Worker are individuals working to help community members by spreading awareness about health-related issues. Their activities include informal education, social support, and education about prevention and control of the disease.
An integral element to the work of community health professionals is making a relationship with the community members. It is most important when working in underdeveloped areas where people shy away from expressing their concerns. Their understanding of the community members makes room for more discussion and the spread of education more openly.
Many of you might be thinking about entering into this field. However, before you do so, you need to know all about community health workers, education and training, and steps to become a community health worker.
Qualification of a Community Health Worker
Their qualification depends upon where they work. Some employers are keener about education and ask for a college degree. Most often, a person with a general studies degree program can also land such a job. When classroom lessons are not available, a person interested in a community health worker job can also opt for an online general studies degree program. Meanwhile, it can work in the field based on the college degree to get hands-on experience. The work of a community health care worker is monetarily rewarding. It brings a sense of purpose by working for the betterment of society.
What Does a Community Health Worker Do?
A community health work is a public or organization chosen employee who works to spread awareness about health-related concerns. They work as a liaison between the community and medical or social services. The work of CHW supports the healthcare system, especially in areas where it is spread too thin.
Community health workers work in limited resources to promote health and wellness. Often, they also go door to door to promote a governmental health-related program. They work in rural and urban settings. Most often, they include people from different ethnicities and backgrounds to make an all-inclusive team.
They often work with government and non-profit agencies to do the following task:
- Educate people about health and wellness issues
- They are helping communities from different backgrounds to know about and access health and insurance, quality care, etc.
- Help the uneducated and marginalized people to understand their health conditions and take proper measures
- Delivering health and wellness information in a culturally acceptable way
- Remove ambiguities about government initiatives and how they can be part of health schemes of governments and NGOs
- Broadening their reach to schools and giving presentations on various health and social issues to parents, teachers, and students
- Creating contacts between marginalized communities and people from remote areas with health care providers
Steps to Becoming a Community Health Worker
A few basic steps that everyone interested in going into the community health worker profession needs to follow.
Receive a High School Degree
It is the minimum education requirement for becoming a community health worker. Some organizations go beyond it and require a bachelor’s degree for entering the profession. In any situation, a high school degree is necessary.
Attend Training for the Community Health Worker
The first step is to improve the baseline education and have essential skills to perform the job. In a community health worker job, you need to attend the training session making the foundation for the career. The training curriculum includes core skills such as communication, how to approach the community members. Additionally, you also get to know about health-related topics.
Get the Certification
After the training, the next step is to get the certification, proof of your training, and related knowledge about the field. The requirement of a degree and certificate also vary from state to state. Some state employers may be okay with a CHW certification. Others may require higher degrees.
In any case, getting a certificate of medical training competition can be a practical step in the right direction.
Before planning to apply to any organization, make sure you know their specific requirements.
Get on the Job Experience
In most after the training, you can start in some other job positions. It is the best chance to get on-the-job experience. Some states offer a combo of training and employment programs, while others include an apprenticeship in the training program.
Apply for a Bachelor Degree
Suppose your state requires a bachelor’s degree. In that case, you can apply for one and get a Bachelor’s degree in general Studies for community health. This degree includes courses that impart knowledge of biology, medical terminology, anatomy, etc. Such a degree enhances your career chances as a CWH. Various schools and programs are offering online degrees.
Boost Your Training
Many programs also require Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credentials. Once you have the needed degree, you can boost your training with such a course. These opportunities open more doors for moving up the ladder of the CHW career.
The employment prospects of CHW are showing encouraging signs for the years to come. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the employment rate is expected to grow 13% from 2019 to 2029. However, before you put your foot into this career, you must know the right steps to enhance your chances of excelling in the job.
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