The Certified Health Education Specialist or CHES exam is taken by all those seeking credentials as a CHES. A passing completion will earn you the proper recognition as a National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, or HCHEC Certified Health Education Specialist. It proves that you have the skills, knowledge, and commitment to the Health Education field required by such professionals.

Who is Eligible?

Eligibility for this exam is based on your academic achievements/qualifications. All candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited institution and
  • Have an official transcript, including course titles, proving a major explicitly in a discipline of health education, or
  • Have an official transcript showing at least 25 semester hours or 37 quarter hours of coursework in the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists. You must have achieved at least a grade “C” in those courses.

There is an exam registration fee of $225 for students who register early. Regular registration is $280, and late registration is $335. Candidates who are not students will be charged an additional $50, no matter when you decide to register.

This fee includes a $100 non-refundable processing fee.

Application deadlines are February 28 for the April exam and August 31 for the October exam.

When and Where is it Taken?

This computer-based exam is administered by Prometric Test Centers during ten-day testing windows once in the spring (April) and once in the fall (October). These can be scheduled at one of over 400 locations worldwide. Choose a date, time, and location that is convenient for you.

It is recommended that you register for your exam appointment early as space is limited in some locations and is filled on a first come, first served basis.

Special testing accommodations are available to those with disabilities or who may not be able to test under normal conditions. This request must be made in writing at the time of application and verification of needs must be included.

You may reschedule your exam if need be by contacting Prometric at least 30 calendar days before your original scheduled exam. If done any later, you will have to pay a rescheduling fee or may not be allowed to reschedule at all.

Cancellation requests must be made to NCHEC no later than the late or final registration deadline to receive a partial refund.

What Can I Bring?

You should plan to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes early. This will ensure that you have enough time to complete the check-in process and the introduction tutorial before your exam begins. Those who arrive late will not be allowed to enter the facility and be counted as a no-show, forfeiting their fees and requiring a new application and higher exam fees the next time around.

The above-mentioned check-in process will require that you present at least one current and valid government-issued photo identification. This must include your full name as it appears on your application, your signature, and a recognizable photo. If your ID contains missing or incorrect information, you will be asked to present another one or will not be allowed to enter.

A dry erase board, a marker, and a calculator will be provided for you at the testing center. You may not bring your own. Other items that are prohibited include but are not limited to:

  • Study/reference materials
  • Cell phones and/or any electrical devices
  • Food and/or drinks
  • Smoking
  • Visitors

If you are found with any of these items during the exam, you will be immediately dismissed and your scores voided.

What is Covered?

The exam contains 165 multiple choice questions. 150 of these are scored, while the other 15 are used as pretest questions and to do not count towards your score. You will be given three hours to complete the exam.

The exam covers the 2020 version of the Eight Areas of Responsibilities as described by the Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis or HESPA. Below is a brief description of each and the weight it is given on the exam.

  1. Assessment of Needs and Capacity (17%)
  2. Planning (13%)
  3. Implementation (15%)
  4. Evaluation and Research (12%)
  5. Advocacy (12%)
  6. Communication (12%)
  7. Leadership and Management (6%)
  8. Ethics and Professionalism (12%)

How it is Scored?

You will be given provisional/unofficial exam results at the completion of your exam at the testing center. This will indicate a pass or fail status only. About four to six weeks after your testing window has closed you will be mailed your official score report.

For those that do not pass the CHES exam, you may choose to retake the exam during the next exam cycle or testing window. You will have to submit another application and registration fee but you will receive a discount for that. You make take the exam as many times as needed.

Passing the CHES will reward you with the CHES credential and certification as a Health Education Specialist. You will receive a wall certificate through the mail and have access to a printable wallet ID card.

Your certification is valid for a period of five years, although you will need to renew it annually, as well as recertify after the fifth year.

How Can I Prepare for the CHES Test?

We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!

Top Study Guides:

  1. Mometrix Test Preparation
  2. Trivium Test Prep

Best Flashcards:

  1. Mometrix Flashcards

Other Helpful Resources:

  1. Practice test booklet


Last Updated: October 19, 2022