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CHES Exam Eligibility

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 Educators delineated by A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education Specialists 2010). The exam reflects the entry-level Sub-competencies of these Areas of Responsibility. Consisting of 165 multiple-choice questions (150 scored and 15 pilot tested), the CHES examination is offered in paper-and-pencil format at college campuses throughout the United States. While there are approximately 120 testing sites currently registered, any campus with a testing service is eligible to become a testing site.


Area of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists % of Questions on CHES Exam
Assess Needs, Assets, and Capacity for Health Education 12%
Plan Health Education 15%
Implement Health Education 24%
Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education 15%
Administer and Manage Health Education 11%
Serve as a Health Education Resource Person 16%
Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education 7%

CHES Exam Eligibility

Exam applications, University Transcripts, and any supporting documentation become the property of NCHEC. These items will not be returned to the exam applicant or forwarded to a third party.

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 a grade "c" or better) with specific preparation addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Educators

Applicants for the CHES exam will have at least 25 semester hours/37 quarter hours of coursework (with a grade of C or better) with specific preparation addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibilities and Competencies for Health Educators.  The following guidance is offered to applicants without an earned degree in Health Education seeking to qualify for the CHES exam, based on the 25 hours of coursework requirement:

  • A minimum of 12 semester hours/18 quarter hours must be from process courses that clearly align with the Seven Areas of Responsibility
  • A maximum of 9 semester hours/14 quarter hours may be from topic-focused courses tha include elements contained in the Seven Areas of Responsibility
  • A maximum of 6 semester hours/8 quarter hours may be from other courses that include elements contained in the Seven Areas of Responsibility

Course descriptions and syllabi  may be provided to determine if courses are eligible

NCHEC does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of religion, gender, ethnic background or physical disability.

90-Day Eligibility Option
The 90-day option is offered to students scheduled to graduate within 90 days of an exam date. To qualify for this option, a student must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education, and must submit an official transcript showing a minimum of 25 semester hours relating to the Area of Responsibility along with written verification from his/her faculty advisor assuring the student will complete all degree requirements within 90 days of the exam date.

Prescreening Service (optional)

This is a separate optional service offered to individuals and should ONLY be used if you are not sure you meet the requirements for the CHES exam. Upon receipt of the prescreen request form, fee and the applicant's official academic transcripts, NCHEC will review an applicant's transcript(s) to determine eligibility. Deficiencies, if any, will be identified and guidance for exam qualification will be provided. This service is particularly useful to applicants whose academic preparation does not include a degree in health education, but who may have accumulated sufficient health education course work to qualify for the CHES examination. The prescreen request form requires a nonrefundable fee of $25.00 . If eligible, the fee is applied toward the exam registration fee.

Prescreen Schedule:

  • April Cycle: November 1 - February 1
  • October Cycle : May 1 - August 1

Appeal of Denial of Eligibility:

Filing the Appeal

1. An appeal will only be considered if postmarked within thirty (30) calendar days following the postmark date on the envelope in which the Appellant was notified of the adverse decision.

2. NCHEC strongly suggests appeals be sent by certified mail or overnight courier service (such as FedEx) with return receipt requested. Appeals by facsimile or email are not accepted.

3. A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) must be paid and is not refundable if the appeal is denied.

4. An appeal must be submitted in writing (preferably typewritten) to the NCHEC Executive Director who will, in turn, submit it to the appropriate NCHEC decision making body. The appeal must contain the envelope from NCHEC showing the postmark date of the adverse decision.

5. The appeal should identify the adverse decision being appealed and explicitly state the reasons for the appeal. The appeal shall set forth any new or additional information to be considered.

6. The only additional information that may be submitted after the initial filing is that which is requested by the appropriate NCHEC decision making body.

Please see the attached link for the full appeal policy /renew_recert/discipline/


Requests for Special Testing Accommodations
Applicants requesting special arrangements and other special needs due to medical reasons or religious restrictions must indicate this information on the application. Supporting documentation is required such as a letter from a religious leader indicating necessity for the accommodation. All requests must be received by application final deadline.