How to Become a Community Health Worker
Community healthcare workers often have a bachelor's degree in a field like health education or health promotion and, once hired, complete on-the-job training. Job duties may vary, depending on the employer.
Community Health Worker Essential Information
Community health representative job descriptions vary depending on their employer and precise job title, but often include promoting health and nutrition. Many employers require a bachelor's degree, and fluency in languages that are commonly spoken in the community is necessary. Community health worker certification is not always required, but can be an option.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in health education or health promotion often required|
|Other Requirements||Post-hiring training|
|Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)*||18% for all community health workers|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$39,540 for all community health workers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Community Health Worker Job Description
Community health workers are often responsible for the health of members of the community who may not be cared for by traditional medical institutions. This often includes the uninsured, migrant workers, and immigrants from all different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Community health workers may be responsible for ensuring that culturally diverse populations and underserved communities receive the proper medical attention.
Community health workers may be lay members of the community rather than trained medical personnel and can work for pay or as volunteers. Those that work in this field may go by many different titles, including community health adviser, health advocate, community health representative, health promoter, or health educator. Community health workers often provide some basic direct services as well, such as first aid and some types of health screening.
As defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for community health workers will be 18% from 2016-2026, which is much faster than the national average. In 2018, community health workers earned a median salary of $39,540 per year.
Job Duties for a Community Health Worker
What does a community health worker do? The primary responsibilities of community health workers may include treating minor illnesses, looking after pregnant women, and caring for children. Community health worker jobs may also involve family planning services, promotion of sanitation and hygiene, screening for communicable diseases, performing health education activities, collecting statistics, maintaining records, and providing health care referrals.
Career and Education Requirements for a Community Health Worker
Community health worker training requirements vary depending on their employer, but most require some post-secondary education. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required, and employers often look for those who are able to speak the language of the community they will serve. In some cases, this means that community health workers must be bilingual. They are often required to undergo post-hire training of community health worker classes, continuing education, or mentoring.
Community health workers work with those who do not have health insurance or access to traditional medical care and are responsible for their health. They may provide first aid and basic health screening tests while advocating for these individuals to receive appropriate medical care as needed. They typically need some post-secondary education, such as a bachelor's degree in health education or promotion. Related careers include social workers, mental health workers, and public health workers.