Public Health Certifications

Public health needs are constantly shifting with new problems to solve, opportunities to pursue, and careers to develop. When you obtain a credential certificate, and/or certificates of completion in specific areas, you demonstrate your professional skills and knowledge to employers while also keeping current on essential topics and research.

Section 1: Public Health Certification FAQs

What is the difference between a certificate and a certification?

Certifications. Credentials. Certificates. If you are hoping to leverage these accolades to advance in the field of public health, you need to know what each one can help you achieve. This article will attempt to lay out the important distinctions to be aware of before making a decision about what is right for you. 

Photo Credit: Lewis Keegan

What is a credential certification?

Credential certifications, also known as public health certifications, generally come from an organization — for instance, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, better known as NCHEC. Examples of credential certifications include Certified in Public Health (CPH) and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). To earn credential certifications, you need to meet specific academic or experiential requirements, complete an exam, and maintain certifications depending on respective guidelines. Once earned, credential certifications show 

that you are skilled and competent within whatever public health field they pertain to.

What is a Certificate of Completion?

Certificates of completion show that you have completed coursework (including short courses) relevant to your field of public health. Generally, these certificates are issued by schools or professional organizations. People of different educational and professional backgrounds can earn certificates in fields like health informatics and health care management. These certificates demonstrate specialized study and knowledge of course material.

Section 2: Credentialing Certifications

Certified in Public Health (CPH) 

To become certified in public health you must take the CPH exam. A Master’s Degree can be required to sit for the exam. To learn if you are eligible with an undergraduate degree, watch this short video. To determine if your public health school or program is accredited by the CEPH, visit their website: https://ceph.org

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) offers certification to signify professional competency in health education.

Table 1. 

CHES, MCHES, and CPH Comparisons

Note. Kerr, D., Blavos, A., Hancher-Rauch, H., Brookins-Fisher, J., Thompson, A. (March, 2019). CHES, MCHES, and/or CPH? Selecting the best credentialing for you. Health Promotion Practice (161-172). https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/doi/full/10.1177/1524839918825132

Table 2. 

Comparison of Credentialing Exams

Note. Kerr, D., Blavos, A., Hancher-Rauch, H., Brookins-Fisher, J., Thompson, A. (March, 2019). CHES, MCHES, and/or CPH? Selecting the best credentialing for you. Health Promotion Practice (161-172). https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/doi/full/10.1177/1524839918825132

Table 3. 

Comparison of Credentialing Recertification

Note. Kerr, D., Blavos, A., Hancher-Rauch, H., Brookins-Fisher, J., Thompson, A. (March, 2019). CHES, MCHES, and/or CPH? Selecting the best credentialing for you. Health Promotion Practice (161-172). https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/doi/full/10.1177/1524839918825132

Section 3: Certificates of Completion 

Photo Credit: Photo Boards

Certified Public Health Administrator (CPHA)

Certified Emergency Response Coordinator (CERC)

Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP)

Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) 

Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist (PAPHS)

References

2U, Inc. (2022). Today’s guide to public health certifications. Public Health Degrees. https://www.publichealthdegrees.org/resources/public-health-certifications/ 

Kerr, D., Blavos, A., Hancher-Rauch, H., Brookins-Fisher, J., Thompson, A. (March, 2019). CHES, MCHES, and/or CPH? Selecting the best credentialing for you. Health Promotion Practice (161-172). https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/doi/full/10.1177/1524839918825132

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