Industry knowledge, practices, and skills are constantly changing, no matter what field you work in. In order to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends, many workplaces require their employees to complete Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH). In the health education field, CECH is necessary to maintain any kind of credentialing you may receive. In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about continuing education, such as:
What is CECH?
Continuing Education Contact Hours, also known as CECH, is a series of educational experiences that help develop and enhance skills and knowledge related to an individual’s occupation. Oftentimes, Continuing Education is required to maintain a certain certification or degree, like the CHES® and MCHES® certifications. CECH can be achieved through many different educational experiences, like:
Continued education also usually comes with a set number of hours that need to be completed in order to maintain your specific certification or degree. To maintain a CHES® or MCHES® certification, you must accumulate a minimum of 75 CECH hours over the five-year certification period. It is suggested to complete it at least 90 days prior to recertification. More information on CECH can be found here.
Types of CECH for CHES® and MCHES®
While many occupations require some kind of Continuing Education, CHES® and MCHES® have to obtain a certain number of CECH hours every five years. These hours are divided into three categories:
Category I CECH is made up of continuing education activities that are pre-approved by NCHEC. Out of the 75-hour requirement, 45 of the hours must be earned from educational opportunities in this category. You can earn all 75 hours through participating in Category I activities, but only 45 hours are required.
Activities classified as Category I are offered by adesignated provider, an organization that has demonstrated its ability to meet NCHEC’s criteria. After attending one of these activities, you will receive a certificate of participation as proof of completion. Category I CECH are reported directly to NCHEC by the provider on a quarterly basis. There’s no need to submit anything to NCHEC for Category I CECH.
Category II of CECH consists of activities that are not pre-approved by NCHEC. This category includes educational opportunities like:
In order to have non-approved events count as CECH hours under this category, you must apply via the online Category II Claim Form. This form must be completed within 90 days of the event. Category II CECH are not required, however, you can submit a maximum of 30 Category II credits toward your total 75 CECH.
Continuing Competency is the last type of CECH a CHES® or MCHES® needs to maintain their credential. This category is actually made up of both Category I and Category II educational opportunities, but you must take one of the following at the end of the activity for it to count as CECH:
All CHES® and MCHES® will need to complete 5 hours of Continuing Competency during their 5-year cycle — beginning with those certified or recertified on 4/1/2019. These hours will count towards your 75 total CE credits.
The Benefits of CECH
Advancing Your Career
Continuing Education isn’t only about maintaining your credentials — it’s about learning new, valuable information and skills that you can apply to your occupation. Continuing to learn trends and new practices related to your job will help you grow and evolve professionally, and can even help you reach certain goals or promotions.
Developing New Interests
Getting a degree in one specific field can lead people to believe that there’s only one career path out there for them. However, if you give yourself the opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn new things about your field, you may discover a new interest or two. Maybe you realize that you love the health education field, but you want to explore careers in a new sector — changing areas of focus is not only normal, but should be encouraged. Taking the time to learn new things can provide you with the opportunity to follow a path that truly interests you.
Educational opportunities, like conferences and seminars, are great places to network with people in your field. Not only will networking provide you with friends that have similar interests and occupations, but can also introduce you to:
Ready to Begin Your CE? Let’s Get Started.
If you’re looking to get started on your Continuing Education, NCHEC can help. Visit our Credit Activities page to access everything you need from a list of credit activities to NCHEC-designated providers.