Community Outreach Specialist

Community Outreach Specialist Careers

Employment that is both fiscally sound and personally rewarding may be difficult to obtain.  Especially in the current meager job market, many employment positions are unstable, and have less than desirable waged.  The healthcare field is still experiencing a considerable growth, and it is expected that meaningful jobs in this sector will continue to become available.

Public health careers not only offer financial and position stability, they also offer the opportunity to be of service to the community and to promote wellness.  The position of community outreach specialist is a good example of a career path that offers personal rewards and benefits to the population.

What Is A Community Outreach Specialist?

Community outreach specialists are essentially organizers and manager of programs and initiatives that promote community wellness.  This position required the ability to identify general community needs as well as the ability to identify services that are necessary for special populations.  Community outreach specialists will monitor the implementation of the program and also assess progress to determine changes in the running and focus of the program.

As a community outreach specialist, you would be involved in the following activities:

  •   Develop and implement programs that address public health concerns
  •   Organize staff and delegate tasks
  •   Generate a goal and milestone timeline to track progress
  •   Periodically assess practices and outcomes to determine efficacy.
  •   Manage financials and garner further outreach support.
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Community outreach specialists can also utilize the following skills on the job:

  •   Time management:  You will need to be able to task yourself and others who are participating in the program.  This will require that you delegate responsibly and that you monitor progress.
  •   Self-motivation:  You will need to be able to take the initiative to lead and to propose outreach modes.  This will require that you actively participate in community events to become familiar with the population you are addressing.
  •   Interpersonal skills:  You will be working with other staff members, but you will also be in close contact with the public.  This means that you will need to adjust your modes of interaction accordingly.
  •   Teaching: You will need to not only be informative in your approach to disseminating knowledge, but you will also need to be engaging and keep the public involved.

Nature Of The Work

Community outreach specialist may work from public health offices, clinics, shelter, hospitals, universities and many other environments.  Part of the job is administrative tasking, although the majority of you work will be interacting with the public.  While you are overseeing the public health initiatives, you will also be participating in the actions and gathering community feedback.  This will also give you a chance to better assess community needs and adjust outreach programs as needed.

Education And Training

In order to gain employment as a community outreach specialist you must have a four year Bachelor’s degree and at least five years if experiencing either interning or volunteering for public health programs.  Your studies should include public health, health administration, social politics, urban studies and related fields.  Although some educational program do offer experiential training as part of the course work, further hands on experience will be necessary.  Sine community health initiatives often need volunteers, it can be fairly easy to find organizations that will offer you the five years of work experience.

Community outreach specialists can experience a range of wages, depending upon the employer and the parameters of the outreach program.  Median salaries for this position tend to be around $59,000 per year.  Federal positions and advanced university programs may pay as high as $100,000 in salary, while entry level positions are usually close to $35,000 per year.  This range provides a good starting point for initial employment, with great possibilities for advancement.

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Openings in this field are also very accessible.  It is expected that close to 30,000 positions for community outreach specialists will become available between 2012 and 2022.  This represents a growth rate of 23%, and indicated that reliance on this position to promote community health is an important focus.  If the idea of expanding public awareness to health services and wellness issues is important to you, then a well paying job as a community outreach specialist could be a good career track to follow.

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