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The Difference Between "Certification" and "Certificate"

What is health education certification?

The nationally and internationally accredited Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Master Certified Health Education (MCHES®) certifications are measures of professional competence of the health education workforce. Both certifications have three components:

  • Health education professional preparation
  • Passing a certification examination
  • Maintaining continuing education requirements

The Problem with Health Education Certificates

Recently, a number of assessment-based certificate programs in health education/promotion and related areas have emerged across practice settings. These programs range from certificates offered in health or wellness coaching to tobacco specialist, wellness specialist, or prevention specialist, among several others. Many of these programs are advertised as a “certification” program but are essentially an “assessment-based certificate” program. 

How to Distinguish Between a Certification Program and a Certificate Program

As more of these programs become available, it is important for the public to be able to distinguish between assessment-based certificate programs and quality professional certification programs. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence’s (ICE) document Defining Features of Quality Certification and Assessment-based Certificate Programs highlights the similarities and differences between quality certification and assessment-based certificate programs. This document, which can be found on the ICE Website focuses on 12 key aspects of certification and assessment-based certificate programs

Some key distinctions between the two programs are illustrated below.

Reference:  Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), Defining Features of Quality Certification and Assessment-based Certificate Programs, 2010.

Posted by Jessica Wessner at 09:00

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