Public Health Credentialing: Seven Public Health Certifications

Public Health CredentialingSee what certification is appropriate for you, whether you go into public health education, public health administration, or if you’re just looking for a general public health certification. Below is information about some common certifications held by public health practitioners, and examples of types of jobs that may require certification after graduation.

While there is no national-level credential for public health, there are various certifications and credentials associated with specific career paths that help you stay at the forefront of your profession.

Why get certified?

Your chosen career path often dictates the best certification for you, or whether you even need to have a certification at all. Earning a credential indicates that you understand the different components of public health in your field and that you have mastered the core skills of your field of expertise. It also demonstrates your commitment to a career in public health and distinguishes you from other public health professionals.

How much is it?

There is a cost associated with completing certifications which varies by the credentialing body. Links have been provided for each of the public health certifications that will refer you to the most current information.

What about re-credentialing?

It is also important to note that, in order to maintain certification, the credentialing bodies usually require proof of continuing education activities and require periodic recertification. Again, follow the links associated with each of the public health certifications for the most current re-credentialing information.

Seven common public health certifications:

1. Certified in Public Health (CPH)

The CPH is the certification most widely requested by employers. It’s a voluntary and general certification that anyone with a Master’s degree in Public Health can pursue. Offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, the CPH exam covers the core areas of knowledge offered in CEPH–accredited schools, with a focus on emerging and established public health issues.

Having your CPH demonstrates your knowledge of key public health sciences, and your commitment to the field through continuing education.

 

The credentialing process:

  • You must be a student or a graduate of a CEPH-accredited school.
  • You must be able to demonstrate five years of public health work experience.
  • Full eligibility details: https://www.nbphe.org/eligibility/

2. Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

If you are interested in health education, you may want to pursue the CHES certification.

This is the first of two very popular public health certifications offered by The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc (NCHEC). The CHES certification is based exclusively on academic qualifications.

The credentialing process:

  • In order to sit for the CHES, you must have a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher education; and one of the following:
    • An official transcript that clearly shows a major in health education
    • An official transcript that reflects at least 25 semester hours with specific preparation addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists.
  • Full eligibility details: https://www.nchec.org/ches-exam-eligibility

Types of jobs that may require a CHES credential:

  • Health Educator
  • Program Coordinator, Non-Profit Organization
  • Health Coach
  • Wellness Coordinator
  • Health Promotion Coordinator
  • Public Health Educator
  • Wellness Consultant

3. Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

If you’ve been working in health education for a while and wish to move to the next level in your career, you may want to consider getting your MCHES. This is the second of two very popular public health certifications offered by The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc (NCHEC) and indicates advanced-level professional competency in the field of health education. Eligibility for this certification includes both academic and experience requirements.

The credentialing process:

  • You must have your CHES and five years as a Certified Health Education Specialist.
  • If you don’t have your CHES, but you’ve been working as a Certified Health Education Specialist for the last five years, you must have:
    • Master’s degree or higher in a Public Health-related field, or
    • Master’s degree or higher with an academic transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours of coursework in which the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Education Specialists are addressed.
  • Full eligibility details: http://www.nchec.org/mches-exam-eligibility

4. Certified Public Health Administrator (CPHA)

If you are interested in Public Health Administration, then the CPHA is the public health certification you may want to pursue. The CPHA certification is the recognition by the Public Health Practitioner Certification Board that an individual has acquired and demonstrated competency in the areas established as essential to meeting the professional category within the public health workforce.

Once you have earned your certification, you may use the initials CPHA after your name.

The credentialing process:

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • In addition, you will need at least three years of administrative and three years supervisory experience in the public or private health sector (these can occur during the same time period).
  • You will be asked to provide evidence of fulfilling specific competencies through either experiential or through documented educational achievement or a combination of both.
  • Full eligibility details: http://www.phpcb.org/content/online_app.htm

5. Certified Emergency Response Coordinator (CERC)

If your interest or career is in the field of emergency preparedness, you may consider getting your Certification of Emergency Response Coordinators (CERC) certification. This public health certification is based on evidence submitted by individuals who have acquired and demonstrated competency in public health practice, public health emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, epidemiology and infectious diseases. The CERC is administered by The Public Health Practitioner Certification Board, Inc. (PHPCB).

Once you have earned your certification, you may use the initials CERC after your name.

The credentialing process:

  • You will be asked to provide evidence of fulfilling specific competencies through either experiential or through documented educational achievement, or a combination of both.
  • Full eligibility details: http://www.phpcb.org/content/online_app.htm

6. Certified Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist (CPAPHS)

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offers several certifications. Your choice would depend on your training and area of specialization, but the most popular among public health professionals is the Certified Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist (CPAPHS). Certified professionals are the face of exercise in their community and work to build community partnerships, develop initiatives and advocate for programming that centers on physical activity in order to strengthen public health.

The credentialing process:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a health-related field from a regionally-accredited college or university, or
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject and 1,200 hours of experience in settings promoting physical activity, healthy lifestyle management, or other health promotion
  • Current Adult CPR with AED certification
  • Full eligibility details: https://certification.acsm.org/acsm-physical-activity-in-public-health-specialist

7. Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP)

If you are working in the field of correctional health and would like to be recognized as a leader in your field, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) offers the Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP) certification. Certification recognizes the mastery of national standards and the knowledge expected of leaders in this complex, specialized field. All professionals working in correctional health, including administrative, mental health and support staff, are eligible to participate in the CCHP program.

Certification recognizes the mastery of national standards and the knowledge expected of leaders in this complex, specialized field.

Advanced CCHP certification, as well as other more specialized correctional health certifications, are available as well. A full list can be found on the NCCHC website.

The credentialing process:

 


 

Public service announcement

The above information is accurate as of July 24, 2017. Please note that requirements are subject to change, and most likely will change. This blog post is intended only to serve as a useful guide, and to get you thinking about your career path in the field of Public Health. Please refer to the individual accrediting agencies for full details and authoritative information.


 

If you were to have additional questions about Public Health certifications or the Graduate Programs in Public Health at UNE Online, we encourage you to get in touch with an Enrollment Counselor at 1(855)325-0895 or email publichealth@une.edu  or fill out an online application now at go.une.edu/apply!

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