Credentialing Excellence in Health Education


Health Education Profession

The health education profession has a proud history of scientifically validating the Competencies that have become the basis of the professional credential(s), professional preparation, and professional development. The verified Responsibilities, Competencies and Sub-Competencies (currently 7, 26, and 258, respectively) define the profession and distinguish individuals from those trained in other disciplines.

The Health Education Profession & Certification History Timeline

1978 - National Task Force on the Preparation & Practice of Health Educators established
1978-1981 Role Delineation Project conducted
1985 - A Framework for the Development of Competency-Based Curricula for Entry Level Health Educators published
1988 - NCHEC incorporated as a nonprofit organization
1989 - Charter CHES certification phase
1990 - First CHES exam given
1997 - CHES exam offered twice a year
2000 - Code of Ethics for Health Education Profession adopted
2005 - National Health Educator Competencies Update Project (CUP) results released (1998-2004 study)
2006 - Revised framework, A Competency- Based framework for Health Educators -2006, published
2007 - Revised study guide, The Health Education Specialist: A Companion Guide for Profession Excellence, 6th Edition, published
2007 - CHES exam revised based on CUP results.
2008 - CHES certification program accredited by National Commission on Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
2010 - Health Educator Job Analysis (HEJA) Results Released (2008-2009 study)
2010 - Revised framework, A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education Specialists-2010, published
2010 - Revised study material, The Health Education Specialist: A Companion Guide for Professional Excellence 6th Edition, published
2011 - CHES exam revised based on HEJA results
2011 - MCHES certification first conferred via Experience Documentation Opportunity (EDO) for existing CHES
2011 - MCHES first examination offered. EDO closed
2013 - The CHES certification program is re-accredited and the MCHES certification program received accreditation by NCCA
2015 - Health Education Practice Analysis (HESPA) results released (2013-2014 study)

Bureau of Labor Statics Classification

The U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a classification of health educator and defines health educators (SOC 21-1091.00) as those that provide and manage health education programs that help individuals, families, and their communities maximize and maintain healthy lifestyles. Health Educators collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies, and environments. They may serve as resource to assist individuals, other health professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs. Excludes "Community Health Workers" (21-1094).

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), there were an estimated 58,900 health educators in 2012. 

  • Employment of health educators will grow by projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. 

  • 5 out of 10 health educators work in healthcare and social assistance

  • 2 out of 10 work in state and local government

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Division of Occupational Employment Statistics (2012).

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