Settings for CHW Training and Education

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Health care workers looking at a computer.The following are some settings in which CHW training and education are offered:

  • Employers
  • Community colleges
  • Community-based organizations
  • Employer-based consortia
  • Area Health Education Centers (AHECs)


Currently, employers provide most CHW training post-hire. As standards emerge, however, employers increasingly find it attractive to hire CHWs who have already received core skills training from a central source, such as the others listed here.

Dozens of community colleges now offer individual courses, certificate programs, and even associate degrees for CHWs. Certificates are generally equivalent to 10 to 24 credit hours, but not all curricula are offered for academic credit. The U.S. Department of Education funded a recent project involving some 30 colleges in defining promising practices in CHW education.

In a number of states, community-based organizations, such as the Gateway to Care collaborative in Houston, and other employer- based consortia, also offer CHW training for multiple organizations.

Although many Area Health Education Centers, or AHECs, around the country have been active in CHW training for years, most states’ AHECs have not been involved. However, the Affordable Care Act specifically mandates that these centers include CHWs in interdisciplinary training for health-related professions. You may wish to invite your state’s AHEC program to engage in policy and systems change efforts if it is not already involved.