Kansas Community Health Worker Certification

Criteria for CHW Certification

In Kansas, a community health worker (CHW) is…

…a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.

A community health worker also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.

Source: “Community Health Workers.” (American Public Health Association Member Section, Accessed July 10, 2017)

CHWs may apply for certification if they meet the outline criteria listed below.

  • High School Diploma or High School Equivalent. NOTE: Some exceptions are made for refugees, people who received their diploma in another country, and individuals who intend to serve high school-aged students. Please contact cphi@wichita.edu for more information if you wish to apply for an exception.
  • Applicants may apply for certification through one of two pathways, completion of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) approved CHW training or completion of work experience requirements. Please choose one option. Each are outlined here:
    • Education Pathway: Applicant must complete the KDHE approved CHW training program through the Kansas CHW Coalition or certified Kansas CHW education provider.
    • Work Experience Pathway: Applicant must complete 800 hours over three years plus three letters of recommendation to document work and/or volunteer experience.

Kansas CHW Registry

The Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition (KCHWC) will maintain a registry of the Kansas Community Health Workers applying for certification, have been granted certification, and have been denied certification. All documents submitted will be maintained by KCHWC and are the property of KCHWC after submission. KCHWC will maintain confidentiality of all applicants.

Length of Certification

Certification will be active for two years. Renewal will be required every two years.

Background Check

It is the responsibility of the employer to conduct all background and registry checks. No background or registry checks will be conducted by KCHWC or WSU CPHI.

According to the KCHWC policies and procedures, the following rules apply to those seeking a Kansas CHW certification.

No background check, mental health check or employee disqualification check will be completed as part of this application. Employers will need to complete any required database checks for exclusion from participation in federal programs.

Exceptions

If an individual has applied for and been given an exception from the Kansas CHW Coalition on proof of education, the individual may apply for a Kansas CHW certification. Please send in proof of exception with your application.

If an individual was denied an exception from the Kansas CHW Coalition and would still like to be certified, the individual may apply for an appeal directly to the Kansas CHW Coalition review committee.

Continuing Education Units

Applicants will be required to complete 20 contact-hours (a.k.a. credit hours) of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every two years. These hours must be aligned with the Kansas CHW Scope of Practice and/or core competencies as outlined here.

After the applicant has completed the certification application and it has been reviewed and approved, the certified CHW will receive the full list of requirements and guidelines on available CEU opportunities. Many CEU opportunities will be provided through KCHWC webinars, modules, education, etc. and through KCHWC partners. In addition, certificates of completion from outside sources will be accepted. One contact hour is equivalent to one credit hour.

Of the 20 CEUs required, six hours of ethics and Health Information Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA) training are required every two years. Both ethics and HIPAA trainings are required every two years.

No more than 10 hours in one specific core competency will be allowed.

Timeline

Applications are reviewed within three weeks of receipt in the Wichita State University Center for Public Health Initiatives (WSU CPHI) office on behalf of the Kansas CHW Coalition. Any follow-up correspondence must be with the WSU office if it has been more than three weeks since the postmark date. Please email or call at cphi@wichita.edu or 316-978-5855.