Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Portland State University (PSU) School of Public Health

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CPH Exam

Your Guide to the CPH Exam

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Overview
Eligibility
Registration and Scheduling
Payment
Accommodations
Studying for the Exam
Policies Concerning the CPH Exam
Certification

Overview

Passing the Certified in Public Health (CPH) Exam is a degree requirement for all MPH students. Our faculty selected this exam as the most thorough, most recognized method to assess MPH students’ core knowledge and crosscutting skills. Upon passing the exam and graduating, examinees may claim the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential, which endorses the competency of the credential holder on a national level with competitive advantage. The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) certifies the CPH.

The CPH exam is a 200-question, four-hour exam that tests knowledge in ten domains, each comprising 10% of the total exam:

1. Evidence–based Approaches to Public Health
2. Communication
3. Leadership
4. Law and Ethics
5. Public Health Biology and Human Disease Risk
6. Collaboration and Partnership
7. Program Planning and Evaluation
8. Program Management
9. Policy in Public Health
10. Health Equity and Social Justice

Since its inception as a degree requirement in Fall 2015, our MPH students have averaged a passing rate of over 95%, exceeding the 73% national average passing rate.

Eligibility

MPH students are eligible to sit for the exam after successfully completing all five core public health courses. To facilitate exam scheduling, the SPH will verify eligibility as long as the student has successfully completed four core courses and is registered for their last core course– but the student must not take the exam until the final core course has been passed.

Registration and Scheduling

The CPH exam can be scheduled at any time of the year. Scantron Testing centers are located across the U.S., as well as abroad. Tests are administered through both live-remote proctoring, which is available 24/7, and computer-based testing centers, open Monday – Saturday. Due to Covid-19, testing centers currently are open on a modified basis.

To register for and schedule your exam, do the following:

  1. Review the CPH Exam Candidate Handbook, found on this page.
  2. Contact sphregistration@ohsu.edu for your payment voucher. If you began your MPH program Fall 2015 or later, you have already paid for the exam via a one-time fee assessed at matriculation. No need to pay again! Use the voucher to pay.
  3. Apply to take the exam on the NBPHE’s website. Begin by creating an account.
  4. Wait for your eligibility to be verified. The SPH will receive an automatic notification that your account has been created, and will verify your eligibility to sit for the exam, usually within 48 business hours.
  5. The NBPHE will notify you when your eligibility has been verified. Complete your registration and schedule your exam.

Payment

MPH students who began their programs in or after Fall 2015 have already paid for the CPH exam via a one-time fee assessed at matriculation, and are entitled to a payment voucher. To avoid being charged an exam fee, contact sphregistration@ohsu.edu for your payment voucher code, and submit it with your registration.

MPH students and alumni who began prior to Fall 2015 may choose to sit for the CPH Exam voluntarily. These individuals pay the exam fee directly to NBPHE, and are eligible for the SPH discounted rate of $250.

Accommodations

Students who require disability accommodations should contact the Disabilities Resource Center at PSU (dual MPH/MSW and MPH/MURP students) or the Office of Student Access Services at OHSU (all other MPH students) to complete the process outlined in the CPH Candidate Handbook.

Studying for the Exam

The School of Public Health recommends students review materials from their core courses, as well as materials published by the NBPHE and the Association for Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). These recommended study resources include the following:

Additional ways to prepare for the exam:

  • Form a study group
  • Create a study plan
  • Consult an expert in learning and study strategies. Staff at OHSU’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC), are available to assist students with study skills, test-taking skills, test anxiety, time management, goal setting and motivation, and more.

Policies Concerning the CPH Exam

Passing the CPH Exam became a degree requirement for all students entering an MPH program in or after Fall 2015. This requirement cannot be waived.

Students who do not pass the CPH exam on the first attempt are required to take the exam a second time, at the student’s expense. Students may only attempt the CPH Exam twice.

Students who do not pass the exam on the first attempt should use the subscale information provided by the testing service to discuss ways to strengthen their performance with their faculty advisor and Program Director, and wait a minimum of 30 days before re-taking the examination.

The student is financially responsible for any cost associated with re-taking or re-scheduling the CPH Exam.

Students are expected to adhere to SPH academic integrity standards while studying for and taking this off-site exam.

Additional expectations and policies can be found at Graduate Student Policies and Procedures.

Certification

MPH students who pass the CPH Exam are provisionally certified until graduation.

MPH students who have passed the CPH Exam may use the CPH designation following their name only after fulfilling all graduation requirements and the MPH degree has posted to their transcript, the official academic record. These alums then are considered fully certified, and the paper certificate will be sent to the alum by NBPHE.