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Public Health Education

Certified Health Education Specialist

Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) are those who have met the standards of competence established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC). Organized in 1988, the NCHEC evolved from the work of the National Task Force on the Preparation and Practice of Health Educators.

The DHEC Public Health Education was designated as a multiple event provider of Category 1 continuing education contact hours by the NCHEC in 1992. The designation is renewable every two years. A special committee provides oversight for coordinating, approving and reporting continuing education events for CHES/MCHES. Educational offerings must directly relate to seven areas of responsibility and related competencies.

Become a CHES

To become a CHES/MCHES, individuals must meet eligibility requirements and pass a certification examination. Eligibility to take the CHES examination is based exclusively on academic qualifications. An individual is eligible to take the examination if he/she has:

A bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher education; AND one of the following:

  • An official transcript (including course titles) that clearly shows a major in health education, e.g., Health Education, Community Health Education, Public Health Education, School Health Education, etc.

    Degree/major must explicitly be in a discipline of "Health Education."


  • An official transcript that reflects at least 25 semester hours or 37 quarter hours of course work with specific preparation addressing the seven areas of responsibility for health educators listed above.

Students studying

The MCHES exam eligibility includes both academic and experience requirements.

  • For CHES: A minimum of the past five (5) continuous years in active status as a Certified Health Education Specialist.
  • For Non-CHES or CHES with fewer than five years active status AND five years experience:
    • A Master’s degree or higher in Health Education, Public Health Education, School Health Education, Community Health Education, etc.,
    • OR a Master’s degree or higher with an academic transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours (37 quarter hours) of course work in which the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators were addressed.

AND Five (5) years of documented experience as a health education specialist

To verify applicants must submit:

  1. Two verification forms from a current or past manager/supervisor, and/or a leader in a health education professional organization.
  2. A current curriculum vitae/ resume

In the verification form it must be indicated, and in the curriculum vitae/resume it must clearly be shown, that the applicant has been engaged in the Areas of Responsibility for at least the past five years (experience may be prior to completion of graduate degree).

Seven basic areas of responsibility are outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. and Public Health Education. Key responsibilities of public health educators are to:

  • Assess Needs, Assets, and Capacity for Health Education
  • Plan Health Education 
  • Implement Health Education 
  • Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education
  • Administer and Manage Health Education 
  • Serve as Health Education Resource Person 
  • Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education

CHES/MCHES Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists 2010

CHES Appliction (doc) for Continuing Education Contact Hours

CHES/MCHES Study Session
SC DHEC Public Health Education and SC Association for the Advancement of Health Education (SCAAHE) provide two CHES/MCHES Study Sessions per year (April and October). For additional information please contact Lillie Hall at (864) 372.3190 or Lavell Thornton at (803) 545.0169.