Credentialing Excellence in Health Education


What’s in an Advisor Letter? A Guide for Students

If you are registering for the CHES examination as a full-time student, an advisor letter must be submitted at some point during the application process.  Although the advisor letter is not necessary at the time of payment, it must be acquired and uploaded/mailed/emailed before the exam final deadline.

The goal of an advisor letter is to demonstrate:

  • That the applicant is enrolled in 9 or more credits (which secures the student rate)
  • When the student is expected to graduate
  • The student’s current major
  • That a faculty member has deemed the student in good standing for the exam

The letter should be drafted on letterhead by a faculty member actively involved in the student’s educational process. Its purpose is to verify that the student will be completing the necessary credits for certification and will possess a conferred degree within 90 days of taking the examination – a standard that is required for our NCCA and IAS accreditation.

Sample Advisor Letter

Don't Procrastinate

If you are hesitant to ask an advisor or faculty member for this letter... don't be!  In most cases, they will already be familiar with the concept and the purpose behind the request.  If not, you can print this sample letter and provide it as reference for your advisor.  Composing an advisor letter should only take about 5 minutes of time. Remember that it is required in order to be able to sit for the certification exam as a student.  

Don't forget to submit your official transcript along with your application or advisor letter!  

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Friday, June 23, 2017 | 0 comments
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2017 CHES®/MCHES® Video Contest - Enter to Win!

Introducing NCHEC's first CHES®/MCHES® Video Contest

We are inviting all CHES® and MCHES® to submit a 1 - 3 minute video that explains the professional experiences they have experienced as a result of obtaining certification.  Questions to consider when filming are:

  • what are the benefits of the CHES® or MCHES® in your professional or personal life?
  • why did you decide to get certified?
  • what is your current role as a CHES® or MCHES®?
  • can you describe a positive impact/experience you have made or gained in your professional life as a result of certification?
All entries should be submitted by October 1, 2017.  Please include a written transcript with your submission! Prizes include:
  • $100 gift card for the 1st place winner
  • $25 gift card for honorable mention(s)
  • Publication in NCHEC's print newsletter (14,000+ subscribers)
  • Recognition on the NCHEC website and social media outlets

Contest guidelines:
  1. Video length should be 1 -3 minutes (NCHEC will not consider submissions longer than 3 minutes).
  2. Written transcript must be provided.
  3. Upload and share to YouTube (entry can be unlisted for privacy), then email the link and transcript to with "Contest Submission" in the subject line.
  4. Entrant must be CHES® or MCHES® in good standing.
  5. Must be filmed horizontally - Phone submissions are permitted.
  6. Entrant must agree to allow NCHEC to publish your video online or in print, or in future campaigns.
  7. Entrant must agree to have fun filming!!**

**The purpose of this contest is to get a glimpse in the lives of our CHES® and MCHES® - don't worry too much about whether your video looks professionally produced - we just want to hear YOUR story. Have fun with it!

If you have additional questions about this contest, please email


Posted by Jessica Wessner at Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 0 comments
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New CHES® and MCHES® Video Release

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC), is pleased to announce the release of the newly filmed 2017 video on the value of CHES® and MCHES® certification!  Filmed at the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) annual conference in March of 2017, the video features Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) practitioners from a variety of work settings. Video participants offer advice and guidance on the value and process of NCHEC certification for individuals entering careers in the field of health education and promotion, as well as advanced-level practitioners seeking higher level skills validation.

Filming was conducted in Denver, Colorado at the Hyatt Conference Center by NCHEC’s digital vendor, Speak Creative.  Interviews were compiled from volunteers attending the conference who are actively CHES® and MCHES®-certified through the NCHEC organization.  The individuals filmed included Trisha Zizumbo, Oakland County Health Department, Zachary Raney, North Kentucky Health Department, Arycelis Segura, Montefiore Medical System, Dr. Raffy Luquis, Penn State University, Jennifer Nguyen, National Psoriasis Foundation, Dr. Beth Chaney, Past NCHEC Board Chair, and Melissa Opp, NCHEC Staff member.  Interviewees spoke to how obtaining the certification has benefited them in the advancement of their health education careers, as well as serving both the public and their employers.

The video will be available on NCHEC’s NCHEC’s YouTube channel and on the organizational website at

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Tuesday, June 6, 2017 | 0 comments
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Community Health Improvement Week 2017 - Profiles

It’s #CHIweek! From June 4 – 10, 2017 we will nationally celebrate the value of community health professionals for their dedication to passionately improving the health of the communities that they serve. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing would like to recognize our CHES® and MCHES®-certified individuals practicing in the field of community and population health.  These certifications are essential tools in effective community benefits programs and population health efforts!

Gina Smith, MA, CHES®, Community Health Improvement Coordinator, is a practicing Certified Health Education Specialist with Yale New Haven Hospital who focuses on community-based health screenings to at-risk populations.  Gina recently presented her findings at the 2017 ACHI Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Meet Chesley Cheatham, MCHES®, Manager of Community Outreach for Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Chesley works to complete Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) and subsequent implementation strategies.  Chesley notes that she uses her MCHES® skills in her day-to-day efforts.  She also completes voluntary service on the NCHEC Board of Commissioners and is the Director of the Division Board for Professional Development, supporting efforts to enhance the Health Education Specialist certifications!

As a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), Nancy Clifton-Hawkins advocates daily for community health and health awareness.   As the Manager for the City of Hope Department of Community Benefit, in Duarte, CA, Nancy focuses her energies on addressing the needs in the local vulnerable community.   Currently she is supporting the planning and implementation of a prostate cancer awareness campaign in the local  African American churches as well as conducting  health needs assessments and their accompanying implementation strategies.   Nancy is an elected member of the NCHEC Board of Commissioners. 

Meet CHES® Angie Bailey, from Southern Illinois Healthcare. As manager of her Community Benefits Department, Angie conducts needs assessments for three hospital healthcare systems and implements plans to address social determinants and priority health issues. The community benefits department provides education and PSE in schools, community, and faith communities. Thank you for your excellent work in community health as a certified health education specialist!

Community health improvement week is a national event that raises awareness, demonstrates impact and celebrates the individuals and organizations that work to improve the determinants of health in their communities. Congratulations to these outstanding CHES® and MCHES® for their hard work and dedication to the profession!


Posted by Jessica Wessner at Thursday, June 1, 2017 | 0 comments
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Should I Prescreen for Eligibility?

If you haven't majored in Health Education specifically, determining if your university-level coursework meets the CHES® exam requirements may have you scratching your head.  You may have read that other related degrees might be accepted, but only if you have the appropriate 25+ credits of coursework that focus specifically on the 7 Areas of Responsibility of a Health Education Specialist.  You scan your transcript and you are suddenly've taken a lot of classes, but which ones would truly "count?" 

The Review Process

The first thing to understand is that every official transcript submitted with an application (or prescreen) is reviewed on an individual basis.  Know that course titles vary widely from university to university, as does course content.  If the exam coordinator who reviews your transcript is uncertain about the content of a course you have taken, she may ask you to provide a course description or syllabus. 

Tip: Printing out your course descriptions before applying is also an excellent way to provide you with more clarity on what might be an accepted course, and which could be excluded.

Prescreen vs. Application

prescreen application is often used in place of a regular application, if you are in any way unsure of coursework eligibility.  In fact, there are benefits to using the prescreen service that you may not be aware of: 

  • You will not need to resubmit an additional application if you are eligible. You simply log back into the account you create, and complete the exam payment and select a test site location.
  • Prescreen applications receive priority during the review process - so your results will be received within about 2 weeks or less. Traditional applications may take longer.
  • If you are not currently eligible, you will learn exactly how many credits you are missing, as well as sample course titles to help you select additional classes. You can pick up these credits online if you wish.
  • The cost of the prescreen ($25) is subtracted off of your application fee if you are eligible, so you will not end up paying more than the cost of original exam fee.
  • The date of your prescreen application will be considered your exam application date, so you will not incur a higher exam fee due to a deadline cutoff.

In short, do not let confusion over your eligibility review stand in the way of submitting a prescreen or an application for the CHES® exam. The certification is both nationally and internationally recognized and accredited, and therefore requires thorough and consistent review standards for all candidates – everyone who applies must follow this process!  NCHEC staff are always available to answer questions and walk you through the process and your results. 

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | 0 comments
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How to Display Your CHES®/MCHES® Credential

The process of obtaining one’s CHES® or MCHES® certification is by no means an easy accomplishment. In addition to sitting for an arduous competency-based examination, the certification denotes years of university-level academic study and a commitment to professional competency through continuing education. Displaying your professional and academic credentials properly will serve to validate your personal expertise and give tangible recognition of professional achievements. In addition, patients, clients, or community members will feel more confident in the care they receive from a nationally certified provider. 

Judging from the manner in which credentials are often displayed in publications, communications, or social media, there may be some confusion out there as to show to display one’s credentials correctly, including academic degrees, licensures, and certifications.  It is important to understand what each credential means and how it should be displayed after a practitioner’s name.

Academic Degree

The decision of whether or not to include your academic degree in your title is a personal one.  The preferred method for the display of degrees is to list the highest academic degree only.  For example, if you earned both a PhD and an MPH, only the PhD would be listed in your title.  However, if you MPH is relevant to your current professional position, it is certainly acceptable to display both degrees.

State Licensure Titles

A state licensure credential is generally awarded based on the completion of a specific educational program and requires the passing of a licensure exam that includes other requirements by the issuing state, allowing the individual to practice in that state.  It is often required by states that an individual must use a licensure title when practicing, one example being for medical practice:  Nancy Thomas, BSN, RN.

Professional Certification

Professional certification credentials are awarded by a nationally recognized certifying body, usually accredited, such as the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), Inc. Certifications such as CHES® or MCHES® are indicative of knowledge, skills and competencies for a particular profession. Competencies for professional certifications have to be validated through a national role delineation or job task analysis, and can be entry-level, such as CHES®, or advanced-level, such as MCHES. The display of your CHES®/MCHE®S credential should be in capital letters always, with no periods.  If you have transitioned from the CHES® to the MCHES® certification, only the MCHES® initials are displayed in your title, as your CHES® certification is no longer active.

The preferred order for display of credentials is:

  • Highest earned degree
  • Licensure
  • State designations or requirements
  • National certifications
  • Awards and honors/other recognitions
CHES® and MCHES® Credentials are now trademarked

It is exciting to note that a trademark for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Master Certified (MCHES®) credentials has been officially registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Certified individuals should adjust their titles and signature lines to reflect the recent changes to the designation.  The appropriate symbol to include immediately after the acronym is ® for a trademark officially registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can easily copy and paste the official symbol here

Example of credential display:  Jane Smith, PhD, RN, MCHES®, FAAHE

Consistency in how Certified and Master-Certified Health Education Specialists identify themselves alleviates confusion and lends credibility to the profession of health education and promotion. Individuals who have earned their CHES® or MCHES® should feel a sense of responsibility to educate the public as well as colleagues about what they truly mean.  Remember that you worked very hard for your degree(s) and credentials, so make sure that you are displaying them properly on business cards, publications, and email signatures in order to receive the recognition you deserve.


National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM); Displaying Your Credentials Proudly and Properly; Kory Ward-Cook and Mina Larson, 2012.

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC); How to Display Your Credentials; 2013.

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 0 comments
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