Welcome to the PHPCB - Public Health Practitioner Certification Board, Inc.

Special Announcement: Administration of the PHPCB is now being handled by the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA). Applications and recertifications are being processed as usual but please stay tuned for website enhancements and further expansion of certifications!



The Public Health Practitioner Certification Board, Inc. (PHPCB) is committed to building a competent workforce by offering competency-based certification to public health practitioners.


Quote about credentialing in public health.

Certification is the recognition by the Public Health Practitioner Certification Board that an individual has acquired and demonstrated competency in the areas established as essential to meeting the professional category within the public health workforce. Such recognition of competency in public health practice may assist state agencies, local boards of health, and other entities in recruiting, hiring and promoting competent local health professionals and serve to foster professional advancement of public health workers.

A person seeking certification as a public health administrator is expected to provide evidence that they have acquired and demonstrated competency in public health practice and public heath administration. Once certified, the individual may use the initials CPHA (Certified Public Health Administrator) after their name.

Certification of emergency response coordinators is based on evidence submitted by individuals that have acquired and demonstrated competency in public health practice, public health emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, epidemiology and infectious diseases. The initials, CERC, may be used after the name of a Certified Emergency Response Coordinator. [Top]

Quote about the value of credentialing the public health workforce.

The core and cross-cutting focal competencies, as well as the bioterrorism and emergency preparedness competencies are consistent with the national competency formulations developed by the Council on Linkages between Academia and Practice and with the National Bioterrorism and Emergency Readiness Competencies developed by Columbia University with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Development of the IPHACB

Since the mid-1980's, the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA), the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators (IAPHA), the Illinois Association of Boards of Health (IABoH), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (UIC SPH) have collaborated to improve the state public health system.

One major initiative undertaken by this group led to the endorsement of the establishment of an independent certification board to conduct competency assessments and oversee certification activities. The following recommendations were included:

  • establish criteria for certification of public health administrators in all settings based on competencies in areas related to public health core functions and public health administration;

  • develop and implement processes to review applicants and certify public health administrators;

  • foster the creation of a pool of qualified public health administrators from which state agencies, local boards of health, and other entities could attract/recruit qualified individuals;

  • foster professional advancement, recruitment, and retention through certification; and

  • evaluate the public health administrators certification process and the achievement of the objectives stated above.

Funding for implementation of these recommendations was secured by UIC SPH in late 1997. The Illinois Public Health Administrator Certification Board was established in early 1998 through appointments made by IPHA, IAPHA, and IABoH, with each organization appointing two members. IDPH and UIC SPH were invited to have liaisons join the Board as ex-officio members.

The Board began accepting public health administrator certification applications from individuals, in Illinois, in late 2000. In 2001, individuals from other states also began to express interest in the certification program and to submit applications.

In 2003, IDPH and Illinois local health departments began implementing capacity building activities related to emergency public health preparedness and response. One of the key activities involved the deployment of Certified Emergency Response Coordinator (CERC) personnel. IDPH established basic educational and experience qualification for these positions and asked that each ERC become certified in public health emergency preparedness and response through a process coordinated by the Board. The Board agreed to expand its existing competency-based certification program and use a similar structure and process for certifying ERCs. As a result of program expansion, the Board voted to change its name to the Public Health Practitioner Certification Board, Inc.