FAQs about the Community Health Worker Certificate Program
A conversation with Johnjé Jasper, BSN, Community Health Worker Certificate Program Administrator:
Does becoming a Community Health Worker (CHW) sound like something that might be of interest to you? I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so allow me to answer them here.
When I was an emergency room nurse in Dayton, I learned a lot from my patients and what their needs are. I loved being on the frontlines of the community and getting to know the whole person, outside of just being a patient, so I could understand their needs and obstacles. This led me to further explore what resources are available in the Dayton area.
I’m excited and honored to now take that vital information to better serve communities such as Trotwood and Dayton through the work of community health workers (CHWs)—people just like you who care and want to connect with others.
This program might be bringing up some questions in you like:
- What new information would I learn that would help my community?
- How can I juggle all my responsibilities and my schedule with school?
- Where could I work afterwards?
- How will the program help me succeed?
If you have a drive to break down barriers that many of us face, this is the best first step to help you answer these questions for yourself. Please read the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you make an informed decision.
Who can be a Community Health Worker (CHW)?
If you’re at least 18 years old with a high school degree or GED, you are eligible to be a part of this program. Whether you’re an environmental services worker, stay-at-home parent, food service employee, warehouse worker, or are in between jobs, what matters is your desire to help. You don’t need a background in healthcare or a college degree. As a CHW, you are giving back to the community that you may have come from. You are investing in the livelihood of the clients you serve through relationships and advocacy.
What will I be able to do as a CHW?
A certified CHW is part educator, part social worker, and part nursing assistant. A CHW can take on a variety of job titles such as:
- Community Care Coordinator (Connector)
- Community Health Advisor (Advocate, Educator, Promoter)
- Community Resource Navigation Specialist
- Community Health Representative
- Community Integrator (Navigator)
- Health Coach (Navigator)
- Home Visitor
- Lifestyle Change Worker
- Maternal/Infant Health Outreach Specialist
- Neighborhood Health Advisor
- Outreach Worker/Specialist
- Patient Navigator
- Peer Counselor/Educator
As you can see, your certification has the potential to expose you to more employment possibilities, depending on the community’s needs.
How Much Does the Program Cost?
There will be no cost for the students associated with this program! This program is funded by a grant from The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant provides full tuition for students in each cohort as well as funding for some wrap-around services to alleviate barriers such as transportation or childcare. We want each student to be successful in all aspects of their lives!
What is the Schedule and Timeline of Classes?
I am purposefully scheduling classes on weekdays during the evening, so working adults and individuals who care for children can be a part of this program! Classes will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 5:30p-8:30p. The certificate can be completed in 14 weeks during the course of each semester at Kettering College. The certification program consists of about 100 hours of classroom learning and 130 hours of practicum experience. Students must complete the required hours to be eligible for certification by the Ohio Board of Nursing after successful completion of the course.
Where are the Classes Held?
In-person classes will be held at the Victor J Cassano Health Center, for easy accessibility and unique connection to the heart of Dayton.
Each practicum (hands-on) experience will be completed at a local community partner site. Kettering College assists students to identify and complete the required community-based practicum with local hospitals, health care providers and nonprofit organizations. Some of those partners include:
Good Neighbor House
Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
St. Mary Development Corp
Ebenezer Healthcare Access
St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter
Rocking Horse Community Health Center
Practicum may be held during normal business hours and is coordinated by each site. Students may not miss class for practicum experience.
What Will I be Learning in the CHW Certification Program?
You’ll learn basic health knowledge for all age groups, how to obtain vital signs, and professional skills such as how to do a home visit and communicate with a provider. In short, you’ll learn basic health knowledge and communication skills to best advocate for the clients you’ll see. Better health for underserved communities is the goal, and part of this for a CHW means educating clients and assisting them to access resources to first get their basic human needs met.
What are the Admission Criteria?
Applicants qualified for admission must:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Possess a high school diploma or GED
- Be a United States Citizen or possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States (per the NOFO)
- Demonstrate commitment to improving access for underserved communities- Applicants currently living in West Dayton/Trotwood will be considered with the highest priority.
Students accepted into the program must maintain all admission requirements from the time of acceptance until their program start date.
How will you Help me Succeed?
The Office of Student Success will assign an academic coach to each student to provide support throughout the semester, including writing assistance and tutoring services. The Director of Career Services will assist with workforce readiness such as resume building and mock interviews. They will work closely with CHW Program leadership to host a job fair and assist students with job placement.
A large part of the grant funding is specific to providing support to participants in the form of wraparound services including transportation and childcare. Students will also receive a laptop to use during the program.
Our aim is to alleviate barriers and allow the whole person to succeed.
What are the Next Steps?
I genuinely appreciate the time you took to read this FAQ page and your interest in Kettering College’s new CHW Program. I truly hope you’ll be a part of history and consider applying to our program. The inaugural class of CHWs from Kettering College will graduate in December 2023 and serve the greater Dayton community. I am excited to see how the work you will do will change the city and its residents, as well as how they will change you.
Johnjé Jasper, BSN, RN, C-CHW