This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Health promoters work with communities and groups to plan and develop ways to help people improve and manage their health. They also work with government and other agencies to improve environmental conditions that contribute to ill health.
Health promoters usually earn
$35K-$75K per year
Source: DHB/PSA Collective Agreement to 2015.
Pay for health promoters varies depending on your qualifications, experience, employer and workplace.
- Health promoters who have certificate or diploma qualifications can expect to earn between $34,500 and $47,000 a year
- Those who have a relevant degree will earn between $47,500, and $75,500.
Source: District Health Boards/PSA 'Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) to April 2015'.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Health promoters may do some or all of the following:
- develop policies, strategies and programmes for improving health
- work with other agencies to co-ordinate health promotion programmes
- advocate and lobby for health promotion causes
- work alongside schools and community groups to identify health issues and solutions
- manage health promotion programmes
- establish networks in the community
- develop promotional and educational material for publication.
Skills and knowledge
Health promoters need to have:
- an understanding of different cultural approaches to health
- knowledge of the health system and political environment
- knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi and the Ottawa Charter of Health
- evaluation skills, for assessing how effective their programmes are
- facilitation and negotiation skills.
- usually work regular business hours, but have to work evenings and weekends to attend community meetings or events
- work from offices but also in the community at places like schools, rest homes and marae.
What's the job really like?
Rakei Ngaia - Health Promoter
Health promoters Melany Tainui, Harata Franks, and Hinerata Tuhaka Campin talk about their work with Māori women - 1.58 min. (Video courtesy of Kia Ora Hauora)
Harata: Ko Ngāpuhi raua Ngāti Maniapoto ōku iwi. Ko Harata Franks ahau.
Hinerata: Ko Hinerata Tuhaka Campin tōku ingoa, ko Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi, me Ngāti Wai te iwi.
All: We are Māori health promoters.
Melany: We are based down here in Christchurch, and so we promote in cervical, breast screening and sexual health.
Hinerata: It's about having a passion for working with our Māori. It's about reducing the inequalities of Māori.
Harata: It's about getting the message out there, and to support or to awhi our wāhine on this journey. There's a lot more talk about our programme out there, and a lot of other wāhine supporting other wāhine to go and get themselves checked. And you get really scared, you get really fearful, so our job is to take that fear away and to make it as comfortable as possible, as we can.
Melany: In health promotion, there are great health promotion courses running. Otago University is a great place. There's also Raumati and that's based in Nelson. Raumati has a great avenue to all sorts of Māori science and Māori health.
Harata: It's a fantastic job. It's really fun, lots of work, as I said, within the community. Plenty of kai, plenty of hui.
Melany: I really enjoy my environment, I enjoy the place where I go to work every day and I enjoy my team immensely.
Hinerata: Health promotion for our team is actually about working at those grass-root levels, but in due course, if you want to further your career, the world's your oyster.
All: Together with Kia Ora Hauora, let's see Māori living careers in health. Kia Ora Hauora.
There are no specific entry requirements to become a health promoter. However, employers prefer you to have a tertiary qualification in one of the following:
- health promotion
- public health
- health sciences
- social sciences
It is also useful to have knowledge of a related field such as child health, youth work, community housing, or nutrition.
Some health promoters learn skills on the job while studying toward a health qualification. Short-term, part-time and extramural courses in health promotion and public health are available from entry-level to postgraduate level.
- Unitec Institute of Technology website – information about the Bachelor of Health and Social Development (Health Promotion) qualification
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.
Useful subjects for health promoters include English, te reo Māori, science, health and physical well-being, geography, media and design.
Health promoters need to be:
- excellent communicators
- good at planning and project management
- outgoing and confident, with an interest in health improvement
- able to work with a wide range of people from different cultures and backgrounds
- able to motivate others.
Useful experience for health promoters includes:
- work within the health industry
- work with government agencies, charities or community groups
- teaching work
- involvement in community health promotion activities.
As many health promoters work in a specific area of health, such as tobacco control, or with a particular sector of the community, such as children, experience within these areas or groups is useful.
Find out more about training
- NZ Public Health Workforce Development
- email@example.com - www.publichealthworkforce.org.nz
- Health Promotion Forum
- (09) 531 5500 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.hauora.co.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Job opportunities for health promoters are average, according to the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand.
Opportunities to work full-time, or on a range of part-time projects
Most health promoters work full-time, though hours can vary depending on funding levels in different regions. A third of health promoters worked part-time in 2013, according to Census data. Health promoters may work as contractors on several projects at once.
Types of employers
Health promoters can work for:
- district health boards
- primary health organisations such as doctors' practices
- non-governmental organisations such as community development groups.
- Hicks, K, senior health promotion strategist, Health Promotion Forum, Careers New Zealand interview, January 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2003-2012 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
- Statistics New Zealand, ‘Census of Population and Dwellings’, 2014, (www.stats.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Health promoters may progress to work in managerial positions.
They may specialise in working with certain population groups, such as Māori, Pasifika or Asian people, migrants, children, men, or the elderly. They may also specialise in educating people about certain topics, such as:
- family violence
- alcohol and tobacco use
- mental health
- healthy housing
- community development.
Last updated 13 August 2017