Credentialing Excellence in Health Education

NCHEC News

The Value of Accreditation in the Credentialing Industry

“Accreditation by an objective 3rd-party organization signals the quality and value of becoming CHES® or MCHES®-certified. It shows we are truly the gold standard in health education credentialing.” -Dr. Kerry Redican, MPH, PhD, CHES®, Chair of the NCHEC Board of Commissioners


Accreditation is a voluntary evaluation process that certain certifying organizations like NCHEC undergo in order to maintain standards of professional quality agreed upon by members of a national and/or international accrediting body. Accreditation provides a formal, independent assessment of competence, and publicly recognizes the quality of an organization’s personnel certification services.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), which offers accreditation to professional certification programs through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the International Accreditation Service (IAS), “Accreditation is more than just a logo that goes on your website. It shows a commitment to quality assurance and continuous quality enhancement for a program.”

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®)/Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) and Accreditation

One of the most important considerations when selecting a certification is the value and meaningfulness of that credential in your given professional industry. In recent years, many other certifications or certificates have sprung up on the market, and for some it may be tempting to go an easier route to obtain a piece of paper that signifies ‘certified.’ However, there are very few certifications that are officially accredited by a national certifying body such as NCCA or IAS. Currently, the CHES® and MCHES® credentials are the only nationally and internationally accredited health education and promotion certifications on the market. This distinction is a significant indicator of quality for NCHEC certifications, as it illustrates the highest industry standards for quality and promotes confidence in the capabilities of practicing CHES® and MCHES®.

Who accredits CHES®/MCHES® certifications?

The NCCA has accredited the CHES® certification program since 2008 and the MCHES® certification program since 2013. The NCCA was developed in order to “ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of certification programs/organizations that assess professional competence”. The NCCA standards require demonstration of a valid and reliable process for development, implementation, maintenance and governance of certification programs. It requires organizations to evaluate what they are doing well, and what can be improved upon to bring the biggest benefit to stakeholders, the profession and the public.

“NCHEC leadership has made the commitment to align with NCCA standards a priority in the development and implementation of the CHES® and the MCHES® certifications,” said Linda Lysoby, MPH, MCHES®, and Executive Director of NCHEC. “We consider accreditation a very prestigious recognition, as it demonstrates our firm and ongoing dedication to meet the highest credentialing standards of practice for the health education/promotion profession.”

In 2015, NCHEC earned accreditation as a Personnel Certification Body by the International Accreditation Service (IAS).   Accreditation by IAS provides a global benchmark for personnel certification programs to ensure consistent, comparable and reliable operations worldwide. 

 

What does NCCA and IAS Accreditation Mean?

The NCCA and IAS both evaluate the processes and systems used by NCHEC to identify professional role and scope of practice, develop exam content, and provide proper exam administration and scoring.   The program content of an accredited certification must also be validated with a comprehensive job analysis conducted and analyzed by experts, with data gathered from stakeholders in the occupation or industry.

Accreditation by NCCA and IAS will ensure that a program:

  • Employs assessment instruments that are derived from the job/practice analysis and that are consistent with generally accepted psychometric principles.
  • Awards certification only after the knowledge and/or skill of individual applicants have been evaluated and determined to be acceptable.
  • Establishes, publishes, applies, and periodically reviews key certification policies and procedures concerning existing and prospective certificants.
  • Demonstrates that its recertification requirements measure or enhance the continued competence of certificants.

In summary, accreditation through both NCCA and IAS verifies that certification provides an excellent barometer of current professional workplace competencies for a practicing CHES® or MCHES®. It also shows a strong measure of NCHEC’s ongoing commitment to the continuous improvement of its certifications. Furthermore, the value that accreditation imparts will extend from NCHEC to you – the certification holder – and onto the employer, the public, and all other stakeholders receiving the professional services of CHES® and MCHES®.


Resources:

Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE): Value of Accreditation Video, ICE, January 2017;

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)

International Accreditation Service (IAS)

Certificate vs. Certification: What’s the Difference? ICE

Distinguishing between Quality Certification and Assessment-Based Certificate Programs: NCHEC, 2017

Posted by Jessica Wessner at 6:00 AM
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