The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) was established in September 2005 as an independent organization, to ensure that public health professionals have mastered the foundational knowledge and skills relevant to contemporary public health. To date, over 10,000 public health professionals have become Certified in Public Health.

NBPHE member organizations:

  • American Public Health Association
  • Association of Prevention Teaching and Research
  • Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials
  • Public Health Accreditation Board

Strategic Plan

Our Strategic Plan, Assuring Excellence in Public Health, provides a clear roadmap for the growth and development of our organization over the next five years. This plan focuses our efforts to assure excellence by professionalizing the field and increasing the number of CPH certified public health professionals, enhancing partnerships and outreach efforts, and ensuring a robust, sustainable, and adaptable organizational structure. Directly aligned with our mission and vision, these goals reflect our commitment to public health.


Strategic Plan

NBPHE History

The vision to create a certification for the public health workforce dates back to the 1980s. Review the key milestones in making this happen here:


Live online-proctoring added as a permanent testing option.


CPH exam updated to reflect new content outline based on 2014 Job Task Analysis.


Year-round testing begins.   Digital certificates available to all active CPH.  Board of directors approves new content outline for 2019.


New Work Experience Eligibility approved by board as permanent eligibility criteria..


New Work Experience Eligibility piloted by NBPHE.  Digital badging added to recertification process.


NBPHE conducts Job Task Analysis.


Eligibility is expanded to include public health professionals who have taken the core courses at CEPH-accredited institutions and also have either five years work experience or a relevant graduate degree.


Students from all schools and programs accredited by CEPH eligible for the February 2012 and future CPH exams. The NBPHE begins offering the CPH exam twice a year.


79 Academic Institutions accredited by CEPH Extend Certified in Public Health Eligibility to their Students.


NBPHE successfully pilots student eligibility for Certified in Public Health Exam. 37 CEPH-accredited schools and program offered the CPH exam as a pre-graduation test for their students. Certified in Public Health Continuing Education (CPHE) offered for the first time by ASPPH, APTR, ASTHO, APHA, NACCHO


The inaugural Certified in Public Health exam was administered both in the U.S. and in international locations during August 11-30, 2008.The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) announced the award of its inaugural Certification in Public Health (CPH) to over 500 qualifying professionals.


The NBPHE Liaison program was created in July 2006 to assure that all CEPH-accredited public health schools and programs were linked into the credentialing development process.


ASPPH releases first competency set for MPH graduates. The first meeting of the NBPHE was held in December 2005.


Eligibility requirements set at graduate-level degree in public health from a school or program accredited by CEPH, after extensive discussions among ASPPH, APHA, ASTHO, and NACCHO.


In January of 2002, ASPPH’s Executive Committee approved developing an independent Board of Public Health to issue examinations and provide those that pass the exam with a public health credential.


In 1999, Dr. Mohammad Ahkter, then Executive Director of APHA, and Dr. Al Sommer, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Chair of the Board of ASPPH, decided to jointly form the APHA/ASPPH Task Force on Public Health Workforce Credentialing. After receiving encouragement from both the APHA and ASPPH Executive Boards, the Task Force reached out to other stakeholders in the credentialing process and became the Steering Committee on Public Health Workforce Credentialing.


Another study was conducted in 1995 by Dr. Bill Livingood and colleagues. Of those who participated in the survey, 45% supported a national certification effort with an additional 30% undecided on the issue. Livingood, W.C., Jr. et al: The feasibility and desirability of public health credentialing: A survey of public health leaders. AJPH. 1995; 85: 765-770.


ASPPH commissioned a formal study of public health worker credentialing in 1989, which recommended that if ASPPH did decide to undertake credentialing that it should pursue it independently and in a “pro-active, reformist role.”


Both ASPPH and APHA established task forces on the credentialing of public health workers in the late 1980’s, stimulated in part by the call from the U. S. Surgeon General for such an effort.

NBPHE is a proud member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) since 2014. We strive to adhere to their highest level of standards


National Board of Public Health Examiners

PO Box 2406 Arlington, VA 22202   |  202-296-3050  |  info@nbphe.org

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