Overview of the Field
Community health, a field of public health, seeks to promote healthy behaviors and improve social conditions for specific populations.
According to the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected job growth for health professionals who “promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors” is expected to be “faster than average” for the foreseeable future. Indeed, employment of community-based health educators is expected to grow by 37 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors. Furthermore, employment of social and community service managers who coordinate and supervise programs and community organizations, is expected to grow by 27 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected because increases in the aging population, increases in demand for substance abuse treatment, and overall population growth. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Health Educators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm (visited February 07, 2013).
Community health professionals work in a variety of settings, including all levels of government, not-for-profit, voluntary and social service agencies, medical care organizations, workplaces, schools and advocacy organizations.
Sample job titles of community health professionals include:
- HIV Prevention Program Director
- Tobacco Research Coordinator
- Community Health Specialist
- Community Health Educator
- High-Risk Youth Program Manager
- Director of Immigrant Health Services
- Director of Public Affairs
- Reproductive Health Coordinator
- Research Coordinator