Exam Eligibility

Picture of Students Smiling

CHES® Exam Eligibility

Eligibility to take the CHES® examination is based exclusively on academic qualifications. Applicants must possess a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher education AND one of the following

  • an official transcript (including course titles) that clearly shows a major in health education, e.g., Health Education, Community Health Education, Public Health Education, School Health Education, etc. Degree/major must explicitly be in a discipline of "Health Education." OR
  • an official transcript that reflects at least 25 semester credits or 37 quarter hours of course work (with a grade "c" or better) with specific preparation addressing the Eight Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists.

Applicants for the CHES® exam will have at least 25 semester credits/37 quarter hours of coursework (with a grade of C or better) with specific preparation addressing the Eight Areas of Responsibilities and Competencies for Health Education Specialists. The following guidance is offered to applicants without an earned degree in Health Education seeking to qualify for the CHES® exam, based on the 25 hours of coursework requirement:

  • a minimum of 12 semester credits/18 quarter hours must be from process courses that clearly align with the Eight Areas of Responsibility
  • a maximum of 9 semester credits/14 quarter hours may be from topic-focused courses that include elements contained in the Eight Areas of Responsibility
  • a maximum of 6 semester credits/8 quarter hours may be from other courses that include elements contained in the Eight Areas of Responsibility

Course descriptions and syllabi may be provided to determine if courses are eligible.

Note: minimum eligibility is a Bachelor’s degree. Associates degree-level coursework that has been accepted by a four-year or higher, degree-granting university can be counted toward eligibility for the CHES® exam.

Please note exam applications, University Transcripts, and any supporting documentation become the property of NCHEC. These items will not be returned to the exam applicant or forwarded to a third party.



NCHEC does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, status as a veteran, or other legal protected status. NCHEC’s adheres to a formal application review process in accordance with established criteria. This process provides assurance to the public that the eligibility review is impartial and fair. 

90-Day Eligibility Option

The 90-day option is offered to students scheduled to graduate within 90 days of an exam date. To qualify for this option, a student must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education, and must submit an official transcript showing a minimum of 25 semester hours relating to the Area of Responsibility along with written verification from his/her faculty advisor assuring the student will complete all degree requirements within 90 days of the exam date.

Prescreening Service (optional)

Open - May 1, 2023 - July 31, 2023

This is a separate optional service offered to individuals and should ONLY be used if you are not sure you meet the requirements for the CHES® exam. Upon receipt of the prescreen request form, fee and the applicant's official academic transcripts, NCHEC will review an applicant's transcript(s) to determine eligibility. Deficiencies, if any, will be identified and guidance for exam qualification will be provided. This service is particularly useful to applicants whose academic preparation does not include a degree in health education, but who may have accumulated sufficient health education course work to qualify for the CHES examination. The prescreen requires a nonrefundable fee of $25.00. If eligible, the fee is applied toward the exam registration fee.

Prescreen Online Application - Click New Prescreen Applicant 

Exam Eligibility Guide

Prescreen Schedule:

  • April Cycle: November 1 - January 31
  • October Cycle : May 1 - July 31

Appeal of Denial of Eligibility:

Filing the Appeal

  1. An appeal will only be considered if postmarked, emailed or faxed within thirty (30) calendar days following the email date in which the Appellant was notified of the adverse decision.
  2. NCHEC strongly suggests appeals be sent by certified mail or overnight courier service (such as FedEx) with return receipt requested. Appeals by facsimile or email are accepted.
  3. A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) must be paid and is not refundable if the appeal is denied.
  4. An appeal must be submitted in writing (preferably typewritten) to the NCHEC Executive Director who will, in turn, submit it to the appropriate NCHEC decision-making body. The appeal must contain the original notification from NCHEC showing the date of the adverse decision.
  5. The appeal should identify the adverse decision being appealed and explicitly state the reasons for the appeal. The appeal shall set forth any new or additional information to be considered. To expedite the appeal process, applicants are encouraged to include course descriptions, syllabi, and any other pertinent information about specific courses in which the major emphasis was health education. Support documents provided by applicants will become the property of NCHEC and not be returned to appellants.
  6. The only additional information that may be submitted after the initial filing is that which is requested by the appropriate NCHEC decision-making body.

View the full appeal policy.

Ready to learn more? Request our presentation kit that illustrates the benefits of NCHEC certification or join our mailing list for the latest NCHEC news.