About the CHW, PPHW, and YW Certificates

The Community Health Worker Certificate At CCSF

The Community Health Worker Certificate Program at City College of San Francisco is a 17 unit program, designed to prepare individuals for work in community-oriented health and social service fields. Community Health Workers provide health education, information and referrals and advocacy in both clinical and community settings.

The Community Health Worker (CHW) program offers two related certificates as well:  the Post-Prison Health Worker (PPHW) and the Youth Worker (YW). The Youth Worker program offered through the CHW program focuses on organizing, advocacy, counseling and education, and mainly focuses on working with youth in the community and through local agencies.  The Child Development & Family Studies Department offers a related Child Development Youth Worker certificate, focused on child development, in-school and after-school settings.

Whether the certificate you receive is the CHW, the PPHW, or the YW certificate, the general term for people in this profession is Community Health Workers (CHWs).  The CHW serves as a two-way bridge between communities and resources. They play a vital role in reducing health disparities among underserved communities by reducing barriers to access in a culturally appropriate way.

All of our classes are offered in the evenings and the certificate takes approximately 2 semesters (Fall & Spring) to complete. Credits are applicable towards a CCSF Associate Degree and are transferable to San Francisco State University.


Career Opportunities

Who are Community Health Workers?

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Job opportunities are expanding for Community Health Workers (CHW), with the majority of growth being in public health and community based organizations.

CHWs work in many areas of health care using various skills.  Half of them work in clinics and half of them work in community based agencies.  They have such titles such as health worker, outreach worker, community health outreach worker (CHOW), public health aide, case manager/case worker, and promotora, health ambassador, and counselor/peer counselor amongst others.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health accepts the CHW Certificate as equivalent to six out of twelve months of experience required for hiring health workers.

The Certificate is also designed for in-service development of professionals already working as Community Health Workers and in public health departments and community based organizations.


Community Health Worker Program

Certificate Curriculum

The Certificate requires completion of 17 units. Each course must be completed with a final grade of C or higher or Credit.

New students seeking a Community Health Worker Certificate must successfully complete Health 59 with a “C” or better or be current Community Heath Workers PRIOR to entering the program. 

For a complete list of pre-requisite, required courses and electives, please click on the PDF link below.

CHW Field Work/Experience

*Field experience is an integral part of the certificate and is required, students will complete a minimum of 128 hours in the field (during the Spring semester) to complement the classroom experience by putting theory into practice.


Teaching Methodology and Instruction Modes

Our CHW curriculum teaches core competencies common to 70 community health job titles. We use a unique pedagogy that combines performance-based and popular education, which taps the power of student’s own experiences in issues such as poverty, ethnicity, cultural and illness. This grounds the mastery of skills in discussion of the students' own experiences and study of the large social-economic determinants of health.

Classes and internships are led by a diverse teaching team that work in the community health profession  We encourage active learning and participation that incorporates students’ life experiences.

Core courses incorporate various teaching methodologies such as collaborative learning, group work, projects, and individual writing assignments. Materials are presented in a variety of media including written form, oral presentations from guest speakers and class members, audio and visual instruction, and scenario work.

Topics include: overview of the urban health crisis, ongoing changes in managed care; welfare and immigration rights;  Fundamentals in health advising, documentation, patient follow-up, care coordination and referrals; Client intake and orientation;  Overview of specific health topics such as asthma, domestic violence, HIV and diabetes; Multi-cultural competence; time and stress management’ and Resume writing and job interviewing skills.  In addition, we will touch upon the global economy and its impact on community health as well as on tools available in organizing for environmental change