A contact tracer is responsible for calling those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to find out who they have been in contact with in the last 14 days, and then notifying those people so they can self-quarantine to prevent spreading the virus. The information gathered is also used by epidemiologists to trace outbreak sources and make public health policy decisions.
In addition to being impactful work, contract tracer positions are in demand, with an estimated need of anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 contact tracers nationwide. It also pays well, with an average hourly rate that is likely to range from $17-$25, depending on the location.
Here are the skills you need to get a position as a contact tracer:
Excellent communication skills, especially verbally over the phone, are among the most important skills needed to be a contact tracer. You will be responsible for putting people at ease while clearly explaining specific processes and steps they need to take.
● Customer Service
The people you would be interacting with as a contact tracer are in a vulnerable state - they are either positive for COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone else who is positive and know they are at risk themselves. In addition to being factual about the steps they need to take, you must also have customer service skills and be able to express empathy for their circumstances, while being persuasive enough to ensure they take you seriously.
● Critical Thinking
Contract tracers must play detective and ask questions to narrow down where an infected person has been and who they have been around, in order to trace the original COVID-19 exposure. This requires critical thinking, or the ability to listen to and analyze the information given to ask more questions if needed and make conclusions.
● Attention to Detail
Since contract tracers are working as public servants for a major health crisis, it is essential to strictly adhere to the guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when talking to people who have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19. This requires excellent attention to detail, so you must follow the script talking points and record necessary data accurately.
● Healthcare Background
Having a healthcare background is optional, especially if you are strong in the other requirements. However, if you do have experience in a healthcare setting, it could set you apart from other candidates.
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