Most Important Job Skills To Build a CHW Career Path

Employment for community health workers is looking up. More organizations are looking for ways to include CHWs and provide more CHW core competency training for internal staff. This is good news for anyone looking to put themselves on a CHW career path while improving health outcomes for their community.

Careful planning of a CHW career path can allow anyone who starts with an entry-level job to expand it into a rewarding career. As need for this role keeps growing, CHWs can not only increase the health knowledge of their community members but also increase their own reach to more people and other job opportunities.

CHW Job Outlook

The statistics are inspiring. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for CHWs are expected to rise 18.1% by 2026. That means that an estimated 10,400 jobs should open up. Also, salaries for already employed CHWs are increasing. Wages are good, with a median of $19.01 per hour, or $39,540 annually.

Acquiring the skills to become a CHW can open the door to a profitable and secure career.

Building a CHW career path–rather than just finding an entry-level job—involves understanding the core competencies and what kinds of skills are useful for ongoing growth.

In order to earn a profitable job and build a lasting career, current and prospective CHWs need to keep their health and professional skills sharp. They need to take extra training and prove their knowledge and expertise through certification. A CHWTraining learning subscription offers complete, up-to-date training for employers who want to provide staff with foundational skills and knowledge of specific health topics, such as diabetes or breast cancer.

We created the quick guide below as a tool for employers who want to build sustainable training programs and CHWs who want to understand the job qualifications.

CHW Core Competencies

CHWs are employed in every state of the US (except South Dakota, for which no data is available), according to the BLS. Each state has independent job requirements, which vary from college degrees that take multiple years to complete to on-the-job training. Some states require certification, and some employers require certificates of completion to show successful training.

CHW jobs by state

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

However, there are some similarities among all the differences related to core competencies, which are available through CHWTraining’s Learning Tracks. The following are common skills required by many programs and advisory committees. Here are some CHW core competency training areas common among the Washington State Department of Health’s CHW program, the Roles and Competencies from the Community Health Worker Core Consensus (C3) Project, the US Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. You can compare more national requirements at State Community Health Worker Models from the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP).

CHW Training Guide

Core CompetencyExample Skills
Advocacy Skills/Capacity Building SkillsEmpower clients, motivate people to manage their own health and advocate for themselves, help people reach their goals, support behavior change, identify and overcome barriers, understand community cultures and ways to reach members.
Care Coordination or Service Coordination and System NavigationNavigate systems and collaborate with partners to connect clients to resources; help service providers work together; tell systems about needs of people; help develop and implement care plans.
Communication SkillsListening skills, language skills, building rapport, using nonverbal communication, resolving and avoiding conflict, understanding and working within culturally diverse communities.
Cultural Humility/Cultural ResponsivenessServe as a bridge between different cultures, translate healthy behaviors into culturally appropriate equivalents, understand and work to reduce health disparities, use cultural sensitivities for all diverse groups, behave respectfully, identify bias.
Education and Facilitation SkillsUse various ways to deliver health information clearly, explain terms in plain language, promote healthy behavior change, find and use resources to develop self-efficacy skills.
Evaluation and ResearchIdentify issues in communities and their causes, conduct evaluation projects, collect data, share results, communicate to stakeholders to make changes in services.
Experience and Knowledge BaseFully understand the community, including social determinants of health, health issues, ways to improve health and self-care, and basic public-health principles; understand how US social-service systems work.
Individual and Community Assessment and Direct ServicesIdentify needs, strengths and resources of communities; help meet needs; help clients understand their needs and overcome barriers; provide social and health support.
Interpersonal and Relationship-Building SkillsEstablishing trust with people and in communities, being open-minded, using Motivational Interviewing techniques.
Outreach Skills, Methods and StrategiesDevelop and implement outreach plans, share information about programs and resources, create and maintain relationships with community members and partners.
Professional Skills and ConductUnderstand and handle legal and ethical challenges, respect confidentiality and privacy rights, respond appropriately in complex situations, understand and follow agency rules.

 

7 Outreach Resources for National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day.

[Lee este artículo en español aquí.]

HIV used to be a death sentence—and for many, it still is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that race and ethnicity have an effect on prevention and management of HIV/AIDS. Over the years, outreach campaigns have been essential to reducing such barriers as stigma and supporting the men and women who are at risk of HIV/AIDS or who are living with it.

The National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) on October 15 is a way to raise awareness of HIV in Latinx communities, including testing, prevention, and education. Stigma is a difficult barrier, which is part of what’s fueling NLAAD.

CHWTraining has educated people across the country and distributed resources to help health workers run successful awareness and outreach campaigns since developing HIV/AIDS: Supporting Community Members. Here are 7 free outreach tools and resources (in English and Spanish) that will help you and your team support National Latino AIDS Awareness Day on October 15 and all year around.

[This month, you can add HIV/AIDS: Supporting Community Members in English or Spanish to any learning subscription at no extra cost. Contact CHWTraining to get started.]

1. Expanding Your Reach To End the HIV Epidemic: Community Engagement Toolkit (PDF), Minority AIDS Council

Language: English

This in-depth toolkit is a step-by-step process for building and launching a community engagement program for reducing HIV in communities. This toolkit is for program coordinators or administrators rather than CHWs working alone, but it’s still a great educational tool loaded with ideas and examples. Anyone can review “Principles for Community Engagement” or templates for surveys and assessments. Many examples of projects targeting Latino communities.

2. Blueprint For Improving Hiv/Std Prevention And Care Outcomes For Black And Latino Gay Men, NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors)

Language: English

This downloadable toolkit zeroes in on one of the toughest areas of HIV prevention there is, especially in the Latino community: stigma. Stigma is an especially dangerous barrier because it stops people from taking action to protect themselves, get tested or get treated. The document helpfully talks about stigma and includes reflective questions that help guide administrators through setting up an HIV and STD outreach program to target the area. The “Recommended Steps for Removing Stigma from Public Health Practice” is a helpful guide to drive a campaign and offer services.

3. We Are Family or Somos Familia, Greater Than AIDS

Language: English and Spanish

Greater Than AIDS offers several documentaries in both English and Spanish that address relationships for Latinos living with HIV. Share these videos with clients and partners to show how important social support is for people with HIV. Strong support networks make it more likely that people will seek care and stick to treatment programs. Greater Than also offers community toolkits for on-the-ground outreach.

4. You Know Different Social Marketing Campaign Toolkit (PDF), The National Youth Advocacy Coalition

Language: English

This toolkit is made especially for anyone looking to use social marketing as an outreach strategy to encourage youth HIV testing. It is intended to help organizations plan and carry out the You Know Different social marketing campaign. That aims to boost counseling, testing, and referral services among and sexual minority youth of color aged 13–24. It’s incredibly detailed and useful with key messages that are useful in any campaign.

5. Detengamos Juntos el VIH, CDC

Language: Spanish

This web-based guide provides case studies with sample scripts to deal with the stigma around HIV and Latinos. It’s part of a larger campaign to address HIV. This short section is immediately useful for anyone who engages with clients in various situations.

6. Campanas para la movilizacion social (PDF), Ingeniería sin Fronteras Asociación para el Desarrollo

Language: Spanish

This Spanish social mobilization tool is made as a how-to guide for outreach in various sectors. It carefully plots out each step to creating and executing any outreach campaign, including several examples for HIV/AIDS campaigns. At 200 pages, it’s a weighty resource, but it’s a useful tool for engaging Spanish-speaking audiences.

7. Latinx People, The Body

Language: English

The Body is an outstanding resource for HIV/AIDS education. This collection of stories, news and reports on Latino populations dealing with HIV is inspirational and useful. For example, a story on HIV in Orange County, California, provides a snapshot about the LGBTQ-focused preventive and primary care organization and how they’re fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Another story “Fighting a Rising HIV Epidemic Among Latino Gay and Bisexual Men in Phoenix” is loaded with personal stories.

7 Recursos de Proyección Comunitaria para el Día de Concientización Latinx sobre el SIDA

[Read this post in English.]

El contagio por VIH solía ser una sentencia de muerte, y para muchos aún lo es. El Centro para el Control y prevención de Enfermedades Infecciosas (CDC) reporta que la raza y etnicidad tienen repercusiones sobre la prevención y manejo del VIH/SIDA.

El Día Nacional Latino para la Concientización del Sida (NLAAD), celebrado cada 15 de octubre, es una manera de despertar conciencia sobre el VIH en comunidades latinxs, incluyendo información sobre pruebas, prevención y educación al respecto.

Desde el desarrollo de Sida/VIH: Apoyando a los Miembros de la Comunidad, Talance ha educado a personas de todo el país y distribuido recursos para ayudar a que los trabajadores de salud comunitarios puedan llevar a cabo campañas de información y concientización exitosas. Contáctanos para saber más de nuestros servicios.

Para apoyar el Día Nacional Latino para la Concientización del Sida, aquí les mostramos 7 recursos (En inglés y en español) que le ayudarán a usted y su equipo a manejar la enfermedad en su comunidad.

1. Expandiendo tu alcance para terminar la epidemia de VIH: Kit de Herramientas para Involucrar a la Comunidad (PDF), Minority AIDS Council

Expandiendo tu alcance para terminar la epidemia de VIH: Kit de Herramientas para Involucrar a la Comunidad

Idioma: Inglés

Este completo juego de herramientas constituye un proceso paso a paso para elaborar y llevar a cabo un programa de integración comunitaria para reducir el VIH en una población. Está dirigido a coordinadores y administradores de los programas más que para los trabajadores comunitarios en sí, pero es una excelente herramienta educacional llena de ideas y ejemplos. Todos pueden aprender de “Principios para la Integración de la Comunidad” o los modelos para encuestas y listas de cotejo. También incluye muchos proyectos de ejemplo que tienen como objetivo comunidades latinas.

2. Plan de Acción para mejorar los resultados de la Prevención y Cuidado del VIH/ETS para Hombres Gay Latinos y Afroamericanos NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors)

Plan de Acción para mejorar los resultados de la Prevención y Cuidado del VIH/ETS para Hombres Gay Latinos y Afroamericanos

Idioma: Inglés

Este kit descargable se enfoca en uno de los puntos más difíciles para la prevención del VIH, especialmente en las comunidades latinas: El estigma. Esta es una barrera especialmente peligrosa, ya que hace que las personas no tomen ninguna acción para protegerse, hacerse exámenes de despistaje, o recibir tratamiento. Este documento ofrece información sobre el estigma e incluye preguntas y reflexiones que ayudarán a guiar a los administradores hacia la elaboración de programas de prevención contra el VIH y otras ETS para un área. Los “Pasos Recomendados para Eliminar el Estigma en las Prácticas de Salud Pública” es una excelente guía para impulsar una campaña y ofrecer servicios.

3. We Are Family o Somos Familia

We Are Family o Somos Familia

Idioma: Inglés y español

El sitio Greater than AIDS ofrece varios documentales, tanto en inglés como español, que hablan de las relaciones de los latinos que viven con VIH. Estos videos, que son sencillos de compartir con clientes y colegas, demuestran lo importante que es el apoyo social para las personas con VIH. Una red de apoyo fortalecida hace más probable que las personas busquen y sigan los programas de tratamiento. Greater than AIDS también ofrece herramientas comunitarias para campañas en la misma localidad.

4. Kit de Herramientas Para Marketing Social Tú Sabes Más (PDF), The National Youth Advocacy Coalition
Kit de Herramientas Para Marketing Social Tú Sabes Más

Idioma: Inglés

Este juego de herramientas está dirigido especialmente a quienes busquen usar las redes sociales como estrategia de acción para motivar a los jóvenes a hacerse pruebas de despistaje de VIH. La intención es ayudar a planificar y llevar a cabo la campaña de marketing social Tú Sabes Más, que busca fomentar la búsqueda de consejos, atención, pruebas y servicios referidos entre jóvenes de color y minorías sexuales de edades entre 13 y 24. Tiene mensajes útiles y detallados que pueden ser usados en cualquier campaña.

5. Detengamos Juntos el VIH, CDC

Detengamos Juntos el VIH

Idioma: Español

Esta guía web ofrece estudios de casos con libretos detallados acerca de cómo lidiar con el estigma alrededor del VIH en latinos. Es parte de una campaña más grande dirigida al VIH, la cual también resulta de gran ayuda, pero esta sección es de ayuda inmediata para quienes deben abordar a sus clientes de cualquier forma.

6. Campaña para la Movilización Social (PDF), Ingeniería sin Fronteras Asociación para el Desarrollo

Campaña para la Movilización Social

Idioma: Español

Esta herramienta de movilización social está escrita como una guía para hacer acercamientos en distintas comunidades. Da instrucciones detalladas paso a paso para la creación y ejecución de campañas comunitarias y también incluye ejemplos de campañas para el VIH/SIDA. Con más de 200 páginas es un recurso de peso, pero resulta una herramienta sumamente útil para alcanzar comunidades de habla hispana.

7. Gente Latinx, The Body

Gente Latinx

Idioma: Inglés

The Body es un extraordinario recurso para la educación acerca del VIH/SIDA. Esta colección de historias, noticias y reportes acerca de las poblaciones latinas que enfrentan el VIH es inspiradora y útil. Por ejemplo, la historia del VIH en Orange County, California, ofrece una visión sobre la prevención y el cuidado primario enfocado en poblaciones LGBTQ. Otra historia, “Luchando contra el surgimiento de la epidemia de VIH entre hombres latinos y bisexuales en Phoenix”, está cargada de anécdotas personales.