Employment of health educators and community health workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to improve health outcomes and to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people healthy habits and behaviors and explaining how to use available healthcare services.
Insurance companies, employers, and governments are trying to find ways to improve the quality of care and health outcomes, while reducing costs. They hire health educators and community health workers to teach people about how to live healthy lives, obtain screenings, and how to avoid costly diseases and medical procedures. They explain how lifestyle changes can reduce the probability of contracting illnesses such as lung cancer, HIV, heart disease, and skin cancer. Health educators and community health workers also help people understand how to manage their condition and avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room. Health educators and community health workers help people understand how their actions affect their health.
For many illnesses, such as breast cancer and testicular cancer, finding the disease early, greatly increases the likelihood that treatment will be successful. Therefore, it is important for people to know how to identify potential health problems and when to seek medical help. The need to get this information to the public is expected to increase demand for health educators and community health workers.
The number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform. Health educators and community health workers would be needed to show patients how to get access to healthcare services, such as preventive screenings. In addition, health educators and community health workers might take part in state and local programs designed to treat and prevent conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Community health workers who have completed a formal education program and those who have experience working with a specific population may have favorable job prospects. In addition, opportunities may be better for candidates who speak a foreign language.
Health Educators and Community Health Workers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Community health workers
Health educators and community health workers
Counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program