Where they work
Community Health Workers work in a variety of settings. Some of the most common places where CHWs work include:
- Community Health Centers
- Managed Care Organizations
- Specialty Vendors to States:
- Medicaid Enrollment
- Chronic Disease Management
- Non-Health Care Agencies
- Early Childhood Education (Head Start)
- Parenting and child abuse prevention
- Emergency preparedness programs
- Services for formerly incarcerated individuals and families affected
- Employee benefits programs in large companies or institutions1
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Employment of Community Health Workers and Health Educators is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, chronic diseases are increasing in the United States, and the healthcare system becomes harder to navigate, Community Health Workers are becoming an integral resource to both improve the quality of care and health outcomes, while decreasing costs.
CHW salaries vary depending on local economies, wage scales and demand. According to a May 2012 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for CHWs in the United States is $18.02 for an annual mean wage of $37,490 and the mean hourly wage in Nevada is $24.62 for an annual wage of $51,200.
The current CHW pilot project at the NDPBH provides an hourly wage of $14.00 for an annual wage of $29,000. It should be noted that though the BLS has created a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for CHWs in 2010, separating them from health educators, the SOC is still not broken out separately in 2012 publications and reports. This could affect the statistics from the BLS, particularly the wage data, as health educators generally earn a higher salary than CHWs.
Educational backgrounds vary among CHWs, ranging from some on-the-job training to formal community college-based programs that grant certification or an associate’s degree. The National Workforce Study (NWS) found that 21% of CHW programs required a high school diploma or GED and 32% required a bachelor’s degree.1 Educational requirements for CHWs differ between CHW programs according to the community and need being addressed by the program and the specific scope of work for CHWs in that program. There is currently no national standard for CHW training or professional certification. Some states mandate specific credentials for CHWs, but most do not.
Wiggins N, Borbon A. 1998. Core roles and competencies of community health advisors (Chapter 3). The National Community Health Advisor Study: Weaving the Future. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press (410-223-2890).
Community health workers go by many titles, depending on where they work, who they work for and what they do. Common titles include:
- Street Outreach Worker
- Family Health Advocate
- Community Health Advisor
- Health Educator
- Home Health Aide
- Peer Counselor
- Patient Navigator
- Health Interpreter
- Public Health Aide
In Spanish-speaking communities, community health workers are often referred to as health promoters or promotores(as) de salud.
Where to find a CHW in Nevada
Community Health Workers are employed throughout Nevada at Community Health Centers (CHCs), hospitals, managed care organizations, community based-organizations and other specialty vendors. Below are locations that currently employ CHWs by geographic region.