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Summary

Community Health Workers
Quick Facts: Community Health Workers
2023 Median Pay $48,200 per year
$23.17 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2022 67,200
Job Outlook, 2022-32 14% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 9,400

What Community Health Workers Do

Community health workers promote wellness by helping people adopt healthy behaviors. They implement programs and advocate for people who may have limited access to health resources and social services.

Work Environment

Community health workers are employed in a variety of settings, including hospitals, public health departments, and community-based organizations. Most work full time.

How to Become a Community Health Worker

To enter the occupation, community health workers typically need at least a high school diploma; some employers prefer to hire candidates who have postsecondary education. To attain competency, they typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training, and some states require certification.

Pay

The median annual wage for community health workers was $48,200 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of community health workers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 8,000 openings for community health workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for community health workers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of community health workers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about community health workers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Community Health Workers Do About this section

Community Health Workers
Community health workers provide services such as basic health screenings.

Community health workers promote wellness by helping people adopt healthy behaviors. They implement programs and advocate for people who may have limited access to health resources and social services.

Duties

Community health workers typically do the following:

  • Coordinate care among individuals, communities, and health and social service systems
  • Conduct outreach, such as through home visits
  • Provide culturally appropriate health and informational resources
  • Oversee case management and resource access
  • Advocate for individuals and communities regarding housing, food security, and other needs
  • Provide coaching and social support, such as nutrition training, recovery services for mental health and substance use disorders, and chronic disease management and prevention
  • Provide services, such as basic health screenings and first aid
  • Increase individual and community participation in assessments and education to improve health and well-being

Community health workers act as intermediaries between their clients and providers of healthcare and social services. They identify health-related issues, collect data, and discuss clients’ health concerns within the community. For example, community health workers might identify barriers preventing clients from access to transportation and provide referrals to resources that provide it.

Ideally, these workers have close ties to the communities they serve so that they understand their clients’ unique needs. They share that information with providers of healthcare and social services for determining appropriate programs and care. They also advocate for community wellness needs and conduct outreach to engage clients, assist with navigating healthcare, and improve coordination of care.

Community health workers may have different titles, depending on the population they serve. For example, community health representatives increase health knowledge and access to care for Tribal communities. Promotores de la salud reduce barriers to healthcare and social services in Spanish-speaking communities. Peer support specialists have experienced a mental health or substance use disorder and are in recovery while providing support to others experiencing similar challenges.

Community health workers work closely with other healthcare and social service providers, including registered nurses, social workers, and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.

Work Environment About this section

Community Health Workers
To interact with community members, community health workers may travel to a variety of settings.

Community health workers held about 67,200 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of community health workers were as follows:

Social assistance 20%
Ambulatory healthcare services 17
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 15
Hospitals; state, local, and private 10
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 10

Community health workers may spend part of their day in an office for activities such as recordkeeping and writing reports. However, they spend much of their time in the field to interact with community members, hold events, and collect data. They may travel to a variety of settings, including homes or medical facilities, to meet with clients.

Community health workers often collaborate with healthcare and social service providers as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Work Schedules

Most community health workers are employed full time. They may need to work evenings and weekends to attend community events, programs, or meetings.

How to Become a Community Health Worker About this section

Community Health Workers
Community health workers need instructional skills to lead programs.

To enter the occupation, community health workers typically need at least a high school diploma; some employers prefer to hire candidates who have postsecondary education. To attain competency, they typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training, and some states require certification.

Education

Community health workers typically need at least a high school diploma, although some jobs require postsecondary education. Postsecondary community health worker programs may lead to a 1-year certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree. These programs cover topics such as wellness, ethics, and cultural awareness.

Training

Community health workers typically complete on-the-job training. They learn about topics useful in their work, including communication styles, outreach and advocacy methods, and legal and ethical issues.

Some workers participate in apprenticeships or other programs that provide opportunities for hands-on experience.

Other Experience

Community health workers usually benefit from understanding the specific community, culture, medical condition, or disability with which they work. They may have personal experience in these areas, or they may gain experience by working in activities such as community development, public health, or social outreach.

The ability to speak another language is helpful for working in some communities.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require certification for community health workers, which may include completing an approved training program. For more information, contact your state’s board of health, nursing, or human services.

Advancement

Experienced community health workers may move into supervisory positions.

With additional education, community health workers may be able to transition to occupations such as health education specialists; registered nurses; social workers; or substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Community health workers must be able to clearly convey information in health-related materials to those they serve and in written proposals for programs and funding.

Cultural sensitivity. Community health workers must be respectful of the communities they serve and be understanding of their concerns.

Instructional skills. Community health workers lead programs and facilitate discussions with clients.

Interpersonal skills. Community health workers interact with people from a variety of backgrounds. They must be good listeners and be empathetic in responding to the needs of the communities they serve.

Problem-solving skills. Community health workers must think creatively about the best ways to serve their clients. For example, they may need to adapt program planning because of budget constraints or when encountering resistance from community members.

Pay About this section

Community Health Workers

Median annual wages, May 2023

Community health workers

$48,200

Total, all occupations

$48,060

Miscellaneous community and social service specialists

$46,250

 

The median annual wage for community health workers was $48,200 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,560, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $75,980.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for community health workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $55,070
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 50,130
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 48,080
Ambulatory healthcare services 46,130
Social assistance 45,400

Most community health workers are employed full time. They may need to work evenings and weekends to attend community events, programs or meetings.

Job Outlook About this section

Community Health Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Community health workers

14%

Miscellaneous community and social service specialists

8%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of community health workers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 8,000 openings for community health workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Community health workers will continue to be needed to help organizations and government agencies provide people with health-related information, such as how to access medical services. Demand for these workers will also stem from their role in implementing public health initiatives, including preventive measures to reduce the spread of disease.  

Employment projections data for community health workers, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Community health workers

21-1094 67,200 76,600 14 9,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of community health workers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Health educators Health Education Specialists

Health education specialists develop programs to teach people about conditions affecting well-being.

Bachelor's degree $62,860
home health aides image Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Home health and personal care aides monitor the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,530
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic medical care.

Postsecondary nondegree award $59,730
Registered nurses Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Bachelor's degree $86,070
Social and human service assistants Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants provide client services in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.

High school diploma or equivalent $41,410
Social workers Social Workers

Social workers help people prevent and cope with problems in their everyday lives.

See How to Become One $58,380
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors advise people on a range of issues, such as those relating to alcoholism, addictions, or depression.

Bachelor's degree $53,710
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Community Health Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/community-health-workers.htm (visited May 22, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.