What is a Community Health Worker

Community Health Workers, also known as CHWs, are community- or organisation-selected members of the community who provide various but basic health-related care to the community, such as informal counseling, education, social support, preventative and promotional care, rehabilitation, and so on.

It is important for a CHW to develop a relationship with their community, as that allows them to better understand what they might need. CHWs also help fill the gaps where the medical system might otherwise be stretched far too thin.

The academic requirements of such a Health Worker vary wildly, depending on the place. Some employers might ask for only a high school degree, whilst others seek out those who have a college degree and even other credentials. They also often receive additional training on the job.

What Does a Community Health Worker Do

Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health workers provide a link between the community, health educators, and other healthcare and social service professionals. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. They collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities. Although the two occupations often work together, responsibilities of health educators and community health workers are distinct.

Learn more about what a Community Health Worker does

How To Become a Community Health Worker

Health educators need a bachelor’s degree. Some employers may require the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. Community health workers typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some states have certification programs for community health workers.

Education

Health educators need at least a bachelor’s degree in health education or health promotion. Students learn theories and methods of health behavior and health education and gain the knowledge and skills they will need to develop health education materials and programs. Most programs include an internship.

Some health educator positions require a master’s or doctoral degree. Graduate programs are commonly in community health education, school health education, public health education, or health promotion. A variety of undergraduate majors may be acceptable for entry to a master’s degree program.

Community health workers typically have a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education. Education programs may lead to a 1-year certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree and cover topics such as wellness, ethics, and cultural awareness, among others.

Training

Community health workers typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Training often covers core competencies, such as communication or outreach skills, and information about the specific health topics that they will be focusing on. For example, community health workers who work with Alzheimer’s patients may learn about how to communicate effectively with patients dealing with dementia.

Other Experience

Community health workers usually have some knowledge of a specific community, population, medical condition, or disability. The ability to speak a foreign language may be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some employers require health educators to obtain the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential, which is offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. To obtain certification, candidates must pass an exam that is aimed at entry-level health educators who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree. To maintain their certification, they must complete 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years. There is also the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) credential for health educators with advanced education and experience.

Most states do not require community health workers to become certified, however voluntary certification exists or is being considered or developed in a number of states. Requirements vary but may include completing an approved training program. For more information, contact your state’s board of health, nursing, or human services.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Health educators collect and analyze data in order to evaluate programs and to determine the needs of the people they serve.

Instructional skills. Health educators and community health workers should be comfortable with public speaking so that they can lead programs, teach classes, and facilitate discussion with clients and families.

Interpersonal skills. Health educators and community health workers interact with many people from a variety of backgrounds. They must be good listeners and be culturally sensitive to respond to the needs of the people they serve.

Problem-solving skills. Health educators and community health workers must think creatively about how to improve the health of the community through health education programs. In addition, they may need to solve problems that arise in planning programs, such as changes to their budget or resistance from the community they are serving.

Writing skills. Health educators and community health workers develop written materials to convey health-related information. Health educators also write proposals to develop programs and apply for funding.

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Average Salary
$31,324
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
48,589
Job Openings
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Community Health Worker Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Community Health Worker

Community Health Workers in America make an average salary of $31,324 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $44,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary
$31,324
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Community Health Worker Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Community Health Worker. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Community Health Worker Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Community Health Worker resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Community Health Worker Resume Examples And Templates

Community Health Worker Demographics

Community Health Worker Gender Statistics

female

70.6 %

male

23.7 %

unknown

5.7 %

Community Health Worker Ethnicity Statistics

White

64.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.9 %

Black or African American

9.9 %

Community Health Worker Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

71.7 %

French

7.0 %

Portuguese

2.7 %
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Community Health Worker Education

Community Health Worker Majors

Community Health Worker Degrees

Bachelors

60.0 %

Associate

15.9 %

Masters

11.9 %

Top Colleges for Community Health Workers

1. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

3. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,796
Enrollment
27,125

4. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

6. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

7. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

8. California State University - Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,942
Enrollment
13,871

9. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

10. University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,222
Enrollment
23,396
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Online Courses For Community Health Worker That You May Like

Strengthening Community Health Worker Programs
edX (Global)

Despite medical and technological advances, half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and over 8.9 million preventable deaths occur every year. There is an acute global shortage of health workers, a gap that will grow to 18 million by 2030. Studies show that training high-performing community health workers can help close these gaps and save more than 3 million lives annually. In the past few decades, many community health worker programs across the world have...

Health for All Through Primary Health Care
coursera

This course explores why primary health care is central for achieving Health for All. It provides examples of how primary health care has been instrumental in approaching this goal in selected populations and how the principles of primary health care can guide future policies and actions. Two of the most inspiring, least understood, and most often derided terms in global health discourse are "Health for All" and "Primary Health Care." In this course, we will explore these terms in the context of...

Training and Learning Programs for Volunteer Community Health Workers
coursera

Volunteer community health workers (CHWs) are a major strategy for increasing access to and coverage of basic health interventions. Our village health worker training course reviews the process of training and continuing education of CHWs as an important component of involving communities in their own health service delivery. Participants will be guided through the steps of planning training and continuing education activities for village volunteers. The course draws on real-life examples from c...

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Top Skills For a Community Health Worker

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 14.4% of community health workers listed community health on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and instructional skills are important as well.

12 Community Health Worker RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Community Health Worker

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a community health worker. The best states for people in this position are Maryland, California, Alaska, and Nevada. Community health workers make the most in Maryland with an average salary of $44,831. Whereas in California and Alaska, they would average $43,353 and $41,349, respectively. While community health workers would only make an average of $40,757 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. South Dakota

Total Community Health Worker Jobs:
255
Highest 10% Earn:
$53,000
Location Quotient:
1.42
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Community Health Worker Jobs:
6,945
Highest 10% Earn:
$68,000
Location Quotient:
1.41
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Hampshire

Total Community Health Worker Jobs:
379
Highest 10% Earn:
$58,000
Location Quotient:
1.29
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Community Health Workers

How Do Community Health Worker Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Community healthFebruary 2020

5.0

Zippia Official LogoCommunity healthFebruary 2020

What do you like the most about working as Community Health Worker?

Care of others. Wound dressing. Personal Cares. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Housework.. Heavy lifting. Grocery shopping for others. Show More

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

An advocate for better CHEWApril 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoAn advocate for better CHEWApril 2019

What do you like the most about working as Community Health Worker?

I like that am able to relate with my client well and solve their problem by providing adequate care and creating awareness on preventive measures Show More

What do you NOT like?

How people underrate community health workers Show More

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Updated August 18, 2021