Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enroll?

Registration for all classes is done through the School of Extended Education. Registration may be completed online, in-person, by mail, by phone at 707-664-2394, or by fax at 707-664-2613.

Who should I contact with questions before I register?

You can contact Londa Leveroni at 707-664-2600 or londa.leveroni@sonoma.edu with general questions. For more detailed questions, please contact Pam Koppel at 707-284-9235 or e-mail to pam@imcsr.com.

When are the application and enrollment deadlines?

The program is based on cohorts of students, with a new cohort starting each fall semester. The Fall  2013 application deadline is Friday, September 6, 2013 and the enrollment deadline is Wednesday, September 11, 2013. All applications must be approved before registering. To view the catalog for specific times and dates for each class, see link for "current courses" on left menu.

When and where are the classes held?

The class meets for two semesters, one full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) each month during the semester. For more information, check the Course Catalog.

There will also be a significant amount of on-line work. To participate, you will need to be comfortable learning and managing basic computer applications. There are on-line videos to support you and a brief training at the beginning of the program. You also need regular access to the internet.

Do I have to attend all the classes?

Generally, attendance at all classes is required. In special circumstances, makeup work can be arranged. No more than one weekend per year can be missed.


What is the refund policy?

Students must register before the class begins to be eligible for a refund. Students who register on the day of class are not eligible for a refund. Refunds will be granted to eligible students who have notified Extended Education of their intent to drop before the class begins. To drop, please contact Londa Leveroni at 664-2600 or londa.leveroni@sonoma.edu.

What is the cost of the program?

The total program fee is $5,400. Fees are paid at the time of registration on a per semester basis depending on the courses offered each semester. The fees include two core courses, the cost of the internship and ongoing one-on-one supervision the second semester.

I noticed we are required to get sessions from complementary/alternative providers. Do we pay that ourselves?

You will be required to receive 3-4 sessions the first semester. If you live locally in Sonoma County, we will work to arrange a network of providers with whom you will receive your sessions for no-charge or at a discounted rate. If appropriate, they may serve as your referral list when you begin your Patient Navigation internship.

If you live outside of Sonoma County, we will assist you in developing the opportunity for discounted sessions in your area.

Is this class for academic credit or continuing education?

Continuing education units will be awarded for nurses, LCSW's, and MFT's.

How will my Patient Navigation skills be evaluated?

For successful completion of the program, and thus to obtain a Patient Navigation Certificate, all participants will demonstrate Patient Navigation skills that meet specific criteria. These will be outlined and addressed during the course. Your Navigation skills will be assessed in a variety of ways, including observation, peer feedback, feedback from intern sites and client feedback. Once or twice per year, students will navigate trained actors who provide feedback based on predetermined criteria.

Do I have to have a license in the health care field? What happens if I am not a licensed health care provider?

You do not have to have a license in the health care field to participate in the program or to receive a certificate. However, if you have no experience in the health care field or if we feel you have not met the pre-determined criteria for placement during the first semester, we may not place you in a western medical setting for your field experience. In that case, you may be placed in a non-medical setting or you can choose to find clients in the general population to meet the field requirements.

What kind of jobs can I get once I graduate?

The term Patient Navigator is being used for a wide variety of positions. It is listed in a 2010 research study by the Partners in Care Foundation as one of the top six emerging "encore" (second) career opportunities in the healthcare field.

Currently, Patient Navigator jobs are largely in the field of Oncology (cancer) for Breast Care Coordinators (breast cancer navigators) or Nurse Navigators, who are employed by major health care systems. These positions are for licensed health care providers.

The Affordable Care Act will enlist "Patient Navigators" to help people enroll in the insurance exchanges. The details of how Patient Navigators will be used has not yet been determined.

There is also another level of Patient Navigators that does not require a license. Some organizations are beginning to take an interest in "lay" Navigators, who can offer a different level and type of care from licensed healthcare professionals. Lay Navigators focus on providing resources, emotional support and helping the patient to focus on their own personal health goals. "Care transitions" which support the patient when leaving a hospital, with the goal of minimizing readmittance is also an area which non-licensed Patient Navigators may be utilized.

Our program introduces Patient Navigators into medical office setting, with the goal of establishing the importance of the role as a support to physicians and their staff. Participating in this groundbreaking effort is part of the excitement (and challenges) of pioneering the role of Patient Navigators.

Recently, several organizations have emerged which contract with Patient Navigators on a per-client basis to serve clients either via the telephone or in-person.

Lastly, there is the option of having a private practice as a Patient Navigator, where you work for yourself and build your own client base. We suggest that all graduates entertain this option to begin with, as Patient Navigation establishes itself in the health care field as a paid profession.

Will you help us with our internship placement or do we find the placement ourselves?

We will identify local placement sites and do our best to match students with the medical facility that meets the needs and desires of both parties. If you are presently working in a health care setting and wish to do your field work there, you may do that as well.

If I am not local, how will that work?

If you are coming from outside Sonoma County, you may need to identify your own placement site, though we are establishing relationships with sites in Marin, San Francisco, the East Bay and in Ukiah.  If you identify a site, we will facilitate your placement. All placement sites must be contracted with SSU as an approved site.

If you will be providing Patient Navigator Services in your area, you can identify local practitioners and ask that they give you a demonstration session in exchange for listing them on your referral list to your patient/clients. We will also provide you with any needed documentation for this process, as well as help you learn to identify and assess for quality providers in your area.

Is there any financial assistance available?

While the Patient Navigator Certificate Program does not qualify for federal financial aid, it does qualify through Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The purpose of the WIA is to provide employment training for adults and dislocated workers. For more information, contact your local Workforce Investment Act Office (you can find your local office on the list at http://www.edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/LWIA_Listing.htm). Some student loans are also available through Sallie Mae or other similar lenders.

California's Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) was established in compliance with the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. The purpose of the ETPL is to provide customer-focused employment training for adults and dislocated workers. Qualified students wishing to enroll in the certificate programs offered through the School of Extended Education may be eligible under the provisions of the Act. For more information, contact the Local Workforce Investment Act Office nearest you. A list of offices may be found at http://www.edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/LWIA_Listing.htm.

Sallie Mae offers a loan financing option for students attending extended education programs.* The Smart Option Loan is a flexible, competitive education loan program specifically designed for students seeking higher education. Applying with a qualified co-signer increases your chances of approval. Sallie Mae offers three payment options including deferred payments while you are in school. For more information, visit the Sallie Mae website.

*This is not meant as an endorsement and is not a preferred lender list. You are welcome to seek a private education loan from any lender of your choice that will provide loans for students attending extended education programs.