FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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.

What do CHWs do?

  • Educate community members on health knowledge and behaviors
  • Raise community awareness of available resources
  • Interact with populations that are underserved by existing services
  • Bridge cultural gaps and provide translation between languages
  • Facilitate increased access to health care and social services
  • Assist with patient navigation
  • Provide informal counseling, social support, and advocacy

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?

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

Since 2001, the Center has provided over 68,000 hours of training to more than 1,800 CHWs, including 20,000+ certified training hours to 1,400+ CHWs.

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 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 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 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.