Individuals who wish to enter the field of health communications can work as generalists for non-profit organizations or as specialists for industries like biotechnology, media, public health or the corporate sector. Health care communications professionals must have well-developed oral, written and media communications skills. Career paths in the field of health care communications include research, health education, health-care advocacy and education and training. In 2010, health communications specialists earned between $49,000 to $53,000, according to Glassdoor.
Government and private organizations employ health care communications professionals to work in research and evaluation. Health communication research involves an investigative study of the latest developments in the field; specific areas of research in health communications include health literacy, social marketing communications, psychology and policy-making and health education around the world. Health communications researchers work alongside other scholars and conduct both quantitative and qualitative research studies. Most health communications researchers hold advanced degrees.
Health communications specialists who work in health education are employed by industries such as pharmaceutical and technology firms. They are trained to translate complex terms and concepts related to health care for lay audiences. Health education experts are trained to disseminate health-related information to broad audiences. Health care industries hire health education specialists to use various forms of media, such as audio, video and film, to develop effective messages. Health education specialists are also trained to write health reports.
Health Care Advocacy
Health communications professionals who specialize in health care advocacy can work as patient advocates, health information specialists or patient relations officers. They are trained to identify and meet the health-related needs of consumers by providing support to their clients and empowering people to practice disease prevention. Health care advocates train their clients on medical terminology and help them navigate through the health care bureaucracy. They also serve as an information resource for their clients.
Education and Training
Health communications professionals with advanced degrees are scholars who work in higher education departments, such as nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology. Because most health care workers are required to maintain their license and be up-to-date on the latest developments in the field, health communications professionals who specialize in education, train professionals by offering continuing education courses. They teach courses such as provider-consumer relations, interviewing skills, multicultural relations and ethical decision-making. Health communications educators play an important role by helping medical practitioners and health care providers develop their communication skills with broad audiences.