1. What is the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc?
The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., or NCHEC (pronounced N-Check), is a nonprofit organization whose mission is:
To enhance the professional practice of Health Education by promotion and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists. To meet this mission, NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice.
After more than a decade of work, committed health educators representing the health education profession established NCHEC in April 1988. Today there are more than 15,000 individuals actively carrying the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) designation and the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®).
2. How can I get involved with NCHEC?
Every year the Commission seeks nominations for vacancies on the Board of Commissioners and three Division Boards. All active CHES® and MCHES® are welcome to complete the nomination form that's available on the NCHEC Web site each spring. NCHEC's Marketing Committee functions on a volunteer basis. All CHES®/MCHES® are welcome. Those interested in serving should contact the executive director.
Additional opportunities are listed on the Web site periodically.
3. What is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®)?
The CHES (pronounced chez) designation signifies that an individual has met eligibility requirements for, and has successfully passed a competency-based examination demonstrating skill and knowledge of the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialist, upon which the credential is based.
4. What is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®)?
The MCHES® (pronounced m-chez) designation signifies that an individual has met academic eligibility with courses in health education and has met experience requirements in the health education field, passed a comprehensive written examination and has an ongoing commitment to advanced-level continuing education and professional development.
1. How do I submit an article to the NCHEC NEWS Bulletin?
NCHEC welcomes any information relevant to CHES® and MCHES® as well as the health education profession. If you have information or an article to submit to the NCHEC News Bulletin, please send it to the Communications Specialist, Jessica Wessner, email@example.com.
2. I am a member of the media, who do I contact regarding information about NCHEC?
Health Education Credentialing
1. What are the Areas of Responsibility?
There are Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists that make up the standards of the CHES®/MCHES® credentials. They are:
- Assess Needs, Assets, and Capacity for Health Education
- Plan Health Education
- Implement Health Education
- Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education
- Administer and Manage Health Education
- Serve as a Health Education Resource Person
- Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education
2. How does one obtain skills in and knowledge of the Areas of Responsibility?
The foundation for obtaining experience in the Areas of Responsibility is academic training. Many professional preparation programs in health education or related degree programs at colleges and universities have designed their curricula using the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators. Eligibility for the CHES® examination is based solely on possession of a degree and/or academic preparation related to health education.
3. What is a Health Education Specialist?
Health education specialists are professionals who design, conduct and evaluate activities that help improve the health of all people. These activities can take place in a variety of settings that include schools, communities, health care facilities, businesses, universities and government agencies.
Health education specialists are employed under a range of job titles such as patient educators, health education teachers, health coaches, community organizers, public health educators, and health program managers.
4. What is a Certified Health Education Specialist?
Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) are those who have met the standards of competence established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC) and have successfully passed the CHES® examination.
5. What are my responsibilities after certification?
The certification period for CHES® is five years. During that time a CHE®S must accumulate 75 hours of continuing education. Each year the certification is renewed with an annual fee of $60. On the fifth year, the CHES® recertifies by demonstrating completion of 75 continuing education contact hours (CECH) and paying the annual fee.
The MCHES® continuing education requirements are similar to the CHES®, as an individual will need 75 credits in five years to recertify. The 75 CECH required for recertification must include at least 45 hours of Category I CECH (NCHEC approved opportunities) and no more than 30 hours of Category II CECH (events that meet NCHEC standards but are not offered by a Designated Provider). MCHES® are required to earn 30 CECH that are directly related to the advanced-level Sub-competencies from Category I and/or II for each certification cycle. 5 of these CECH must fulfill the Continuing Competency Requirement for recertification. This requirement can be met either through a work performance assessment by a supervisor/client (Category II); OR via an end-of-course learning assessment by a designated provider of continuing education (Category I) as part of these 75 credits.For more information on the continuing education requirements view the Policies and Procedures Handbook.
6. What does the CHES® designation mean?
The CHES® designation after a health educator's name is one indication of professional competency and commitment to continued professional development.
7. What does the MCHES® designation mean?
The MCHES® designation after a health education specialist's name is one indication of professional advanced-level competency and commitment to continued advanced-level professional development.
A health education specialist's name is one indication of professional advanced-level competency and commitment to continued advanced-level professional development.
1. What are my responsibilities after certification?
The certification period for CHES® is five years. During that time a CHES® must accumulate 75 hours of continuing education. Each year the certification is renewed with an annual fee of $60. On the fifth year, the CHES® recertifies by demonstrating completion of 75 continuing education contact hours (CECH) and paying the annual fee.
2. What are the Continuing Education requirements for CHES®?
In order to maintain certification, a CHES® must accumulate a total of 75 Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH) every five years to be recertified. At least 45 of these CECH must come from offerings by NCHEC preapproved designated providers (Category I); the remaining 30 may come from other providers (Category II). CHES® may choose to earn all 75 CECH in Category I. 5 of these CECH must fulfill the Continuing Competency Requirement for recertification. This requirement can be met either through a work performance assessment by a supervisor/client (Category II); OR via an end-of-course learning assessment by a designated provider of continuing education (Category I) as part of these 75 credits.
CECH are those experiences that assist in the development or enhancement of the knowledge and skills directly related to the Seven Areas of Responsibility and the individual's professional occupation. NCHEC encourages CHES® to pursue training in all Seven Areas of Responsibility, as competence in all Areas is essential to successful health education practice.
CHES are encouraged to accumulate a minimum of 15 CECH per year, and to complete all continuing education requirements at least 90 days prior to recertification.
3. What are the Continuing Education requirements for MCHES®?
The MCHES® continuing education requirements are similar to the CHES®, as an individual will need 75 credits every five years to recertify. The 75 CECH required for recertification must include a minimum of 45 hours of Category I CECH (NCHEC approved opportunities) and a maximum of 30 hours of Category II CECH (events that meet NCHEC standards but are not offered by a Designated Provider). MCHES® are required to earn 30 CECH that are directly related to the advanced-level Sub-competencies from Category I and/or II for each certification cycle. 5 of these CECH must fulfill the Continuing Competency Requirement for recertification. This requirement can be met either through a work performance assessment by a supervisor/client (Category II); OR via an end-of-course learning assessment by a designated provider of continuing education (Category I) as part of these 75 credits. For more information on the continuing education requirements view the Category II Claim Form (pdf).
6. What are CECH Fees?
NCHEC does not charge to process continuing education credits. Individual providers of continuing education may still require payment of administrative fees to defray their expenses in completing the provider application, filing the continuing education report and maintaining attendance records following an event.
7. What are ways I can obtain my CECH Credits?
There are several ways you can earn CECH credits, including: attendance at professional meetings, self- study, academic preparation, creative endeavors, professional presentations, and professional service. For more information go to Opportunities for Contact Hours in the Continuing Education section.
A health education specialist's name is one indication of professional advanced-level competency and commitment to continued advanced-level professional development.
8. How do I find CHES®/MCHES® approved activities?
NCHEC strives to keep an up-to-date list of Category I (live events and self-studies) activities. You can find that listing here. The easiest way to find activities is to log in to your CHES® account and click on “Continuing Education Credit Activities”. Category II activities are independent activities submitted for approval, therefore the activities are identified by the individual.
9. How do I document my continuing education?
Category I (preapproved) Activities: After completion of a Category I activity, the designated provider will report the activity directly to NCHEC and award a certificate of attendance/completion directly to the participating CHES®/MCHES®. The certificate will include the sponsor's “Designated Provider number”. CHES®/MCHES® should retain the certificate in their records--CHES®/MCHES® SHOULD NOT submit any Category I documentation to NCHEC unless requested.
Category II (non-preapproved) Activities: Due to the diversity of Category II opportunities, acceptable forms of documentation will vary. To claim CECH in Category II, CHES®/MCHES® will need to record not only the program information, but also how each activity relates to the Areas of Responsibility or advanced-level Sub-competency. CHES®/MCHES® must fill out a Category II Claim Form (pdf) within 90 days following completion of a CECH activity.
Renewal and Recertification
1. What is renewal?
Renewal refers to the annual fee required to keep your CHES® designation current.
2. What is recertification?
Recertification refers to the process of starting a new 5-year cycle. In order to be recertified and keep your CHES® designation, you must complete the required 75 hours of CECH and be current with your renewal fees.
3. How do I make a payment?
You can make a payment towards your CHES® renewal or recertification by clicking the “Login” link on the top of your screen.
1. What is a "Designated Provider”?
Designated Provider status is awarded by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) to organizations offering health education related continuing education programs and activities for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) and the Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES®). NCHEC mandates that all CHES®/MCHES® earn at least a portion of their continuing education requirement for recertification from Designated Providers.
2. What is a continuing education activity?
Continuing Education is defined as educational experiences that help CHES®/MCHES® maintain their core competencies, which are:
- Assess needs, assets, and capacity for health education
- Plan health education
- Implement health education
- Conduct evaluation and research related to health education
- Administer and manage health education
- Serve as a health education resource person
- Communicate and advocate for health and health education
Continuing education experiences may include seminars, conferences, workshops, academic courses, authorship, professional presentations, professional service, training programs, and directed self-study programs which are at least one-hour in length.
3. Why should my organization become a Designated Provider?
- To attract more health education specialists to your programs
- To increase the visibility and credibility of your organization as a nationally recognized provider of continuing education for health educators
- To provide a needed professional education service to your community
- To generate revenue from continuing education events
- Free access to the mailing list of all CHES®/MCHES®
4. Is my organization eligible to become a Designated Provider?
If yours is a local, state, national or international organization/agency involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health education related continuing education, you are eligible to become a Designated Provider. Designated Providers can be: medical facilities, colleges/universities, nonprofit organizations, for profit corporations, publishers, health departments, and professional organizations. Contact the continuing education coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org if you're not sure you qualify.
5. Which Designated Provider category should my organization choose?
There are four categories of Designated Provider. See descriptions below to decide which is best for your organization.
Single Event Provider (SEP): Organizations choosing this category do not plan to offer many continuing education activities that address CHES/MCHES Competencies and Sub-competencies but are seeking approval for one activity only (even if it will be offered more than once in a year)
Multiple Event Provider (MEP): Organizations choosing this category offer several continuing education activities during a two-year or four-year period which address CHES®/MCHES® Competencies and Sub-competencies. These organizations must show evidence of either two previous successful continuing education programs using the NCHEC Single Event Provider (SEP) application within the preceding two-year period; or current designation as a provider of continuing education for another health profession (ie: nursing, diabetes, social work, etc.)
Annual Event Provider (AEP): Organizations choosing this category have offered annual meetings for at least five years which include a great number of sessions addressing CHES®/MCHES® Competencies and Sub-competencies.
Universal Provider Application: This application may be employed in conjunction with any application form used to seek continuing education approval for a single event by another health profession. This format is an alternative to NCHEC's Single Event Provider Application and will lead to the same designation.
6. How does my organization apply to become a Designated Provider?
- Decide which designated provider category best reflects your situation. If you are not sure, ask us. We will review the criteria with you and help you determine which category best fits your needs and situation.
- Contact the continuing education coordinator and request an application form or download an application here.
- Submit application and administrative fee for review
- Allow 4 weeks for application review
7. Who will review the application?
Applications are reviewed by NCHEC staff, voluntary review panel, and/or NCHEC Division Board for Professional Development for additional review.
8. What are some tips for a successful application?
- Demonstrated relevance of your (current or future) offerings to health educators
- Include all requested information
- Clear and specific responses to all questions
- Inclusion of at least one CHES®/MCHES® on the event planning committee.
- Submit check/money order/credit card information for the appropriate amount.
1. What are the qualifications to take the CHES® exam? (see Exam Eligibility)
2. When is the CHES® exam offered?
3. What is the CHES® exam like?
The CHES® examination is a computer-based test administered by Prometric at hundreds of test sites nationwide and expanded international locations. Candidates have three hours to answer 165 multiple-choice questions (150 scored and 15 pilot-tested questions) based upon the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists.
4. How is the passing score for the CHES® exam determined?
The passing score varies by the version of the exam. The passing point is determined by using a variety of statistical techniques (A modification of the Angoff method and equating), which takes difficulty in account.
More detailed information on exam scoring and a breakdown of percentages can be found here.
5. What are the fees for taking the CHES® exam?
Fees for the CHES® exam are based on when you file your application. There are three filing deadlines. The filing deadlines and fees for the CHES® exams can be found here.
6. Is there a student rate?
Yes. For full-time (enrolled in a min. of 9 credits) students, the fee is $220 if application is filed by the early bird registration deadline.
7. If I see my school or degree code listed, is my institution automatically approved?
No, school codes are listed as a reference. It is not an indication that you will obtain automatic eligibility and approval for the exam. You must still meet the eligibility requirements.
8. What are the benefits of becoming a CHES®?
There are several benefits to becoming a CHES®:
- Establishes a national standard for practice, as opposed to state or local certifications and registries
- Attests to an individual's knowledge and skills in areas deemed necessary to the field of practice as delineated by the profession
- Assists employers in identifying qualified practitioners and assures employers that services are provided by professionals who have met national standards
- Convey a sense of pride and accomplishment in the profession
- Promotes continued professional development.
There has been an increase in employers requiring or preferring the CHES® certification for health education positions. Many positions read CHES® preferred.
9. Can I use my veteran's benefits with the CHES® exam?
Yes, veterans and their eligible dependents may qualify for reimbursement for the CHES® exam through their veteran's education benefits under the provisions of Title 38, United States Code, Section 3689. Veterans who took the CHES® exam dating back no earlier than March 1, 2001 may qualify for exam fee reimbursement. For more information, please contact the Veterans Benefits Administration office in your area or visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs Education Benefits website: https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/.
10. How do I purchase the Exam Study Guide?
You can purchase the exam study materials by clicking here or by clicking on the CHES® Publications link on the Homepage. You can purchase the books individually or in discounted book packages, or in digital eBook format.
1. Who is eligible to take the MCHES Exam?
Both current CHES and non-CHES can be eligible to sit for the MCHES exam. For CHES: active status for five (5) continuous years immediately prior to the exam. For Non-CHES: required to have a master’s degree or higher in health education or master’s degree or higher in a related discipline with at least 25 credit hours specific to health education. Additionally, must have five years of documented experience as a health education specialist. Applicants must submit two verification forms from a current or past supervisor, and a current curriculum vitae/resume.
2. What are the fees for taking the MCHES examination
Fees for the MCHES exam are based on when you file your application. The filing deadlines and fees for the MCHES exam can be found here.
3. What if I'm unsure of my eligibility to take the MCHES exam?
NCHEC offers a prescreen service for those individuals who are unsure of their eligibility. This is a separate optional service offered to non-CHES and should ONLY be used if you are not sure you meet the requirements for the MCHES exam. The prescreen service will review the academic component of eligibility. If you are found to be eligible that $25 prescreen request will be deducted from the exam registration fee and an application and instructions will be mailed to you. If ineligible, course deficiencies will be identified and guidance will be provided.
- April Cycle: November 1 - February 1
- October Cycle: May 2 - July 31
4. What is the MCHES Exam like?
The MCHES examination is a computer-based test administered at hundreds of Prometric test sites nationwide, with some international locations. Candidates have three hours to answer 165 multiple-choice (150 scored and 15 pilot tested) questions based upon the Eight Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialist and both the entry and advanced-level Sub-competencies.
5. Is there a study guide for the MCHES Exam?
The Health Education Specialist: Companion Guide for Professional Excellence, 8th Edition, and A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education Specialists - 2020, are revised publications that reflect the results of Health Education Practice Analysis (HESPA II) -2020 and includes updated and validated Competencies and Sub-competencies at the entry-and advanced-level. The companion guide includes a supplement with 165 practice questions for the MCHES exam only. These publications can be purchased separately, together as a discounted package, or in eBook format. Click the MCHES Publications link on the Homepage.
6. If I wait to pursue sitting for the MCHES exam until after I have been CHES for 5 years, will I have to submit extra documentation at that time?
The only eligibility requirement for current CHES to sit for the MCHES examination is five continuous years active status. Submission of documentation is not a requirement for eligibility.
7. Do my CHES credits carry over if I become MCHES?
Continuing education credits earned as a CHES do not carry over; however if you earned more than 75 credits in your CHES cycle, a maximum of 15 credits are eligible to be carried over into the MCHES certification cycle.
The philosophy behind the policy is that continuing education toward recertification needs to be part of the ongoing commitment to professional development, not something done in the past. This becomes especially important as the Responsibilities, Competencies and Sub-competencies that are the basis of the certification and the continuing education requirement for recertification are updated every 5 years.
The 75 credits must be earned within the current 5 year period and also at least 30 of them must be in the advanced level.
8. Concerning the experience component for non-CHES and CHES with fewer than 5 years active status, does the five years of documented experience as a health education specialist have to be the immediate past five years?
The curriculum vitae/resume must clearly show that the applicant has been engaged in the Areas of Responsibility for at least five years. It is not a requirement that the health education experience be the immediate past five years. Current employment at the time of application is not necessary. Additionally, health education experience may be prior to completion of graduate degree.
9. Can a MCHES applicant’s health education experience include a part-time position?
Health Education experience can be full-time, part-time and/or intermittent. The applicant will meet the experience component of eligibility, as long as the applicant has at least five years of documented experience as a health education specialist.
10. Can volunteer experience count towards the five years of documented health education specialist?
Volunteer experience does not qualify towards the five years of experience as a health education specialist.
11. Do you have to be a CHES prior to becoming an MCHES?
No, as long as the individual meets the non-CHES eligibility requirements, CHES certification is not a pre-requisite of the MCHES certification.