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Educational Programs

Community Health Worker


Program description

Community health workers teach the basics of good health and link people to health care and social service systems. Upon completion of MCTC’s 17-credit Community Health Worker (CMHW) certificate, you’ll be able to help improve health care access for underrepresented groups, the elderly and the chronically ill.

Program start and location

The entire CMHW certificate program is offered during the fall semester or can be split across spring and summer semesters.

Degree options and requirements 

Please select the award below to view the degree options and requirements in the college catalog.

What you will learn

  • You will be trained to work as a liaison between providers, clients and agencies.
  • You will develop critical thinking as a framework for solving problems and making decisions.
  • You will gain an understanding of how ethics influences client care.
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  • You will learn how to gather and record appropriate client and community information.
  • You’ll acquire knowledge of basic concepts of the most common diseases found in client populations.
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Points of pride

  • This curriculum was developed specifically for Minnesota’s unique populations and local health/human services organizations, preparing you for a more successful career experience.
  • With an 80-hour internship requirement, you’ll become familiar with many local health and social services agencies and grow comfortable working with people of all ages, needs and backgrounds.
  • This program’s 80 hours of internship may be applied to the internship requirement for an associate degree in the Human Services program.
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  • MCTC’s strong ties to local healthcare agencies provide great opportunities to apply your knowledge.
  • You’ll gain exposure to the health perspectives and needs of immigrant and minority populations through hands-on learning opportunities.
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Where you could work

  • Community health centers
  • Nonprofit clinics and agencies
  • State and local government agencies
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  • Social services agencies
  • Residential care centers
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Potential job titles

  • Social and human services assistant/specialist
  • Community health advocate
  • Eldercare advocate
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  • Weight loss advocate/coach
  • Diabetes coach
  • Addictions counselor assistant
  • Casework specialist
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Occupational outlook

The demand for community health workers is likely to increase as the population grows and ages. More trained workers will be needed at residential care facilities to help the elderly make appointments, coordinate referrals and follow medication instructions. Workers will also be needed at community-based and independent-living sites to assist the homeless, the mentally and physically disabled and those in substance abuse programs.

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In addition, many community health workers pursue work as doulas, helping to coach and support women during and after childbirth. There is also a growing need for workers to assist those who are diabetic and to provide support and encouragement to people in weight loss programs.

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Beyond-the-classroom opportunities

  • Students can master their teaching and presenting skills through 80 hours of internship activities at various health and social services agencies.
  • As part of the Community Health Worker certificate program, students will have many opportunities to promote good health in the community.


This program is part of the School of Nursing, Health Sciences and Public Services.

Additional resources

How innovative programs are opening pathways to good health-care jobs for inner-city youth

MinnPost Photo of MCTC Career Expo

"Initiatives like these are important for our region's economic success,” offers Eric Muschler, program officer at the McKnight Foundation, which helps fund both programs. “We're heading toward a labor shortage over the next 15 years as baby boomers retire, so training qualified workers in competitive sectors is crucial to the region's future.”

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MCTC’s Health programs will help you join the growing healthcare industry. Our programs provide hands-on training from experienced instructors, giving you the skills you need to succeed in these fields.

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