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Job sheet: Community Health Worker

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Job title
Community Health Worker

Job description
Community health workers use specific cultural or community knowledge, and strong networks within their own communities to promote health and wellbeing. They are often leaders in their own communities and act as a key link between specialist health knowledge and theory, and the needs of the communities.  As "interpreters" of this knowledge, their role is a critical one. They make public health messages and actions meaningful to those who often are not reached by mainstream and commercial messages. 

The work involves action in a wide range of health issues, such as alcohol, social environments, tobacco control and oral health.

Qualifications required
Up until recently, a person's attributes and life experience were important to being a successful community health worker. Now, however, it is increasingly expected that community health workers have at least a Certificate in Community Skills or a Certificate in Health Promotion to support them in their role. This study may be completed while a person is in their job.

Training costs
There are no training costs to become a community health worker.  On the job training costs may be covered or subsidised by a community health worker's employer.

Location of job
Community health workers are currently employed in iwi providers, other Maori organisations, Pacific, Asian and new migrant agencies along with District Health Boards, non-government organisations and a wide range of other organisations.

Career path
A community health worker may start in their role as a young person or as an older person with broad life experience.  They may spend many years gaining valuable public health, advocacy and cultural skills and knowledge that make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of their community. 

Salary range
This depends on the seniority of the role and the employing organisation.

Other careers this profession could lead to
Further study may lead a community health worker into health promotion, co-ordination and management roles, public health nursing or other similar role.

How to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry
English, Maori, or your own language, are key skills for a community health worker role. As is good communication, relationship building and cultural skills. It may also be helpful to have skills in information technology and science.

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