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State Certification Programs

Some states require community health workers (CHWs) to meet training or certification standards. Credentialing and certification programs are often implemented by a department of health or department of public health. Other state programs are implemented by a department of human services, board of nursing, or third-party entity.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) tracks the current status of state CHW training/certification standards. The current status of state-level CHW training and certification standards is summarized below (updated January 2017).

  • State has a CHW training/certification program: Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, South Carolina, and Washington.
  • State has laws/regulations establishing CHW certification program requirements: Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas.
  • State has a statute creating an entity for establishing CHW program requirements: Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
  • State has a training/certification program and state law licensing CHW businesses: Nevada.
  • State has introduced legislation: New Jersey.

Texas was the first state to develop legislation to govern CHW activities in 1999. The Texas Department of State Health Services offers a Promotor(a) or CHW certification program.

Alaska does not have state-run CHW training/certification. The state has a statute that provides grants for third-parties to conduct training for community health aides, who provide health services and home visits. Alaska's Community Health Aide Program dates back to the 1960s.

Another resource from the Connecticut Health Foundation provides an overview of each state's CHW program status and certification/credentialing requirements.

Resources to Learn More

Approved Community Health Worker Training Programs in Ohio
Current list of approved CHW training programs in Ohio.
Organization(s): Ohio Board of Nursing

Chicago Community Health Workers Local Network - Training and Events
Lists CHW training and certificate programs in the Chicago area.

Community Health Worker Certificate Curriculum
Lists the curriculum (courses and descriptions) required for the Ohio Board of Nursing Community Health Workers certificate.
Organization(s): Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Community Health Worker (CHW) Certification and Training: A National Survey of Regionally and State-Based Programs
Provides the results of a qualitative study of states and a national overview of state policy and state involvement in the standardized CHW training and certification.
Organization(s): Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Date: 5/2005

Community Health Worker Toolkit
A compilation of reports, summaries, courses, and other information regarding CHW state laws and regulations and other topics.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Community Health Worker Training and Certification Programs in the United States: Findings From a National Survey
Data from a national survey of CHW training and certification programs was used to analyze trends and various approaches to professional development in selected CHW programs in the United States.
Author(s): Kash, B.A., May, M.L., & Tai-Seale, M.
Organization(s): School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Date: 1/2007

Community Health Worker Training System
Provides free training for CHWs. The training involves both online and in-person trainings. It is offered four times per year in seven regions through Washington state.
Organization(s): Washington State Department of Health

Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW)
Massachusetts statewide network of CHWs from all disciplines.

MDHC Clinical Initiatives – Community Health Workers
Describes rural and urban initiatives in the state of Mississippi to implement CHW programs. The Mississippi State Department of Health is working with the Tougaloo College/Central Mississippi Area Health Education Center (CMAHEC) to develop a standardized CHW certification program.
Organization(s): Mississippi State Department of Health

Report on Community Health Worker Programs
Provides information on selected state CHW programs, including titles used, reimbursement policies, training/certifications, and curriculum. States reviewed include: Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Colorado, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Author(s): Dickson, L., & Yahna, R.
Organization(s): Center for Rural Health
Date: 6/2012

State Community Health Worker Models
This map highlights state-specific activity to integrate CHWs into health care systems in key areas including financing, education and training, certification, and state definitions, roles and scope of practice. 
Organization(s): National Academy for State Health Policy

State Law Fact Sheet: A Summary of State Community Health Worker Laws
Identifies state laws related to Community Health Workers. Includes laws authorizing a CHW core certification process and CHW certification to practice. Also identifies laws related to curriculum development, scope of practice, CHWs in managed or team-based care models, and reimbursement.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 6/2016