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Illinois expands graduate certificate options in Health Communication


Are you interested in building your skills and expertise in health communication, but you're not ready to take on a Master's degree program at this time?

The University of Illinois Health Communication Online Master's (HCOM) program has expanded its 12-credit-hour graduate certificate options to enhance effective communication strategies within the large and diverse healthcare industry and help working professionals meet their educational goals.

In addition to its General Health Communication (CHC) certificate, the top-ranked department now offers three additional certificates: Patient Care Communication (PCP), Communication and Health Promotion (CHP), and Communication and Health Management (CHM). 

Developed by leading experts in health communication, each program was designed to address the specific needs of different healthcare roles and sectors, ensuring a comprehensive approach to health communication. They all will provide students with the specialized knowledge required to become effective communicators in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

All programs are fully online and take on average, a year to complete. Students can choose their own courses from the HCOM curriculum and design a schedule that works for them. And students receive the same quality experience as they would in the Master's program, just with fewer credit hours to complete.

"And if at anytime you decide to pursue a master's degree, all of your certificate credits can be transferred to the HCOM program," Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor Lauren Weiner said, adding enrollment is open for Fall 2023.

Here's a closer look at the certificate programs: 

General Health Communication Certificate
The CHC is the most customizable, flexible version of our certificate program. You can choose from any course in the HCOM curriculum (with two exceptions: Research Methods and the Capstone), customize your own schedule, and diversify your skill and expertise in Health Communication. This certificate is ideal for students who want to learn more about the Health Communication field as a whole or who would like to try HCOM as a non-degree seeking student before switching to the Masters’ degree.

Patient Care Communication
The CPC is an ideal choice for students who are looking for more expertise in the interpersonal aspects of healthcare. Providers with direct patient contact, at-home caregivers, social workers, pharmacists, or any other professionals who provide one-on-one care to others: this is the ideal certificate track for you. The courses offered in this track will teach you how to overcome common challenges in the provider-patient relationship, manage conflict, hone your approach to be mindful of cultural considerations and stigma, and navigate the complexities of one-on-one care to others.

Communication and Health Promotion
The CHP is an ideal choice for students with marketing and PR, public health, crisis communication, and health campaign experience (or for those who would like more experience in this arena). The courses offered in this track will teach you to tailor your messages to specific audiences, being mindful of different channels of media and the benefits and pitfalls of each. You will also learn how to optimize your messages to better influence health-related behaviors in both large and small-scale promotion efforts. 

Communication and Health Management
The CHM is an ideal choice for students in administrative or managerial roles in health care. The courses offered in this track will help you better understand optimization of organizational systems, how to recognize and repair organizational communication at every level of the healthcare field: between coworkers, within teams, and throughout entire systems. Integration of health information technology, skills for effective management and skills for navigating an increasingly complex network of professions are the hallmarks of this certificate track.

Learn more about the HCOM certificate programs and ENROLL NOW for FALL 2023 by emailing: For more information or questions, please email Weiner at

Learn more about other online graduate certificate programs at the University of Illinois at Illinois Online.