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Community Health Worker Certificate

Program Advisor: Chris Aylesworth, DVM, 413-236-2107

The Community Health Worker (CHW) certificate program offers classroom and field training for frontline public health workers. Students learn to deliver a range of services including community and individual needs assessment, outreach, home visits, health care system navigation, health and wellness education, and client-centered counselling.

The certificate courses provide rigorous training for CHWs to serve as advocates and liaisons between health/social service providers and the community to facilitate access to existing resources and improve the quality and cultural appropriateness of service delivery. The courses use interactive learning techniques to develop skills such as interpersonal and interprofessional communication, social and cultural sensitivity, leadership, conflict resolution, professional and ethical conduct, community participation, appropriate record keeping, and many others. The field experience (practicum) places future CHWs at Berkshire County companies and organizations where students gain guided first-hand experience in working for a service organization and applying classroom knowledge.

In collaboration with local community stakeholders, Berkshire Community College has developed the program to closely match the requirements suggested by the Massachusetts Board of Certification of Community Health Workers and American Public Health Association.

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Admission Requirements

Admission to the program will be based on an open enrollment basis. Students will be admitted to the CHW Certificate program as a cohort to start in the fall and continue into the spring semester. Students who enroll in the certificate program must fill out an application and have a high school transcript (or equivalent).

Expected Outcomes

Graduates of this program should be able to:

  • Conduct outreach work with individuals, groups, organizations, and at the community level;
  • Plan and implement individual and community assessment;
  • Communicate effectively with clients, community members, and professional colleagues;
  • Adapt and employ techniques and strategies for interacting sensitively and efficiently in the contexts involving different cultural, socioeconomic, demographic, and professional groups;
  • Develop, implement, and coordinate health education initiatives/projects that aim to promote healthy behavior change;
  • Navigate local, state, and federal programs and nonprofit organization services related to health insurance, public health, social services, and other resources to protect and promote health;
  • Use key public health concepts and approaches in systematic solving of health care and public health problems;
  • Use advocacy and community capacity building strategies to advance the interests of clients, their families, and local communities;
  • Demonstrate skills of effective reporting, record keeping, program evaluation, and proper documentation; and
  • Demonstrate professional skills and conduct accordance with the Massachusetts Code of Ethics for Community Health Workers and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Graduation Requirements

To earn a certificate in this program, a student must complete all program credits, plus the following additional requirements.

Program

28 Credits

BCC-101 Success Seminar (for Health)

1 Credit

ENG-101 Composition I

3 Credits

AHS-111 Intro to Patient Care Skills & Health Career Exploration

3 Credits

AHS-148 Responding to Medical Emergencies

2 Credits

CHW-110 Essential Health Topics for Community Health Workers

3 Credits

CHW-120 Community Health Worker Core Competencies

4 Credits

CHW-210 Intro to Public Health

3 Credits

CHW-220 Practicum for Community Health Worker

3 Credits

Professional electives chosen from the following:

Professional Electives 6 Credits
PSY-107 Introductory Psychology 3 Credits
SOC-105 Introductory Sociology 3 Credits
COM-104 Intro to Interpersonal Communication 3 Credits
CRJ-108 Substance Abuse Education 3 Credits
ECE-122 Special Needs in Early Childhood Education 3 Credits
HSV-135 Introduction to Community Resources 3 Credits
PSY-280 Interviewing & Counseling 3 Credits
PSY-226 Abnormal Psychology 3 Credits
SOC-212 Social Welfare & Social Policy 3 Credits
SOC-208 Contemporary Social Problems 3 Credits

Suggested Pathway to Graduation

The following is a suggestion for completing this program in one year. The actual time needed to complete the program will vary according to each student’s individual needs.

First Semester 14 Credits
BCC-101 Success Seminar (for Health) 1 Credit
ENG-101 Composition 1 Credits
CHW-110 Essential Health Topics for Community Health Workers  Credits
CHW-120 Community Health Worker Core Competencies Credits
Suggested Electives (choose one)  
PSY-107 Introductory Psychology Credits
SOC-105 Introductory Sociology Credits
COM-104 Intro to Interpersonal Communication Credits
Second Semester 14 Credits
CHW-210 Intro to Public Health 3 Credits
CHW-220 Practicum for Community Health Worker 3 Credits
AHS-111 Intro to Patient Care Skills & Health Career Exploration 3 Credits
AHS-148 Responding to Medical Emergencies 2 Credits
Suggested Electives (choose one)  
CRJ-108 Substance Abuse Education 3 Credits
ECE-122 Special Needs in Early Childhood Education 3 Credits
HSV-135 Intro to Community Resources 3 Credits
PSY-280 Interviewing & Counseling 3 Credits
PSY-226 Abnormal Psychology 3 Credits
SOC-212 Social Welfare & Social Policy 3 Credits
SOC-208 Contemporary Social Problems 3 Credits

For information about typical program costs, student loan debt, graduation rates, and jobs associated with this program, read the Gainful Employment Disclosure

This workforce program was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

Equal Opportunity Is the Law: It is against the law for this recipient of Federal financial assistance to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief, or citizenship/status as a lawfully admitted immigrant authorized to work in the U.S. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. If you think that you have been subjected to discrimination, you may file a complaint within 180 days with either the recipient's Equal Opportunity Officer or the Director, Civil Rights Center (CRC), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Room N-4123, Washington, DC 20210.