What is it Like to be a Contact Tracer?

Contact Tracers help support the efforts in stopping the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19. Contact Tracers contact individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and those who may have come in contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to collect and provide information. This job may work remotely or on-site.

But what is it really like to be a contact tracer? To find out, we interviewed a contact tracer team supervisor to better understand their role, the challenges they face, and which skills help them and their team be successful in their job.

Providing a Public Health Service in Her Community

Inderjit from Carol Stream, IL, serves her community as a contact tracer team supervisor. Her background is in science and health technology and she has a passion to help others. Inderjit explains, “I have a deep sense of commitment to be a positive part of the program.”

Her team consists of eight contact tracer specialists. As a supervisor, Inderjit underwent four weeks of full-time training to prepare for her role, and her specialists completed two weeks of full-time training.

“My goal is to make sure the specialists are able to do their role efficiently,” she said. “I make sure my team really understands that what they are doing is so important and I want them to feel impowered in their role so we can provide a good public health service in our community.”

They all work remotely, meeting daily via a virtual meeting platform. “Week by week the team is getting stronger and more confident in their role,” Inderjit said. “I encourage them to try to maintain positivity and professionalism.”

The contact tracer specialists are tasked with reaching out to “confirmed cases,” individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and “cold contact cases,” those who were potentially exposed to COVID-19. When discussing or reporting on their calls, Inderjit and her team protect and respect personal health information by using the term “case” instead of a person’s name.

“When a specialist calls a case, they try to provide as much information as possible to the case in order to help them understand how to properly quarantine and to protect themselves and their community,” Inderjit said.

Every job comes with its share of challenges and this role is no different. When asked what challenges she faces, Inderjit replied, “not being able to reach cases. It is disheartening because we are trying to provide a service.” As a supervisor, Inderjit also deals with troubleshooting technical problems.

Empathy is very important when working with the public, especially when communicating with those who are dealing with a potentially life-threating disease. Inderjit believes empathy is a key quality to possess as a contact tracer. “It all comes down to community and looking at the bigger picture. Being a contact tracer is something that anyone with any kind of background can do, they just need to have an empathetic aptitude.”

“Before entering the position, the job seeker needs to understand what the role is,” Inderjit said. “It’s a public health crisis and this role is very important. You’re helping people in a very important way while being empathetic.”

Being a contact tracer is a wonderful opportunity to do something for your community, but it can also be beneficial in other ways too. For those who may have lost their job due to the pandemic, becoming a contact tracer can help get their foot back in the employment door. “It can benefit people in their future endeavors and help them professionally, moving forward,” Inderjit said.

Apply to become a contact tracer in your community!

Below is a typical job posting for a contact tracer when applying through Express Employment Professionals. Details may vary by office or job location.

Optional job titles:

  • Contact Tracer Specialist
  • Contact Tracer Supervisor
  • COVID-19 Disease Investigator
  • Contact Tracing Data and Testing Manager
  • Epidemic Intelligence Unit Data Analyst


  • Identify and notify individuals who might have come in contact with individuals recently diagnosed with respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19
  • Communicate in a professional and empathetic manner
  • Collect and document information on symptoms
  • Establish if the contact is at risk of getting the virus
  • Provide contacts with approved information about quarantine, self-isolation, etc.
  • Follow processes outline by the client company
  • Provide available resources to contacts to ensure they know how to follow proper quarantine procedures

What employers look for:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Customer service experience
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent documentation skills
  • Experience in compliance-oriented environment

If you, or someone you know are interested in becoming a contact tracer or a contact tracer team supervisor, visit ExpressPros.com or download the ExpressJobs app. One of Express’ top priorities is supporting a healthy work environment and being easy to do business with.

Join the contact tracer workforce and create your own story as an essential frontline worker in your community!

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