Health Educator Certification
Health educators are not licensed. At least they’re not licensed as health educators – some do enter the field through licensed professions like nursing. If you’re not a licensed health care professional, there are still credentials you can add to your name. Board certification is a voluntary process, at least in a legal sense, but it is required by some employers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that in some states it is mandated for those who work in public health departments.
Become a Health Educator
Health educators may apply for certification through the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing. If you decide to pursue certification, you will take an exam that tests your competency in seven areas, termed the Seven Areas of Responsibility. Some correspond to different stages of the education process, others to different types of professional roles. As a health educator, you are expected to plan the assessment process, taking into account factors that influence health and those that impact receptiveness to education. You will show that you can develop educational goals and objectives, come up with appropriate strategies and interventions, and develop a scope and sequence. You will also be tested on your ability to serve as a resource person.
There are two levels of certification: Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). In order to sit for the CHES examination, you’ll need to show one of the following: 1) that you majored in a health education program (or some variant like public health education) or 2)that you have at least 25 semester hours of coursework that addresses the seven areas of competence. MCHES candidates need work experience.
In order to maintain your certification, you’ll need 75 hours of continuing education during each five year renewal period.