In-Demand Community Health Worker Skills to Boost Your Resume in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore in-demand community health worker skills recruiters are looking for and tips for developing in-demand skills that can help support your career path. Read on to discover why cultivating this skill set is essential to meeting your goals.

[Featured image] A community health worker sits in a gymnasium working with two young children.

Community health workers act as a bridge between communities and the health and social wellness-related services and establishments available to them. This role is critical for promoting and advocating for public health and supporting individuals and their families. 

Community health workers advocate, educate, and help guide people towards resources to improve their overall health and access necessary health care resources. As the intermediary between the community and those resources, community health workers need to engage and understand the population’s needs and ethical health care practices to educate and counsel individuals effectively.

Some fields that employ community health workers include government agencies, religious or civic organizations, and individual or family services. The demand for community health workers is exceptionally high in marginalized communities with reduced access to quality health services. 

In some cases, you may enter the field with a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree from a health-related field, and government positions are more likely to require an advanced degree.

Now is a good time to pursue community health work as a career. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 14 percent job growth from 2022 to 2032, equating to over 16,000 openings each year [1]. This article will explore the skills employers will be looking for to help you prepare for entering the field.

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Essential community health worker skills

As a community health worker, you’ll actively work with community members and in health care settings. Doing so requires skills related to health care and the different resources that are available, in addition to interpersonal skills that allow you to build strong relationships with members of your community.

Although, the needs of the people you’ll be interacting with play a significant role in shaping your skill set. In addition to providing details about those skills, we’ve also included suggestions for courses you can find on Coursera to help you develop them.


Just like other professions in health care, which require you to have the ability to communicate clearly while showing empathy, communication is a vital skill for community health workers. You will communicate in large and small groups and with individuals, working to develop relationships and connect with people of varying backgrounds. Depending on the community you work in, knowing multiple languages may also be valuable.

By having conversations with people in your community, you empower them to better manage their health, make healthy changes, and work through problems they have accessing the medical care they need.

If you want to cultivate your communication and public speaking skills, consider the Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization from the University of Washington.

Public health knowledge and education

As a community health worker, you may play a pivotal role in helping people in your community maintain wellness, manage disease, and better understand insurance options and health care issues. This role involves actively promoting health screenings, connecting individuals with necessary care and services, and assisting both individuals and families in understanding how to mitigate health risks, prevent health conditions, and navigate available treatment options.

To properly advise people of their health care options and help them better understand their own health, you should be knowledgeable in public health and demonstrate your education by helping others learn. It can include counseling patients in their individual cases or participating in workshops and classes to inform members of your community.

Learn Leading Healthcare Quality and Safety concepts from George Washington University, a course covering fundamental concepts to improve health care initiatives.

Analytical skills

To identify the needs of your community, you should be able to recognize potential areas of high risk and know how to access and input data such as medical records. All of that requires analytical skills. Recognizing problems and their causes can lead to a better overall plan for attacking health care concerns. It can help you identify risks, provide improved health services recommendations, and suggest health plans tailored to individual needs.

Data collection should also be part of your skill set, allowing you to gain insight into issues in the community and share that information with stakeholders so decision-makers can develop services that address real concerns.

To better understand health care statistics and feel more confident conducting your own research, consider taking the University of Cape Town's Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics course.

Outreach abilities

Connecting people to health resources is one of the vital roles of a community health worker. To do this job effectively, you will need to develop outreach plans that allow you to engage and gain trust within the community. It may take some people more convincing to decide they should act on available services, so it's crucial to be active in your outreach efforts. You can grow your outreach abilities by building relationships throughout your community with individuals and establishing partnerships with those who can help support your efforts.

Sharpen your outreach and community engagement skills. Learn more about the importance of including minorities in clinical trials with Faster Together, Enhancing the Recruitment of Minorities in Clinical Trials offered by Vanderbilt University on Coursera.

How to gain or improve community health worker skills

The skills needed to excel as a community health worker can vary depending on state regulations and employer expectations. However, there are numerous opportunities to acquire new skills and refine existing ones.


As you become a community health worker, you can pick up valuable work experience that prepares you for your career and helps develop the skills you need. This position generally requires a number of hours of job training through a combination of mentoring and classroom work. Employers often expect candidates to have two to four years of experience in a related role before hiring them as community health workers. They typically place significant value on previous experiences in roles such as certified nursing assistant, case manager, or similar internships.


Whether it’s a requirement from your employer or not, acquiring a community health worker certification can be a valuable way to develop and demonstrate job-specific skills. One option is the Certified Health Education Specialist certification from the National Commission for Health Credentialing. It can validate your skills in evaluation, research, communication, advocacy, and implementation, among other areas. To be eligible, you’ll need a bachelor's degree in health education or a related field and a minimum of 25 credits in coursework relating to the Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists.


The community health worker education requirements typically consist of a minimum of a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, with some specialist and government positions requiring a master’s degree. Majors that will prepare you with the skills and information needed to pursue a career in community health include social work, psychology, health education, human services, and health promotion.

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How to demonstrate your skills in a resume and interview

A well-written resume highlighting your relevant education and skills, combined with cultivating strong interview skills, is essential for reaching your career goals. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and what you have to offer the community you’ll engage with.

Resume tips

Implement these tips to ensure your resume stands out and adequately highlights your skills and experience:

  • Match the skills on your community health worker resume with the skills the employer lists in the job description, but only include the skills that apply to you. Using the specific language in the description can help you get past the initial screening.

  • Use statistics and metrics to demonstrate your previous experience and success to showcase your impact in previous roles. Quantifiable results are more influential than listing your duties.

  • Choose strong action verbs when describing your responsibilities and accomplishments.

  • Provide a variety of experiences. Even non-paid positions can be valuable to share on your resume, as they can highlight leadership experience and provide insight into your personality.

Interview tips

A strong interview can be more important than your credentials alone. Show your ability to communicate confidently and effectively, on top of being qualified to make a good impression on your interviewer. Here are some tips to ace your next interview:

  • Refrain from speaking negatively about your previous employer, university, or co-workers.

  • Prepare meaningful questions for your interviewer. You should identify if the position is a good fit for you in the same way they are.

  • Do mock interviews with a friend or by yourself by preparing for possible questions and their answers.

  • End your interview on a positive note by thanking the interviewer and reiterating your interest and how you feel you would be a good fit for the job. It can also be beneficial to send a follow-up email to the interviewer to thank them again and remind them of your excitement and belief you can excel in the position.

Next steps

On Coursera, you can find highly-rated public health and social work courses to help you prepare for a career as a community health worker and learn more about your career options. Systems Thinking in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University will introduce you to problems seen in public health and related policies and how you can integrate systems to address these complexities.

Another option is Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This course discusses how professionals can help control health problems and limit the damage caused by infectious diseases.

Article sources

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Community Health Workers,” Accessed October 6, 2023.

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