Rhode Island CHW core competencies

Rhode Island CHW Core Competencies

Rhode Island has made big strides in including community health workers (CHWs) around the state. The Rhode Island Department of Health has recognized “that health is about more than just medical care and supports the formal certification of individual CHWs.”

The good news for providers in RI is that CHWs can provide some services covered by Medicaid. This also includes other titles, including peer recovery specialist, promotores de salud, coaches, lay health advisors, peer navigators, etc.). They also encourage CHWs to be cross-trained and hold multiple certifications and disciplines in other areas of healthcare, mental health, and behavioral health.

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Does Rhode Island offer a CHW certification?

Yes, Rhode Island does offer a certification of CHWs. The Rhode Island Certification Board is responsible for certifying CHWs. They require Certified Community Health Workers (CCHWs) to renew certification every two years. CHWs who want to be certified need:

  • 70 hours of CHW training
  • 6 months work as a CHW or 1000 hours 
  • 50 hours of supervision
  • Portfolio

Requirements for Certified Community Health Workers in Rhode Island

Read more about these requirements below.

70 hours of CHW training

CHWs in Rhode Island are required to have at least 70 hours of relevant training specific to CHW domains or core competencies.

The state defines education as: “formal, structured instruction in the form of workshops, trainings, seminars, in-services, college/university credit courses, and online education.” However, there’s no limit to the amount of training a person chooses to have. The review board counts most 3-credit college courses as 45 hours.

The domains are:

1. Engagement Methods and Strategies
2. Individual and Community Assessment
3. Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Responsiveness
4. Promote Health and Well-Being
5. Care Coordination and System Navigation
6. Public Health Concepts and Approaches
7. Advocacy and Community Capacity Building
8. Safety and Self-Care
9. Ethical Responsibilities and Professional Skills

CHWs need to provide documentation for the training, including a college transcript or training certificate. Certificates need:

  • Applicant’s name
  • Title of training, or copy of the training description
  • Date(s) of training
  • Number of hours awarded
  • Name of training organization

Note there is no time limit on when the training was received.

6 months’ work as a CHW or 1000 hours 

Rhode Island also requires work experience as a CHW in addition to the training. They require six months of full-time experience or 1000 hours of part-time experience. The state requires a copy of the current job description, signed by the applicant and their supervisor.

More information is available from RICB.

50 hours of supervision

Rhode Island also has requirements for employers in the form of on-the-job supervision. The state requires 50 hours of qualifying work experience in the domains listed above. It can be delivered by more than one person in a variety of settings (1-on-1 or groups, for example).

“Supervision” is defined as:

Supervision is a formal or informal process that is evaluative, educative, and supportive. It ensures quality of care and extends over time. Supervision includes observation, mentoring, coaching, evaluating, inspiring, and creating an atmosphere that promotes self-motivation, learning, and professional development. In all aspects of the supervision process, ethical and diversity issues must be in the forefront.


Any CHW in Rhode Island who wishes to be certified needs to provide a personal portfolio that includes their professional activities and achievements.

Applicants can choose to create portfolio entries in at least three of these eight categories from the Rhode Island Certification Board:

1. Community Experience & Involvement

Applicant must submit three (3) letters from an organization(s) that the applicant has volunteered or worked with in one or more of the areas listed. The letters should clearly describe the applicant’s impact as a CHW and the value added to the community served. When possible, letters should be on the organization’s letterhead.
a. Leadership experience
b. Board participation
c. Social support and advocacy
d. Education
e. Policy development and promotion
f. Needs assessments

2. Research Activities

Applicants must submit a summary of how they participated in the research activity and supporting documentation. Examples of research activities include:
a. Data collection – qualitative and quantitative
b. Focus groups – either facilitating or participating
c. Panels – either facilitating or participating
d. Surveys – developing, conducting and interpreting data
e. Community mapping/Community resources –finding resources for the population served
f. Dissemination of research – publication and how it was disseminated is required

3. College Level Courses/Advanced or Specialized Training

Applicants that complete education relevant to the CHW domains, in addition to the 70 hours, must submit documentation and a summary of the education. Education must be completed within the last 10 years prior to the date of application. Acceptable forms of education include:
a. College course – a degree does not need to be completed for the course to count
b. Advanced/specialized training – multiple topic areas can be submitted, must total 6 hours

4. Community Publications, Presentations & Projects

Applicants who have completed one or more of the following should submit documentation and a summary of their participation.
a. Newsletters to the community
b. Poster Presentations
c. Brochure development
d. Curriculum and training development
e. Facilitating training
f. Resource guide development
g. Community programming/workshops
h. Promotion: TV, radio, social media, website management, etc.
i. Community event organization and participation

5. Statement of Professional Experience

Respond to one of the following. Answers should be 500 – 1000 words (2-4 paragraphs).
a. Describe a success story you have had in your role as a CHW.
b. What resources (systems, agencies, etc.) have you helped people connect to?
c. Describe your areas of expertise related to community health.
d. Describe how you have applied training as a CHW to your professional life.
e. Briefly describe strengths and opportunities for improvement in your professional life.
f. Describe your motivation to work in community health

6. Achievements/Awards

Documentation and summary of the award/achievement received.
a. Recognition from agency, community, advocacy, professional association, etc.
b. Featured in or on TV, radio, print or social media for advancing community health

7. Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Applicants may submit a resume or CV. Resumes should be
professionally formatted. Applicants who need assistance with developing a resume/CV should speak with their supervisor or use other resources on resume/CV development. All the components below must be included (if they apply) and must include dates and locations.
a. Relevant work and/or volunteer experience and internships
b. Relevant skills (examples: computer, languages, etc.)
c. Highest level of education completed
d. Other professional certifications
e. Community engagement and fulfillment of community goals

8. Performance Evaluation

Evaluations should highlight the applicant’s abilities as a CHW and must be completed within two years prior to the application date.
a. Copy of an agency or participant evaluation
b. Statement from supervisor or colleague evaluating the CHW’s performance
c. Documentation of feedback received from the participant or community
d. Capacity building

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Core Competencies for CHWs

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