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What is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Master Certified Health Education Specialist?

Originated by: Dominika Murphy

Submitted: 26 Apr 2011

Last updated on: 26 Apr 2011

Related Health Topics:


A Certified Health Education Specialist, which is also referred to as CHES, means that a health professional has taken and passed the C.H.E.S. national credentialing exam, and is certified to work within the field of public health.

As defined by NCHEC (National Commission for Health Education Credentialing), the examination is a competency-based tool used to measure possession, application and interpretation of knowledge in the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Educators:

  • Assessing individual and community needs for health education
  • Planning effective education programs
  • Implementing educational health programs
  • Evaluating effectiveness of programs
  • Coordinating provision for health education services
  • Acting as a resource person
  • Communicating health and education needs, concerns and resources

To be eligible for the Certified Health Education Specialist exam, an individual has to have graduated with a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher education with:

  • a degree in health education and/or:
  • at least at least 25 semester hours of course work that addressed the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Educators

MCHES is a new certification that is also available through NCHEC which stands for a Master's level Certified Health Education Specialist. The exam is based on the scientific approach to measure the existing health education advanced-level roles and responsibilities related to the Seven Areas of Responsibilities listed above.

To be eligible for the exam an individual must have:

  • a Master's degree or higher in a health-related field, or a Master's degree or higher with an academic transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours of course work in which the Seven Areas of Responsibility were addressed
  • 5 years of documented experience as a health education specialis

For more information go to http://www.nchec.org


Produced by the Society for Public Health Education, this video gives an overview of the many ways health education specialists affect the health of communities and individuals.



National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Responsibilities and Competencies for Health Educators. Available at: http://www.nchec.org/credentialing/responsibilities/

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). What is a health educator? Available at: http://www.sophe.org/sophe/pdf/what_is_a_health_educator.pdf

Other careers for Healthcare Extenders


American Public Health Association (APHA)

APHA is a diverse organization of public health professionals. Formed in 1872, the Association strives to protect Americans from serious health threats and to assure community-based health promotion and preventive health services are accessible to all within the United States.

CHES / MCHES Employer Video

The purpose of this employer video is to help educate employers about the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), Inc and its two certifications, Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES).

The video illustrates the different roles CHES and MCHES have within various sectors, such as business and industry and healthcare settings. It delivers details on the skills CHES/MCHES are specifically trained to perform in different work settings. Additionally, it includes testimonials and personal statements by companies that currently hire CHES/MCHES.

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.

The organization responsible for promoting and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists.

Society for Public Health Educators (SOPHE)

A professional association that promotes healthy behaviors, communities and environments through its membership and its partnerships with other organizations

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