A Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional (CHESP) is an individual who has obtained accreditation through the American Hospital Association Certification Center (AHA-CC).

Who is the American Hospital Association?

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a widely recognized health care advocacy organization that offers resources for health care professionals, public awareness campaigns and special certification programs. Passing an AHA exam means that the health care professional has a broad skill and knowledge base. Every AHA certification program is developed through collaboration among industry recognized experts and the AHA-CC certification program committee. Together, they offer the CHESP certification for health care professionals who work in health care services related to environmental management.

What is the eligibility for the CHESP Exam?

Any candidate who wishes to pass the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional exam must first meet basic eligibility requirements. For example, candidates must meet the requirements for one of the following three basic education and work experience categories. First, a Bachelor's degree with three years of experience, but two of these years must have been in a managerial or administrative role. Second, an Associate degree and four years of experience with three years of supervisory or administrative experience. Third, a high school diploma or five years of total experience. Keep in mind that operational work experience only counts is the position was in environmental services in a health care organization. Additionally, environmental services refer to sanitation, waste and textile management.

What is the CHESP Exam Like?

The CHESP exam is made up of 110 multiple-choice questions that tests the candidate's ability to recall, apply and analyze information. However, 10 of the questions are actually trial questions that do not count towards the final score. Candidates are allowed two hours to complete the exam, which covers seven main content areas that are broken down into sub-categories.

  1. The Regulatory compliance area asks questions regarding compliance with federal standards and regulations, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are also questions concerning basic guidelines, such as those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  2. The planning, design and construction area includes questions about evaluating maintenance recommendations, participating in construction planning and calculating departmental costs.
  3. The operations related to environmental sanitation area tests the candidate on how to clean and manage things such as furniture, fabrics, patient rooms and intensive care units.
  4. The operations related to waste management area focuses on how to properly monitor and dispose of hazardous, radioactive, universal and pharmaceutical waste.
  5. The operations related to textile management area centers on how to develop, implement and manage a linen distribution management program.
  6. The financial stewardship area covers budgets, reports and life cycle cost assessments.
  7. The administration area covers HR, policies, procedures and operations.

How to Prepare for the CHESP Exam?

The CHESP exam is very comprehensive and detailed. Therefore, candidates should consider downloading the American Hospital Association's downloadable Candidate Handbook, which explains all aspects of the test requirements, offers sample exam questions and provides a thorough list of the content categories. There is also a useful online self-assessment exam tool that candidates can use to practice the exam.

In summary, any health care managerial professional who works with waste, textile or sanitation management in a health care organization should obtain the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional accreditation.