Looking for a Job? Here’s How to Become a Contact Tracer in Illinois


If you’ve been fired or furloughed, need some money and would like to help in the fight against the coronavirus, the perfect job may now be available: a contact tracer.

As cities all over the country continue to reopen, the need to track down the origin of outbreaks and contain them is greater than ever; in fact, as many as 300,000 contact tracers are going to be needed in upcoming weeks, says Roger Shapiro, a professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health. “I do think that it’s a fantastic job for people who have been furloughed, and it’s something that people can be trained to do,” Shapiro says. “It takes some training, but it’s not impossible to train almost anybody with reasonable social skills, who can work off a script, begin a conversation with people, convey a few key messages and collect data.”

While the gig won’t make anyone wealthy, its pay isn’t exactly chicken feed, either. The average contact tracer around the country makes approximately $65,000 a year, but I couldn’t find anything on the IDPH website about compensation here in Illinois. It appears local health departments set their pay rates.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is seeking interested individuals to support local public health authorities to perform COVID-19 contact tracing. This recruitment effort is developing through partnership with the state, local public health authorities, healthcare entities and community-based organizations. Hiring Contact Tracers will depend on the needs of the local public health authorities and by region of the state. Completing this form does not represent the promise of a job or job interview with the State of Illinois or any other entity.

Contact Tracers will be trained in the basics of the virus, epidemiology, case investigation, and contact tracing. Contact Tracers are an important part of Illinois’ response to contain the spread of COVID-19. The primary goal of contact tracing is to interrupt the ongoing transmission of a disease and reduce the spread of infection. Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 are told to self-quarantine, and if they test positive, can be linked to care. Contact tracing also helps us learn more and track the disease and its transmission in certain populations. Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 must be notified and monitored to limit and contain outbreaks. This helps protect individual and community health.

Contact Tracers will perform the following tasks:

1. Notify those who have been identified as COVID-19 contacts;

2. Communicate quarantine requirements and check in daily during this period to monitor developing symptoms; and

3. Connect COVID-19 contacts to a Case Investigator and support services as needed.

Required skills and attributes for this type of work include:

· Good customer service

· Good communication skills

· Attention to detail and organization

· The ability to work flexibly in a changing environment

· An understanding of cultural competencies when working with diverse communities

· Being comfortable using a computer, internet, and other applications

· The ability to maintain confidentiality and complete HIPAA training requirement

Please complete this form to indicate your interest in becoming a contact tracer. Your interest will be shared with local public health departments and community-based organizations for follow up. Completing this form does not represent the promise of a job or job interview with the state of Illinois or any other entity.

If you are interested, you can fill out this form from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.