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Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

Make the Most of Your Health Science or Public Health Degree with the Certified Health Education Specialist

Health educators improve the health status of individuals, families, communities, states and the nation. The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) is the national credential for health educators. The CHES exam is typically completed at the end of a bachelor degree program, or 25 credit hours in relevant coursework, in areas related to health education, health promotion, and wellness. To discuss course requirements to prepare for the CHES examination, contact your Academic Advisor.

CHES work in a variety of settings, including:

  •  Universities
  • Public Schools
  • Local and State Health Departments
  • Non-Profits
  • Hospitals
  • Corporations
  • Armed Forces Wellness Centers

Titles and positions held by CHES include:

  • Health Educator
  • Wellness Coordinator
  • Senior Education Manager
  • Assistant Director, Student
  • Program Manager
  • Training Specialist
  • Prevention and Community
  • Outreach Specialist
  • Wellness Center

About the Exam 

The CHES examination is a competency-based tool used to measure possession, application and interpretation of knowledge in the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists. Health Science and Public Health majors may become eligible for the CHES examination. For the cost and schedule, visit the CHES website.

  • Area I: Assess Needs, Resources and Capacity for Health Education/Promotion
  • Area II: Plan Health Education/Promotion
  • Area III: Implement Health Education/Promotion
  • Area IV: Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education/Promotion
  • Area V: Administer and Manage Health Education/Promotion
  • Area VI: Serve as a Health Education/Promotion Resource Person
  • Area VII: Communicate, Promote, and Advocate for Health, Health Education/Promotion, and the Profession

CHES Eligibility/Pre-Screening

To qualify to sit for the CHES exam, you must have completed a minimum of 25 credit hours (with a grade “C” or better) in coursework in areas related to health education, health promotion, and wellness.

Your Academic Advisor can provide guidance on relevant coursework and a list of recommended courses can be found at the bottom of the page. However, only the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing can verify your eligibility.

To verify your eligibility (“pre-screen”), you may submit your transcript and pay a $25 processing fee.

  1. Click here to verify eligibility
  2. Scroll down and click on “New prescreen applicants apply here”

Once eligible, the earliest you may sit for the CHES exam in the semester in which you graduate with your bachelor’s degree (October exam for December graduates or April exam for May graduates) or any time after graduation.

Undergraduate Recommended Courses

Public Health Courses

  • P_HLTH 2200 Introduction to Public Health & Health Promotion
  • P_HLTH 2310 Health Issues in Aging
  • P_HLTH 3300 Public Health Principles, Practice, & Education
  • P_HLTH 3310 Social and Behavioral Health Theory & Practice
  • P_HLTH 3450 Introduction to Epidemiology
  • P_HLTH 3600 Health PromotionPrograms I: Assessment and Planning
  • P_HLTH 3610 Health Promotion Programs II: Implementation, Evaluation, and Communication
  • P_HLTH 3660 Chronic Disease and Public Health Approaches
  • P_HLTH 3670 Human Sexuality and Public Health
  • P_HLTH 3760 Infectious Diseases and Public Health Approaches
  • P_HLTH 3860 Autism Spectrum Disorder and Public Health
  • P_HLTH 3960 Public Health, Drugs, and Policy
  • P_HLTH 3965 Strategies for Effective Peer Education in Public Health
  • P_HLTH 4300 Health Care in the U.S.
  • P_HLTH 4485 Ethics in Public Health
  • P_HLTH 4610 Race, Ethnicity, and Health: An Intersectional Examination of Health Inequalities
  • P_HLTH 4970 Public Health Capstone: Digital Storytelling

Health Sciences Courses

  • HLTH_SCI 3300Public Health Principles, Practice, & Education
  • HLTH_SCI 3310Social and Behavioral Health
  • HLTH_SCI 3400Global Public Health & Health Care Systems
  • HLTH_SCI 3600Health Promotion Planning & Assessment
  • HLTH_SCI 3610Health Program Implementation & Evaluation
  • HLTH_SCI 3965 Strategies for Effective Peer Education in Health Sciences (1 credit hour)
  • HLTH_SCI 4300Health Care in the United States
  • HLTH_SCI 4420Behavioral Compliance & Health Literacy
  • HLTH_SCI 4900Seminarin Health Education –CHES Exam Study Course (1 credit hour; first 8 weeks of fall and spring semesters; Sr. standing required)

Outside Courses

  • LTC 2200: School Health and Student Wellbeing
  • NEP 2222: Landscape of Obesity
  • NEP 2450: Nutrition Throughout the Life Span
  • SOC 3440: Sociology of Health
  • PSYCH 3830: Health Psychology
  • PSYCH 3870: Sleep & Sleep Disorders
  • WGST 4600: Women’s Health

*This is not an exhaustive list. CHES may accept other courses meeting their required competencies.

Graduate Recommended Courses

Public Health Courses

  • P_HLTH7150 Principles of Public Health (3)
  • P_HLTH 7160 Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Public Health (3)
  • STAT 7020 Statistical Methods in Public Health
  • P_HLTH 7800 Public Health Campaign Successes & Failures (3)
  • P_HLTH 7952 Research Methods in Public Health (3)
  • P_HLTH 8120 Applied Epidemiology in Community Assessment (3)
  • P_HLTH 8150 Human Health and the Environment (3)
  • P_HLTH 8270 Storytelling in Public Health and Public Policy (3)
  • P_HLTH 8300 Health Care in the United States (3)
  • P_HLTH 8420 Principles of Epidemiology (3)
  • P_HLTH 8675 Strategic Health Communication(3)
  • P_HLTH 8920 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (3)
  • P_HLTH 8953 Developing &Evaluating Global Public Health Programs (3)
  • P_HLTH 7900: Seminar in Health Education – CHES Exam Prep (1)

Outside courses

  • JOURN 8042: Health News and Promotion
  • NURS 8930 Health Program Design and Management (3)
  • NEP 7590 Community Nutrition (3)
  • PUB_AF8720Budgeting & Financial Management in Public and Nonprofit Sector (3)

* Must total a minimum of 25 credit hours

*This is not an exhaustive list. CHES may accept other courses meeting their required competencies.


How do I study for the CHES exam?

  • Take the HS4900 course the semester you plan to take the CHES exam (i.e., the semester you graduate). The course utilizes the following study book. Whether or not you take the 4900 study course, this is the best study resource available.
    • The Health Education Specialist: A Companion Guide for Professional Excellence, 7th Edition ($60)
    • To purchase online, click here.

How do I sign up to take the CHES exam?

When is the CHES exam offered?

  • The CHES exam is only offered twice per year, a 10 day period in April and 10 day period in October. Check the website for exact dates.

Where do I take the CHES exam?

  • Click here to find a testing site near you. The closest testing site to the MU campus is located in Jefferson City, MO.

What is the format of the CHES exam?

  • Consisting of 165 multiple-choice questions (150 scored and 15 pilot tested), the CHES examination is offered in a computer-based format.

How much does it cost?

Can I receive accommodations for the CHES exam?

  • Yes. You will need to request accommodations through CHES and supply documentation of your disability accommodations needed.

What is the CHES exam pass rate?

  • The national CHES exam pass rate is about 62%. You are strongly encouraged to take the HS4900 course to study for the exam.

Next Steps

  • Meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss relevant coursework.
  • Questions? Contact Dr. Jenna Wintemberg.