Health Education and Wellness Coaching Professional Pathways

Preparation to Become a Certified Health Education Specialist CHES®

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) offers graduate courses that provide substantive preparation for the CHES exam to support students and graduates interested in qualifying to sit the Certified Health Education Specialist exam (CHES®) offered through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

What is a CHES®?

A Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) is an individual that has:

  1. Met required academic preparation guidelines
  2. Successfully passed a competency-based examination
  3. Satisfied the continuing education requirement necessary to maintain the national credential.

The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) exam is a competency-based test that measures the possession, application and interpretation of knowledge related to the Seven Areas of Responsibility; a comprehensive set of Competencies and Sub-competencies defining the role of an entry- level health education specialist.

These Responsibilities were verified through a role delineation and a practice analysis process.

Seven Areas of Responsibility
  • 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, and the Profession of Health Education/Promotion

ACHS offers programs perfect for anyone at any step of their education and career journey. 

Want to learn more about professional pathways? Contact the ACHS Director of Alumni and Career Services Amy Swinehart or email us at

How to Apply

The CHES® exam is offered at professional technology-enabled global Prometric Testing Centers at a wide range of locations across the country and internationally. To locate a testing center near you and view more information, visit Note, NCHEC recommends applying early to secure the lowest fees for your examination, and to ensure a convenient test time at your preferred location. Time slots may fill rapidly at some locations. 

*CHES® program details taken from 

Eligibility for the CHES® exam is based exclusively on academic qualifications. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education, and either of the following:

– An official academic transcript clearly depicting a major and/or degree in Health Education, Community Health Education, Public Health Education, School Health Education, etc. The degree and/or major must explicitly be in a discipline of health education, OR 

– An official academic transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours (37 quarter hours) of course work addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibility of health education specialists.

ACHS offers several graduate courses that can help candidates meet the “substantive preparation” pathway to sit the CHES® exam. The following courses can contribute to the 25 semester hours of course work addressing the seven areas of responsibility required to sit the exam: 

View more information online at 

Why Certify?

NCHEC’s voluntary professional certification program establishes a national standard for individual health education practitioners. It is based on Responsibilities and Competencies that have been verified by a practice analysis. It differs from state and local certifications and registries in that the requirements do not vary from one locale to another. 

National certification benefits practitioners and the public by:

  • Establishing a national standard
  • Attesting to individuals’ knowledge and skills
  • Assisting employers in identifying qualified health education practitioners
  • Promoting continued professional development

“I have my Doctorate in Health Education, and I am Certified Health Education Specialist®, so this is near and dear to my heart. I have worked in the health education field since 2007, and I have seen how important this field is to the community as health is multidisciplinary. Health education is a way to bring health into the community by arming individuals with the tools to teach the community members about their health and wellness on many different dimensions (social, environmental, physical, mental, occupational, etc.).” – Nicole Betschman, ACHS Integrative Health & Wellness Program Dean

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