1. What is the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc?
The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., or NCHEC (pronounced N-Check), is a nonprofit organization whose mission is:
To enhance the professional practice of Health Education by promotion and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists. To meet this mission, NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice.
After more than a decade of work, committed health educators representing the health education profession established NCHEC in April 1988. Today there are more than 13,000 individuals actively carrying the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) designation and the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®).
2. How can I get involved with NCHEC?
Every year the Commission seeks nominations for vacancies on the Board of Commissioners and three Division Boards. All active CHES® and MCHES® are welcome to complete the nomination form that's available on the NCHEC Web site each spring. NCHEC's Marketing Committee functions on a volunteer basis. All CHES®/MCHES® are welcome. Those interested in serving should contact the executive director.
Additional opportunities are listed on the Web site periodically.
3. What is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®)?
The CHES (pronounced chez) designation signifies that an individual has met eligibility requirements for, and has successfully passed a competency-based examination demonstrating skill and knowledge of the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialist, upon which the credential is based.
4. What is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®)?
The MCHES® (pronounced m-chez) designation signifies that an individual has met academic eligibility with courses in health education and has met experience requirements in the health education field, passed a comprehensive written examination and has an ongoing commitment to advanced-level continuing education and professional development.
Health Education Credentialing
1. What are the Areas of Responsibility?
There are Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists that make up the standards of the CHES®/MCHES® credentials. They are:
- Assess Needs, Assets, and Capacity for Health Education
- Plan Health Education
- Implement Health Education
- Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education
- Administer and Manage Health Education
- Serve as a Health Education Resource Person
- Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education
2. How does one obtain skills in and knowledge of the Areas of Responsibility?
The foundation for obtaining experience in the Areas of Responsibility is academic training. Many professional preparation programs in health education or related degree programs at colleges and universities have designed their curricula using the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators. Eligibility for the CHES® examination is based solely on possession of a degree and/or academic preparation related to health education.
3. What is a Health Education Specialist?
Health education specialists are professionals who design, conduct and evaluate activities that help improve the health of all people. These activities can take place in a variety of settings that include schools, communities, health care facilities, businesses, universities and government agencies.
Health education specialists are employed under a range of job titles such as patient educators, health education teachers, health coaches, community organizers, public health educators, and health program managers.
4. What is a Certified Health Education Specialist?
Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) are those who have met the standards of competence established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC) and have successfully passed the CHES® examination.
5. What are my responsibilities after certification?
The certification period for CHES® is five years. During that time a CHE®S must accumulate 75 hours of continuing education. Each year the certification is renewed with an annual fee of $55. On the fifth year, the CHES® recertifies by demonstrating completion of 75 continuing education contact hours (CECH) and paying the annual fee.
The MCHES® continuing education requirements are similar to the CHES®, as an individual will need 75 credits in five years to recertify. The 75 CECH required for recertification must include at least 45 hours of Category I CECH (NCHEC approved opportunities) and no more than 30 hours of Category II CECH (events that meet NCHEC standards but are not offered by a Designated Provider). MCHES® are required to earn 30 CECH that are directly related to the advanced-level Sub-competencies from Category I and/or II for each certification cycle. For more information on the continuing education requirements view the Policies and Procedures Handbook.
6. What does the CHES® designation mean?
The CHES® designation after a health educator's name is one indication of professional competency and commitment to continued professional development.
7. What does the MCHES® designation mean?
The MCHES® designation after a health education specialist's name is one indication of professional advanced-level competency and commitment to continued advanced-level professional development.
A health education specialist's name is one indication of professional advanced-level competency and commitment to continued advanced-level professional development.
1. What are my responsibilities after certification?
The certification period for CHES® is five years. During that time a CHES® must accumulate 75 hours of continuing education. Each year the certification is renewed with an annual fee of $55. On the fifth year, the CHES® recertifies by demonstrating completion of 75 continuing education contact hours (CECH) and paying the annual fee.
2. What are the Continuing Education requirements for CHES®?
In order to maintain certification, a CHES® must accumulate a total of 75 Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH) every five years to be recertified. At least 45 of these CECH must come from offerings by NCHEC preapproved designated providers (Category I); the remaining 30 may come from other providers (Category II). CHES® may choose to earn all 75 CECH in Category I.
CECH are those experiences that assist in the development or enhancement of the knowledge and skills directly related to the Seven Areas of Responsibility and the individual's professional occupation. NCHEC encourages CHES® to pursue training in all Seven Areas of Responsibility, as competence in all Areas is essential to successful health education practice.
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.
3. What are the Continuing Education requirements for MCHES®?
The MCHES® continuing education requirements are similar to the CHES®, as an individual will need 75 credits every five years to recertify. The 75 CECH required for recertification must include a minimum of 45 hours of Category I CECH (NCHEC approved opportunities) and a maximum of 30 hours of Category II CECH (events that meet NCHEC standards but are not offered by a Designated Provider). MCHES® are required to earn 30 CECH that are directly related to the advanced-level Sub-competencies from Category I and/or II for each certification cycle. For more information on the continuing education requirements view the Policies and Procedures Handbook.
4. What is Category I?
There are two types of CECH, Category I and Category II:
Category I is a continuing education program/activity which 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. All CECH can be earned through Category I activities.
CHES®/MCHES® who have accumulated in excess of 75 CECH at the end of the current five-year certification cycle may carry over a maximum of 15 Category I CECH into the next five- year certification cycle. Category II hours are not eligible for carry over.
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®/MCHES® Responsibilities/Sub-competencies related activities. Designated providers report all activities directly to NCHEC either once a quarter or twice a year, depending on what type of provider they are.
At the end of a Category I activity you will receive a certificate that includes a designated provider number. Keep this certificate as proof of your participation in the activity.
5. What is Category II?
A Category II activity is not preapproved by NCHEC.
A maximum of 30 CECH can be earned by participating in quality activities that relate to at least one of the Seven Areas of Responsibility for CHES® and at least one of the advanced-level Sub-competencies for MCHES®, 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.
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 (pdf).
6. What are CECH Fees?
NCHEC does not charge to process continuing education credits. 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.
7. What are ways I can obtain my CECH Credits?
There are several ways you can earn CECH credits, including: attendance at professional meetings, self- study, academic preparation, creative endeavors, professional presentations, and professional service. For more information go to Opportunities for Contact Hours in the Continuing Education section.
A health education specialist's name is one indication of professional advanced-level competency and commitment to continued advanced-level professional development.
8. How do I find CHES®/MCHES® approved activities?
NCHEC strives to keep an up-to-date list of Category I (live events and self-studies) activities. You can find that listing here. The easiest way to find activities is to log in to your CHES® account and click on “Continuing Education Credit Activities”. Category II activities are independent activities submitted for approval, therefore the activities are identified by the individual.
9. How do I document my continuing education?
Category I (preapproved) Activities: After completion of a Category I activity, the designated provider will report the activity directly to NCHEC and award a certificate of attendance/completion directly to the participating CHES®/MCHES®. The certificate will include the sponsor's “Designated Provider number”. CHES®/MCHES® should retain the certificate in their records--CHES®/MCHES® SHOULD NOT submit any Category I documentation to NCHEC unless requested.
Category II (non-preapproved) Activities: Due to the diversity of Category II opportunities, acceptable forms of documentation will vary. To claim CECH in Category II, CHES®/MCHES® will need to record not only the program information, but also how each activity relates to the Areas of Responsibility or advanced-level Sub-competency. CHES®/MCHES® must fill out a Category II Claim Form (pdf) within 90 days following completion of a CECH activity.
1. What is a "Designated Provider”?
Designated Provider status is awarded by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) to organizations offering health education related continuing education programs and activities for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) and the Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES®). NCHEC mandates that all CHES®/MCHES® earn at least a portion of their continuing education requirement for recertification from Designated Providers.
2. What is a continuing education activity?
Continuing Education is defined as educational experiences that help CHES®/MCHES® maintain their core competencies, which are:
- Assess needs, assets, and capacity for health education
- Plan health education
- Implement health education
- Conduct evaluation and research related to health education
- Administer and manage health education
- Serve as a health education resource person
- Communicate and advocate for health and health education
Continuing education experiences may include seminars, conferences, workshops, academic courses, authorship, professional presentations, professional service, training programs, and directed self-study programs which are at least one-hour in length.
3. Why should my organization become a Designated Provider?
- To attract more health education specialists to your programs
- To increase the visibility and credibility of your organization as a nationally recognized provider of continuing education for health educators
- To provide a needed professional education service to your community
- To generate revenue from continuing education events
- Free access to the mailing list of all CHES®/MCHES®
4. Is my organization eligible to become a Designated Provider?
If yours is a local, state, national or international organization/agency involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health education related continuing education, you are eligible to become a Designated Provider. Designated Providers can be: medical facilities, colleges/universities, nonprofit organizations, for profit corporations, publishers, health departments, and professional organizations. Contact the continuing education coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org if you're not sure you qualify.
5. Which Designated Provider category should my organization choose?
There are four categories of Designated Provider. See descriptions below to decide which is best for your organization.
Single Event Provider (SEP): Organizations choosing this category do not plan to offer many continuing education activities that address CHES/MCHES Competencies and Sub-competencies but are seeking approval for one activity only (even if it will be offered more than once in a year)
Multiple Event Provider (MEP): Organizations choosing this category offer several continuing education activities during a two-year or four-year period which address CHES®/MCHES® Competencies and Sub-competencies. These organizations must show evidence of either two previous successful continuing education programs using the NCHEC Single Event Provider (SEP) application within the preceding two-year period; or current designation as a provider of continuing education for another health profession (ie: nursing, diabetes, social work, etc.)
Annual Event Provider (AEP): Organizations choosing this category have offered annual meetings for at least five years which include a great number of sessions addressing CHES®/MCHES® Competencies and Sub-competencies.
Universal Provider Application: This application may be employed in conjunction with any application form used to seek continuing education approval for a single event by another health profession. This format is an alternative to NCHEC's Single Event Provider Application and will lead to the same designation.
6. How does my organization apply to become a Designated Provider?
- Decide which designated provider category best reflects your situation. If you are not sure, ask us. We will review the criteria with you and help you determine which category best fits your needs and situation.
- Contact the continuing education coordinator and request an application form or download an application here.
- Submit application and administrative fee for review
- Allow 4 weeks for application review
7. Who will review the application?
Applications are reviewed by NCHEC staff, voluntary review panel, and/or NCHEC Division Board for Professional Development for additional review.
8. What are some tips for a successful application?
- Demonstrated relevance of your (current or future) offerings to health educators
- Include all requested information
- Clear and specific responses to all questions
- Inclusion of at least one CHES®/MCHES® on the event planning committee.
- Submit check/money order/credit card information for the appropriate amount.