Aligning Education and Training

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How will CHW education and training programs align with statewide CHW certification?

Most CHW certification programs offer an educational or training pathway. CHW education and training programs can be aligned with the state’s CHW core competencies and skills required for certification. Training and educational opportunities for CHWs can be made widely available across the state.

Potential actions for stakeholders
  • Developing statewide CHW training standards and curricula based on certification requirements, or vice versa
  • Assessing the quality of existing CHW education and training programs, including how well they meet community- and healthcare-based CHW needs, and aligning existing programs with new state standards
  • Defining a formal process and requirements for CHW continuing education and recertification, including how education hours will be tracked
  • Identifying a statewide process for approving or certifying CHW education and training programs or trainers
  • Considering offering a training program for CHW supervisors
  • Determining a system for reciprocity with other states for the CHWs certified in the state
  • Offering affordable approved or certified CHW training programs in a variety of locations and settings, or online. These programs may be offered in multiple languages

Case examples

A community health worker at a computer.

Training and educational opportunities for CHWs can be made widely available across the state.

  • For more than a decade, Minnesota has carried out a standardized CHW core skills curriculum through a 14-credit community college program leading to a certificate of completion. As of January 2016, four schools within the Minnesota State system, one private university, and one vocational school offered this program. Stakeholders have observed that the established curriculum could serve as a foundation for statewide CHW certification.
  • The Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance started offering a certification curriculum in 2015. Beginning in 2016, CHWs who either successfully complete the curriculum or who qualify for “grandfathering” are being certified by the Alliance.
  • CHWs seeking state certification in Oregon who do not take the grandfathering pathway are required to complete an 80-hour training program certified by the Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion. As of March 2017, there were 10 different organizations in Oregon that offered approved training programs, including community colleges and social service organizations.
  • Rhode Island has developed a training curriculum designed to help CHWs more successfully attain state certification. It includes modules on core competencies, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, Rhode Island’s centralized referral system, and motivational interviewing to support health coaching.
  • In Utah, the process of developing CHW scope of practice, standardizing training, and establishing a certification process is being informed by CHWs—as well as by an assessment of current training quality and program needs—using a curricula evaluation rubric developed by the Utah CHW Coalition.