Community health workers, also known as CHWs, are vital members of the healthcare workforce in Canada. They play a crucial role in improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities. In this article, we will explore what CHWs do, where they work, how to become one, and much more.
What is a Community Health Worker in Canada?
Community health workers, also known as health promoters, lay health workers, or community health representatives, are individuals who work with communities to promote health and prevent disease. They are trained to provide basic health education, advocacy, and outreach services to underserved populations, including immigrants, refugees, low-income families, and seniors. They also provide support to individuals and families at risk of poor health outcomes due to lack of access to health care and other services. They can link individuals to resources, advocate for policies that promote health equity, and help individuals navigate the healthcare system.
What is Another Name for a Community Health Worker?
Community health workers are known by various titles, which are influenced by the location and the specific nature of their work. Among the most prevalent alternative designations are health promoters, health navigators, peer health workers, and community health representatives. These alternative titles reflect the diverse and multidimensional roles of community health workers in enhancing health outcomes and promoting health equity for individuals and communities.
What Does a Community Health Worker Do?
Community health workers perform a variety of tasks to promote health and wellness in the communities they serve. Some of their responsibilities include:
Conducting health education sessions to raise awareness of health issues and disease prevention
Providing basic health screenings, such as blood pressure and blood sugar checks
Connecting individuals and families with healthcare resources, including clinics, hospitals, and social services
Advocating for the health needs of their communities
Conducting outreach to underserved and hard-to-reach populations
Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate support to individuals and families
Supporting individuals in managing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension
Collecting and reporting data on community health indicators
How Do I Become a Community Health Worker in Canada?
To become a community health worker in Canada, you typically need to complete a certificate or diploma program in community health. These programs are available at community colleges and vocational schools across the country. Some programs are also available online. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are some common steps to becoming a community health worker in Canada:
Research community health programs and schools that offer certificates or diplomas in community health.
Meet the educational requirements for admission to a community health program, which may include a high school diploma or equivalent.
Complete a community health program, which can take anywhere from six months to a year to finish. These programs typically cover topics such as health promotion, disease prevention, and community outreach.
Gain practical experience working in community settings through internships, volunteer work, or other opportunities.
Obtain certification or registration with a professional body, such as the Canadian Public Health Association or the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics. This step may not be required in all provinces, but it can demonstrate your competence and commitment to the field.
Begin your job search by exploring job opportunities in community health centers, hospitals, clinics, schools, and social service agencies.
Where Do Community Health Workers Work?
Community health workers work in a variety of settings, including community health centers, hospitals, clinics, schools, and social service agencies. They may also work in non-traditional settings, such as community centres, religious institutions, and public spaces.
How to Write an Ideal Resume for Community Health Workers?
Writing an ideal resume for a community health worker position requires careful consideration of your education, training, and relevant experience. Here are some tips to help you create an effective resume:
Start with a clear and concise summary statement that highlights your qualifications and career goals.
List your education and training, including any certifications or registrations you hold related to community health.
Focus on your experience working in community settings, including any volunteer or community work you have done in the past. Highlight your ability to connect with individuals and families from diverse backgrounds and your experience providing culturally and linguistically appropriate support.
Emphasize your skills in health education, health promotion, and outreach. Use examples from your work experience to demonstrate your ability to plan and implement health promotion programs and to conduct outreach to underserved populations.
Include any relevant computer skills or other technical skills that are necessary for the job, such as experience with electronic health records or data management software.
Use keywords and phrases from the job description to show how your skills and experience match the requirements of the position.
Keep your resume clear, concise, and easy to read, using bullet points and headings to organize your information effectively.
Proofread your resume carefully to ensure that it is error-free and that your language is clear and professional.
What is PSW vs CHW?
Personal support workers (PSWs) and community health workers (CHWs) are both essential members of the healthcare workforce, but they have different roles and responsibilities. Here are some key differences between PSWs and CHWs:
Personal Support Workers (PSWs):
Provide personal care and support to individuals in their homes or in healthcare facilities
Assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding
Provide medication reminders and assist with basic medical tasks, such as taking vital signs
Work with individuals who have physical or cognitive impairments that require assistance with daily tasks
Typically working under the supervision of a registered nurse or another healthcare professional
Community Health Workers (CHWs):
Work with communities to promote health and prevent disease
Provide health education, advocacy, and outreach services to underserved populations
Connect individuals and families with healthcare resources, including clinics, hospitals, and social services
Advocate for the health needs of their communities
Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate support to individuals and families
Support individuals in managing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension
Typically work in community settings, such as community health centers, schools, and social service agencies
What are the Benefits of CHW?
Community health workers play a critical role in improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs in Canada. Some of the benefits of CHWs include:
Improving access to healthcare for underserved populations
Reducing healthcare disparities and inequities
Empowering individuals and families to take control of their health
Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate support
Building trust and relationships with communities
Promoting disease prevention and early detection
Improving health literacy and health outcomes
Reducing hospital readmissions and emergency department visits
How Much is the Community Health Worker's Salary in Canada?
The salary for community health workers in Canada varies depending on the region and the type of work they do. According to data from the Government of Canada Job Bank, the median hourly wage for community health workers is $22 per hour. The range typically falls between $18 and $28 per hour. This can vary based on factors such as experience, education, and the employer.
What Jobs Are Community Health Workers?
Community health workers work in a variety of roles and settings, including:
Peer health workers
Community health representatives
Community health advisors
Community health volunteers
The Future of ECA Jobs
The field of community health is growing rapidly in Canada, and community health workers are in high demand. As the population continues to age and healthcare costs continue to rise, the need for community-based healthcare services will only continue to grow. This makes community health a promising career path for those interested in making a difference in their communities.
Caring Support - Connecting Healthcare Workers with Employers
Caring Support is an innovative, healthcare-dedicated talent acquisition platform designed to connect healthcare workers and students with employers. With a focus on personalized service, Caring Support is committed to helping healthcare workers find rewarding careers in the field of community health. Whether you are a recent graduate looking to start your career or an experienced professional looking for a new opportunity, Caring Support can help you find the perfect job in community health. Visit their website today to learn more.
Community health workers play a vital role in promoting health and wellness in Canada. They work tirelessly to improve access to healthcare, reduce healthcare disparities, and empower individuals and families to take control of their health. If you are interested in a career in community health, consider pursuing a certificate or diploma in community health and exploring the many opportunities available to community health workers in Canada.