Community Health Worker: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Community health workers require some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and other requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Community health worker often have a bachelor's degree in a field like health education or health promotion, and, once hired, they complete on-the-job training. Job duties may vary, depending on the employer.

Essential Information

Community health workers may be responsible for a number of different tasks depending on their employer and precise job title. Job duties for community health workers vary, 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. Certification can also be an option.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in health education or health promotion often required
Other Requirements Post-hiring training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% for all community health workers
Median Salary (2015)* $36,300 for all community health workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Job Description for a Community Health Worker

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. Those served include people of 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 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 15% from 2014-2024, which is faster than the national average. In 2015, community health workers earned a median salary of $36,300 per year.

Job Duties for a Community Health Worker

Primary responsibilities of community health workers may include treating minor illnesses, looking after pregnant women and caring for children. Additional duties may 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

Education requirements for community health workers vary depending on their employer. Community health workers must have some post-secondary education. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required, and employers normally 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. Many times, community health workers are required to undergo post-hire training between nine and 100 hours through coursework, 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 some post-secondary education, such as a bachelor's degree in health education or promotion.

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