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 unsure...you'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
A 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.