Program calendar icon Program Length

  • 8 Months

Program credential icon Credential

  • Certificate

Program location icon Location Offered

  • Online

Become your community’s champion for positive mental health and well-being. VIU’s Community Mental Health Worker is an eight-month program that provides students with the training and tools to work with youth and adults who struggle with mental health and addiction issues.

With a focus on relationships, rehabilitation and personal care, the program provides the knowledge and hands-on training for graduates to start meaningful careers in a variety of institutional, community, and residential fields.

The Community Mental Health Worker Certificate Program

The Community Mental Health Worker Program will define entry level competencies for employment in the field of community mental health and addictions that are based on the principles of psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery. Students will engage in courses focused on theory and practical learning, including a community based practicum. The focus of the program will be on relationships, rehabilitation and personal care, and on providing the knowledge and hands-on training needed for graduates to start meaningful careers in a variety of institutional, community, and residential settings.

Note: 21 credits of the CMHW program can be used towards the 60 credits required to apply for third-year entry to the VIU Bachelor of Social Work degree.

Semester 1Credits
Semester 2Credits
CMHW 110 - (Introduction to Practice)3
CMHW 111 - (Introduction to Mental Health: Theory and Practice)3
CMHW 115 - (Developing Therapeutic Relationships)3
CMHW 135 - (Mental Health and Addictions)3
Total Semester Credits12
CMHW 120 - (Approaches to Support)3
CMHW 130 - (Care of Self and Others)3
CMHW 145 - (Mental Health Assessment and Interventions)3
CMHW 140 - (Practicum)6
Total Semester Credits15
Total Credits27

Completion Requirements

  • Students must successfully complete all seven courses and the practicum in the program
  • Students are required to attend all scheduled lectures, observations, examinations and practicum hours. If you do not meet the attendance requirements, you will not qualify to receive the program certificate

Notes on Admission

  • Proof of successful completion of the following must be received well in advance of the practicum experience and preferably before the program starts.
  • Criminal Record Check: Practicums will require a satisfactory criminal record check prior to placement. Criminal Record Checks are requested through VIU. The Registration Centre at VIU will contact prospective students by email regarding the requirements for a Criminal Record Check. Criminal Record Checks are processed through the Ministry according to the Criminal Records Review Act. A check completed through the RCMP is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act.
  • Applicants with previous experience in health care area preferred (but not required).
  • Enrolment in this program is limited. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.
  • Applicants are encouraged to apply early.  Seats in the program are offered as follows: first qualified applications are given first offers, until all seats are filled.

Note: To view current course offerings and register check VIU Professional Development and Training.

This certificate is recognized as a qualification for employment for mental health worker positions within Island Health. Island Health has recently indicated an increasing demand for qualified mental health workers across the Island with many positions anticipated in the central Vancouver Island region.

As part of a multi-disciplinary team providing client-focused treatment and rehabilitation, Community Mental Health Workers can choose to work in a variety of institutional, residential and community settings.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees Amount
Tuition 8,697.41
Student Activity fee (27 credits x $9.98 per credit) 269.46
VIU Students' Union fee* (8 months x $27.60 per month) 220.80
Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year) 265.00

* Amounts calculated using Nanaimo Campus rates.

The VIUSU Health and Dental Plan fee is assessed for all students enrolled in 6 credits or more per term, or in Trades/Vocational programs of 5 months or longer. 

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Next Intake(s):

The Community Mental Health Worker program has one intake each Fall.

Application Fee:
Testing Required:
Admissions Assistant:
Name: Jenny Carpen-Rouget
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2283
Chair Contact:
Name: Louise Stern
Area Contact:
Name: Yan Li
Phone: 250.740.6322
Document Deadline:

All requested transcripts and supported documents are due May 15, 2024.




Further information on this program can be found on the Department website.

Visit the Department Website

Previous versions of this program can be found in the Program Archive.