So I wanna be a health educator...

  1. After making some tough decisions about my RN career and education, I decided that I want to be a health & wellness educator.

    I have a BS in another field, and an Associates RN degree. I sent my transcripts in to NCHEC and they told me I need some additional classes to sit for the CHES exam.

    But since the commission is not specific as to what classes to take (they recommend classes in the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Educators which is vague to me.) I am looking for a good online certificate program in Health Education. Any recommendations? Preferably accredited AND inexpensive.

    Also I would love to hear from those that have passed the CHES exam. Do you feel it was a worthy accreditation to have? Or is getting a Certification in public health better?

    Either way my goals are education & wellness with an emphasis on nutrition. I know as an RN that works against the 'system' especially in terms of income...but I feel I could do really well in health education. So any success stories in health education/wellness coaching is also encouraging.

    Thanks all
  2. Visit Nurse AllBetta profile page

    About Nurse AllBetta

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 36; Likes: 2
    Med-Surg; from US


  3. by   Nurse AllBetta
    I could really use some helpful advice from the "well seasoned" on the board.. please respond.
  4. by   llg
    I have 2 friends with Master's Degrees in Community Health Education. Maybe you should contact a school that offers degrees in such things (or in Public Health) and see what they have to offer.

    Another strategy is to talk to people in the field you wish to enter. Presumably you know some people in that field or you wouldn't know that you would be interested in it. Talk to people who have the kinds of jobs that interest you. (If you can't fnd any, that means that there aren't many jobs like that and you might want to rethink your career choice.) Anyway ... do an "informational interview" with those people and ask them about their credentials. Ask where they got their training, how they met the certifications, etc. That will probably give you some leads as to programs/courses in your region of the country.

    Good luck.
  5. by   HouTx
    Unfortunately, there is very little reimbursement for health education (as a separate service) & this really limits the job market. In an ideal world, preventative health care services would be given much higher priority -- but that is in the far distant future in the USA.
  6. by   motornurse
    Glad to see you're interested in becoming a CHES. It's a neat certification to have. I've been a CHES for 13 years and an RN for 20. I don't know which specific certificate program to go with but I suggest looking for ones that include courses in some of the following: program planning, implementation, and evaluation, health education theory, administration, community assessment, or epidemiology . It depends on what type of courses you took in your bachelors program.

    Try to network with other people in the field. I became eligible to take the exam after getting my MS in Health Education. There are a bunch of great conferences, self-study activities, and workshops you can look into once you're certified. Becoming a CHES opens up more job options and a whole other career. Being an RN goes along well with this type of certification. I have found that alot of nurses have never heard of CHES.

    When the economy eventually gets better and more jobs open up, you could be ready with the CHES credential on your resume. You mentioned certification in public health. Do you mean becoming certified in public health (CPH) or getting a certificate in public health by taking courses?
  7. by   XXWeaponX
    Hey There-
    I'm taking the CHES in October of this year. On the website for NCHEC, there is a page which has a link where you can purchase study guides. The 2 guides cost $119 after shipping. The CHES exam cost $260. UGH. I better pass this thing!

    I too am really concerned about this test. I wish there was a course I could take for the exam prep. I wish I could find people who have taken the test that would respond to inquiries like yours. In fact, I logged in here today specifically so that I could post a call for past CHES people to fill me in on how to study for the exam, and what to expect. I see that's a pointless endeavor, b/c no one is answering you.

    Anyways, in my experience, getting this CHES cert is gonna be worth while. I already work in community health, and have my whole career, even before I was a nurse. Now I work in research in the chemical dependency field. Having certs like CHES are really useful, and look great on your resume and give you a leg up in hiring. An RN CHES is desirable when hiring a health educator. As such, you should definitely pursue this goal. I notice that Kaiser is often hiring RN Health Educators, so there's a well paying gig using all your specialties.

    I wish I could tell you more, but that's all I've got. Good luck.