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MCHES Exam Eligibility

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) utilizes the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) examination to assess the extent to which a candidate can possess, apply, and interpret knowledge relative to the Seven Areas of Responsibility; delineated from A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education Specialists — 2010. The exam reflects both the entry and advanced level Competencies and Sub-competencies of these Areas of Responsibility.

The MCHES examination is a criterion-referenced test that contains 165 multiple choice items; 150 of the items are used for the total score and there are 15 pilot items on each exam. The MCHES examination is offered in paper-and-pencil format at college campuses throughout the United States. While there are approximately 120 testing sites currently registered, any campus with a testing service is eligible to become a testing site.

Basis for the MCHES Examination

The MCHES examination is based upon the following Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists(pdf), as delineated in A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education Specialists 2010.

Area of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists % of Questions on MCHES Exam
Assess Needs, Assets, and Capacity for Health Education 10%
Plan Health Education 15%
Implement Health Education 20%
Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education 16%
Administer and Manage Health Education 16%
Serve as a Health Education Resource Person 15%
Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education 8%

The MCHES exam eligibility includes both academic and experience requirements.

• For CHES: A minimum of the past five (5) continuous years in active status as a Certified Health Education Specialist.

• For Non-CHES or CHES with fewer than five years active status AND five years experience
A Master’s degree or higher in Health Education, Public Health Education, School Health Education, Community Health Education, etc., 
OR a Master’s degree or higher with an academic transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours (37 quarter hours) of course work in which the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators were addressed.

AND Five (5) years of documented experience as a health education specialist

Applicants for the MCHES exam must complete all 15 semester hours/23 quarter hours of graduate-level coursework that clearly align with the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators.  The following guidance is offered to assist applicants without an earned graduate degree in health education, seeking to qualify for the MCHES exam based on the 25-semester hour minimum, 15 of which are at the graduate-level.

A minimum of 12 semester hours/18 quarter hours must be graduate-level process courses that clearly align with the Seven Areas of Responsibility.

A maximum of 9 semester hours/14 quarter hours may be from topic-focused courses that include elements contained in the Seven Areas of Responsibility

A maximum of 6 semester hours/9 quarter hours may be from other courses that include elements contained in the Seven Areas of Responsiblity

Course descriptions and syllabi may be provided to determine if courses are eligible

To verify applicants must submit:

1. Two verification forms from a current or past manager/supervisor, and/or a leader in a health education professional organization.

2. A current curriculum vitae/ resume
In the verification form it must be indicated, and in the curriculum vitae/resume it must clearly be shown, that the applicant has been engaged in the Areas of Responsibility for at least five years (experience may be prior to completion of graduate degree and does not need to be the immediate past five years).

Prescreen Service (Optional) Academic Component ONLY

This is a separate optional service offered to non-CHES and should ONLY be used if you are not sure you meet the requirements for the MCHES exam. The prescreen service will review the academic component of eligibility. If you are found to be eligible that $25 prescreen request fee will be deducted from the exam registration fee and an application and instructions will be mailed to you. If ineligible, course deficiencies will be identified and guidance will be provided.

Prescreen Schedule:
 April Cycle: November 1- February 1
 October Cycle: May 2- August 1


NCHEC does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of religion, gender, ethnic background or physical disability.

Requests for Special Testing Accommodations

Applicants requesting special arrangements and other special needs due to disabilities or religious restrictions must indicate this information on the application. Supporting documentation is required such as a letter from a religious leader indicating necessity to take for the exam on Sunday if choosing a Sabbath site. All requests must be received by application final deadline.

 Appeal of Denial of Eligibility:

Filing the Appeal

1. An appeal will only be considered if postmarked within thirty (30) calendar days following the postmark date on the envelope in which the Appellant was notified of the adverse decision.

2. NCHEC strongly suggests appeals be sent by certified mail or overnight courier service (such as FedEx) with return receipt requested. Appeals by facsimile or email are not accepted.

3. A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) must be paid and is not refundable if the appeal is denied.

4. An appeal must be submitted in writing (preferably typewritten) to the NCHEC Executive Director who will, in turn, submit it to the appropriate NCHEC decision making body. The appeal must contain the envelope from NCHEC showing the postmark date of the adverse decision.

5. The appeal should identify the adverse decision being appealed and explicitly state the reasons for the appeal. The appeal shall set forth any new or additional information to be considered.

6. The only additional information that may be submitted after the initial filing is that which is requested by the appropriate NCHEC decision making body.

Please see the attached link for the full appeal policy /renew_recert/discipline/