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Community Health Workers
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Description: what do they do?
Assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Conduct outreach for medical personnel or health organizations to implement programs in the community that promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health. May provide information on available resources, provide social support and informal counseling, advocate for individuals and community health needs, and provide services such as first aid and blood pressure screening. May collect data to help identify community health needs.
Also known as:
Apprise Counselor, HIV CTS Specialist (Human Immunodeficiency Virus Counseling and Testing Services Specialist), Assistant Director of Nutrition and Wellness Programs, Community Health Program Coordinator, Community Health Worker (CHW), Chief Program Officer, Community Health Program Representative (Community Health Program Rep), Community Nutrition Educator, Community Health Outreach Worker, Community Health Promoter

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: For community health workers, your health is their business. These professionals devote their careers to building healthy communities by advocating for individuals and groups to meet their wellness needs. Community health workers and educators improve access to health information and care in many ways; they perform basic diagnostic procedures, attend community meetings, advise on and refer people to health services, collect information on the wellness concerns of the local community, develop programs to combat health issues, and much more. Community health workers may work for hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, or colleges. Depending on their geographic location and sector, community health workers and educators may do research and develop educational materials or programs surrounding themes such as proper nutrition, immunizations, HIV/AIDs, stress management, or emergency preparedness, among many other topics. While community health workers almost always have an office, many of them spend the majority of their time in the field, distributing flyers, carrying out health awareness campaigns, and attending community meetings. Community health workers often work full-time. If you want to educate people about the importance and availability of healthcare services and work directly with people to address barriers to care, then you may want to become a community health worker or educator. As a relatively new profession, requirements to enter the field are not very consistent. A bachelor’s degree, or a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential may be helpful. Some states have their own certification programs for community health workers. To excel as a community health worker or educator, you must be an excellent writer and oral communicator, compassionate, patient, and dependable. The wellness of individuals and communities can be significantly improved through the effort and dedication of community health professionals.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Colorado
730
2016 Employment
960
2026 Employment
31%
Percent change
120
Annual projected job openings
United States
57,500
2016 Employment
67,800
2026 Employment
18%
Percent change
8,500
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Community Health Workers in Colorado
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationColoradoUnited States
10%$27,190$25,150
25%$32,970$30,900
Median$38,820$38,370
75%$49,040$50,390
90%$60,950$64,500


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • Less than 1 month on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Provide basic health care services.
  • Maintain client records.
  • Advise clients or community groups on health issues.
  • Assess individual or community needs for educational or social services.
  • Visit individuals in their homes to provide support or information.
  • Transport clients to appointments.
  • Confer with clients to discuss treatment plans or progress.
  • Monitor clients to evaluate treatment progress.
  • Provide educational materials to community members.
  • Refer clients to community or social service programs.
  • Advocate for individual or community needs.
  • Teach life skills or strategies to clients or their families.
  • Recommend legal actions.
  • Lead classes or community events.
  • Collect information about community health needs.
  • Help clients get needed services or resources.
  • Advise others on social or educational issues.
  • Interpret cultural or religious information for others.
  • Develop working relationships with others to facilitate program activities.
  • Monitor nutrition related activities of individuals or groups.
  • Plan programs to address community health issues.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Learning Strategies - Using the best training or teaching strategies for learning new things.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Perform basic diagnostic procedures, such as blood pressure screening, breast cancer screening, or communicable disease screening.
  • Maintain updated client records with plans, notes, appropriate forms, or related information.
  • Advise clients or community groups on issues related to diagnostic screenings, such as breast cancer screening, pap smears, glaucoma tests, or diabetes screenings.
  • Advise clients or community groups on issues related to risk or prevention of conditions such as lead poisoning, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), prenatal substance abuse, or domestic violence.
  • Administer immunizations or other basic preventive treatments.
  • Identify the particular health care needs of individuals in a community or target area.
  • Advise clients or community groups on issues related to improving general health, such as diet or exercise.
  • Advise clients or community groups on issues related to self-care, such as diabetes management.
  • Conduct home visits for pregnant women, newborn infants, or other high-risk individuals to monitor their progress or assess their needs.
  • Transport or accompany clients to scheduled health appointments or referral sites.
  • Contact clients in person, by phone, or in writing to ensure they have completed required or recommended actions.
  • Distribute flyers, brochures, or other informational or educational documents to inform members of a targeted community.
  • Refer community members to needed health services.
  • Advocate for individual or community health needs with government agencies or health service providers.
  • Teach appropriate parenting behaviors to individuals or families.
  • Report incidences of child or elder abuse, neglect, or threats of harm to authorities, as required.
  • Teach classes or otherwise disseminate medical or dental health information to school groups, community groups, or targeted families or individuals, in a manner consistent with cultural norms.
  • Advise clients or community groups on issues related to sanitation or hygiene, such as flossing or hand washing.
  • Collect information from individuals to compile vital statistics about the general health of community members.
  • Assist families to apply for social services, including Medicaid or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • Advise clients or community groups on issues related to social or intellectual development, such as education, childcare, or problem solving.
  • Provide basic health services, such as first aid.
  • Interpret, translate, or provide cultural mediation related to health services or information for community members.
  • Attend community meetings or health fairs to understand community issues or build relationships with community members.
  • Monitor nutrition of children, elderly, or other high-risk groups.
  • Develop plans or formal contracts for individuals, families, or community groups to improve overall health.
  • Advise clients or community groups to ensure parental understanding of the importance of childhood immunizations and how to access immunization services.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.