NCHEC Celebrates 30 Years of History in Credentialing

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We took the time
to do it right."

Dr. Helen P. Cleary MPH, D.Sc., CHES® #1


The words uttered by our very first Certified Health Education Specialist and founder of what is today the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) continues to ring true. The year 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of our esteemed organization and its journey along the path of the promotion of health education specialists through the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) credentials and the strengthening of professional preparation and practice in our industry, with over 14,500 actively certified individuals.

NCHEC has made some amazing strides over the past three decades, which include the continued delineation of the core competencies for CHES® and MCHES® across many diverse practice settings, and the administration of tens of thousands of certification exams across the country.

Throughout the 2019 year, NCHEC will be remembering accomplishments from the past thirty years, recognizing individuals who have contributed to our historic achievements, as well as looking ahead to the future with a new Strategic Plan initiative. We also hope to see you at the annual CHES®/MCHES®-only Breakfast in Salt Lake City, Utah during the SOPHE annual conference this March to help us celebrate in this historical 30th year!

Make sure to visit our Memory Wall below, and leave behind your favorite CHES®/MCHES® thoughts or memories!

Memory Wall

Leave behind your favorite CHES®/MCHES® thoughts or memories! Add Your Comments
I still remember when CHES first was discussed and how exciting and important it was to advance the field of health education. I still feel the same way today and I am proud that it requires ongoing training to maintain the certification. Today our work is understood and valued as an established discipline thanks in part to NCHEC.
Kurt Eggebrecht MCHES #375, Health Officer
I was extremely honored to have been involved with development of the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing and serve as Vice Chairperson during initial recruitment of "Charter Members". I am also honored to have been CHES®, and now MCHES® # 3.
Becky J. Smith PhD, MCHES® # 3
My involvement with certification dates back to the Role Delineation Project and the "Framework". I was so excited to see credentialing come to our profession! I continue to be involved as a director on the Division Board of CHES and encourage others to get involved and volunteer their time on NCHEC boards. It is a great opportunity to meet leaders of our profession and develop friendships with some great people.
Dianne Kerr MCHES® #763, Emeritus Professor
The thing that stands out in my mind is that the Board was working to help the profession understand the difference between Certification and Membership. So many people seemed to view NCHEC as another membership organization. But as the years passed, it became clear that health educators of all varieties understood the importance of certification, especially when working in fields where so many other health professionals were registered or certified. I am very proud to have been in on the ground floor of NCHEC and to be able to witness its growth and professionalization.
Pat Mail MCHES ® #857, Past Chair BOC
What a rush when I received that certification letter!! A sense of validation for all the times I had to explain what a “Health Educator” was. We had arrived! And from that moment on, my pride in our field continued to grow as I became associated with other CHES® folks, both professionally and personally! We are a proud and dedicated breed, and to witness how far this credentialing process has grown, is another testament of how special this profession is and how wonderfully innovative and dedicated our leaders were to get NCHEC to where it is now and how it is so recognized today! Thank you! Caroline
Caroline Williams CHES® #366
I remember how my Master's program advisor, Dianne Kerr, talked about the importance of this certification, and how proud I was when I earned my CHES®. Then, when I got to sit for the MCHES®, I felt like I had finally "arrived."
Alexis Blavos MCHES® #13570, Assistant Professor
I remember passionate discussions at professional meetings and among my peers about the direction that professional preparation should take. When certification was first made available, there was no doubt I wanted to be a Certified Health Education Specialist. I applied during the charter certification phase and was the 289th person to receive certification.
Randy Cottrell MCHES ® #289
The idea that all public health workers were "Health Educators" never quite sat right with me. Then along came CHES credentialing for the profession. What a powerful and meaningful tool to have a profession that defined what skills and knowledge it takes to be a Health Educator which is much more than just providing the activity/task of health education . I was eager and proud to become a Certified Health Education Specialist which helped validate and describe my profession to others.
Linda Forys MCHES ® #434
I like having my MCHES® and former CHES® because it helps me to be recognized in my field and a place to belong!
Erica Bailey, MCHES® Provider Engagement Professional
I am pleased with this opportunity to leave a comment on this certificate. CHES® was introduced to me by a course mate during my Master's and we decided to take the exams. We bought the books and studied for it. We flew from Ghana to sit for the exams. I have not regretted investing my resources.... the benefits are enormous!! We have introduced a few people who have taken the exams from Ghana. Long live NCHEC!!
Ofeibea Asare CHES®
Add Your Comments

NCHEC Through The Years

A Historical Timeline

  1. Our Beginning

    The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., (NCHEC) is established with Helen Cleary as CHES #1.
  2. CHES Credential

    1558 Charter CHES designations are granted in 1989.
  3. Our Leadership

    NCHEC establishes an elected governing board of 11 Commissioners.
  4. Job Analysis

    The National Health Educator Competencies Update Project (CUP) results are released in 2004 by SOPHE, AAHE, and NCHEC.
  5. Accreditation

    The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CHES certification in 2008
  6. Re-Validation

    The Health Educator Job Analysis (HEJA) is completed in 2009.
  7. Advanced Credentialing

    The MCHES EDO opens in 2010 and the first MCHES exam is administered in 2011.
  8. Practice Analysis Continued

    The Health Education Specialist Practice Analaysis (HESPA) was completed in 2014.
  9. Forward Movement

    The first computer-based CHES and MCHES exam is administered in October 2018 at Prometric test centers.
  10. HESPA II

    The Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis (HESPA II) is launched in 2018 and will shape the future of health education and promotion preparation and practice!

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