Community Health Worker with Behavioral Health

Program Info

  • Length Of Study:

    9 months (3 quarters) 

  • Career Level:

    Entry Level

  • Online Type:

    Asynchronous and Synchronous 

About

Community health workers (CHW) with a behavioral health emphasis is one of the fastest growing jobs in America because CHWs play such an important role in the health of people and communities. CHWs are great at engaging people in the prevention, management and treatment of their health issues because they are trusted by the people they serve. CHWs are defined by who they are and what they do rather than their titles, as they are known by more than 100 different labels, including health educators, navigators, health coaches, and many others. A CHW with behavioral health certificate prepares you to work as part of a team to help people who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, trauma, anxiety, depression, substance use and other conditions. As a CHW with behavioral health you will be ready to work in many kinds of settings with different kinds of people, including hospitals, primary care practices, community clinics, schools and many more.

A CHW with behavioral health can work with clients to address barriers that traditionally underserved communities face when seeking care and services. They do this by providing people with information, supporting them to follow through with case plans, acting as a key connector between patients and their care providers, and helping people know what to do if they have a need. CHWs can also provide a vital bridge to community services for hospitals and clinics treating patients with needs beyond the medical setting.

Earning a certificate as a community health worker with behavioral health prepares you for a wide variety of jobs providing direct support to people who need it and can start you on a journey to obtaining your bachelors degree, which could eventually lead to a master’s or license in behavioral health.

Length of Study

9 months (3 quarters) 

Prerequisites

N/A

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program the student will be able to: 

  • Describe the role of community health workers in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations and health disparities and explain the impact of racial and ethnic disparities in health diagnoses and treatment of diseases.  
  • With cultural humility and an understanding of behavior change, engage and communicate with individuals about their physical or behavioral health to recognize conditions, access care, and participate fully in prevention and care plans.  
  • Identify and effectively connect with available community resources to make referrals that support the patient care plan and address social determinants of health and inform the integrated or collaborative team of availability and make recommendations.   
  • Understand the impact of trauma on the individual, oneself, and community, the health system response, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the role of the CHW in preventing, treating and healing trauma and ACEs.  
  • Describe how individual health is shaped by family, community, neighborhood, and wider social conditions (such as education, poverty, housing, safety, transportation, and environmental quality), and the impact they as a CHW can have.  
  • Participate effectively on a collaborative or integrated health team for better patient care, including learning how to work with licensed providers and other team members of varied backgrounds and training levels.  
  • Listen reflectively and practice motivational interviewing to more effectively work with both patients and colleagues on collaborative teams.  
  • Effectively manage their time in many different environments, including those that are fast-paced and or require multi-tasking.   
  • Professionally and effectively represent employers in all internal and external communications in the fulfilling of their duties as a CHW.  
  • Describe ethical and legal issues (e.g., confidentiality, informed consent, boundaries, competence) that are unique to behavioral health, unlicensed care provision, and collaborative practice.  
  • Learn how to use four basic screens/assessments with patients, including two for behavioral health.  
  • Describe the role of data in their work as CHW and in-patient care and team practice, and know how to track, report, share and utilize data.  
  • Identify behavioral health diagnosis and treatment issues for specific populations and explain the etiology, signs and symptoms, complications, medications, and treatment modalities for physical and mental health conditions.  
  • Describe the basic organization of healthcare and public health systems (including specifically behavioral health care); describe issues of access, quality, and cost in the healthcare system, especially behavioral health; and understand the role of the CHW within that system.  
  • Identify the basic payment mechanisms for providing health services and the basic insurance mechanisms for paying for health services, and the disparate impact on different populations.  
  • Manage their own individual stress, workplace stress, and be able to teach self-awareness and stress prevention and management to patients. 

Online Type

Asynchronous and Synchronous 

Occupation

  • Wellness coordinator 
  • Community health advisor 
  • Health educator 
  • Health coach 
  • Community resource connection specialist 
  • Community outreach specialist 
  • Community health program analyst 
  • Community lead 
  • Community service worker 
  • Referral specialist 
  • Health representative 

Career Level

Entry Level

Student Cost

  • In recognition of the impact of the pandemic on our communities, Futuro Health is waiving tuition for all programs and courses at this time.
  • $100 non-refundable registration fee.
  • You have the option to join SEIU-UHW's Healthcare Justice Division to receive added benefits. There is a $20 per month fee if interested, waived for current SEIU-UHW members.

Fast Facts

Job Outlook

California: 16% increase from 2019-2029 

Entry level salary$26,600 - $77,000  

Projected job openings between 2018-2028 is 8,200 

Work Environment

Hospitals, private practices, community behavioral health clinics, County behavioral/mental health, schools, community-based organizations, Veteran's hospitals, prisons 

Career Opportunities

If a student does not want to pursue a bachelor’s degree, many organizations offer a career CHW path, including leading to being a supervisor or manager of other CHWs. CHW with behavioral health certificate can be applied towards a bachelor's degree at Mercy College of Health Sciences in the health sciences. Experience as a CHW with behavioral health can prepare the student to continue beyond a bachelor's degree towards a master's degree in social workcounselingfamily therapy, and many others There are many licensed professions available in behavioral health, including Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and others.  

Duties

Community health workers with behavioral health provide culturally appropriate behavioral health education and information, help people get and utilize the care they needgive informal counseling and guidance on health behaviors, administer basic screens and assessments, collect and report patient data, provide patient cultural and linguistic information to medical care teamsadvocate for individual health needs for resources and care, and may provide some basic direct services such as blood pressure screening.  

Enrollment

Minimum Qualifications

  • Must be 18 years of age.
  • Be willing to certify that they have a high school diploma/GED.
  • Interest in a career that requires working primarily directly with patients.
  • Interest in a career that works closely with communities and community resources.
  • Enough proficiency in written and spoken English to be an effective part of a care team.
  • Legally allowed to work in the United States.
  • Ability to sit and stand for prolonged periods of time.
  • Be computer and internet proficient.
  • Have home access to reliable high-speed internet.
  • Have a working laptop or desktop computer that is less than 7 years old. NOTE: Tablets and Chromebooks will not work.
  • Must have a webcam.
  • Be willing to commit 3-4 hours per day (estimated at 20+ hours per week) of study time.
  • Strong attention to detail.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ability to document work with clients/patients using online data entry.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • After completing the program, (and after the pandemic) you must have the ability to travel locally.
  • Strong time management skills, the ability to manage multiple tasks at the same time and to follow through to completion.
  • Compassion and empathy.
  • Flexibility and adaptability.
  • Ability to stay calm and support others when under stress.
  • Familiarity with community resources and how to access them.
  • Personal or professional experience with trauma, adversity, and behavioral health issues.
  • To meet the needs of the community, bilingual candidates are preferred.
  • Be referred by a member of SEIU-UHW who is in good standing (if you are not already a member of SEIU-UHW).

Additional Requirements

Additional requirements to consider before enrolling in Futuro Health’s Community Health Worker with Behavioral Health Program:  

  • English fluency: It is recommended you have moderate written and spoken English fluency to successfully complete the course.