Recognized Core Competencies

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A list of ways to identify and resolve problems from a whiteboard.Recognized Core Competencies for CHWs include:

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teaching
  • Service coordination
  • Organization
  • Advocacy
  • Capacity building
  • Knowledge base


The list of core competencies that we are about to review is steadily gaining acceptance around the country, but opinions vary as to the extent of training in each of these areas that constitutes a fully qualified CHW.

We should also note that each of the CHW roles and models of care reviewed in Session 1 requires multiple competencies: no one area of competency corresponds directly to one role or function or to one model.

This list of core competencies is based on findings from the 1998 National Community Health Advisor Study. The systems of CHW credentialing that we will review in Session 4 have relied to some extent on these competencies, although each credentialing system defines each competency somewhat differently.