Credentialing Excellence in Health Education


Press Release: NCHEC Hosts Korea Health Promotion Foundation Visit to United States

Whitehall, PA (August 15, 2018) – The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.  received international visitors today at the organization’s headquarters in eastern Pennsylvania. Ms. Hyunim Bae and Ms. So-Hyun Park have traveled from the Korea Health Promotion Foundation located in Seoul, South Korea in an effort to glean knowledge and guidance as they learn more about NCHEC’s long-standing national Health Education Specialist certifications known as CHES® and MCHES®. 

The driving goal of the visit is to study NCHEC’s history and processes for creating a high-quality and marketable certification, as well as methods to augment the future of the health education and promotion profession.  According to Ms. Bae, “the main concerns are to make our health education professional certification a national gold standard and to enhance the application of certification in the workplace.” NCHEC certifications are accredited both nationally and internationally through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the International Accreditation Service (IAS) under ISO 17024. Achieving both NCCA and IAS accreditation signifies NCHEC’s dedication to providing valid and reliable processes for development, implementation, maintenance, and governance of its CHES® and MCHES® certification programs.

Ms. Bae and Ms. Park have a busy three-day schedule planned on the east coast. On Tuesday, August 14, they visited NCHEC Division Board member Nigel Thomas, MCHES®, Assistant Director of The 1199SEIU Funds, in New York, New York. On Wednesday, the team will travel to NCHEC headquarters in Whitehall, PA, in order to meet with NCHEC Executive Director, Linda Lysoby, MCHES® and Deputy Executive Director, Melissa Opp, MCHES®, as well as the NCHEC staff.

On Thursday, NCHEC staff will accompany their international visitors to a meeting with Populytics/BeneFIT Corporate WellnessSM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lehigh Valley Health Network that provides wellness programming ranging from individualized health coaching, health fairs and screenings, to specialty services. The goal of this visit is to enhance the visitors’ understanding of the function of Certified Health Education Specialists in the US workforce, and to learn more about our nation’s worksite wellness career sector. 

Recently, Populytics/BeneFIT Corporate Wellness was selected as NCHEC’s 2017 Outstanding Service and Leadership award winner in the employer/organizational category.  The company was recognized for its significant commitment to the profession through the implementation of supportive organizational programs and policies, a core foundational focus on continuing professional development, and the continued advancement of its staff members who hold the CHES® or MCHES® certifications.

Ms. Bae and Ms. Parks hope to return to Korea later this week after having gained some valuable insight into the workings of the CHES® and MCHES® credentials, including the crucial role of Certified Health Education Specialists within the current climate of the health education and promotion profession.



Founded in 1988, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional practice of Health Education/Promotion by promoting and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists.  The purpose of NCHEC is to certify health education specialists, promote professional development, strengthen professional preparation and practice, and support and promote the health education/promotion profession. (See

Regional businesses can fully leverage the power of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) employer health care resources by accessing them through one convenient source, Populytics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Lehigh Valley Health Network. Populytics is a technology company that supports population health by serving as the data engine that drives health care. We provide employers with insights, transparency and pathways to improve employee health. Additional services include corporate wellness programs, emotional wellness resources, occupational health services and fitness centers. Learn more at

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Thursday, August 16, 2018
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The NCHEC 2019 Leadership Election is Now Open  

We want your participation in the process of determining the course of our organization's 2018 NCHEC Board of Commissionersfuture leadership! NCHEC is governed by an eleven-person Board of Commissioners and two seven-person and one eleven person Division Boards. Each division board addresses one of the three activities noted in NCHEC’s mission: certification, professional development and professional preparation. All directors and commissioners are elected volunteers and are active credential holders with the exception of the public member who is appointed by the Board of Commissioners after a call for nominations. 
CHES® and MCHES® can now cast a ballot by logging into Votenet online.  It's quick and simple to vote, simply log in using the information below:
  • Username:  email associated with CHES®/MCHES® account
  • Password:  CHES®/MCHES® certification number

Information on each candidate on the 2019 election ballot can be found after logging into the Votenet site.  Positions are open for the Board of Commissioners, the Division Board for Professional Preparation and Practice, the Division Board for Professional Deveopment, and the Division Board for Certified of Health Education Specialists.

View 2019 ballot here.
Posted by Jessica Wessner at Wednesday, August 1, 2018
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CHES® and MCHES® Video Contest is Now Open

It's that time of year again! Calling CHES® and MCHES®....Grab your phone and shoot a video about your job as a practicing health education specialist (or whatever your title - it may be different!). Enter for a chance to win $$$ and teach others about what your heart has led you to do professionally!

Topics to consider: 

  • Describe your daily workplace/job setting
  • What duties of a health education specialist do you perform in your position?
  • Can you describe a memorable professional experience where you utilized your certification?
  • What are the benefits of the CHES®/MCHES® to you and your employer?

Read on for more contest guidelines!

Video Contest Guidelines

Below are the requirements for the video submissions:

  • Videos should be 90 seconds to 2 minutes in length (longer submission will not be considered)
    • Must be filmed horizontally on phone or Webcam
  • Include transcript with video
  • Sign an agreement stating NCHEC owns the copyright, can publish the video on its Web site and/or social media outlets including YouTube, and use in other outreach strategies
  • Upload the video to YouTube using the instruction provided – you can upload and share unlisted videos.
  • Submit the video link and the transcript (pdf document) with “Video Contest Submission” in the subject line to by October 1st
  • One entry per individual
  • Entries must be submitted by the October 1st deadline
  • To help stimulate ideas, consider these questions (not required):
    • Describe your daily workplace/job setting
    • What duties of a health education specialist do you perform in your position?
    • Can you describe a memorable professional experience where you utilized your certification?
    • What are the benefits of the CHES®/MCHES® to you and your employer?
  • Email video submission link and transcript to

 Want to view the 2017 video contest winner for ideas?  CLICK HERE.

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Tuesday, July 10, 2018
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NCHEC and SOPHE Launch Cooperative Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis II

Comprehensive Practice Analysis Underway to Identify Changes in Roles of Health Education Professionals

WHITEHALL, Pa. June 1, 2018   The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., (NCHEC) and the Society for Public Health Education, Inc. (SOPHE) are once again co-sponsoring the health education specialist practice analysis.  This study, to be known as Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis II (HESPA II), is to reverify the entry- and advanced-level Responsibilities, Competencies and Sub-competencies that undergird the professional preparation and development of all health education specialists, as well as provide the basis for the health education profession’s certification system. HESPA II will be led by two well-known health education professionals: chair Randy Cottrell, D.Ed., MCHES® and vice chair Adam P. Knowlden, MBA, PhD, CHES®.

“This comprehensive study is undertaken every five years to identify changes in health education and promotion practice, and to inform professional preparation and continuing education programs of these changes,” said Dr. Cottrell, chair of HESPA II.  Dr. Cottrell is a professor and program coordinator of the Public Health Studies Program at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is also recognized within the profession for his previous work as Co-chair of the National Accreditation Implementation Task force, co-author of numerous health education textbooks, and numerous leadership positions within health education professional membership organizations. He was recently elected as SOPHE’s Trustee for Professional Preparation 2018-2020. 

Vice-chair of HESPA II is Dr. Adam Knowlden, an Assistant Professor of Health Science at The University of Alabama, who specializes in the development of behavioral prediction models and the evaluation of experimental interventions. He is a former associate editor for the peer-reviewed journal, Health Education & Behavior.

Along with the Chair and Vice Chair, project oversight will be provided by 17 Task Analysis Panel members including respectively the chief staff executives of SOPHE and NCHEC, Elaine Auld, MPH, MCHES®, and Linda Lysoby, MS, MCHES®, CAE; and James F. McKenzie, MEd, PhD, MPH, MCHES®,  co-chair of the HESPA 2015 project; and Kathleen Allison, PhD, MPH, MCHES®, coordinator of NCHEC’s Division Board for Certification of Health Education Specialists and SOPHE Trustee, 2018 Annual Meeting.

The HESPA II study effort will take place over 12-15 months. NCHEC and SOPHE will provide staff support and coordinate meetings, in collaboration with the national contractor for this effort, Castle Worldwide, Inc. Located near Research Triangle, North Carolina, Castle is a full-service certification and licensure testing company with 30 years of experience in the science of psychometrics and practice analysis. It is anticipated that a profession-wide survey will be launched in early fall of 2018. All practicing health education specialists are strongly encouraged to participate in the study.

In accordance with best practices in certification, the practice analysis study is conducted in approximately five-year intervals. The periodic practice analyses serve as the basis for the certification examinations that NCHEC uses for Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) certification. Additionally, the results are used to guide curriculum for health education professional preparation programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels as well as for professional development by continuing education providers. The results of the last Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis were published in Health Education & Behavior in 2016. A summary of health educator job analysis projects is available here:


The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a nonprofit professional organization founded in 1950  to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion and to promote the health of society. SOPHE’s 4,000 international and chapter members work in various public and private organizations to advance health edcucation theory and research, develop disease prevention and health promotion programs, and promote public policies conducive to health. For more information, visit


Established in 1988, NCHEC is the only accredited U.S. certifying agency for the health education/promotion industry. NCHEC is a highly recognized and well respected credentialing organization administering two professional credentialing programs including the CHES®, designed for entry-level health education specialists, and the MCHES®, targeted to advanced-level practitioners. For more information about NCHEC’s certification programs, visit

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Tuesday, June 5, 2018
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How to Study for the CHES® Exam

Advice for Taking the CHES® Exam

Are you preparing to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) examination? You are not alone. In fact, there are thousands of students and professionals sitting for this prestigious certification examination each year, at hundreds of Prometric Test Center locations across the country.

Lengthy examinations can be daunting!  But with such a inspiring community of test-takers around you, it can be quite advantageous to reach out to other people and find support. There are many others who will be sitting for the examination at the same time as you, and there are even more people who have come out the other side and have lived to tell about it!

Once you have passed the exam, you are on your way to advancing your career in health education and promotion through obtaining this valuable credential. But, to become a Certified Health Education Specialist, it is vital to know what to expect from this exam and just how to prepare.


What Can I Expect During the CHES® Exam?

The CHES® Exam covers all the core Competencies of the Health Education and Promotion field, which are contained within Seven Areas of Responsibility. These areas include: I. Asses Needs, Resources, and Capacity for Health Education / Promotion; II. Plan Health Education / Promotion; III. Implement Health Education / Promotion; IV. Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education / Promotion; V.  Administer and Manage Health Education / Promotion; VI. Serve as a Health Education / Promotion Resource Person; and VII. Communicate, Promote, and Advocate for Health and the Profession of Health Education / Promotion.

In the graphic above, you can see how each of these sections of the test are broken down. Since the exam covers a lot of material – 7 areas of study, 165 questions, and in 180 minutes – you have to be prepared, be nimble, and move confidently through the exam without hesitation.

Going into the exam itself, it is important to know what to expect. That’s why we turned to the CHES® network on Facebook. Here are some of the most important tips we received about what to expect during the exam:

  • Godspeed! Not going to lie, the test was pretty hard. They will give you a series of answer choices and often times multiple answers could just have to pick the one that's most correct. - Claire H.
  • Take it slow. Be confident. Celebrate after for all of your hard work! - Kai L.
  • Answer the questions you know for sure first and go back to the hard ones later. I was thinking 3 hours is a lot of time for a test BUT I used every second! Go for your first choice and don't over think! Go to the bathroom BEFORE the test and don't drink a lot of fluids!! Every second counts!! You basically have 180 minutes to answer 165 questions! - Alisha P.
  • Show up early in case there is anything that might prevent you from getting to the testing location on time. There was a marathon going on the morning that I tested and lots of roads were blocked off because of it! - Hannah A.
  • Make sure to eat and drink beforehand. Also, wear layers just in case. It was FREEZING when I took my exam and I struggled to keep warm. Also, don't overthink any of the questions- you've got this! Best of luck! - Monae B.

What Should I Do to Prepare for the CHES® Exam?

Leading up to test day, it is important to study hard with the right study materials. Since we all learn differently, there can be many ways that are more effective than others when it comes to exam preparation.

Candidates have reported positive outcomes through joining study groups, using the practice questions in the Health Education Specialist Companion Guide, auditing university courses, and reading additional selected textbooks. It is up to you to determine what mode of preparation is best for you. While optional, NCHEC does recommend that you prepare for the test by studying with text books, and utilizing practice questions, allowing you to test your knowledge and get your timing down for answering questions.

Although studying in this way does not guarantee passing the exam, it is a good way to practice for the exam itself. Since the study guides and books only contain sample questions, not actual questions that will be on the test, it is important for you to do extensive studying to have a better understanding of the material, beyond what is in the study guide.

NCHEC suggests keeping your studies quite broad. Since this is a national credential and is based on verified Competencies and Sub-competencies used by practicing CHES® across the country in many different job settings, you must take a deep dive into your previous studies so that you have the essential knowledge for practice as a health education specialist.

Despite the differences in how everyone studies for the exam and what methods prove successful for each person, we found that most CHES® test-takers had similar words of advice leading up to test day. Here are some great tips we received from past testers:

  • If you study, you got this! I took it in October and was terrified but don't stress yourself out too much. - Katie G.
  • Taking multiple practice tests was so beneficial! Get a good night rest today and let all that knowledge soak in. - Shellea Q.
  • My advice: Relax tonight … don’t panic … speed read because 3 hours goes so fast when taking the exam... Good luck. - Eneseo A.
  • Healthy breakfast, caffeine, and a good night rest. Good luck! - Ibel G.
  • Eat a great dinner, watch a movie, get some sleep, then go be awesome. - Roger P.

From the above advice, it is clear that there are two things to keep in mind: to study hard and to take care of yourself before exam day. It is important to stay balanced and clear-headed for the test, but to also make sure you are fed, rested, and ready to tackle the whole exam from start to finish!


Ready to Take the CHES®? Let’s Get Started.

If you are pursuing a career in the health education and promotion field, credentialing as CHES® is an excellent way to showcase your skills and ability to perform in the workplace - and in any job setting you choose.  Certification demonstrates that you have up-to-date knowledge and expertise, as well as your commitment to the profession and future professional development. Becoming CHES® or MCHES® can align you with a large network of like-minded professionals, so don’t forget to join our social media pages and stay up-to-date on industry events, news, and happenings.

To access everything you need for CHES® preparation, access NCHEC’s resources and our strong community of health education specialists! Click the button below to get started.


I am Ready to Take CHES®

I Want to Learn More About CHES®

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Tuesday, June 5, 2018
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The Difference between Certified in Public Health (CPH) and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®)

The decision to achieve certification is certainly no small undertaking. It’s a long process, there’s an intensive exam involved, and it also requires a long-term commitment in the form of continuing education and professional development. The market for certifications and certificate programs has become more competitive in recent years, and the question may arise: which certification is right for me? Which will help my career the most?

For individuals with a degree in Health Education or in Public Health, there are two certifications on the market that are worth considering. At first glance, they may appear similar, but they are in fact very distinct certifications that address different aspects of an individual’s educational background. This article will help delineate the differences between the two certifications.


The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) was founded in 1988 to address the industry-wide need to enhance the professional practice of Health Education through the promotion of a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists. NCHEC offers two certifications, Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®); that of which establish national standards of practice, and verifies a health education specialist’s knowledge and skills through examination and continuing education.

Learn More about the CHES® and MCHES® Exams


The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) was established in September 2005, as an independent organization, with the purpose to ensure that public health professionals have mastered the foundational knowledge and skills relevant to contemporary public health. This purpose is accomplished by administering a voluntary certification exam known as Certified in Public Health (CPH) and the maintenance of a certification program.


Core Areas of the CHES® and CPH Examinations

CHES® Areas of Responsibility

The CHES® exam is based on a comprehensive job/practice analysis study that is conducted every five years in order to determine the skills and competencies being utilized by health education professionals in the current marketplace. The CHES® credential focuses on the 7 Areas of Responsibility identified and defined by the current analysis. The seven core Areas of Responsibility for CHES® defined by latest practice analysis are:

  • Needs Assessment in Health Education/Promotion
  • Program Planning in Health Education/Promotion
  • Health Education Program Implementation
  • Research and Evaluation in Health Education/Promotion
  • Administration and Management in Health Education/Promotion
  • Resources for Health Education/Promotion
  • Communication, Promotion and Advocacy for Health, Health Education/Promotion, and the Profession
CPH Core Areas

The current CPH exam is structured by the NBPHE board, and although the organization has conducted an analysis study in the past, the current exam is not currently aligned with this study.  Plans to align the exam with a practice analysis study are currently underway.  Although there may be some overlap with certain CHES® competencies, the core areas for the CPH exam are quite different. The CPH credential covers the large arena of general Public Health. Currently, the core areas for the CPH exam as determined by the NPBHE are:

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy and Management
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Cross-Cutting

Learn More about the Core Areas of Responsibility



One of the most important considerations when selecting a certification is the value and meaningfulness of that credential in a given professional industry. Accreditation of the certifying body by a regulatory organization gives an impartial, 3rd-party perspective and verifies that each credential is carefully aligned with rigorous national and/or international standards.

Accreditation provides a formal, independent assessment of competence, and publicly recognizes the quality of an organization’s certification(s), as well as its ongoing commitment to improvement of these certifications. NCHEC is recognized as the only accredited certification program for Health Education Specialists in the United States. Since 2008, the CHES® and MCHES® certification has been continuously accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). In 2015, NCHEC earned the significant achievement of accreditation as a Personnel Certification Body by the International Accreditation Service (IAS) to the ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity Assessment -General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons.

Accreditation is a significant milestone for NCHEC, as it promotes confidence in the capabilities of practicing CHES® and MCHES®, and illustrates that our certifications meet the highest industry standards for quality and commitment.

Although governed by a board of professionals in the Public Health industry and academic field, the CPH certification has not undergone the accreditation process to date.

Learn More About the Value of Accreditation



Understanding eligibility requirements for each certification is a critical component during the decision-making process.  Certification (unlike assessment-based certificate programs) is determined by an individual’s academic background, and often requires the completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree in a specific area or higher.  The eligibility requirements for the CHES® and the CPH credentials are actually quite different.

CHES® Eligibility

  • BS and above in Health Education; or a related degree plus 25 credits specifically in Health Education. Remember that the CHES® credential is a certification specific to health education and promotion.

An applicant’s academic transcript must reflect preparation for the elements of certification, and passing the exam then demonstrates competency in the field of health education and promotion. Eligibility for the CHES® certification will be determined on a case-by-case basis through a review of each individual course on an applicant’s academic transcript(s).

CPH Eligibility

  • Graduate level degree (or enrollment in a graduate level program with core content completed); or an alumni of a school or program of Public Health; or a bachelor’s degree with 5+ years of experience in the public health workforce. 

Learn More About Eligibility Guidelines


Advanced-level Credentialing

In 2011, NCHEC responded to the profession’s need for an advanced-level certification through the creation of a Master’s-level credential: the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®). The current job analysis was expanded to include the competencies needed by experienced and academically prepared individuals practicing in the field.  Eligibility for this certification is met through the completion of Master’s level academic preparation and five or more years of experience in health education and promotion.  Another route to the advanced-level certification is through the successful completion of five years as a CHES®.  

The MCHES certification focuses on advanced skills to demonstrate leadership roles. Specifically, the MCHES credential is hierarchical, meaning that MCHES are competent in all entry-level (CHES®) skills, in addition to more advanced-level skills.

It may be important to keep in mind, that when planning a career, the ability to achieve an advanced-level certification that demonstrates professional experience and competency may become important. For more information on MCHES® eligibility, visit

Currently, the CPH certification provides only one level of certification.


Continuing Education

Both CPH and CHES®/MCHES® certifications require the commitment of continuing education in order to maintain the credential.  Continuing education verifies that an individual is remaining current in the core competencies of their chosen profession.  Both certifications offer many opportunities for continuing education in varying formats.  The CHES® certification requires 75 continuing education contact hours (CECH) over a five year period, and the CPH requires 50 credits every two years to remain current.


Making the Decision

Determining whether the CHES®/MCHES® or CPH certification is right for a career is an individual choice and should be based off of an individual’s professional goals and educational background. Some who are eligible for both examinations even chose to dual-certify, as the content for each exam covers different professional areas.

Factors to keep in mind are:

  • Health Education versus Public Health.  If an individual is specifically trained in health education and promotion, and wishes to highlight that expertise, the CHES® or MCHES® is a better fit.
  • Recognition by Employers.  With more than 29 years behind it, the CHES® and MCHES® certifications are recognized by thousands of employers across the country. Many are now preferring or required CHES® certification from job applicants. NCHEC is compiling a list of employers who recognize this credential and hire individuals who hold it.
  • Accreditation. CHES® and MCHES® accreditations are the ONLY nationally and internationally accredited certifications in the public/community health education arena.
  • Job/Practice Analysis Studies. The CHES® and MCHES® exams are periodically verified through these intensive studies to ensure that exam content meets the most current industry competencies across all job settings for health education and promotion.

I'm Ready to Take the CHES® or MCHES® Exam


For more information about NCHEC certification exams, please contact or visit Visit for information about the CPH exam.

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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