Creating a Career Ladder
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Some possibilities for career growth within the CHW workforce include:
- Increased individual responsibility
- Added supervisory responsibility
- CHWs as trainers
- New, specialized positions
- Senior positions as troubleshooters or consultants
How can employers provide a career ladder for CHWs? As with many entry-level jobs, employers may offer salary increases and upgraded job titles for increasing levels of independent responsibility, including graduated levels of supervisory responsibility. Some local health departments are already doing some of these things. San Francisco has three levels of community health worker positions. Their highest-level CHWs have substantial supervisory duties and a considerable pay differential from lower-level positions.
Experienced CHWs can make excellent trainers, and this responsibility can offer job enrichment as well as opportunities for higher pay. Another option is to create specialist CHW positions, such as breast-feeding counselor within a WIC program, or medical interpreter. Certification for specialized duties can carry an enhanced job title and supplemental pay. Finally, larger employer organizations may wish to create senior CHW positions as troubleshooters or consultants, who assist other CHWs or teams with problem solving or setting up special projects.