Written by: Melissa
Opp, MPH, MCHES – NCHEC Deputy Executive Director
The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing
(NCHEC), overseen by the NCHEC Board of Commissioners, continues to meet the
organization’s mission to enhance the professional practice of Health Education
by promoting and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists. NCHEC strives for continued recognition as
the premier credentialing organization with a commitment to meet the highest
credentialing standards of practice for the health education/promotion
One of NCHEC’s major achievements in 2015 was accreditation
from the International Accreditation Service (IAS). The IAS accreditation program for Personnel
Certification Bodies is based on ISO/IEC Standard 17024:2012 Conformity
Assessment –– general requirements for bodies operating certification of
persons. Accreditation provides a global
benchmark for personnel certification programs to ensure consistent, comparable
and reliable operations worldwide. The
IAS recognition provides quality assurance to the public and other stakeholders
that NCHEC’s policies and procedures are in alignment with high international
standards. In addition to ISO 17024
accreditation, the CHES and MCHES programs continue to maintain third-party
accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
In order to be in compliance with both national and
international standards, NCHEC partnered with the Society for Public Health
Education, and testing vendor, ProExam, to release the Health Education
Specialists Practice Analysis (HESPA) study.
Competency Based Framework for Health Education Specialists – 2015, was subsequently published and
included the latest Responsibilities, Competencies, and Sub-competencies
that are essential to contemporary health education/promotion practice. The
book contains descriptions of the processes, outcomes, and related materials of
the psychometric study of the HESPA project.
The publication is designed for use by those in the health
education/promotion profession as a framework for professional preparation,
credentialing, and professional development.
With the release of the HESPA study, NCHEC’s Division Board
for Certification of Health Education Specialists (DBCHES) has been working
diligently to revise the CHES and MCHES examinations to be reflective of the
updated Responsibilities, Competencies, and Sub-competencies. In April 2016, the new MCHES exam will be utilized,
based on the HESPA model findings, while the new CHES exam will be used in the
October 2016 exam cycle. In addition, The Health Education Specialists: A Companion
Guide for Professional Excellence 7th edition, was released in 2015 in
preparation for these revised MCHES and CHES examinations.
NCHEC’s Division Board for
Professional Preparation and Practice (DBPPP) continues to work with colleges
and universities and accrediting agencies to improve professional preparation
programs. NCHEC continues to show solid
growth in certifying CHES and MCHES. The
2015 exam cycles had the highest number of registrations of all cycles with a
total of 2736 CHES registrants and 170 MCHES registrants.
Figures 1 and 2: CHES and MCHES Exam Registration - 3 Year Comparison Study, 2013 through 2015
NCHEC currently supports 130 test
sites around the nation and in 2015, offered the examinations at two national
conferences: SOPHE 2015 and the American School Health Association (ASHA) 2015.
To date, there are over 12,000
CHES and MCHES working in every state in the United States and even some who
are practicing internationally. NCHEC works
with over 250 designated providers that offer continuing education to our certificants.
NCHEC’s Division Board for Professional Development (DBPD) continues to host
the “How Do I Maintain my Certification” webinar for educational opportunities regarding
the maintenance of certification as well as receiving continuing education
hours for participation. DBPD also has
been working to increase the number of designated providers, and to educate
these providers on the value of offering advanced-level continuing education
opportunities in addition to entry-level credits.
In April of 2015, NCHEC launched a revitalized website with
a smooth navigation and intuitive design that streamlined and updated the user
experience while visiting the site. In
the same month, NCHEC transitioned to a new database that increased efficiency
of workflow, allowing improved service to CHES and MCHES.
NCHEC’s marketing committee launched year 1 of its three
year marketing and communications plan in 2015.
The committee continues to implement detailed strategies to address four
- Goal #1 – Establish CHES and MCHES-certified health
education specialists as highly recognized and valued team members by expanding
employers’ endorsements of the credentials.
- Goal #2 – Engage current certificants to create a strong
community of certified health education specialists that understands the value
of maintaining certification.
- Goal #3 – Create an active and engaged community of
post-secondary educators in the field of health education that advocates for
CHES certification to students.
- Goal #4 – Motivate more health education specialists to
apply for the CHES and MCHES exam to ensure there are competent practitioners
meeting the needs of all stakeholders, including the public.
2015 was a busy and exciting year as NCHEC continues to
support the health education profession by certifying individuals and safeguarding
quality assurance in the workforce. As NCHEC
looks forward to 2016, the continued implementation of the 2015-2019 strategic
plan will be a top priority. NCHEC thanks all CHES and MCHES for their
continued commitment to the health education profession by being nationally
certified. The support of each person
who holds the certification and other stakeholders is essential to NCHEC’s
charge to be the premier health education credentialing organization and carry
out its mission.