Courses & Programs

Community Health Worker Certificate

Rebecca Osborn Lewis

Chair, Foundations of Health

Health Sciences

Marieb 217

413.552.2426 (Tel)


What will you learn?

The Community Health Worker (CHW) Certificate Program  perform activities to promote, support, and protect the health of individuals, families and communities including client advocacy, health education, and health care system navigation. With some work experience built into the curriculum, students will require additional work hours prior to or after completion of the Certificate program, in order to qualify for state certification. 

PROGRAM OUTCOMES

Upon completion of this degree students will be able to:

  • Explain and apply each of the core competencies related to CHW Training/Practice or related work
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how ones culture affects health behavior
  • Identify basic professional standards of practice required for CHW or related work  
  • Explain the role of group dynamics, motivational interviewing, and other facilitation skills in the context of a CHW or related role 
  • Identify most pressing health conditions facing CHWs or related work in communities 
  • Discuss the role of a CHW in educating individuals, families, and communities regarding specific health topics
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of keyboarding and word processing  
  • Obtain the core educational components required to apply for State Certification as a CHW  

What will you do?

Continue your education or go directly into the workforce! Community health workers can:

  • Adovcate for the needs of the community they serve
  • Provide health education to individuals and groups
  • Help individuals and families navigate the health care system

Learn more at HCC's Advising, Career & Transfer Center and at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Mass.gov. 

Coursework and work experience may be used toward required hours for certification as a CHW by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

26 total credits

29 Program Requirements

Depending on course selection, 50% of this program may be completed online.


Introduction to the study and principles of behavior. Topics include general principles of scientific investigation; physiological bases of behavior including sensation, perception, learning, emotion, and motivation; development; individual differences; attitudes; and group dynamics. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101.
A scientific examination of human social phenomena. Major topics include interaction, statuses and roles, groups, social institutions, culture, socialization, social control, conforming and deviant behavior, collective behavior, social inequality, demography, social change, urbanism, industrialism and globalization.Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
A study of the interpersonal and communication skills fundamental for success in the workplace. Students will hone their professional style as they study topics including professional behavior, interpersonal interactions, and civility as they relate to the workplace.
An introductory, hands-on course designed to provide an overview of microcomputer hardware and software currently available and to provide hands-on exposure to internet, e-mail, operating system, word processing spreadsheets, database and graphics applications. Students will not receive credit for CSI 111 and BUS 115. Keyboarding skills preferred, but not required.
This course is for students who are exploring health careers and majors. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on their own skills, interests and values to determine how they might shape their educational and career paths. The course will help clarify student understanding of specific careers in the field of health. The course will also provide a basic introduction of the U.S. Healthcare system, including opportunities and challenges in this system. The objective of this course is to help students decide if a career in the health field is a good fit for them and learn the educational requirements of specific health career degrees.
Emphasizes development of group membership skills necessary for professional practice. Through group exercises students experience concepts being studied and are given the opportunity to develop basic skills in observing and understanding human behavior, including their own, in a group context. Basic concepts in group dynamics such as cohesion, interactional patterns, roles and responsibilities within a group, norms, status, group culture, and content vs. process will be discussed. In addition, the various stages of group development and the tasks involved in each will be introduced. An understanding of the leader's role in creating a facilitating environment during the different stages of group development will also be discussed. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or PSY 110(Same as COM 212)
This course provides an introduction to the core components of public health and public health practice, including an emphasis on population and prevention-based strategies for improving health. We will discuss how health care systems work together to implement effective public health practice, including the role of disease detection and management (epidemiology), health communication and strategies for evaluating these practices. The course will also cover methods for addressing non-communicable diseases, communicable disease, environmental diseases, injury, and disaster preparedness. Theoretical and practical perspectives of this course will be provide contemporary strategies for health promotion and disease prevention at local, state, and national levels. Students are required to complete a community-based project as part of this course.
This course is designed for students who are working toward a Community Health Worker Certificate. Students will explore the primary roles/responsibilities of Community Health Workers including: linking individuals and families to needed health, public health, and human services, playing important roles in increasing access to health care, and eliminating health disparities among vulnerable and under-served communities. Students will also learn about the Core Competencies as established by the Board of Certification of Community Health Workers at the Massachusetts Public Health. Additionally, students will spend time exploring and practicing theses ten core competencies and have the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on their own skills, interests and values with regard to a career path as a Community Health Worker. The completion of this course meets one basic requirement (core competencies) for the State of Massachusetts' certification process for Community Health Workers. This course is taken in the first semester of the Community Health Worker Certificate Program. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
This course presents the use of electronic health record system (EHR) in a health care setting. Students first learn the conceptual framework for the use of electronic health records in medical documentation and patient management. By working through exercises that simulate use of the EHR, students develop transferable skills needed to manage the usual software tasks for Direct Care Workers. This course assumes some basic keyboarding skills, however, practice time will also be provided to gain proficiency. This course is typically taken in the second semester of both the Direct Care Worker and Community Health Worker Certificate programs.Prerequisite: None
This course provides students with an understanding of common mental and behavioral health issues and chronic diseases that they are likely to encounter as Community Health Workers (CHWs). Students will learn about the often complex health and social conditions of people they may work with through the use of case studies, interactive exercises, and group discussion. The role of CHWs in prevention, treatment and care will also be examined. Topics covered will include mental/behavioral health, violence, substance abuse, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight management, asthma, and assessing the home environment. Staying positive and preventing vicarious trauma will also be explored. This course is typically taken in the second semester of the Community Health Worker Certificate. Prerequisite or Corequisite: HTH 104 Core Competencies for the CHW with a grade of C or better
This 3 credit class offers students an opportunity to learn in a work setting while obtaining practical experience in community health work (CHW). Students will contract for a minimum of 125 hours at an internship placement and participate in a weekly seminar to discuss their fieldwork and apply academic theory to practice. Students will work in settings that familiarize them with concrete examples of the core competencies of CHWs studied in HTH 104 and in class through readings and discussions. Students will also gain an understanding of industry and organizational structures, cultures, and ethics, and will strengthen their critical thinking, research, and problem solving skills. They will keep logs of their activities and complete other written assignments for class. Students will be able to apply these hours towards the required hours of work experience for state certification. Prerequisites: HTH 104 with a grade of C or better; BUS 115 or concurrent; permission of Department Chair


Students must be ENG 101 eligible in order to complete this certificate

SOC 110 can be substituted as pre-requisite with Department Chair approval for HSV 212.
More information on CHWs as a career path can be found at: Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of CHWs:  MDPH  and at the  MA Board of Certification of CHWs.

Criminal Offense Record Act (CORI), Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI)
Students wishing to transfer to any four-year program involving direct patient care, or taking general education electives that involve direct patient care, will be subject to a CORI/SORI check and review pursuant to the Criminal Record Information Act, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Section 172-178, and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 18a, Section 1, et seq., and regulations promulgated pursuant to such statues. Individuals with a court record/past conviction may be unable to participate in courses or transfer programs requiring direct patient care such as HTH 210-Field Experience course (if taken as an elective), or four-year nursing programs. The college policy can be found in the HCC Student Handbook.