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Top 11 Community Health Worker Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications for community health workers, including their benefits and requirements.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 20 min read

Certifications are important for a community health worker in the job market because they demonstrate that the individual has achieved a certain level of proficiency and experience in their field. By obtaining certifications, community health workers can prove to potential employers that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in their role. Certifications also provide employers with assurance that an individual is committed to continuing their professional development. Finally, certifications can open up additional job opportunities and may even provide access to higher salaries or career advancement opportunities.

The purpose of this article is to review top certifications for Community Health Workers and explain how they can enhance a Community Health Worker's career.

What are Community Health Worker Certifications?

Community health worker certification is a credential that recognizes an individual’s knowledge and skills related to providing community health services. It is designed to ensure that individuals who work in the field of public health have the necessary qualifications and experience to do so. Certification typically requires successful completion of an accredited program, passing a competency exam, and meeting other requirements such as continuing education credits or clinical experience.

Having a certified community health worker can help provide better care for individuals in marginalized communities. These workers can help bridge gaps between healthcare providers and underserved populations by providing culturally-competent care and promoting access to resources and services that may not be available otherwise. Certified community health workers also serve as advocates for their patients, helping them navigate complex healthcare systems and advocating on their behalf when needed. With their knowledge of public health issues, they can play an important role in raising awareness about disease prevention, healthy lifestyles, and other relevant topics. In addition, certified community health workers can play a valuable role in data collection for research purposes, providing valuable insight into how best to serve the needs of their communities.

Pro Tip: When considering a community health worker certification, make sure to research the program thoroughly and ensure that it is accredited and recognized by your local health department or other relevant governing bodies. This will help ensure that you receive the best training and credentials necessary to begin your career as a community health worker.

Related: What does a Community Health Worker do?

Top 11 Community Health Worker Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Community Health Workers today.

1. Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW)

A Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW) is a healthcare professional who provides health education and outreach to underserved and vulnerable populations. CCHWs are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking access to health services. They provide culturally sensitive, evidence-based information on topics such as nutrition, physical activity, mental health, and chronic disease management. CCHWs also help individuals navigate the healthcare system by connecting them with appropriate resources.

In order to become certified as a CCHW, an individual must complete an approved training program that meets certain standards set by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The length of these programs can vary from several weeks to several months depending on the specific requirements of each program.

To become certified as a CCHW, individuals must pass a written exam administered by either the NCCA or another approved certification agency. To take the exam, applicants must submit an application fee and provide proof of completion of their training program.

The cost of becoming certified as a CCHW can vary depending on the specific requirements of each program but typically ranges between $200-$500 USD. This cost may include both the application fee and any other fees associated with taking the exam or completing additional educational requirements.

2. Certified Community Health Promotion Specialist (CCHPS)

The Certified Community Health Promotion Specialist (CCHPS) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved the highest level of proficiency in the field of community health promotion. The CCHPS designation is awarded to those who demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practices necessary for successful health promotion programming.

It typically takes about two years to complete all the requirements for the CCHPS certification. The first step is to complete a minimum of 45 hours of approved continuing education credits in community health promotion topics, including but not limited to: public health, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco prevention and cessation, chronic disease prevention and management, mental health, substance abuse prevention and intervention, environmental health, and social determinants of health. After completing these hours, applicants must then pass an examination administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

The cost for obtaining the CCHPS certification varies depending on where you take your courses and other associated fees. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1,000 USD.

Once certified as a CCHPS professional, individuals are eligible to apply for jobs in various settings such as hospitals, schools, government agencies and non-profit organizations. They may also be able to pursue additional opportunities such as consulting or teaching positions within their field.

3. Certified Public Health Educator (CPHE)

Certified Public Health Educator (CPHE) is a professional credential for public health educators. It is awarded by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC). The purpose of the certification is to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in public health education.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational requirements and pass an exam. Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree in public health or a related field from an accredited college or university, plus two years of full-time work experience in the field of public health education.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and costs $250 to take. The exam covers topics such as epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, community assessment and program planning, communication strategies, and evaluation methods.

Once an applicant passes the exam they will receive their certification which is valid for five years before needing to be renewed. To renew their certification applicants must complete 75 continuing education credits over the five year period.

4. Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who demonstrate mastery of the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists as outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). The CHES credential is designed to enhance the professional practice of health education specialists and provide recognition to those who meet national standards.

The CHES exam is offered twice a year, in April and October. To become certified, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and submit an application with all required documentation. This includes proof of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, proof of at least 25 hours of continuing education credits in health education within the past five years, and completion of an approved field experience.

The cost to take the CHES exam varies depending on where you live. In the United States, it costs $250 for members of NCHEC and $350 for non-members. There may also be additional fees associated with submitting your application materials.

5. National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) is a non-profit organization that provides credentialing and certification for health education professionals. It was established in 1995 to ensure that health educators are qualified and competent to practice in the field. The NCHEC offers three levels of credentials: Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), and Doctoral Certified Health Education Specialist (DCHES).

To become certified, individuals must meet certain educational requirements and pass an exam. The CHES exam is offered twice a year, typically in April and October. To be eligible to take the exam, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in health education or a related field from an accredited college or university. Applicants must also have completed at least 25 hours of continuing education credits in the past five years.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on whether you are taking it as part of a group or individually. For individual applicants, the cost is $200 plus any applicable taxes or fees. Group applicants can expect to pay around $150 per person plus any applicable taxes or fees.

Once you pass the exam, you will receive your certificate within six weeks after passing the exam. Your certificate will be valid for five years from the date of issuance, after which time you will need to renew your certification by completing additional continuing education credits and paying a renewal fee of $50 plus any applicable taxes or fees.

6. Certified in Population Health (CPH)

Certified in Population Health (CPH) is a professional certification offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in population health, which is defined as the study of health and disease patterns across populations. The CPH certification requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in population health through an examination process.

The CPH exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as epidemiology, biostatistics, public health systems and services, environmental health, health policy and management, social and behavioral sciences, ethics, law and communication. Candidates must pass the exam with a score of at least 70% in order to receive their certification.

It typically takes about three months to complete the CPH exam process. Candidates must first submit an application for the exam along with any necessary fees or documents. Once approved, they will be given access to study materials and resources that will help them prepare for the exam. On the day of the exam, candidates will have four hours to complete all 150 questions.

The cost for taking the CPH exam varies depending on factors such as where you take it and whether you are a member of NBPHE or not. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 to take the CPH exam without any discounts or membership fees applied.

7. Certified Community Paramedicine Practitioner (CCPP)

Certified Community Paramedicine Practitioner (CCPP) is a certification program for paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) that provides additional training in community health and healthcare delivery. CCPP certified practitioners are trained to provide expanded services to their communities outside of traditional emergency care, such as home visits, health screenings, and chronic disease management. The certification is designed to help bridge the gap between emergency responders and primary care providers by providing more comprehensive care in the community setting.

The CCPP certification program typically takes about one year to complete. It consists of two components: an online course followed by an intensive field experience. The online course covers topics such as public health, community health assessment, patient education, and clinical skills. During the field experience, students gain hands-on experience working with patients in their local communities under the supervision of a preceptor.

To become certified as a CCPP practitioner, individuals must first meet all eligibility requirements set forth by their state or national regulatory body. This includes having current licensure as an EMT or paramedic, completing the required educational courses, passing a written examination administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), and completing a minimum number of hours of field experience in a community setting.

The cost of becoming certified as a CCPP practitioner varies depending on where you live and which certifying body you choose to use. In most cases, there is an initial fee for registering for the online course and exam plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam itself. Additionally, some states may require applicants to pay for additional continuing education credits or other related costs before they can become certified.

8. National Board of Public Health Examiners Certification (NBPHE-C)

The National Board of Public Health Examiners Certification (NBPHE-C) is a voluntary certification program that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of competency in the practice of public health. It is designed to assess the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for effective practice in public health. The NBPHE-C is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC).

In order to become certified, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an examination. Eligibility requirements include having a master’s degree or higher in public health or related field from an accredited college or university, at least five years of professional experience in public health, and completion of at least 45 hours of continuing education in public health within the past five years.

The NBPHE-C exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions covering topics such as epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health science, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration, law and ethics, and leadership and management. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

The cost for the NBPHE-C exam varies depending on whether you are taking it for initial certification or recertification. Initial certification costs $400 plus a $50 application fee; recertification costs $250 plus a $50 application fee.

Once certified, individuals must maintain their certification by completing 45 hours of continuing education every five years. Renewal fees are also required every five years: $100 for initial renewal and $75 for subsequent renewals.

9. International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners Certification (IBCLC-C)

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLC-C) is a certification program that provides recognition to individuals who have met the highest standard of lactation care. This certification is designed for health care professionals who are committed to providing comprehensive, evidence-based care and support to breastfeeding families. The IBCLC-C credential demonstrates that the individual has achieved an advanced level of knowledge and expertise in the field of lactation consulting.

In order to become certified as an IBCLC-C, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an examination administered by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). The eligibility requirements include having a minimum of 90 hours of approved lactation education and at least 1000 hours of clinical practice experience in the past 5 years. Once these requirements are met, applicants can register for the exam which consists of multiple choice questions, case studies, and essay questions.

The cost for taking the exam varies depending on where you are located but typically ranges from $500-$700 USD. It usually takes around 6 months to complete all the necessary steps before taking the exam, however this time frame may vary depending on each individual’s circumstances. After passing the exam, individuals will receive their official IBCLC-C certification which is valid for five years.

10. American Association of Drugless Practitioners Certification in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Coaching (AADP-CNWC)

The American Association of Drugless Practitioners Certification in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Coaching (AADP-CNWC) is a certification program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice holistic nutrition and wellness coaching. The program provides students with an understanding of how to use nutrition and lifestyle modifications to help clients achieve optimal health and well-being.

It takes approximately 6 months to complete the AADP-CNWC certification program. During this time, students will take courses covering topics such as nutrition fundamentals, health assessments, lifestyle management, and more. Students must also complete a practicum project in order to demonstrate their mastery of the material.

To get certified through the AADP-CNWC program, individuals must first apply for admission by submitting an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Once accepted into the program, students will be required to pay tuition fees in order to enroll in courses.

The cost of the AADP-CNWC certification program varies depending on the number of courses taken. Generally speaking, it costs around $2,500-$3,000 for tuition fees plus additional expenses for books and materials.

11. American Association of Integrative Medicine Certification in Integrative Medicine and Wellness Coaching (AAIM-CIWC).

The American Association of Integrative Medicine Certification in Integrative Medicine and Wellness Coaching (AAIM-CIWC) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge, skills, and expertise in the field of integrative medicine and wellness coaching. The certification requires successful completion of an 80-hour program that covers topics such as holistic health assessment, nutrition, lifestyle management, stress management, communication skills, and wellness coaching. The program also includes hands-on experience in working with clients to develop individualized plans for achieving optimal health and well-being.

It typically takes six months to complete the program and receive the AAIM-CIWC certification. During this time, students are required to attend online classes or workshops, complete assignments and exams, participate in mentoring sessions with experienced professionals, and submit evidence of their work.

To get the AAIM-CIWC certification, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements including having at least two years of experience working in the field of integrative medicine or wellness coaching; completing an 80-hour program approved by the AAIM; passing an exam administered by the AAIM; submitting evidence of their work; and paying a fee for application processing.

The cost for the AAIM-CIWC certification varies depending on whether you choose to take an online or onsite course. Online courses typically cost between $1,500-$2,000 while onsite courses can range from $2,500-$3,000.

Do You Really Need a Community Health Worker Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your individual goals and the specific requirements of the job you are interested in. If you are looking for a career as a community health worker, then having a certificate can be beneficial. Not only does it demonstrate your commitment to the profession and your knowledge of key topics, but it can also open up more employment opportunities.

Having a community health worker certificate may also help you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs. Employers may view this certification as evidence that you have taken additional steps to learn about the profession and stay informed about current trends in public health. This could give you an advantage over other applicants who may not have pursued additional education or training in the field.

In addition, some employers may require that you possess a certain level of certification before they will consider hiring you. For example, many state governments require that community health workers hold a certification from an accredited program before they can practice in their state. Without meeting these requirements, it is unlikely that you would be considered for a position as a community health worker.

Ultimately, whether or not you should pursue a certificate in community health work depends on your own personal goals and interests. If you are passionate about helping underserved communities and making a difference in people’s lives, then obtaining a certificate is likely worth the effort and cost associated with it. However, if you are simply looking for an entry-level job in the field or do not have access to an accredited program within your area, then pursuing further education may not be necessary for achieving your goals.

Related: Community Health Worker Resume Examples

FAQs About Community Health Worker Certifications

1. What is a Community Health Worker (CHW) certification?

Answer: A Community Health Worker (CHW) certification is a formal recognition of an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities as a CHW. It is earned upon successful completion of a training program that meets the standards set forth by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

2. How do I become certified as a Community Health Worker?

Answer: To become certified as a CHW, you must complete an approved training program and pass an exam administered by an accredited certifying organization. You can find more information on the requirements for becoming certified here: https://www.nccpa.net/chw-certification-requirements

3. What are the benefits of being certified as a Community Health Worker?

Answer: Becoming certified as a CHW can help to demonstrate your commitment to professional excellence and your knowledge of community health topics to employers or clients. It may also provide access to networking opportunities with other professionals in the field and potential career advancement opportunities.

4. How long does it take to become certified as a Community Health Worker?

Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified varies depending on the specific program you enroll in, but typically it takes around 12 weeks or less to complete the required courses, exams and other requirements for certification.

5. How much does it cost to get certified as a Community Health Worker?

Answer: The cost for certification depends on which certifying organization you choose, but most programs range from $200-$500 USD depending on the type of coursework required and any additional fees associated with taking the exam or obtaining continuing education credits.