Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

COVID-19 Contact Tracer

Update 9/24/20 10:30 a.m.  Due to high demand, we’re adding additional COVID-19 Contact Tracer courses ASAP. Sign up to this newsletter if you’d like to receive updates about new COVID-19 Contact Tracer courses. 

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Become a vital partner in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in your community.

Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have both identified Contact Tracers as vital roles for county and city health departments to ensure the safe re-opening of business. Contact Tracers from all backgrounds are needed throughout Oregon to help track and monitor the spread of COVID-19.

Acquire culturally sensitive interviewing skills, take the first step toward the frontline of defense in this online, self-paced program.

The Job

Contact tracers will be used to reach out to individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Contact tracers advise individuals to stay home and maintain social distance from other people for 14 days after they’ve been exposed to the virus. During this time, the exposed individual will be encouraged to check their temperature twice a day and monitor whether or not they develop any COVID-19 symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath. Contact tracers will then check in with these individuals daily to ensure that these self-monitoring steps are being taken. In the event that symptoms do arise, the individual will be advised to seek medical care medical care and the presumptive case will be reported to the local public health department.

The Program

Portland Community College’s Contact Tracer Training is a self-paced course made up of six modules adapted from the Oregon Health Authority’s Contact Tracing Fundamentals. Participants will have up to 2 weeks to complete the course. Students will learn:

  • The basics of COVID-19 and Contact Tracing

  • Why HIPAA is important for Contact Tracing

  • How to practice cultural humility as a Contact Tracer

  • The basics of motivational interviewing

  • How to develop and effectively deliver a Contact Tracer phone script


The Investment

Time: 8-10 hours, 6 self paced modules to be completed in approximately 2 weeks

Class Fee: $50

The Instructor

Virginia Chambers Contact Tracer PCCVirginia Chambers is the department faculty chair and program director for the Medical Assisting Program at Portland Community College. She is responsible for maintaining national accreditation standards and curriculum development. She has been working in healthcare for more than 25 years and is enthusiastic about the learning. It was because of her love for learning that led her to PCC. After finishing her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and Management she started teaching in the Medical Assisting Program. Ten years later, she is still as enthusiastic and excited about supporting student success.

In 2015 Virginia was awarded the Educator of the Year by the Oregon Society of Medical Assistants and later that same year received the Golden Apply award by the American Association of Medical Assistants. In 2017 she received the John & Suzanne Roueche Teaching Excellence award from the national League for Innovation in Community Colleges.

Virginia serves on several tasks force committees, including Oregon’s Educators Forum and the AAMA’s Leaders in Education and Practice.

As a Medical Assistant, Virginia has been exposed to a wide range of unique clinical experiences. From working as a phlebotomist in a small Forest Grove clinic to working as a clinical research assistant at OHSU. Much of Virginia’s career was spent working two jobs while going to school and exploring opportunities for personal and professional growth. She has traveled with NW Medical Teams to Oaxaca and worked on a farm for a month in Mullingar, Ireland.

You can see her entire journey by visiting PCC faculty webpage: https://www.pcc.edu/staff/virginia-chambers/virginias-profile-and-background/


How can I learn about future classes?

Sign up to this mailing list to be among the first to be alerted about new classes, as they become available. 

Do you offer COVID-19 Contact Tracer training for an organization or business?

Yes! Contact our Professional Development & Training team to learn more. 

What does a contact tracer do?

Contact tracers help to ensure the safe, sustainable and effective quarantine of contacts to prevent additional transmission by tracing and monitoring the contacts of infected people and notifying them of their exposure.

Is it safe?

Yes, COVID-19 contact tracers work from the comfort and safety of their home.

How many hours should I expect to spend in this training program?

The program has been designed to allow students to navigate at their own pace with all students completing in no more than two weeks. The total program can be completed within approximately 8-10 hours.  

What time of day do I need to be online for instruction?

This course can be done on your own schedule. It allows students to access information (e.g., pre-recorded videos, reading materials, etc) and demonstrate what they’ve learned on their own time.  

How is this course structured?

Students will navigate through specific modules that focus on a main topic which will be broken down into lessons or sub-modules. Students then learn from pre-recorded video lectures, discussion boards, quizzes, case studies, and more for each lesson. Module quizzes and a final project are also required.

Will I receive a grade?

This is a non-credit program, so students will receive a pass or no pass grade. To pass the course, students will need to achieve 70% or higher on all assignments, quizzes and exams. Your percentage will be calculated from the number of points earned out of the total points available. Points are earned via quizzes, exams, and other participation-based assignments.

What are the technology requirements to participate in this program?

You will need access to a computer or smartphone with an Internet connection. Access to a printer is preferred (but not required). While the course is available via smartphone, it is advisable that students use a computer for a better learning experience.  

Am I guaranteed a job after this program?

While we cannot guarantee a job, it is important to note the high demand for contact tracers. Preliminary reports suggest that more than 100,000 contact tracers are needed nationwide in the very immediate future to help prevent further spread of COVID-19. In addition, our curriculum is aligned to specific training guidelines per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), which is a benefit to students who complete training through our program.

What if I want to continue my educational career at Portland Community College after completing this program?

We welcome you to continue at PCC after program completion. We offer many flexible opportunities to earn a degree or certificate in a wide variety of subject areas. For more information on all of PCC’s health programs visit pcc.edu/ihp.

Upcoming Course Schedule

Don’t see the course you want? Contact us[opens in new window] for more information.


For more information, please email PCC Institute for Health Professionals.

From the IHP Blog