Community Health Worker - How to Become a Clinical Health Worker

Community Health Worker

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Community Health Worker Job Description

 

A community health worker is a trusted member of their community who works on the ground to promote healthy behaviors, build stronger relationships between the community and health and social services, and increase accessibility to those services. They seek to improve the quality and cultural competency of service delivery by acting as intermediaries between health services and the community.

"Community health worker" is an umbrella term that encompasses many titles, depending on the nature of their jobs and the location in which they work. Some common titles include:

  • Health Coach

  • Family Advocate

  • Community Health Adviser

  • Liaison

  • Promoter

  • Outreach Worker

  • Peer Counselor

  • Patient Navigator

The success of their strenuous endeavors has compelled federal agencies, private institutions and non government organizations to create paid positions for community health care workers.

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Responsibilities

 

Community health workers provide support through counseling, advocacy on individual cases or broad issues, and resources to individuals in the community. Many work in underprivileged or marginalized communities that lack sufficient education, fluency in English, adequate healthcare services, and/or religious and cultural beliefs much different than the norm.

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Skills

 

Community health workers must be adept at outreach methods and strategies, meaning they must be great at networking and meeting with people where they're located. They must use strategies to bring services to underserved populations or groups. They must always capable of making accurate assessments of the community and what steps need to be taken to reach particular goals.

Aspiring community health workers must have effective communication skills and know how to speak to those they intend to serve. They must also be highly educated on the subject matter and willing to share their knowledge to encourage changes in behaviors. Honed problem solving skills come in handy in this position as they sometimes must find creative ways to implement programs or stretch resources.

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Working Conditions

 

Community health workers live in the areas they serve and can sometimes work exclusively for health care facilities native to the community. Much of their day consists of meeting with officials at organizations and clinics, visiting homes, and otherwise connecting with the community.

Since they are often hired to support short term projects, community health workers are known to smoothly transition from one job to the other much more frequently than any other health care professional in the field. Some work from project to project, as they are available.

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down community health workers in the following industries:

 

Individual, family, community, and vocational rehabilitation services

25%

State and local government, excluding education and hospitals

18%

Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations

12%

Hospitals; state, local, and private

9%

Outpatient, laboratory, and other ambulatory care services

7%

 


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How to Become a Community Health Worker:

 

1. Decide on a Type of Community Health Worker

 

Since "community health worker" is a broad term referring to a wide array of positions that work as intermediaries between communities and health care systems, the educational and professional requirements to vary wildly.

Some positions may require only a high school diploma, while others may need a master's or doctoral degree. There is a lack of standardization in the field in terms of educational requirements and training prerequisites.

 

2. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

Although community health care workers are known to successful find employment without a diploma, a college degree is highly recommended. Community health care workers are not licensed, however, some employers require them to continue education and training.

If you've chosen a career path that requires a bachelor's degree, begin your search for a school that will meet the education and/or professional requirements to take a position in your chosen field.

 

The preparation timeline below provides an example x curriculum:

 

Grade Level

Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • General Chemistry I & Lab

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I & Lab

  • Consumer and Environmental Health

  • Society and Drugs

  • Society and Sex

  • English 101

  • Health Promotion/Disease Prevention

  • Math I

Sophomore Year

  • Nutrition I

  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab

  • Society and the Family

  • Sociology of Organizations

  • Community Health

  • Medical Anthropology

  • Introduction to Public Health

  • Math II

Junior Year

 

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology

  • Physiology of Exercise

  • Foundations of Health Education

  • Health Communication and Social Marketing

  • Social Psychology

  • Sociology of Youth

  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics

  • Organization and Implementation of Community Health Programs

Senior Year

  • Community Health

  • Methods in Health Education

  • Worksite Health Promotion

  • Public Relations

  • Developmental Psychology

  • Physical Activity and Nutrition

  • Professional Writing

  • Program Evaluation and Research

  • Remaining Electives

 

100 hours of additional training on the job which includes classroom study or job mentoring is something that most community health care workers receive.

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.05.2016
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Education: High school diploma or GED Completion of Minnesota Community Health Worker education program preferred Experience: Minimum one (1) year healthcare or social services experience. Strong preference for...
12.05.2016
Community Health Worker I Apply Refer a Friend Back Category: Human and Social Services Location: Multiple Locations Department: WIC Employment Type: Full Time Union Name: CHLABOR -Laborers Local 380 Work Days: 8 hr shifts...
12.05.2016
Bachelor's degree is preferred The Community Health Worker (CHW) for the Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative works under the supervision of the Director of Community Health Improvement Programs (CHIP) or designee. The CHW collaborates...
12.05.2016
12.05.2016
The Care Coordinator works in collaboration and continuous partnership with chronically ill or high-risk patients and their family/caregiver(s), clinic/hospital/specialty providers and staff, and community resources in a team approach to:...
  1. Community Health Worker St. Paul, MN Regions Hospital
    MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Education: High school diploma or GED Completion of Minnesota Community Health Worker education program preferred Experience: Minimum one (1) year healthcare or social services experience. Strong preference for...
  2. Community Health Worker I Cambridge, MA Cambridge Health Alliance
    Community Health Worker I Apply Refer a Friend Back Category: Human and Social Services Location: Multiple Locations Department: WIC Employment Type: Full Time Union Name: CHLABOR -Laborers Local 380 Work Days: 8 hr shifts...
  3. Community Health Worker/Asthma Project Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    Bachelor's degree is preferred The Community Health Worker (CHW) for the Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative works under the supervision of the Director of Community Health Improvement Programs (CHIP) or designee. The CHW collaborates...
  4. Community Health Worker Boise, ID St. Luke's Boise Medical Center
  5. Health & Social Care Coordinator Livingston, MT Livingston HealthCare
    The Care Coordinator works in collaboration and continuous partnership with chronically ill or high-risk patients and their family/caregiver(s), clinic/hospital/specialty providers and staff, and community resources in a team approach to:...