MSU Denver

Improve health, one patient at a time

Health Navigators help patients overcome barriers to receiving quality care, including understanding insurance coverage, appointments, billing, treatment schedules, and more.

In the Introduction to Health Navigation course, you will develop skills necessary to effectively communicate and build relationships with patients within the complex system and learn how to evaluate and locate healthcare resources and support systems concerning an individual’s health.

Successfully completing this course provides you an entry point into an in-demand career as a Health Navigator or similar position. Or you can continue on with two additional courses and sit for an exam to become certified as a Health Navigator across Colorado. From there, you can stay in the workforce and/or continue on to get a degree in Public Health at MSU Denver.

The skills learned in this class transfer across many jobs such as Health Educator, Community Health Worker, Medicaid Service Coordinator, Access Representative, Patient Access Manager, Patient Advocate, Admissions Coordinator, and more.

The class is taught by MSU Denver faculty experts in the field, 100 percent online, eight weeks long, and self-paced.

About the course

Spring 2023 schedule

  • Registration opens – Mid-November
  • Classes start – February 1
  • Last day to register – March 1
  • Class ends – April 1

Credit-By-Exam to convert the class to credit

  • Registration opens – March 1
  • Registration closes – April 15
  • Credit-By-Exam must be completed – May 15


The course is $395, with a $35 transaction fee per payment. There are no books to purchase.


If you choose to convert the noncredit class to credit through Credit-By-Exam, the cost is $122 with no transaction fee.

What do I receive after I pass the course?

After successfully completing the Health Navigation Fundamentals course, you will receive a certificate of completion. You can also request to receive a digital badge that will be embedded with the competencies learned. You can include this badge on your resume, LinkedIn page, portfolio, or share it with an employer.

You will also receive a personal advisement session with industry leader and professor at MSU Denver, Dr. Erin Seedorf.

Course description

The Introduction to Health Navigation will teach students the basic concepts of patient navigation and assisting patients along the health care continuum. Students will develop skills necessary to effectively communicate and build relationships with patients within the complex system. Students will also learn how to evaluate and locate health care resources and support systems concerning an individual’s health. Consideration of varying stages of care, social determinants that impact physical health, and reducing disparities in access and treatment will be reviewed. Barriers to care, problem-solving, and managing information and resources will also be discussed.

Learning objectives:

  • Demonstrate professionalism through adherence to organizational rules, regulations, ethical principles, and boundaries of the navigator’s scope of work
  • Analyze the impact of individual health beliefs and behavior on health care decisions
  • Integrate knowledge of the social and emotional aspects of health for the patient/client, and caregiver and family interactions and support
  • Generalize basic knowledge of health promotion, disease prevention, and common disease care continuum

Competencies to be gained:

  • Identify barriers that patients face to receiving quality healthcare services
  • Explain strategies for promoting health equity
  • Describe strategies for successfully assessing patient needs and background
  • Demonstrate how to utilize a patient needs assessment
  • Demonstrate quality documentation that includes comprehensive patient information

Health Navigation career goal pathways

After taking the course, the learner can immediately enter the workforce or continue education to increase the earning potential.

Pathway 1: Enter the workforce quickly. Complete the Health Navigation Fundamentals course and immediately enter the workforce with job titles like Care Managers, Community Health Workers, Care Coordinator, and Care Manager.

  • The median salary is $28,703 a year.

Pathway 2: Go deeper and convert your noncredit course to credit, and take and pass two additional classes. This makes you eligible to sit for Colorado’s Health Navigation Assessment. After passing, you can apply for positions like Access Representative, Admissions Coordinator, Case Manager, Medicaid Service Coordinator, Patient Access Coordinator, Patient Access Specialist, Patient Advocate, Patient Navigator, Patient Resource Worker, and Patient Service Representative.

  • The median salary is $46,920 a year.

Pathway 3: Continue your academic journey to get a degree in health, such as public health, which will allow you to increase your earning potential. You can find positions like Health Educators, Healthcare Practitioners, Health Science Technicians, Health and Environmental Scientist, Epidemiologist, Health Educator, Infectious Disease Specialist, Health Service Administrator, Healthcare Consultant, and Health Coach.

  • The median salary is $65,586 a year.


About the instructor

Allison Draayer, LCSW, is an MSU Denver faculty member with over 10 years of healthcare experience. She is originally from the Chicago area but moved to Denver in 2008. She has a degree in Communications from Calvin College in Michigan and received a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2014. Allison currently works as the Director of Community Care at a health center in Colorado. She is passionate about serving others and improving health care for the underserved.

photo of instructor Allison Draayer


Frequently asked questions

Request more information

If you are a current MSU Denver student who is or has been enrolled in courses for the recent current spring, summer, or fall semester, do not submit any forms. Contact Andrea Pazos at [email protected] for instructions on how to register for these courses.

Contact us

Email us

Phone: 303-615-1234

Office Location:
Jordan Student Success Building
3rd Floor – #330
Auraria Campus

Mailing Address:
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Innovative and Lifelong Learning
P.O. Box 173362
Campus Box 6
Denver, CO 80217-3362