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10 Steps to Successful Certification Maintenance for CHES® and MCHES®

Passing the CHES® or MCHES® examination is a significant achievement, but is only the first step in an ongoing process of careful maintenance and continued professional development. The successful upkeep of your credential will take some careful planning and consideration. Remember that there is an Annual Renewal, as well as a 5-Year Recertification process that requires the acquisition of 75 continuing education credits, as well as a Continuing Competency assessment during each 5-year cycle.  Here are 10 things you can do to assist with the successful maintenance of your CHES® or MCHES® credential.

  1. Read the Handbook. Renewal and recertification will be the two most important processes to keeping your certification current. This manual, entitled Policies and Procedures Handbook for Renewal and Recertification, was not mailed to you with your certificate… it is only available as a pdf due to its size. It has the answer to just about any question regarding certification and how it works. At the very least, read the sections titled “Recertification Requirements” and “Continuing Education.”
  2. Start earning CE now. Although five years may seem like a long time, don’t wait.  NCHEC recommends getting 15 CECH (Continuing Education Contact Hours) a year (although it is not technically a requirement).  If you DON’T obtain 15 credits a year, it is possible that you will fall behind and be scrambling at the end of your cycle to get the 75 credits necessary. Learn the difference between Category I CE, Category II CE, and Continuing Competency credits! And there are always free or online options to consider. Look at NCHEC Webinars Page or Category I Search Tool to find what’s available.
  3. Network on Social Media to meet like-minded professionals. NCHEC platforms on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube provide an excellent opportunity to make connections, find answers to questions, share expertise, and network about job opportunities.  It’s also a great place to find information on free continuing education events and webinars in various topic areas.
  4. Get to know the NCHEC staff. The NCHEC headquarters is located in northeastern Pennsylvania.  NCHEC staff is available to assist with any questions that may arise.  Visit the contact us page on the NCHEC Website for a staff directory.
  5. Keep your profile current.  One of the worst mistakes is to not keep your NCHEC account profile current. So many times, we lose contact with CHES® for this reason information is not delivered (e.g., reminders, invoices) and eventually there is a lapse in  individuals’ certification  .  If you can’t access your old e-mail, contact and NCHES staff member and we will help you through the profile update process.
  6. Read your monthly e-newsletter and digital bulletin for updates.  News, updates, reminders… just about everything you need to know about what’s new in the realm of CHES® and MCHES® can be found in your monthly e-newsletter and bulletin. Remember that your profile needs to be correct to receive these resources.
  7. Attend conferences or other national events. Although COVID-19 has put quite a halt to in-person events, there has been an explosion of virtual meetings, conferences, and online webinars as our country’s situation continues to evolve. These events are energizing, informative, great sources of large chunks of CE credits, and the professional connections you will make can be invaluable. Some are free and some have costs, but these events are well worth it, and non-reimbursed expenses may be tax deductible. If you are employed, talk to your organization about why professional development is important to you and what is necessary to maintain your CHES® certification, as well as how your employer can support your efforts.
  8. Participate in contests for great exposure. NCHEC offers several contests throughout the year that highlight the skills, creativity or achievements of our 15,000+ CHES® and MCHES®, and some offer cash prizes, as well as professional publication. Why not showcase all that enthusiasm for health education and promotion and gain some recognition for your hard work?
  9. Volunteer or consider leadership. Professional service is another facet of the health education profession that you may not have previously considered. There are many non-profit organizations or civic groups who would benefit from your skills and expertise, so please consider donating some time to focus on giving back. You never know where new connections and experiences could lead you. NCHEC board service is an excellent opportunity to branch out in new directions and increase your leadership skills and capacity.
  10. Talk to others about CHES® or MCHES®.  Getting the word out about why you are certified and what it means is critical! Certification is going the extra mile to demonstrate your commitment to professional excellence. You stepped up to the challenge, and it most certainly wasn’t easy, so, talk about it. Display your credential in your office. Put CHES® in your e-mail signature and on LinkedIn. Participate in NCHEC webinars and events. Mentor others who are thinking about becoming certified. Be loud about it!  The more you spread the word, the stronger we are as an organization, and the more that influencers, employers, and policy-makers learn what CHES® and MCHES® certification is all about.
Posted by Jessica Wessner at 6:00 AM
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