Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Listed below are a series of FAQs and answers that may help answer general questions related to Community Health Workers (CHWs), the National Community Health Worker Training Center (NCHWTC), and the NCHWTC’s online trainings (Moodle).

For any questions not listed below, do not hesitate to contact us.

Outline of All FAQs

Click on question to see answer.

What is a Community Health Worker?

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a person who connects individuals to needed health care and social services. A CHW is a trusted member of the community, with a close understanding of the ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, and life experiences of the community they serve. CHWs can work in health care systems, with community organizations, or as volunteers to expand knowledge and access to available health resources. CHWs are also referred to as promotores.

For additional information, visit: https://www.apha.org/apha-communities/member-sections/community-health-workers.

What do CHWs do?

CHWs can have a variety of roles within the community. Examples include:

  • Educating community members on health knowledge and behaviors
  • Raising community awareness of available resources
  • Interacting with populations that are underserved by existing services
  • Bridging cultural gaps and provide translation between languages
  • Facilitating increased access to health care and social services
  • Assisting with patient navigation
  • Providing informal counseling, social support, and advocacy

What are other names for CHWs?

CHWs and Promotores de Salud are the titles used by the Texas DSHS certification program, but CHWs can work under a variety of job titles, including those listed here: http://www.cachw.org/chw-job-titles/.

How much do CHWs make?

CHW salaries vary by region and employer. Within the A&M system, CHWs are paid between $16-$18/hour on average.

Where are CHWs employed?

The 2016 Annual Report from the DSHS Program includes employment and location information for Texas CHWs: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/mch/chw/announcementsreports.aspx.

What does it mean to be a certified CHW or instructor in the state of Texas?

In order to receive compensation as a CHW in the state of Texas, you must be certified by the Department of State Health Services’ CHW/Promotora Training and Certification Program. You can be certified as a CHW in one of two ways:

  • Completing an approved 160-hour competency-based Community Health Worker training program certified by DSHS (such as the NCHWTC certification course)
  • Documenting at least 1000 cumulative hours of community health work services within the most recent six (6) years.

You can be certified as a CHW instructor in two ways, as well:

  • Completing an approved 160-hour competency-based Community Health Worker training program certified by DSHS (such as the NCHWTC certification course)
  • Documenting at least 1000 cumulative hours in instructing or training individuals providing promotor(a) or community health work services, including promotores or community health workers and other health care paraprofessionals and professionals in the previous six (6) years.

To become certified, you must apply to the Department of State Health Services. There is no cost for certification.

What other states have certifications for CHWs?

Click HERE for more in-depth information on nationwide CHW programs.

  • There are 10 States that have a centralized certification process
  • There are 9 states that have a statewide curriculum
  • 21 states have a decentralized certification process
  • 9 states have no formal CHW activity

What are the core competencies?

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, CHWs and instructors have eight core competencies: Teaching, Communication, Advocacy, Service Coordination, Interpersonal Skills, Capacity Building, Organizational Skills, and Knowledge Base. The NCHWTC’s certification courses cover all eight core competencies.

What does it mean for CHW instructors to have an institutional affiliation?

The state of Texas requires that CHW instructors have an affiliation with a certified training center in order to deliver certified training courses. CHW instructors must be listed as an affiliated instructor with a certified training center in order to deliver training to CHWs or CHW instructors that counts as certified continuing education. For that reason, the NCHWTC strongly encourages students interested in the CHW instructor course to arrange an affiliation prior to completing the certification.

What is the National CHW Training Center?

The National Community Health Worker Training Center (NCHWTC) is housed within the Center for Community Health Development at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. The training center is certified by the Texas Department of State Health Services to provide certification courses and continuing education units for CHWs and Instructors.

What services does the NCHWTC provide?

Since 2001, the Center has provided over 110,900 hours of training to more than 4,000 CHWs, including 62,600+ certified training hours to 3,500+ CHWs. These services include:

  • In-person and online training courses
  • Courses in English or Spanish
  • Over 34 continuing education modules
  • Evaluation & Research
  • Technical assistance
  • Curriculum development

What is the difference between the CHW and CHW instructor certification courses?

  • While both courses are 160 hours, the content of those 160 hours differs between the CHW and CHW instructor certifications.
  • The CHW course focuses more on hands-on development of CHW core competencies, while the CHW instructor course emphasizes teaching and lesson plan development. This reflects the different position descriptions and responsibilities for CHWs and instructors.
  • More specifically, the CHW course consists of in-class hours, hours devoted to outside assignments and homework (applying information learned during class time), and hours for “hands-on” experiences for CHW students to practice using the core competency skills. It’s up to the student to find a setting to do their “hands-on” hours.
  • In contrast, the CHW Instructor course is similar in terms of class time and time to do outside assignments, but there’s a heavy focus on designing lesson plans and trainings. Additionally, CHW instructor students are encouraged to practice teaching using the materials/lesson plan they developed.

In short, while the actual number of hours for each certification is the same, what those hours consist of is a little different.

Can non-Texas residents complete a certification course?

The NCHWTC certification program is open to students from anywhere, but students can only apply for a certificate from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ CHW/Promotora Training and Certification Program if they are a Texas resident. All students will receive a certificate of completion from our training center, regardless of residency, while only Texas residents will be able to apply for a state certification.

When is the next CHW certification course?

  • April 1, 2019 – September 23, 2019
  • The course meets via webinar every Monday from 4:00 – 6:30 pm (central time).

When is the next CHW instructor certification course?

  • April 1, 2019 – September 28, 2019
  • This is a self-paced course.

How much does a certification course cost?

  • The CHW course costs $750.
  • The CHW instructor course costs $1200.

How can I pay for the course?

The National CHW Training Center accepts payment via personal check or credit card.

  • To make a payment for a course via check, please make a check payable to: Center for Community Health Development, Texas A&M University School of Public Health. Include 206006-29000 in the reference line. Mail the check to The Center for Community Health Development, Attn: Denise Martinez, 1266 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843.
  • To make a payment for a course online, please visit: https://nchwtc.tamhsc.edu/course-payment.
    • NOTE: You DO NOT need to register in the online payment system to make a payment. Please select “continue unregistered” in the checkout process.

Are there any scholarships available?

There are no scholarships or financial aid available. However, we offer a three part installment plan.

What if you are unable to attend the CHW class from 4-6:30 PM? Is attendance mandatory or can you take the class at another time?

  • Because the class is a webinar, attendance during class times (4-6:30 PM on Mondays) is required.
  • If you miss a single class, you will be able to watch the course recording and make up any assignments.
  • If you miss more than 4 classes, you will need to meet with an instructor to discuss whether it makes sense to continue the online coursework.

Does the NCHWTC provide job placement assistance for students in the CHW or instructor certification courses?

We do not currently have a job placement service, but we do put CHW students in touch with local and state resources.

What are CEUs?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are courses for CHWs and instructors seeking recertification with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

What online CEUs are available?

We offer 12 different CEU modules online for free – a total of 56 hours of training. All are available in English and Spanish. Students can register online and take the self-paced CEUs at any time: https://moodle.tamhsc.edu/course/index.php?categoryid=2.

Why are my videos on Moodle not loading?

In Chrome, you may see a notification that unsecure scripts have been blocked. If you override that block by clicking “allow”, the module should load. You may then receive a message that the version of Adobe Flash is out of date. If you indicate that the module should run anyway, the video should begin to play.

  • NOTE: Consider switching to Firefox, which reduced the chances of this occurring.