Five years ago I finished my M.A. in Health Education from the University of Alabama and part of the process was completing the CHES exam, or Certified Health Education Specialist exam. This exam is a means to validate what I learned in my program and provide my clients with assurance that I am prepared to assist them in the field of health education.
I have not yet worked full time in the field, but maintaining my certification has been vital to me. Why? If I am not working full time as a Health Educator why would I spend more time and resources maintaining my certification? There are many reasons.
Certification means that I have mastered information in 7 different areas important to health education. It also means that I skilled at project planning for health education and can assist others in assisting you in setting and meeting goals for their own health journey.
Another reason is that I have continued to learn about nutrition and health education from some of the top professionals in the country. During my 5 year renewal cycle I pursued several courses and trainings in plant based nutrition and eating. I earned a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies, became a Hearth to Health certified trainer and finished a Culinary Nutrition course through Amanda Archibald’s Culinary Genomics, and completed a Plant Based Cooking Certification through Rouxbe. All of these add to my knowledge and skills that I can share with others.
I am integrating this learning into my own life, seeing what works, and what doesn’t work for me. This helps me be more sensitive to those I work with because there isn’t a cookie cutter answer that fits every single body and person’s goals.