Health and Public Service

Community Health Worker (CHW)

Cabrillo College’s newly launched Community Health Worker (CHW) Program trains and certifies students to work in the fields of public health, health care, and social services.

You can earn a Certificate of Achievement in as few as two semesters! Register for HS130 Intro to Community Health Work to learn about the field of Community Health Education and the roles of Community Health Workers while exploring a variety of issues and skills pertinent to the profession.

Classes are held at both the Aptos and Watsonville Campuses. The cost for the required 16 units for the Certificate of Achievement completed in two semesters is less than $900. However, with financial aid, the Cabrillo Promise, the BOG waiver, and other resources the cost could be much less. Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide a wide range of services, including health outreach and education, client-centered counseling and case management, and client and community-based advocacy. They work to reduce unequal rates of illness and death between different communities and to promote health equity or justice, prioritizing communities with the greatest health risks.

The CHW program is being developed in close collaboration with community-based organizations and the healthcare industry. The program is led by faculty from Health Science. Electives are also available in Human Services, and Nutrition for .

Watch this video to see a Day in the Life of a Community Health Worker.

Career Outlook

  • Job opportunities are expanding for these front line health professionals, with the majority of growth being in public health departments and community based organizations, such as Central Coast YMCA, Hospice Santa Cruz, Natividad, and Santa Cruz Health Centers.
  • The ten-year predicted change in the number of CHW jobs in Santa Cruz County is 25%, a strong indicator that the sector is growing.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a CHW in California has a median salary of $47,150, or $22.67/hour.
  • The Santa Cruz County outlook is similar, with median of $45,277, or $21.77/hour.
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