Participants at a 2016 Learning Institute learn about the CPH exam. A CPH learning course will be offered at APHA 2018. Photo by APHA/Michele Late

Participants at a 2016 Learning Institute learn about the CPH exam. A CPH learning course will be offered at APHA 2018. Photo by APHA/Michele Late

In a field as multifaceted and rapidly changing as public health, practitioners must have a strong knowledge base as well as an ongoing commitment to education. Students and current practitioners alike have been working to become certified in public health to demonstrate their grasp of issues spanning public health and ensure that they remain up to date on developments in the field.

“Our nurses, dietitians, sanitarians and physicians all carry a professional license to engage in their facet of the varied work that is public health,” former APHA President Thomas Quade, MPH, MA, CPH, told The Nation’s Health. “The public health professional should be recognizable as such.”

The CPH credential is earned through an exam administered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. In the early 2000s, a task force was formed to find ways to further professionalize public health. It decided that an industry credential could serve such a purpose, said National Board of Public Health Examiners President Allison Foster, MBA, CAE.

The goal of CPH certification “is to bring the public health community together so they all have a common body of knowledge but also bring visibility to the field,” Foster, an APHA member, told The Nation’s Health.

Students of an accredited school of program of public health are eligible to take the CPH exam as are alumni who have completed their degree requirements for a master’s or doctoral degree. In addition, people with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and five years of subsequent public health work experience are eligible to take the exam.

To continue reading this story from the September 2018 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.