Career Opportunities in Community Health
There are expanding job opportunities for ESL students as Community Health Workers (CHWs) mainly in public health and community based organizations. It is a growing field requiring a whole range of skills that are developed during the certification program, which at City College of San Francisco includes a semester-long internship in a local organization or clinic.
CHWs work in many areas of health care – half of them work in clinics and half work in community based agencies and they have titles such as health worker, outreach worker, community health outreach worker (CHOW), public health aide, case manager/case worker, and promotora, health ambassador, and counselor/peer counselor amongst others.
The infographic below is based on City College of San Francisco’s CHW Certificate program, but numerous colleges offer programs with similar requirements. The infographic shows areas of work and common types of jobs for CHWs, pay scales as well as the skills employers look for. It also shows two related certificates - Post-Prison Health Worker (PPHW) and the Youth Worker (YW) – both CCSF programs.
The Post-Prison Health Worker prepares individuals for positions working with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in community health and social services agencies and programs. The Youth Worker program focuses on organizing, advocacy, counseling and education, with the primary focus being on working with youth in the community and through local agencies (adapted from CCSF website).
Community Health Workers help clients and their families to navigate and access community services as well as other resources. They advise on healthy lifestyle issues such as nutrition and exercise, and lead activities that promote, maintain, and improve the health of their clients. They provide social support and informal counseling, advocate for individuals and communities.
All these certificate programs are attainable in two semesters and lead to jobs that support and advocate for underserved communities seeking access to health-related services.