A couple females discussing the program in an office
Community Health Worker (CHW)

Frequently Asked Questions

For Students

The cost for the required 16 units for the Certificate of Achievement completed in two semesters is less than $900, not counting books. Students must purchase required books for CHW courses. HS130 and HS131 use the same textbook (Foundations for Community Health Workers, Second Edition) which costs between $40- $80 (used copies are available for less on Amazon and other online sites). When possible and based on need, we also provide students with a free copy of the textbook to borrow during their studies through our textbook loan program

  • Depending on your schedule and availability for school, most students can complete a certificate in 2-3 semesters of course work. We encourage you to pace yourself for academic and professional success, and not to enroll in too many courses in any one semester on top of family, work, and other life responsibilities. For students who want to get an Associate's degree or a Bachelor's degree, we highly recommend starting to take the required English (including ESL, if relevant) and Math sequences at the college. You can take these courses when you are enrolled in the CHW Certificate Program, if your schedule allows. Starting early on the English sequence in particular is helpful for a more efficient transfer later, and it also can support students to get the most out of the reading and writing assignments in the CHW certificate programs.

  • Non-credit Certificate of Completion

    Cabrillo College Health Sciences is excited to announce the opportunity for community members to achieve the CHW Certificate of Completion as tuition-free courses to advance career and life skills. The courses required are:

    • HS430, Introduction to Community Health Work

    • HS431, Community Health Worker Skills

Read More

The state and national CHW communities of practice are spaces for professional development, sharing knowledge, and advocacy for the profession. Visit their sites to learn more.

For Employers

  • Be innovative with the job description, and focus on talents. What TALENTS are you looking for in the individual? e.g. "The ability to calmly react to a burning building; Being OK in a flexible environment, as we learn together" etc… What would make this person a better fit for Head Start, rather than a structured health care system? What are the specifics that are important to the population that this person will be working with? Use plain language; e.g. "Knowledge of children and families either through a formal setting, or through parenting, grandparenting, fostering, etc. children yourself" Specify that the candidate possess CHW Certification or the ability to possess CHW Certification within the first six months of employment.

It is most important that a CHW is the best MATCH to the organization AND population-at-need. (Sometimes, those aren't one in the same…) Training does two things, 1) Gives them those hard-skills to perform their job well and 2) Gives them a better understanding, or creates, the passion to help their self-identified community/culture. "If I have a woman…a wife of a rancher…who makes dinner every Sunday for her family of 22, she could possibly relate very well to another female, who also has a large family and dinner every Sunday— regardless of race and ethnicity. Sometimes, it is the situation that dictates who is needed as a support. " Now…the tough part is finding that person who relates to 90% of the situations…