Community Health Worker (CHW)

Why Become a CHW?

The Job

Opportunities for CHWs are booming and provide you with the chance to greatly impact your community.

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has a close understanding of the community served. Because of this trusting relationship, CHWs are effective links between the health or social services and the community. The health and quality of life for community members improves with this increased access to needed services.

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.

CHWs have other titles such as health worker, outreach worker, community health outreach worker, public health aide, case manager/case worker, and counselor/peer counselor.

Learn more by watching Am I a Community Health Worker?

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Watch Am I a Community Health Worker?

“It was absolutely amazing. I had wonderful teachers.”
Yadhira Orozco
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Career Outlook

With growing awareness of the need to address health related disparities and increased funding for public health, CHWs are in demand with great job opportunities.

  • The majority of job growth is 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 a median income of $45,277, or $21.77/hour.

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Register for HS130 Intro to Community Health Work to learn about the CHW profession.