City College of San Francisco offers a range of vocational certificate programs and degree options. Vocational certificates provide you with the training you need to find employment in the community health and human services fields.  You will find more information about our certificate programs throughout this website.

The Heatlh Education vocational certificates are designed to help you develop a career in human and health services, whether you are new to the field or looking to advance in your profession.  These careers involve providing direct services to low income clients and communities, and others in need. To be successful in these careers requires strong inter-personal skills and a commitment to serving disadvantaged communities.

What Kind of Commitment Does a Certificate or Degree Program Require?

The Health Education department's vocational certificate programs require 10 to 37 units.  Some students finish in one year, while many take two years or more for the certificates that require more units.  Most of the programs require an internship with a local employer. The college also offers two-year Associate’s degrees and can help you transfer to four-year colleges and universities where you can earn a Bachelor’s degree.  For students seeking an Associate's degree, the Health Education department offers a major in Health Ed.

What is a Career in Community Health?

Community Health Workers create a bridge between individuals/communities and the health and social service system that helps people access the services they need. Some of the key roles of the community health worker are to:

    provide culturally appropriate health education and information
    advocate for individuals in need
    provide basic first aid, screening tests, and other direct services
    provide informal counseling and social support

What Types of Jobs Would I Have as a Community Health Worker?

As a community health worker, you might have jobs with the following titles:

    Health Worker
    Outreach Worker
    Public Health Aide
    Case Manager/Case Worker
    Peer Counselor

Other frontline workers in community health obtain specialization to serve as Drug & Alcohol Counselors, or Healthcare Interpreters, or to work with a specific population or to address a specific disease.

How Much Money Would I Earn as a Community Health Worker?

Many community health workers work at nonprofit organizations and community clinics, where wages are usually from $11-$18/hr, and often come with benefits. If you work for the City and County of San Francisco, you might make anywhere from $18-$27/hr. 

Jobs often require flexible hours, and some entry level jobs are part-time or on-call positions.

The 2011 data from the Department of Labor indicates that community health workers and community service specialists make an average hourly wage of $24/hr, with most earning $19-29/hr.  However, this category includes many people who have attained a Bachelor's degree or higher, or who have been in their jobs for many years - so these numbers may reflect a higher wage than most people make as a starting salary.

How Do I Advance in My Career in Community Health?

If you’re already working the community health field and are looking to move up the career ladder, you may begin by taking one course, and then continue on if you wish to complete a certificate program, achieve an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, or even get a Master’s degree and Doctorate. These courses and programs will provide you with anything from basic to advanced skills that will strengthen your ability to move into supervisory and managerial positions at your organization. 

If you already work as a community health worker or in human services, you may want to upgrade your skills so that you can seek a promotion. We offer courses that take into account what employers value most and will provide you with the skills you need to advance in your career. For example, City College of San Francisco offers HLTH 116: Conflict Resolution for the Health Workplace and BUS 221A: Introduction to Supervision Management.

To choose which courses, certificates or degrees to pursue, you might start with looking at the job duties, job description, or abilities of people in a job that you would like to have, in the future.  A counselor at City College or a trusted teacher or supervisor may be able to help you assess which courses or programs would benefit you the most.


Where Can I Learn More About Being a Community Health Worker?

The tabs in the left-hand navigation bar will take you to each of the vocational certificate and transfer programs that the Health Education Department offers.  The career exploration guides on the "Where Do I Start?" page may also be helpful.