What is a Certification in Public Health?
By Sam MacArthur

When you’ve finished your degree in public health, the most common next step before hitting the job market is to take the Certified in Public Health exam. A certification in public health is a voluntary credential that can help to distinguish you from your peers in the public health sector. It displays to your potential employer that you are committed to ongoing education in your field, and it is only available through the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). The test features questions that cut across the public health sector, such as diversity and culture, leadership, and professionalism, and will explore areas that relate to core public health studies, like health policy and management.

Qualifications for A Certification in Public Health

public health certifiedYour certification in public health will be awarded according to a national standard that is recognized by professionals throughout the country. Your public health certification can help you to achieve raises and promotions, as you will be equipped with the education you will need to take on more responsibility and authority.

To qualify to take the public health certification online, you need to have completed or be currently enrolled in graduate-level classes that reflect the core of your major in public health. This can include biostatistics, health services, social behavioral sciences, policy management, epidemiology, and other studies related to public health. You can also qualify if you’ve completed your master’s or PhD, and candidates who possess a bachelors and have five years’ work experience in the public field can also take the examination.

Candidates can also take their CPH (Certified in Public Health) exam on paper, as it is offered in various locations several times throughout the year. The exam will require roughly four hours to complete, and it is comprised of 200 multiple-choice or best-answer questions.

It is required that professionals requalify for the CPH every two years, and this is done by receiving 50 CPH recertification credits. Applicants can receive these credits by performing specific tasks, such as writing a grant letter which receives approval; writing an article, book, or chapter of a peer-reviewed work; participating in a mentoring program geared toward public health; or attending a course that lasts several days.

Public Health Degree Programs

You can enroll in a public health degree program that will give you the educational basis that you’ll need to take the CPH exam. These days, with increased demand from students and public health organizations, numerous convenient, fully onlineMPH programs have been developed by colleges and universities. If you already have a degree, you may be qualified for an accelerated MPH degree program, or even faster online MPH programs.

Public health is a field that involves multi-disciplinary studies, and your public health certification program can work in tandem with the education you are receiving for your bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD. Some programs offer 15 course hours to provide you with a comprehensive overview of public health and will cover working with various organizations, including governmental and nonprofit, and how to promote health and hygiene among populations to prevent disease.

Certification for the Certified in Public Health is broad and can be taken by anybody who meets the CPH exam eligibility requirements, and it helps the community of public health professionals maintain a standard of excellence in their work and education. The CEPH provides a full and detailed listing of the accredited schools that offer a public health certification program to prepare you for your initial qualification.