Community Health Workers

Community Health Worker jobs are growing in number, complexity and importance…

At 22,053,900 projected workers in 2020, the healthcare industry makes up the largest segment of the United States’ economy. Not just doctors and nurses, the healthcare industry also broadly encompasses the nonclinical, community and social service, and support positions that comprise 42% of the healthcare workforce.

The community health worker has taken on new importance as hospitals look to extend themselves and bring healthcare services to patients where they live. Among the occupations with the largest percentage increases across the country, office workers such as medical office specialists, office supervisors, and medical records technicians have seen their positions adapt and grow. And, a new position, often referred to as patient navigator or patient representative, has been created to facilitate smooth coordination of health services for patients.

A community health worker (CHW) serves as a liaison between individuals in a community and their local healthcare and social services providers. These frontline staff workers often live in the communities they serve. CHWs are responsible for helping individuals and communities adopt healthy behaviors through outreach and conducting educational programs. CHWs design and facilitate programs in the community that promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health. Some CHWs provide information on available resources, offer social support and informal counseling, advo­cate for individuals and community health needs, and provide services such as first aid and blood pressure screening. Many also collect data to help identify community health needs.8

Employed by hospitals, medical practices, and community health centers in both rural and urban areas, the duties of these public health workers vary depending upon the employer and the community where they work. Most employers require some college, with many seeking CHWs who possess an associate or bachelor’s degree. Salaries range from $35,000 – $60,000.

Some of the specialized skills or detailed work activities required of CHWs include:

  • Communicate technical or scientific information
  • Compile data on human physique, social customs, or artifacts
  • Decide which psychological tests to administer to clients or patients
  • Identify interrelationships among individuals or social groups
  • Maintain awareness of social trends
  • Solicit support from officials or public

Workforce Strategy Report -Rise of the Medical Assistant – November 19, 2013.

Julian L. Alssid, Chief Workforce Strategist, College for America & Melissa Goldberg, Senior Workforce Strategist, College for America


You can find out more about Community Health Worker programs at CUNY CareerPATH and NRC by visiting us on this blog. Contact us today about upcoming information sessions (718.368.5568) for both programs.