The first step in earning the CPH credential is to determine your eligibility criteria. The next step includes applying for the exam, followed by an application review, and notice of approval to sit for the CPH exam. The third step is to schedule the CPH exam, allowing plenty of time for self-study preparation, using the NBPHE sponsored study materials. The next step is to sit for and successfully pass the CPH exam. The CPH credential will be awarded to the public health professional that successfully passes the CPH exam.

FAQs about the exam process are below. If you have any remaining questions, see our candidate handbook or email info@nbphe.org.

How do I register for the exam?

All candidates must apply through CPH Central. Learn more and apply now!

How do I schedule my exam once my eligibility has been verified?
Once your eligibility has been verified, you will receive an email from our testing partner, Scantron, with instructions for how to schedule your exam. If you do not receive an email but your status is “Eligible”, please contact us.

When is the CPH exam held?
The CPH exam is offered all year round. As long as a proctor and/or the computer-based testing facility of your choice is available, you will be able to schedule your exam any time.

How long do I have to take the CPH exam?
There is no deadline by which candidates need to take the CPH exam. Once you are approved as eligible, you are always eligible. Candidates can remain in the CPH system as approved to take the exam for an indefinite time.

What about candidates with disabilities / requesting a special accommodation?

NBPHE is committed to ensuring that no individual with a disability is deprived of the opportunity to take the examination solely by reason of that disabilityAMP testing facilities will provide reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities. 

  1. Wheelchair access is available at all established Assessment Centers. Candidates must advise AMP at the time of registration that wheelchair access is necessary. 
  2. Candidates with visual, sensory or physical disabilities that would prevent them from taking the examination under standard conditions or candidates who request special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should complete the Request for Special Examination Accommodations form and submit to info@nbphe.org. Accommodations must be approved before scheduling the CPH exam.
How do I update my email or mailing address?

Your email address is your username in CPH Central. To change it, please submit the request here. To update your name or other contact information, log in to CPH Central and click your name in the upper right corner, then select ‘Profile’.

Can I reschedule my exam?

You may cancel or reschedule a testing session up to two (2) business days at a in-person Scantron site or 24 hours for Live-Online Proctoring before your testing appointment through the online scheduling system. Absence from your testing appointment will be consider a no-show and your entire testing fee will be forfeited.

There are no rescheduling fees for appointment moved prior to 10 days before your testing appointment. A $15 nonrefundable fee will apply when you reschedule your exam appointment less than 10 days ahead of your appointment for tests at an in-person Scantron site.

What are the exam fees?

Standard registration – $385. For a list of available discounts see: https://www.nbphe.org/cph-fees-discounts/

Can members of the U.S. Armed Forces use Military Tuition Assistance benefits for the CPH exam fee?

Yes, active duty members of the US Armed Services may be able to use benefits of the Military Tuition Assistance Program to pay for the CPH examination fee.  More information can be found at: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/voluntary-education?content_id=268274 or call 800-342-9647.

Is the registration fee refundable?

The registration fee is not refundable for candidates applying under the student and alumni criteria.   Applicants applying under the work experience criteria will be refunded the application fee if they are not approved. Once approved, the fee is not refundable.

Can I use veterans' benefits for the CPH exam?

Yes. As of November 2009, NBPHE is approved to offer the CPH exam through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans, their eligible dependents, and reservists may qualify for reimbursement of the CPH exam costs through their veteran’s education benefits. For more information, please contact the Veterans Benefits Administration office in your area or visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Education Benefits website at: http://www.gibill.va.gov.

Exam Information

The exam consists of 200 questions and you have 4 hours to complete it. All questions on the exam are multiple choice and single-best answer.  For an overview of the exam topics, see the Content Outline.

What can I expect during the exam?

See our CPH candidate handbook for more details about the scheduling and examination process.

Are there study materials available?

NBPHE provides sample questions and a practice exam.  Several partner organizations offer study guides and review materials. See study resources.

Can I retake the CPH exam?

After you have taken your exam (or if you were absent on your scheduled exam date) you may reapply online via CPH Central. The retake fee is $150. Once paid, you will receive an email from Scantron with scheduling instructions.

My score report says that I’m “Provisionally Certified.” What does that mean?

Candidates who take the exam under the student eligibility criteria are not fully certified until they have completed their degree. The CPH status for these student candidates is pending until after your academic institution verifies with NBPHE that you have completed all requirements for graduation. This will happen electronically between your academic institution and NBPHE. Then you will automatically receive a certificate recognizing your accomplishment and your CPH status will be active.

Will anyone else see my score?

Student and alumni scores are only shared with the academic institution which conferred or will confer candidates’ degree. All Certified in Public Health examinees in good standing are listed on the NBPHE website.

What is the passing score needed to pass the exam?

Because the CPH exam is updated every year and the cut score needed to pass the exam changes with each new exam form, a standard passing score is not published.  However, passing rates are available.  Between 2012 and 2020, over 85% of candidates pass the exam.  (Please note: The score needed to pass was NOT 85%.)

Computer-based testing centers

Scantron testing centers where you can take the exam are located throughout the US and in over 100 other countries. CPH examinations can be scheduled Monday-Friday in the morning and afternoon and at some test centers on the weekends. Search for a testing center here.

Live Online Proctoring

All candidates are able to test via live online proctoring. Live online proctoring allows candidates to take the exam from their own computer. Live online proctoring is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long

You must confirm the following technical and physicals requirements before sitting for your exam.

Technical requirements

  • A well-working computer with 1 GB of RAM or higher (tablets and smart phones not supported)
  • You are required to have a webcam installed on your exam workstation and reliable access to the Internet. An Internet connection disruption will suspend the test session.
  • A high-speed Internet connection (5 mbps). Wireless is acceptable; however, a wired-connection is preferred
  • A webcam with 640×480 video pixel resolution (a laptop camera is acceptable)
  • Working speakers connected to the computer
  • A microphone connected to the computer (consider a webcam with a built-in microphone)
  • Browser compatibility: IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari
  • You must use a computer with admin access
  • You must download ZOOM in advance
  • Dual or external monitors are not permitted

Physical requirements

  • Valid government-issued photo ID.
    • A current, government-issued photo identification with signature (driver’s license, immigration card, passport, U.S. passport card, state ID card, or military ID card). You will NOT be admitted without proper identification. Candidates who fail to provide proper identification will be considered a no-show and will forfeit exam fees.
  • Private room with a clean desk surface, void of people, paper, and disruptions. No other materials are allowed.
  • See additional information regarding LOP here.
  • An online tutorial is for LOP is available here.

National Board of Public Health Examiners

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