Identifying Academic Majors and Certifications of Health Teachers in the United States



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Specific to the health education component, the WSCC model includes recommendations for K-12 comprehensive school health education that includes curricula and instruction to address a variety of health topics and the National Health Education Standards (CDC, 2018). As stated by the CDC (2018), health education, when provided by qualified, trained teachers, helps students attain the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to make healthful decisions, achieve health literacy, and advocate for the health of others. Qualified trained teachers, often synonymous with quality teachers, provide students with the necessary formal and structured health education instruction. Two widely used standards that describe quality teachers are demonstrated subject-matter competency (i.e. passing a subject knowledge test or having a baccalaureate degree or better in the subject) and full state teacher certification or licensure in the area they teach. Current research supports the relationship between teachers’ subject area knowledge and certification as they contribute to student academic achievement. This study identified trends in academic majors and subject-area certifications of K-12 public school staff in the United States who were teaching health education during this century (years 2003-04, 2007-08, 2011-12, & 2015-16). Data were extracted from a comprehensive nationally representative survey of school employees conducted regularly by the National Center for Educational Statistics of the Unites States Department of Education. A poster presentation style was chosen in an effort to present current trends in teacher certification and academic major among staff teaching health education and to allow participants to discuss why these trends are occurring and to make recommendations for professional preparation.

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Identifying Academic Majors and Certifications of Health Teachers in the United States