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Exploring a Career as a Community Health Worker
The benefits of serving your community are well documented. Individuals who help their communities report a sense of purpose, reduced stress levels, increased happiness, higher self-esteem, and a blossoming network of friends. Acts of service have even been shown to increase the body’s levels of dopamine, a natural brain chemical responsible for happiness and motivation.1
A career as a community health worker is an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy these invaluable benefits while also earning a living.
What Is a Community Health Worker?
Community health workers play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of their communities. They are front-line workers and trusted members of their communities with a good understanding of local health and social service needs. They serve as liaisons between the community and local agencies to facilitate access to public healthcare and social services for community members in need, and they advocate for improved health services. They also dedicate time and compassion to encouraging and assisting individuals to adopt healthy behaviors.2
What Does a Community Health Worker Do?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Americans spend nearly $3.6 trillion on health services each year. Much of this expenditure is due to poor management of chronic disease, resulting in greater numbers of expensive clinic visits and hospital stays.3
Community health workers support the increased health services needs in their districts, reducing demands on the medical system and helping people live happier, healthier lives. They achieve this through a range of activities, including community outreach, health communication, counseling, social support, and advocacy.2 They provide preventive health education, coordinate care, ensure patient compliance with medical directives, and work to facilitate early diagnosis. Duties include organizing, promoting, and implementing health-related clinics and preventive services that address conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, and hearing loss.5
Community health workers assist and advocate for racial and ethnic minorities in underserved communities. They assess the social and medical needs of these communities and ensure that they have a voice in health and wellness policy decisions.4
Community health workers play a vital role in dedicated teams, serving as clinicians, counselors, and other health professionals. They may provide one-on-one interactions in patients’ homes as well as group sessions in community or clinical settings.4
Where Are Community Health Worker Jobs?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in May 2021, 61,010 people were employed as community healthcare workers. They work with both healthcare providers and social service agencies. Industries with the highest levels of employment for community healthcare workers include:6
- Individual and family services
- Local government, excluding schools and hospitals
- Outpatient care centers
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Offices of physicians
Where Do I Start?
A first step toward serving the health and welfare needs of your community can be a BS in Health Studies at Walden University. Walden’s online degree program can provide you with the skills, knowledge, and credentials to start you down the path toward this rewarding career.
Additionally, Walden University provides a wide range of health degree programs.
And with Walden as your online learning partner, you can work at a pace that is comfortable and convenient for you. You set your own weekly study schedule, allowing you time to manage your busy schedule and work a full-time job as you prepare for your future by earning a degree.
Help yourself by helping others as a community health worker. Imagine the personal satisfaction you can gain from making your community a healthier, happier place.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Health Studies degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
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