Health Promotion

Health Promotion

America’s public health is at greater risk than ever before. If you want to be a front-line advocate promoting health among individuals, families and communities; then a public health career as a health promoter might be the right choice for you!


Health promotion is a multidisciplinary program that teaches students about population health promotion and prevention. Students study public health to learn how to use behavior change theories, communication strategies and advocacy efforts to improve the health status of individuals, communities, states and the nation. The knowledge and skills developed enable students to apply for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification exam upon graduation, as well as other certifications in health and wellness coaching. Health educators need a bachelor’s degree and often employers prefer this credential. 

Why Health Promotion is in Demand:

  • As medical costs continue to escalate, the demand will be very high for health promoters who teach the public about healthy habits and behaviors to avoid costly chronic conditions or medical procedures. Health promotion can help reduce costly premature deaths and disability.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for health educators and community health workers are expected to increase 16% from 2016-2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • An undergraduate major in health promotion is excellent preparation for those planning to pursue graduate or professional studies in the public health and/or clinical health professions.

Is it for me?

  • Are you caring and compassionate?
  • Do you want to improve the quality of life for individuals?
  • Does the idea of a career in the “helping professions” bring personal meaning and fulfillment?

Five Reasons to Choose Scranton for Health Promotion

Small private university.   Lecture class size is limited to 30 students, and hands-on classes are limited to 15 students for in-depth preparation in health promotion.
Customizable program.   Students have the flexibility to select elective courses creating the opportunity to concentrate or minor in other complementary areas, such as: counseling, health administration, human development, nutrition, psychology and Spanish.
Community-based learning.   As part of our Jesuit education philosophy, we provide life-changing community-based learning opportunities that address issues of social justice and health disparities.
T.A.P.E.S.T.R.Y program.   Scranton students receive exemplary preparation for a career in health promotion through T.A.P.E.S.T.R.Y, our college-wide professional development program.
Dedicated faculty.    Faculty members get to know you on a one-to-one basis and are concerned about your well-being both inside and outside the classroom. Faculty remain career advocates and advisors well beyond graduation.

At The University of Scranton, you’ll learn how to apply your knowledge and skills to improve the human condition.

- Debra Fetherman, Ph.D.
Program Director

  • Preparing You For Personal & Professional Successplus or minus

    At Scranton, you’ll learn how to assess health needs, implement health promotion programs and evaluate the success of these programs at the individual, community and population levels.

    Emphasis will be placed on building skills to work with diverse populations and understanding cultural sensitivity. You’ll benefit from learning communication and interpersonal skills that are necessary to:

    •  Promote health effectively.
    •  Be culturally competent.
    •  Meet health literacy needs of individuals and communities.

    You will also have the opportunity to earn recognition for academic excellence through Eta Sigma Gamma (ESG), the National Health Education Honorary. For example, a team of 3 ESG students competed in the National Society of Public Health Education, Case Competition placing in the top 5 teams. The honor society provides education on professional organizations such as the Society of Public Health Education and the American Public Health Association. You can also join the Community Health Education Club and be a part of health education and advocacy efforts in the community and on campus. 

    Exceptional Facilities

    Leahy Hall, which is the new home for our occupational therapy, physical therapy, exercise science and community health education programs, provides an advanced, modern facility to match the exceptional reputations already established by our health sciences programs. The center puts our students and faculty on the cutting edge of research and learning, while benefiting the local community through student-based service programs. Learn more.

  • What You'll Learnplus or minus


    A health promotion major will provide you with the basic principles of health promotion, including the history behind it, supporting behavior change theories and how to plan and implement programs for strong behavioral change outcomes.

    We understand that our students share a mutual passion for promoting health but each person may have a different career focus in mind. Scranton students have the flexibility to use electives to concentrate or minor in other complementary areas such as nutrition, health administration or counseling or to take courses needed for entry into graduate programs in public health, nutrition, occupational therapy, nursing or other health professions.  

    Click here to see the curriculum.

    We also offer a minor in Health Promotion.


    Students intern at a university, community, worksite or health care organization, such as:

    • HealthFitness Worksite Wellness at MetLife
    • Goodwill Industries of NEPA
    • United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA
    • Northeast Regional Cancer Institute
    • Leahy Community Family Health Center
    • The Wright Center for Community Health, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
    • Geisinger Health Plan, Community Health Assistance

    Students also gain practical skills and experience through the student-run health education clinics at the Edward R. Leahy Center for the Uninsured.


    The department is committed to the advancement of knowledge through research. Our students have the opportunity to engage in health promotion research with faculty mentors through the Faculty/Student Research Program. For example, Dr. Debra Fetherman conducts ongoing Community-Based Participatory Research on health behavior changes, social determinants of health and workplace health promotion. Students assist by recruiting interview subjects, helping with focus groups, reviewing literature and gathering data.

    Students have also presented their work at a National Council on Undergraduate Research Conference, as well as served as research assistants assisting faculty with research supported by a NCAA Royal CHOICES Grant.

  • Pursue Your Passion and Make a Differenceplus or minus

    By choosing to major in health promotion, you are well on your way to making a difference in the world. With a Jesuit education, your career will take on even greater meaning and purpose. Here are some examples of how community health educators promote health:

    • Assess the needs of the people and communities they serve.
    • Help people find health services or information.
    • Advocate for improved health resources and policies.

    You will also have a number of community-based learning opportunities here at Scranton. Examples of community projects include the Growing Stronger Program, a strength training and health education program supported by the Penn State Cooperative Extension at senior centers in Scranton, and the health and fitness program at the Leahy Community Family Health Center.


Where will Health Promotion take me?

Our program will prepare you for a range of entry-level career choices. Here are some examples of workforce settings for health educators/promoters: 

  • Health Care Facilities
  • Public Health Departments
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Worksite Health Promotion Departments
  • Colleges and Schools

Top Graduate Schools

Scranton graduates are admitted to top graduate and professional schools throughout the country. Depending on your use of curriculum free electives, our program can also help you pursue entry into graduate programs in occupational therapy, public health, nutrition, health administration, nursing and other health professions. Here are examples of top graduate schools to which our graduates have been accepted:

  • New York University
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • West Chester University
  • East Stroudsburg University
  • University of Health Sciences
  • Bay Path University
  • Lund University, Denmark


A bachelor’s degree is generally preferred for an entry-level health educator/promoter position, while other employers may require certification. The Certified Health Education Specialist designation is offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing.

Community health education graduates have found employment with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cigna HealthCare, American Red Cross and American Cancer Society. 

Our program will prepare you for a range of entry-level career choices in a variety of settings, including public health departments, colleges/schools, worksite health promotion departments and nonprofit organizations. 

How Scranton Gives You a Competitive Edge

Competitive Edge

One of the many things students tell us they love about Scranton is that our dedicated faculty and staff are very active in helping them achieve their career goals. As you walk across campus, you’ll often see students chatting with professors over coffee to share ideas.  

Whether it’s advising or providing letters of references, faculty and staff make it their priority to get to know each student on an individual level. That deep level of understanding means that our experienced faculty members are not only top teachers and strong researchers, but also advocates for you professionally. 

Take the Next Step

Get the Facts

View PDF with Program Overview
& Curriculum

For More Information

Office of Admissions
The Estate
Scranton, PA 18510
1-888-SCRANTON or (570) 941-7540

Department of Health and Human Performance
Debra L. Fetherman, Ph.D., MCHES
Health Promotion Program Director
(570) 941-7111