The Community and Social Service field is on the rise in terms of employment opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, a growth of 347,200 jobs is expected by 2026. That means, if you are a career-minded individual who wants to make a difference, there is no better time than the present to get started on a career in this field. Positions like Community Health Worker can be a great first step in building that career. Here's what you need to know to help you decide if it is the right step for you.
A Community Health Worker is an individual who acts as a link between health services and the members of a community. The goal is to facilitate the development of strategies for improving public health overall, as well as the well-being of individuals and groups within the community.
The daily duties of Community Health Workers do vary according to their particular employment situations. Here are some basic duties that Community Health Workers are commonly responsible for in the workplace:
The typical Community Health Worker is based in an office environment, but often spends a great deal of time in the field, interacting with individuals and/or groups in their communities as they carry out the duties listed above.
Community Health Workers held approximately 57,500 jobs in 2016, according to BLS, which were offered in a wide variety of employment settings.
The most common job settings for these workers were Individual and Family Services agencies, which employed 18 percent of Community Health Workers in 2016. Government agencies were their second-largest employer, accounting for 16 percent of Community Health Worker Jobs in 2016. Religious, grant-making, professional and civic organizations employed 14 percent of Community Health Workers, and state, local and private hospitals accounted for 10 percent of jobs occupied by these workers. Outpatient care centers provided another 10 percent of those jobs. Other common employment settings for Community Health Workers include social advocacy organizations, physicians' offices and relief organizations.
BLS projects a job growth rate of 16 percent by 2026 for Community Health Workers and Health Educators; positions that the agency combines in their Occupational Outlook Handbook, since they are closely related. This is a much faster rate of employment growth than the average, for all occupations.
BLS bases those predictions on a number of factors. Among the most important, according to the agency, are increasing efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs by educating people on healthy behaviors and appropriate use of available healthcare services. Governments, healthcare providers and social services organizations are all involved in these efforts to improve healthcare quality and reduce its costs, which is expected to result in a continued rise in demand for Community Health Workers and Health Educators to assist in those efforts.
While these facts and figures can provide a general idea of career prospects in this field, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither Bryant & Stratton College nor BLS can guarantee employment in this field of work or any other.
Community Health Workers must have a high school diploma, and in most cases, some postsecondary (college-level) education – which generally means graduating from a diploma or certificate program geared towards human and/or social service. Bryant & Stratton College offers a Human and Social Service Diploma program that can provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue Community Health Worker positions in as little as two semesters with a full-time study schedule.
Earning Bryant & Stratton's Human and Social Service Diploma will prepare you to excel as a Community Health Worker. Completing this program will also qualify you to pursue a number of other entry-level positions in the Social and Human Services field, including Human Services Assistant, Case Management Assistant and Human Service Worker, among others. Additionally, earning this diploma gives you the option of applying its courses and credits to Bryant & Stratton's Associate Degree In Human and Social Services program, providing you with a head start on continued education to advance your career.
Individuals applying for Community Health Worker positions often must undergo criminal background checks and/or drug testing as a condition of employment. Additional, more stringent background screening may be a factor in employment settings that require interaction with children or the disabled on a regular basis. Many employers require that newly hired Community Health Workers undergo a short period of on the job training to learn about the processes, policies, workflow and clients involved with their specific workplace setting. Some states may require Community Health Workers to obtain state-approved certifications to qualify for employment. Voluntary certifications can be earned in many states in order to help increase an individual's value to employers.
For more information on the Human and Social Service field, please visit the Degree Insights section on the Bryant & Stratton College blog. By exploring the blog and our website, you'll find further career insights to help you plan a solid path for launching an interesting, satisfying and successful career.