How to Become a

Community Health Worker

The complete career guide to be a Community Health Worker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,150
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 14.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute

Community health workers are responsible for promoting health in the communities they serve. This includes a variety of responsibilities: they conduct health education courses, advocate for community health to governments and other institutions, and assist individuals in applying for health programs.

Recommended Schools

What is a Community Health Worker?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in community health worker roles:

  • Conduct health education courses at schools, community centers, organizations, and other institutions
  • Collect health data to be used to advocate for new government health programs or initiatives
  • Work individually with community members to provide health education or assist with application for health and nutrition programs
  • Organize health-related events, such as cancer screenings, roaming flu shot clinics, dental exams, or blood pressure screenings

A Day in the Life

Community health workers advocate for healthy lifestyles and behaviors in the communities they serve. They provide education, counseling, and awareness to community members, and they advocate for a healthy community to local and government officials and institution leaders. The role of community health worker is multi-faceted and includes working with a variety of individuals in a variety of settings. They may conduct individual counseling, teach large groups, or present at community meetings.

Community health workers may work for specific government programs where they provide counseling and education to community members. For example, they may work in a local WIC office where they provide counseling to new mothers to help ensure their babies get the proper nutrition. They also help community members apply for important health programs they’re eligible for, including WIC, food stamp programs, and Medicare or Medicaid coverage.

Other community health workers may have a broader role where they create and execute on large health initiatives. They may conduct health education at local schools, community center, libraries, and other institutions. They collect data about community health and use the data to advocate for government-sponsored health initiatives. They may also organize local health events where individuals in the community can go to be screened for cancer, have their blood pressure checked, or get a physical.

Typical Work Schedule

Most community health worker roles are full-time jobs. The majority of their work may be conducted during normal business hours, but they may also need to work occasionally in evenings or on weekends to attend and/or oversee community health events or to conduct health education courses.

Projected Job Growth

Recent awareness of the importance of health is expected to increase demand for community health workers in the coming decade. Additionally, many health insurance companies are turning their focus to encouraging health over managing care, creating an increased demand for health workers and educators.

Typical Employers

The majority of community health workers are employed by federal, state, and local governments. However, community health workers also commonly work for hospitals, in healthcare organizations, for health insurance providers, and for nonprofit organizations.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Community Health Worker

Completion of a college degree or certificate program is not necessarily a requirement to secure a community health worker role. Many community health workers have only high school diplomas and are trained to perform the role in entry-level positions at government offices. With years of experience, these community health workers may be able to qualify for higher-paying or more prestigious positions.

However, to be competitive when applying for open community health worker positions, many aspiring health workers opt to complete a college certificate or degree program. Programs that teach the skills needed for community health workers include those that focus on health education, nutrition, or health promotion. Coursework in cultural competencies, public speaking, wellness, and ethics can also be beneficial to aspiring community health workers to assist with day-to-day responsibilities.

Many community health workers also aspire to become health educators later in their careers. Health educators perform many of the same responsibilities as health workers but at a larger scale. To become a health educator, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, and some positions also require candidates to hold graduate degrees. However, health educator salaries are usually higher than those of community health workers, so it’s a natural job progression for those in community health careers.

Community Health Worker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Community Health Worker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Community Health Worker's can make an average annual salary of $40,150, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $28,340 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #526 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Community Health Worker. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Community Health Workers

  • 3.1%   Doctorate
  • 19.5%   Masters
  • 32.3%   Bachelors
  • 9%   Associates
  • 22.2%   College
  • 10.8%   High School
  • 3.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Community Health Worker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 8,100 jobs for a total of 62,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 14.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #104 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Community Health Workers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 7,100 400 0%
Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities 4,700 900 1%
Offices of physicians 2,600 500 1%

Want To Be a Community Health Worker? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →