encourage and influence
sensitive to different cultures
accurate and methodical – to do research on health matters
able to analyse results of research and decide what is important
imaginative – to think up strategies.
You must have:
excellent communication skills
good organisational skills
the confidence to speak in public.
Training is on the job.
The Open University offers a Certificate in Promoting Public Health.
You can study for a postgraduate qualification while you are working.
You would take short courses throughout your working life, to keep up to date.
The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) offers a range of relevant courses.
You may work for a health board or for local government – in each case you could move on to a senior post or into management. A relevant postgraduate qualification is likely to be required for promotion to a senior level.
If you work for a voluntary organisation, there would be fewer chances of promotion.