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Community Health Worker (CHW)

Medical Assistant (MA)

Position Summary

A 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. [1]
Medical assistants are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties.  Duties can include but are not limited to: aseptic procedures, blood withdrawal and non-intravenous injections, administering basic first aid, collecting routine laboratory specimens, performing basic laboratory procedures, and performing general administrative duties. [6],[7]

Training and Prerequisites

  • Completion of an approved CHW Training Program by the SD Department of Social Services. [2]
  • The CHW Agency process will include the process utilized to hire individuals qualified to act as a CHW following certification that the individual has completed the Indian Health Service Community Health Representative basic training, a CHW program approved by the South Dakota Board of Technical Education or the South Dakota Board of Regents, or a CHW training program approved by the State. [3]
  • Schools offering Medical Assistant training: Globe University, National American University, Lake Area Technical Institute, Mitchell Technical Institute, and Presentation College. [8]
  • High School Diploma or GED required. [6]
  • Medical assistants who do not have postsecondary education certificates learn their skills through on-the-job training. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility. [9]


  • No certificate or license is required in SD.
  • Registered with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners or South Dakota Society of Medical Assistants for medical assistant certification. [6]
  • Optional certification includes Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). [9]

Typical Supervisors

  • CHWs are primarily supervised by a clinic manager, nursing manager, or other organizational manager. [5]
  • Supervised by physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, or nurse midwives. [6]

Median Hourly Wage (National)


  • Community Health Worker (CHW) – $20.19
  • Medical Assistant (MA) – $17.23

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