Credentialing Excellence in Health Education


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2018 OUTSTANDING Service & Leadership Award: Open

It's that time of year again! NCHEC is excited to announce our 3rd annual Oustanding Service & Leadership Award for professionals and organizations active in the field of health education and promotion. Read about last year's winners for ideas and inspiration!  THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION IS DECEMBER 15th, 2018.

Fill Out the 2018 Application Online.


MD Anderson, 2016 Organizational Winner, Service & Leadership Award

The Society for Public Health Education, 2017 Winner: Organizational Category

Do you: 

  • initiate programs that produce a community-wide or state/national impact?
  • promote the CHES® or MCHES® credential within your organization?
  • advance the profession of health education/promotion?

Does your organization:

  • value the certification of CHES® and MCHES® on staff?
  • implement programs or policies that promote the role of certified health education specialists?
  • use the professional knowledge of CHES® or MCHES® to implement programs benefiting the health and welfare of communities/popluations?
  • support the continuing competency/education of staff?  

NCHEC has developed the Outstanding Service and Leadership Award program to recognize CHES® and MCHES® certified individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the health education profession. Organizations employing CHES® and/or MCHES® certified individuals to promote and advance the profession are also eligible to apply for the award.

Individuals applying for the award must hold current active or retired CHES® or MCHES® certifications at the time of application and remain in active or retired status through March of 2018.  In 2018, there will be two indiviudal categories for this award:  Emerging Profession (<5 years) or Establish Professional (>5 years).

Organizations applying can include, but are not limited to, state and local health departments, insurance companies, hospitals and health care providers, universities and/or schools. The person applying from the organization does not need be a CHES®/MCHES®, but the organization must have CHES® and/or MCHES® on staff.

The winning applicant will receive recognition by NCHEC, a commemorative plaque displaying the distinction, as well as a feature in NCHEC’s print bulletin, press releases, and social media sites.

Dr. Mary Brown, 2017 Winner, Individual Category


Click here to view the Nomination Form for the Outstanding Service & Leadership Award.  If you have questions, please
Posted by Jessica Wessner at Monday, October 1, 2018

New Contest Open: Infographic 2018

Do you like to design visuals and graphics? Are you enthusiastic about certification and the profession of health education and promotion? 

Whether you are a student pursuing a degree, or a professional in the workforce, participate in this fun new contest to win Amazon giftcard prizes and online recognition for your original design!

  • Category I:  Certified as CHES or MCHES
  • Category II: Student or aspiring Health Education professional

Below are the requirements for the infographic submissions:

  • Infographics must be submitted in pdf or jpeg format through email with “Infographic Contest Submission” in the subject line to by December 31st.
  • Include a short written summary of what your infographic accomplishes (body of your email is acceptable)
  • Include any and all references/citations/sources used in your infographic
  • Sign an agreement stating NCHEC owns the copyright, can publish the infographic on its Web site and/or social media outlets, and use in future outreach strategies
  • One entry per individual
  • All entries must be orginal work created by the entrant; images must have copyright permission/use permission
  • Entries must be submitted by the December 31st deadline
To help stimulate ideas, consider these themes/ideas (not required):
  • Steps to Becoming CHES® or MCHES® Certified
  • Why I Chose CHES® or MCHES® Certification
  • What Being CHES® or MCHES® Means to Me
  • How I Prepared for My CHES® or MCHES® Exam – and Passed!
  • Ways for CHES®/MCHES® to Network
  • How I Found my CHES® or MCHES® Job Opportunity!
Student Category theme/idea suggestions:
  • Why I Want to Become CHES® or MCHES® certified
  • How CHES® or MCHES® certification can help during a job interview
  • My career strategy (include CHES® or MCHES® certification)

Useful tools:

  • Free infographic creator:
  • Royalty-free images:

Contact Jess Wessner at with any questions

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Thursday, September 13, 2018

An International Perspective: NCHEC Hosts Korea Health Promotion Institute Visit to United States

Representatives from the Korea Health Promotion Institute in Seoul, South Korea, spent the third week of August 2018 on the East Coast in search of guidance regarding the certification of Health Education Specialists. Hyunim Bae, MPH, from the Institute’s Department of Community Health, reached out to NCHEC staff earlier this spring and suggested the visit in an effort to learn more about our organization’s long-standing national Health Education Specialist certifications known as CHES® and MCHES®.

“The driving goal of their visit was to study NCHEC’s history and processes for creating a high-quality and marketable certification,” said Melissa Opp, Deputy Executive Director of NCHEC, “as well as methods to augment the future of the Health Education and Promotion profession in the Republic of Korea.  We were quite happy to host Ms. Bae and her colleague Ms. Parks, and to arrange a series of site visits that could provide some insight as to what our Certified Health Education Specialists do in the states, especially in the arena of worksite wellness.”

The visit began in New York City with Nigel Thomas, Assistant Director of 1199SEIU Funds, an organization committed to caring for the healthcare workers who care for others through programs and services that invest in this workforce to improve patient care and the healthcare industry. Mr. Thomas is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) who currently serves as a Director on NCHEC’s Division Board for Professional Development. “It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about the challenges of health education specialists in South Korea,” said Thomas. “Some of the challenges are unique; some we share here in the United Stat

Day two of the journey brought the representatives to NCHEC headquarters, located in Whitehall, PA, where they met with NCHEC staff members, and delved into the history of the CHES® and MCHES® certifications. Of particular interest was the rigorous eligibility process for CHES® and MCHES® candidates, as well as the national NCCA and international IAS/17024 accreditation standards that provide the backbone to the validity and consistency of these certifications. In the Republic of Korea, there is a current increased focus on expanding the role of the health education specialist into new jobs and career sectors created by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. According to Ms. Bae, “the main concerns we now face are to make our health education professional certification a national gold standard and to enhance the application of certification in the workplace.”  

On day three, NCHEC staff accompanied Ms. Bae and Ms. Parks to an onsite meeting in Allentown, Pennsylvania, 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 was to learn more about the function of Certified Health Education Specialists in our nation’s worksite wellness career sector. Over the past decade, corporate wellness initiatives have gained traction in the US as a standard part of company culture, and organizations like Populytics/BeneFIT have succeeded in incorporating the skillsets of CHES® and MCHES® into their workforce.  In fact, they now require the CHES® or the MCHES® certification as part of their hiring process.  

“The value of a Certified Health Education Specialist is in their unique training,” said Kristin Behler, MPH, MCHES®, Director of Health Promotion and Wellness for Populytics. “They bring a distinct skillset to the table, including a broad perspective on public and community health. This type of specialist training is not often found in a clinical background.”  Of the four CHES® and MCHES® present at the Populytics meeting, all have moved into leadership or managerial roles within the organization. The company was recognized by NCHEC with an Outstanding Service and Leadership Award in 2017 for its core foundational focus on continuing professional development, and the continued advancement of its staff members who hold the CHES® or MCHES® certifications.

The tour wrapped up Thursday afternoon, when Ms. Bae and Ms. Parks headed back to New York City for some sight-seeing opportunities before their return flight to Seoul. NCHEC is working toward submitting an abstract for a joint-poster presentation with the Korea Health Promotion Institute at the International Union for Health Education and Promotion (IUHPE) 23rd world conference in New Zealand in April 2019. The theme of this conference is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to link and demonstrate the contribution of health promotion to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to acknowledge the way SDGs contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing.

Posted by Jessica Wessner at Thursday, August 30, 2018

Press Release: NCHEC Hosts Korea Health Promotion Institute 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 Institute 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

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

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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