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Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Academy

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The Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Academy provides the knowledge and skills necessary to build and strengthen Community Health Workers.

CHWs, especially in Idaho, play an important role as a bridge between traditionally under-served populations and needed health information; support and care; as well as basic and social services. Program participants gain professional skills through the Core, Advanced, Apprentice and Supervisor training programs. Specific health topic add-on modules are also available to enhance the fundamental training.

Trainee Stipend Update

UPDATE Sept 1, 2023: There is an exciting update to our funding that allows us to pay eligible trainees a higher amount for training course completion and tuition.

As a CHW Trainee going through the Core and Advanced courses, you can be eligible for up to $7,500 in stipend pay and tuition. The stipend is free but is taxable.

Core Course: $1,847.50 course completion stipend, and $650 in tuition coverage

Advanced Course (In-class Learning): $1,902.50 course completion stipend, and $850 in tuition coverage

Advanced Course Practicum (48 Hours Experiential Learning): $2,250 completion stipend

To be eligible for the stipend payments you must be 18 or older, able to work in the U.S., and complete the associated training. All eligible current trainees and trainees who received stipends in the 2023 fiscal year are eligible for this payment update and will receive communication about this change. The stipend information remains the same for CHW apprentices ($7,500 over 2,000 hours). If you have any questions about this update, please reach out to chw@isu.edu.

The American Public Health Association defines a Community Health Worker (CHW) as “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 CHW 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 CHW 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
  • advocacy

CHWs play an important role as a bridge between traditionally underserved populations and needed health information; support and care; as well as basic and social services. CHWs often assist in disease prevention as well as in addressing the following: chronic disease management, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, substance abuse, asthma and others. Key CHW roles include outreach, health education, client advocacy and empowerment, as well as health system navigation. CHWs are distinguished from other health professionals because they are hired primarily for their special connection to and understanding of the populations and communities they serve, conduct individual and community outreach a significant portion of the time, and have experience providing services in community settings. 


The Idaho State University CHW Training Academy began as a program in 2014 when ISU received Idaho Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan (SHIP) funding to build and fortify a CHW workforce in Idaho. The program has continued with various support from Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, HRSA, and ongoing partnership with Idaho State University Continuing Education and Workforce Training. Since 2016, the ISU CHW training effort has trained over 200 CHWs. 

In 2022, the CHW program received almost 3 million dollars from HRSA in a grant to expand the CHW Training Program into a CHW Training Academy, with multifaceted support for instructors, supervisors, and continued apprentice, advanced and core CHW trainings. Recruitment and growth to reach more CHWs in rural areas in Idaho are top priorities with this positive change.

The CHW Training Academy has had a large impact in growing health care in Idaho, particularly in rural areas, where CHWs are vital to resource infiltration and health care. 

ISU offers multiple pathways to be trained as a community health worker.

The Community Health Worker training course is designed to provide core competencies for Community Health Workers (CHWs). It includes key concepts of public health, outreach, advocacy, community and individual assessment, social determinants of health, health education, navigating insurance, stages of behavior change, service coordination and more.


Our core CHW training offered through continuing education at ISU prepares those in the workforce to gain training and a certificate of completion after finishing the course.  You do not need to be an ISU student to enroll in this course. This course is offered multiple times throughout the year. 

The CHW core course  is delivered in a hybrid on-line web-based classroom. Classes are offered on the same weeknight for the duration of the course (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday).  Classes meet in a live online classroom three times during the thirteen weeks; during weeks 2-6, 8-12, students will be working asynchronous (self-paced). Student are also required to choose from 20+ available asynchronous Health Specific Modules and complete five by end of class.  Instructors for the upcoming courses are listed on the registration site.  If you have questions, please send an email to chw@isu.edu.

Students successfully completing the core course and completing the course evaluation, receive a CHW Training Certificate of Completion. Continuing Education credits are also available for a small additional cost.


ISU also offers an academic Community Health Worker certificate that can be completed in one semester and with 9 credits. This option is good for those that want more enhanced CHW training and would like academic credit for their completed course work. This can be a good first step toward starting or continuing a CHW's college education, or could also be an added certificate to students already enrolled at ISU. For more information and to apply, please see here: https://www.isu.edu/publichealth/chw/

This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $2,994,236.00 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

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