Public Health & Health Sciences Blog

For health educators across the U.S., the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) or Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) designation indicates professional competency and dedication to career-long professional development, according to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), As a CHES or MCHES, you enjoy prestige in the eyes of colleagues and employers. One reason the designation is so powerful is that CHES and MCHES are required to meet specific standards set by the Nation’s only credentialing agency for health education professionals, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). So, being a CHES or MCHES is a nationally-recognized assurance of your merit as a health educator.

CHES 101
The NCHEC brochure “Become a Certified Health Education Specialist” offers the following basic definition of a CHES as someone who has:

1. Met academic eligibility.
2. Passed a written exam.
3. Has an ongoing commitment to continuing education.

The first item, academic eligibility, means that you have to have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with either a major/degree in Health Education or enough credits in certain coursework (demonstrated via transcript). If you graduate from UM-Flint’s B.S. in Health Education, B.S. in Public Health, M.S. in Health Education, or M.P.H. program with a concentration in Health Education, you’ll meet this one!

The second and third items refer, respectively, to the exam you must take to become a CHES and the continuing education credits you must earn throughout your career. You can learn more about these requirements at

You may be wondering, what is the difference between CHES and MCHES? MCHES is basically the advanced level of the CHES credential.  Once you’ve been active as a CHES for five years in a row, you become eligible to sit for the MCHES exam, which tests the advanced competencies you’re expected to meet a few years into your career. Get the specifics here.