What Health Educators and Community Health Workers Do
Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.
Health educators and community health workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges. They generally work full time.
How to Become a Health Educator or Community Health Worker
Health educators need a bachelor’s degree. Many employers require the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. Requirements for community health workers vary, although they typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some states have certification programs for community health workers.
Employment of health educators and community health workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people healthy habits and behaviors and explaining how to use available healthcare services.
This occupation supported 99,400 jobs in 2012 and 115,699 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 16.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 21.5% in 2022 to 120,800 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 103,600, compared with an observed value of 115,699, 11.7% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 15.7% in 2024 to 131,300 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 125,000 jobs for 2024, 4.8% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.