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Your on-ramp to job, career, and academic success

MSU Denver’s Career Launchpad provides affordable pathways to high-demand careers and multiple educational coursework. Someone can take a noncredit competency-based class in a high-demand field that can lead to a job or convert the course to credit and get an MSU Denver certificate or degree.  

The Career Launchpad offers training in high-demand industries, with classes taught by MSU Denver faculty. You can take a noncredit course that lasts eight weeks and move directly to the workforce. Or stack the course to for-credit and sit for a licensing exam, earn a certificate, or go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Older woman, family, talking to woman with text Launch into Health Navigation across it

Health Navigation Fundamentals

Improving Health, One Patient at a Time

The healthcare system is fragmented, complex, and challenging to navigate. Patients can feel frustrated and confused, and they may not get access to the services and providers they need. Health navigators address medical services, insurance coverage and continuity, transportation, and language and cultural barriers. They can also help reduce health disparities by ensuring that all patients have access to the services and support needed, including preventative care. Health Navigation is one of the fastest-growing fields in healthcare.

The demand for Health Navigators is one of the fastest-growing positions in healthcare as facilities employ navigators to ensure patient satisfaction and quality healthcare at an affordable cost.

Health Navigation job openings are projected to grow 20 percent year over year, with approximately 300 jobs available every year in Colorado.*

Job titles include Patient/Health Navigator, Community Health Worker, Promotores de Salud, Care Manager, Case Manager, Medicaid Service Coordinator, Patient Access Coordinator, Public Health Educator, Healthcare Practitioner, Health and Environment Scientist, Epidemiologist, Health Service Administrator, and more.

*Provided by Colorado's Department of Employment and Labor

Students in this course will learn the basic concepts of patient navigation and the patient-centric concept of 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 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.

This is an introductory-level course for noncredit. The course is in an eight-week self-paced online format, which means you can progress through the material at your pace when it is convenient to you. You are not required to log in for class discussions at hours that conflict with your work or family schedule.

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 inpatient/client, 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 

Pathway 1: Enter the workforce quickly. Complete Health Navigation Fundamentals and immediately enter the workforce.

  • The median salary estimate is $14.07 an hour, and $28,703 a year
  • Position examples are Patient/Health Navigator, Community Health Worker, and Promotores de Salud

Pathway 2: Go deeper and convert your noncredit course to credit, and take and pass two additional courses. This makes you eligible to sit for Colorado's Health Navigation Assessment. 

  • The median salary estimate is $23.00 an hour, and $46,920 a year
  • Position examples are Access Representative, Admissions Coordinator, Care Manager, Case Manager, Medicaid Service Coordinator, Patient Access Coordinator, Patient Access Specialist, Patient Advocate, Patient Navigator, Patient Resource Worker, and Patient Service Representative
  • You will convert the noncredit course to credit through a Credit-By-Exam

Pathway 3: Continue your academic journey to get a certificate or degree which will allow you to increase your earning potential.

  • Position examples are Public Health educator, healthcare practitioner, health science technician, health and environment scientist, epidemiologist, health educator, infectious disease specialist, health service administrator, healthcare consultant, and health coach
  • The median salary estimate is $32.15 an hour, and $65,586 a year


Graphic showing the career pathways for Health Navigation


Health Navigation Fundamentals Course

  • Registration opens May 1st and closes October 2nd. Classes start September 7th, and students have until November 2nd to complete. The course is entirely online and self-paced. Students can complete the class anytime within the eight weeks it is open.


  • Students can register for the Credit-By-Exam anytime between October 7th and November 18th. The exam must be completed by December 18th.

Health Navigation Fundamentals Course

  • The course is $495, with a $35 transaction fee per payment. There are no books to purchase.


  • If you choose to convert the noncredit class to credit, you will take a Credit-by-Exam. The cost for it is $122, and there is no transaction fee.

After successfully completing the Health Navigation Fundamentals noncredit class, you will receive a certification of completion. You can 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.

Allison Draayer, LCSW, has 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.

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