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Rural Health Information Hub

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. Often, credentialing is necessary to participate in reimbursement for services provided by CHWs. Recent research found that some CHWs view certification and continuing education as a tool to help advance their careers and the CHW field as a whole, while others believe that certification is not necessary for their role or could disconnect them from the community.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) released an updated map of the status of state CHW certification standards. The map describes the status of state-level CHW certification programs as of February 2020 as follows:

  • State operated certification program: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon
  • Privately operated certification program: Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Missouri,
  • Certification program under development: Minnesota, Illinois
  • Certification program under consideration: New Hampshire, District of Columbia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Alaska

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.

A chart of state CHW models from the National Academy for State Health Policy highlights CHW education and certification information by state.

Resources to Learn More

Approved Community Health Worker Programs
Lists approved CHW training programs in Ohio and their contact information.
Organization(s): Ohio Board of Nursing

Community Health Worker Certificate (CHWC)
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) Toolkit
Compiles 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
Provides free eight week online and in-person training for CHWs and is offered quarterly in a various locations around Washington State.
Organization(s): Washington State Department of Health

MA Association of Community Health Workers
Provides information about the Massachusetts statewide network advocating the integration of CHWs into all aspects of health, behavioral health, and substance recovery services.

State Community Health Worker Models
Highlights state-specific activities to integrate CHWs into healthcare systems. Covers financing, education and training, certification, current legislation, organizations, workgroups, and their 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 authorizing a CHW core certification process and certification to practice. Describes laws related to curriculum development, scope of practice, reimbursement, and CHW participation in managed or team-based care models.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 6/2016

Background on Statewide Community Health Worker (CHW) Certification
Describes considerations for statewide CHW certification.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention