Health Education Credentialing
Credentialing is an umbrella term referring to the various means employed to designate
that individuals or organizations have met or exceeded established standards. These may
include certification, registration or licensure of individuals, or accreditation of
organizations. The health education profession has chosen certification as the method of
individual credentialing for the profession. Certification is the process by which a
nongovernmental agency or association grants recognition to an individual who has met
predetermined qualifications specified by the agency or association. Typical qualifications
include graduation from an accredited or approved program and acceptable performance
on a qualifying examination or series of examinations.
NCHEC's voluntary professional certification program establishes a national standard for
individual health education practitioners. It differs from state and local certifications and
registries in that the requirements do not vary from one locale to another.
How does national certification benefit practitioners and the public?
- Establishes a national standard of practice for all health education specialists
- Attests to the individual health education specialists' knowledge and skills
- Assists employers in identifying qualified health education practitioners
- Develops a sense of pride and accomplishment among certified health education
- Promotes continued professional development for health education specialists
The CHES and MCHES certification programs have met rigorous standards set by the
National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The CHES certification program has
been NCCA accredited since 2008 and the MCHES certification program since 2013. The
NCCA was developed, in order to “ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public
through the accreditation of a variety of certification programs/organizations that assess
professional competence”. The NCCA standards require demonstration of a valid and
reliable process for development, implementation, maintenance and governance of
The NCHEC leadership has made a commitment to align with NCCA standards in the
development and ongoing implementation of the health education certifications specifically
by conducting a job/practice analysis periodically. The CHES and MCHES credentials are
among the over 300 NCCA accredited programs for 120 organizations including but not limited to nursing, counseling, and respiratory therapy.
Recently, NCHEC earned accreditation as a Personnel Certification Body by the International Accreditation Service (IAS). Accreditation provides a global benchmark for personnel certification programs to ensure consistent, comparable and reliable operations worldwide. IAS
is one of the leading accreditation bodies in the United States and a signatory
to several international mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs). A recognized
accreditation body since 1975, IAS accredits more than 800 organizations.
accreditation provides quality assurance to the public and other stakeholders
that NCHEC’s policies and procedures comply with high international standards
of practice for certifying agencies. IAS recognition demonstrates NCHEC’s
ongoing commitment to meeting the highest credentialing standards of practice
for the health education/promotion profession.
The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing continues to show solid growth in certifying both CHES and MCHES. The 2015 exam cycles had the highest number of registrations out of all previous cycles with a total of 2736 CHES registrants and 170 MCHES registrants. To date, there are over 12,000 CHES and MCHES working in every state in the United States as well as others who are practicing internationally.
Figure 1: 5 Year Comparison Study - CHES registrants
Figure 2: 5 Year Comparison Study - MCHES registrants