Career Spotlight: Community Outreach Worker

Posted by LearningHouse on March 28, 2014  /   Posted in Human Services News

A community outreach worker is one of the many careers available to graduates with a human services degree. A community outreach worker is employed at the local level and offers assistance and educational programs to members of the community. They often oversee programs and serve in a managerial role for staff members and volunteers. Community outreach workers have direct contact with members of the community and deliver services and programs to those who are often underserved or disenfranchised. This career focuses on the planning and development of these services and programs, as well as the act of implementing them. Community outreach workers also serve as liaisons between community organizations with similar goals.

Though this career can be challenging, it is rewarding as well. You will directly influence the lives of those you serve in a community and will therefore see firsthand the benefits of the programs and services you implement. If you desire a career that enables you to make a difference with your everyday work and have one-on-one interactions with those you serve, a career as a community outreach worker may be right for you.

Career Description

Community outreach workers are employed in many fields but are often associated with the health and social services fields. They often work with taskforce and coalition involvement in grassroots networks. A career as a community outreach worker allows you to work toward strengthening communities and developing relationships between groups. However, this career often involves long and varied work hours, depending on your specific field. Community outreach workers are often involved with programming and meetings in the evenings and weekends, and do not have a traditional workday structure.

As a community outreach worker, you will serve as a link between members of the community and the health and social services they need. Because of this role’s duties, it is necessary for you to build trust with the individuals and groups you serve. This will better enable you to improve quality of life for the community with which you work. Another aspect of your duties as a community outreach worker will be to increase health knowledge and self-sufficiency through the activities and services you provide. You will work in community education, outreach, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.

Education and Experience

Education requirements for community outreach workers vary by states, cities, employers and areas of specialization. Some states have developed college-based training while others focus on community-based resources. Qualifications for community outreach workers also vary widely. Some employers require only a high school diploma, but college degrees will ensure your employment in a variety of entry-level jobs. You will typically receive additional hours of on-the-job training through mentoring or workshops. This allows you to become specialized for the role you will serve in the particular community you work for. Community outreach workers do not need licensure.

Community outreach workers are employed in a wide variety of settings, including rural and urban areas. Although your role will vary depending on where you work, you will most likely work in underserved communities where people may have limited resources. For example, those you serve may lack access to health care or quality education. Common job titles for community outreach workers include:

  • Family advocate
  • Service Liaison
  • Peer counselor
  • Public health aide
  • Community health advisor
  • Outreach worker
  • Patient navigator

Community outreach workers often live in the communities they serve and spend a lot of time traveling within the community to work with different groups and distribute information. You may work for health facilities, government agencies, community centers or nonprofit groups. The career of community outreach worker has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, and the field is constantly expanding into new areas of social and health services. Salary varies depending on local economies and demand, but you can expect a higher salary if you have more experience or a degree in the field.

Human Services at Brescia

Getting a degree in human services is a great way to start your career as a community outreach worker, and an associate degree in human services will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in a career as a community outreach worker. Brescia University offers an online Associate of Arts in Human Services degree that will help you enter the field of human services and social work as a community outreach worker. You will learn to work with individuals, groups and communities, as well as with people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Brescia’s online human services degree program focuses on crisis counseling and intervention, theory, case management, information systems and other areas of human services. Major subject requirements are in the fields of sociology, psychology, biology and social work.

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