University of Nebraska Medical Center

Certified in Public Health (CPH) Exam

source: publichealth.pitt.edu

Public Health in the National News – Graduates and students from schools and programs of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) are eligible to apply for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) examination. This examination, developed by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) in 2008, assesses mastery of knowledge and skills relevant to contemporary public health. More than 3,500 people have registered to become CPH. Individuals are motivated to earn the CPH as proof of their willingness to stay ahead of new developments and their readiness as a member of the public health workforce.

The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering the core domains of public health (biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, the social and behavioral sciences, and health policy and management). The exam also covers the cross-cutting domains of public health biology, leadership, communications, diversity and culture, professionalism, program planning, and systems thinking. The NBPHE collaborates with the National Board of Medical Examiners to train item writers from diverse public health disciplines and to administer the exam. The cost of the exam is $450 for students (completed or enrolled in 21 core course credit hours) and $550 for graduates.

CPH professionals commit to lifelong learning and ongoing currency in public health by maintaining their CPH status, which requires 50 hours of CPH continuing education to be reported every two years  The national pass rate in 2011 was 86%. The UNMC College of Public Health current self-reported pass rate is 100%. UNMC numbers are not yet high enough to be placed in the national database, but will be as the number of graduates increases.

The CPH is an invaluable tool for public health employers as it assesses an employee’s baseline knowledge of public health and assures the applicant will continue to be on the cutting edge through required continuing education. And the CPH is an essential asset to public health employers as it ensures employees’ readiness to respond to an ever-changing public health environment.

The exam is given once annually (open for three weeks), usually in February at Prometric sites across the United States and around the world. For complete information and registration, go to www.publichealthexam.org. The site contains information about NBPHE, frequently asked questions, and other useful links.

This article was written by Alice Schumaker, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs in the UNMC COPH Office of the Dean. Some of the information in the article was derived from an NBPHE bulletin dated October 10, 2011.

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