Certified Health Education Specialist

Certified Health Education Specialist (C.H.E.S.) Exam

Certified Health Education Specialist (C.H.E.S.) Exam

Source:  National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. –  www.nchec.org 

What are the benefits of being a Certified Health Education Specialist?

  1. “Establishes a national standard.”
  2. “Attests to the individual’s knowledge and skills.”
  3. “Asists employers in identifying qualified health education practitioners.”
  4. “Conveys a sense of pride and accomplishment in your profession.”
  5. “Promotes continued professional development.”

Source:  National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. –  www.nchec.org 

When is the exam given?  This voluntary exam is only given twice a year – April and October.  There are only 120 sites across the United States.  http://www.nchec.org/exam/locations/ches/   

How much is the exam?  There are student fees and non-student fees.  Since I already graduated with my BSHS, and registered during the first week, I paid $240.  Please see this link for fees:  http://www.nchec.org/exam/fees/ches/

How did you prepare for the exam?  While preparing for this exam, I ordered a copy of The Health Education Specialist: A Companion Guide for Professional Excellence, 6th edition, National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.  I started to study at the beginning of January, and I’m glad I did!  I made a spreadsheet so I could pace myself with the chapters (7 weeks) and review (3 weeks).  There is alot of detailed information plus a practice exam in the back.  (Definitely worth taking!)  Anyways, even though it’s $55, I HIGHLY recommend ordering a copy!  Please click on this link for ordering info:  http://www.nchec.org/news/quicklinks/pub/  And, thankfully, I had all of my binders, notes, and cd-rom’s from TUI University! 🙂  I made index cards for myself, too!  I bought 4 ruled index card booklets (50 cards in each booklet), which I filled with acronyms, Code of Ethics, key terms, steps, phases, and Areas of Responsibities. 

How long is the exam, what does it entail, and when will you know your results?  The exam is scheduled from 8:30am-11:30am.  There are 165 multiple choice questions based on “Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Educators”.  (15 of the 165 questions are pilot questions.)  It takes approximately 8 weeks for your results.  (I know…agonizing!)

How long is the certification valid?  It must be renewed on an annual basis for $55.  In order to maintain your certification, you must recertify every fifth year.  You must accrue a total of 75 credit hours within that five year period.  http://www.nchec.org/renew_recert/recertification/

For more information on the CHES exam, please either leave a comment or go directly to www.nchec.org 


24 thoughts on “Certified Health Education Specialist (C.H.E.S.) Exam”

  1. I will be takin the exam in October 2011. I noticed that you attended TUI. Just wondering if you feel that TUI prepared you for the exam and what you are doing now with your career?

    1. Hi Natalie –

      First of all, thank you for reading my blog 🙂

      I feel like some of the TUI courses – like Intro to Health Education – were helpful with my CHES preparation. Make sure you are asking your professors lots of questions – they are very helpful! I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the study guide. At first, while I was waiting for my study guide to be delivered, I was studying outdated RESP I-VII. They have changed a bit. So, make sure you have updated material. I noticed there were quite a few questions on the exam about models and theories. So, make sure you know those well. If you have any other questions about TUI classes or the CHES exam, please let me know! I’ll be happy to help you. Good luck!

      My perfect job would consist of working with Farm-to-School programs. Unfortunately, I haven’t found that opportunity 🙂 For right now, I am volunteering at a K-6 school and the local food bank. I’m doing this because I need experience working with children and gardening 🙂 I really enjoy it!

      Suzanne 🙂

  2. Wow, I am excited to take the test on October 15, 2011. I have been accepted to sit the exam, and i actually graduated TUI University with MSHS in 2010. I would like to have some one who can help me find online ches exam preparation. I have found one http://www.quizlet.com , but i want to study hard.

    1. Thanks for your comment : ) I definitely recommend the CHES book by NCHEC mentioned in my post. I would start studying NOW though. I’m glad I studied for several months. I wrote out alot of index cards, and used a binder to write down extra notes and thoughts. I also went through my TUI classes and used study material from the notes. Believe it or not, I used the whole three hours for my exam. I just kept rereading the questions/answers, and really put thought into my answers. I think you’ll do fine – especially graduating with your MSHS. Good luck!

  3. I am also taking the exam in Oct. 2011. Did you use any other study materials that they have listed on the NCHEC website, or did you think the study guide was sufficient enough? You mentioned it focuses on models and theories, which I feel pretty comfortable with, but I am wondering if you can give some kind of examples of what else the test covers.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Emily.

      Besides the CHES companion guide, I used my notes from my college classes. I basically just reviewed my notes and the professors module notes. I can’t remember the specific questions on the exam, and not sure if you have the companion guide, but here are samples of questions. QUESTION 1 – The website that provides health information for consumers is: a) MEDLINE, b) Healthfinder.gov, c) GEM, d) National Center for Health Statistics. QUESTION 2 – This body functions to protect human subjects engaged in research studies: a) ISL, b) BIR, c) IRB, d) BBB. QUESTION 3 – “Program participants will be able to correctly identify five sources of dietary fiber” is an example of a: a) behavioral objective, b) program objective, c) learning objective, d) mission statement. ANSWERS: 1 – b, 2 – c, 3 – c.

      If you have any other questions, let me know. Good luck!

    1. To optimize your studying, I’m sure it would be wise to purchase this book, too. 🙂 I just can’t comment on it because I’m not sure what material is in this book. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Do you know if the test has a specific pass rate? I understand that they determine your score taking the difficulty of each question into account. Does that mean there isn’t a specific passing score? I’ve taken the practice test in the study guide and am just trying to figure out how well I am doing on that to gauge how well I might do on the actual exam. Do you need to answer a certain amount questions correctly?
    Also, did you find the test to be particularly difficult? I’ve been studying (using the study guide) for 4 or 5 weeks now and have the other recommended book as well. I have a lot of materials from previous classes I can use also. Is there anything you recommend focusing on, such as theories or the code of ethics or program planning? And is it mainly focused on the 7 Areas of Responsibility?
    Thanks for all your responses, they’re really helpful because it’s so hard to find any feedback about the test online!

    1. First of all, thank you for reading my blog 🙂 I found it difficult to find CHES information on the Internet, too!

      SCORING -> For information on the scoring, please see – http://nchec.org/exam/backscore/ches/ and http://nchec.org/exam/chesfaq/ches/. NCHEC states that, “The passing point or passing score is set using the modified Angoff method.” With the April 2010 exam I took, the total # of questions were 150, and the passing score was 98. (I believe the exam is actually 165 questions but 15 aren’t accounted for – they are pilot questions and you don’ t know which ones they are.)

      EXAM INFO -> For me, the exam was difficult. (Historically, I’m not a very good exam taker and I blank out!) When I first opened the booklet, I read through all of the questions, and the questions that I knew 100%, I answered right away. The others, I skipped and came back to after reading all of the questions. I don’t know if I ended up wasting time that way or not? I took the entire time allotted, which was 3 hours. I would say that more than half of the people taking the exam did, too. The exam didn’t ask what Responsibility I, II, III, etc… was. On some questions, you basically had to use your knowledge with scenarios that were given. I remember there were alot of theory and model questions.

      STUDYING -> After I took the practice exam, I wrote down what Responsibilities the questions/answers were in. I focused on the weak areas, which was very helpful. It’s hard to explain what exactly what was on the exam…everything was covered. Just keep quizzing yourself and going over the broad terms and knowledge.

      I hope this helps a little! If you have any other questions, please let me know! Here’s a good tip – BREATHE when you first open the book and throughout the exam 🙂

  5. How exciting! Thank you sooo much for the info. I am preparing to take the exam as well. I must say that I was overwhelmed by taking in all the infomation that was presented to me, including trying to hunt down a study guide. In your opinion the better of the study guides would be The Health Education Specialist: A Companion Guide for Professional Excellence, 6th edition in stead of the Study Guide for Professional Competence, 5th ed?

    1. Did you take the recent exam? If so, how do you think you did?
      I didn’t order both guides so I’m not sure which one is better. I’m sure they are both beneficial though.

  6. Hi there! I just googled CHES exam October 15th 2011 and this thread came up. Those who just took the exam, how did you think it went? I thought the first half was pretty difficult in which I could narrow it down to 2 answers and guess. The second part of the exam was much easier and based on definitions from the study guide. I have no idea if I will pass. Does anyone else agree? Any other thoughts? When do you think we will hear back? I can’t wait!

    1. Congratulations on recently completing the CHES exam! For some reason, when I took mine in April 2011, I don’t remember two parts? Maybe there was and I was just so overwhelmed I don’t recall? It’s definitely a possibility. 🙂 After I took the exam, I 100% thought I didn’t pass. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait until the proposed date and found out that I PASSED! I’ve been taking my continuing education classes through Nutrition Dimension – http://www.nutritiondimension.com. I recommend that you gradually earn your credits instead of waiting.

  7. I just took the exam today, October 19th, 2013. I didn’t finish the exam but I pray I miraculously pass though. Did anybody else recently take the exam? How do you feel you did on the exam? Please reply back with your comments about the October, 2013 or 2012 CHES exams. Thanks.

  8. Good evening….I graduated from school with my MPH spring of 09. Am I nuts for believing I can study for the exam between mid Nov to mid April and take the exam April 2014?????

    1. I definitely think it’s possible! Even though I started studying right after I finished my degree, I only had 6 months to study for it. Make sure you dedicate a lot of time to studying, and you’ll do fine. Good luck!

  9. WoW.. thanks for such a prompt reply!!!..Do you recommend purchasing both the (1) A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education Specialist and (2) The Health Education Specialist: A Companion Guide for Professional Excellence 6th Edition or ONLY the companion guide?

    1. Thanks! I’m usually not that good at replying quickly! 🙂 I would recommend purchasing both books. I did, and I’m SO glad I did. They helped immensely!

      1. Great… I will purchase both. I also have (recently found it in house) CHES Exam Secrets..study guide: your key to exam sucess…

        If I may ask, what are you doing (profesisonally) with your CHES?

      2. At this time, I’m not working, but currently looking for employment now that we’ll be in one location for a few years 🙂 (We are a military family, and tend to relocate often…not easy to find a permanent job in my field.)

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