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Obtaining Continuing Education Contact Hours

Susanna Lam, MPH, CHES presented a poster at the 2007 Health Literacy Conference in Anaheim, CA
Continuing Education is defined as educational experiences that assist in the development or enhancement of the knowledge and skills directly related to the individual's professional occupation. NCHEC encourages CHES and MCHES to pursue continuing education in all of the Areas of Responsibility and Competencies for Health Education Specialists (pdf), as competence in all Areas is essential to successful health education practice. Continuing education experiences may include seminars, conferences, workshops, academic courses, satellite instruction, training programs, and directed self-study programs.

In order to maintain certification, a CHES and an MCHES must accumulate a minimum of 75 Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH) over the five year certification period. CHES are encouraged to accumulate a minimum of 15 CECH per year, and to complete all continuing education requirements at least 90 days prior to recertification.

Category I (minimum of 45 hours)
Category I refers to continuing education that is preapproved by NCHEC. Of the 75 hours to be earned in a five-year period, at least 45 CECH must be earned by participating in Category I activities. You may choose to earn all of your CECH in Category I.

CHES/MCHES who have accumulated in excess of 75 CECH at the end of their current five-year certification cycle may carry over a maximum of 15 Category I CECH into their next five-year certification cycle. For MCHES, the CECH (entry or advanced) will carry over as entry-level credits only.

Category I activities are offered by 'designated providers.' A 'designated provider' is an organization that has demonstrated its ability to meet specific NCHEC criteria for offering CHES and MCHES Responsibilities-related activities. Designated providers report all activities directly to NCHEC on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.

At the end of a Category I activity you will receive a certificate that includes a 'designated provider number' and an 'event number.' Keep this certificate as proof of your participation in the activity.

Category II (maximum of 30 hours)
A Category II activity is not preapproved by NCHEC.

Up to 30 CECH can be earned by participating in quality activities that relate to at least one of the Areas of Responsibility and Competencies for Health Education Specialists (pdf) for CHES, but were not approved in advance by NCHEC.

To apply for Category II CECH, you must complete the Category II Claim Form (pdf) within 90 days following completion of an event.

Category II hours are not eligible for carry over.

Exception to the 45 Category I/30 Category II Rule:
If you live outside the continental United States you may earn all 75 CECH through activities that are not preapproved by NCHEC. Submit these using the
Category II Claim Form.

CECH Fees
NCHEC does not charge any continuing education fees. Individual providers of continuing education may still require payment of administrative fees to defray their expenses in completing the provider application, filing the continuing education report and maintaining attendance records following an event.