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Certified Humane Education Specialist Program

Ensure that the next generation will have the opportunity to develop and foster humane attitudes and behavior. The Certified Humane Education Specialist program is designed to help classroom teachers, school administrators, youth outreach professionals, shelter directors, humane education specialists and humane law enforcement officers enhance their credentials and effectively use their limited time and resources to infuse humane education into current prosocial programs. The courses center on activities, readings and field-tested strategies for working with children, teens, school faculty and youth leaders.

Complete the prerequisite and four other courses in the humane education program of study to receive Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES) credentials. Maintain your CHES credential and presence on our active humane educator registry by recertifying every three years.

See our current Terms Schedule for dates of instructor-led courses.

All courses in the CHES program have been pre-approved for continuing education credit toward the Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) credential. For details, please see course descriptions in DigitalChalk.


HE 001 History of Humane Education

Prerequisite for the CHES program.
Humane education has a long and rich history. This mini-course will introduce you to some of the key players and groups of past and present humane education as well as review the changes (both good and bad) as they relate to the humane movement. $50. Register now »

HE 002 Humane Education and Theories of Learning and Development

Prerequisite course: HE 0001
This course is designed to give educators an understanding of the fundamental theories of learning and how they relate to humane education and moral development. The course includes a detailed examination of humane education programs. Students will reflect on their previous experiences and learn how to create curricula and environments to support academic, social and emotional growth for a wide range of student abilities and diversity. $200. Register now »

HE 003 The Magic of Stories: Encouraging Empathy Through Narrative

Prerequisite courses for those completing the CHES program: HE 0001 and HE 0002
Examine the way narrative is compatible with the way the human brain works, why stories are so effective at imparting moral virtue and how it builds student perspective. The course contains both practical and theoretical content about stories and literature and is designed around understanding the elements of a story, components of realistic-fiction and humane-themed literature, and composing questions that build perspective and critical thinking. $200. Register now »

HE 004 Empowering Youth Through Service-Learning

Explore how schools, youth groups and even individual students can partner with humane organizations to create local change and help students practice important academic and life skills. In this course, you’ll learn how students can gain hands-on problem-solving skills, develop an aptitude for critical thinking and become active citizens in creating a humane society. Additionally, discover how to work with a variety of community partners on broad-based humane education issues. $200. Register now »

HE 005 The Educator’s Role in Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Learn strategies to increase empathy as a preventative to violence; acquire useful tools for recognizing and responding to abuse related to children and families with animals; explore community level partnerships and mandated reporting involving humane societies, social service providers, educators, and law enforcement agencies. $150. Register now »

CHES Credential Renewal Information

Credential renewal ensures that Certified Humane Education Specialists remain current on best practices by providing ongoing education. Continuing education programs are intended to promote continued competence, development of knowledge and skills, and enhancement of professional skills and judgment beyond initial credentialing. The credentialing renewal process also allows The HSUS to support professional humane educators by maintaining a registry of those with the credential and to share this information when contacted by those looking for programs or humane education assistance.

A student who has completed a credentialing program must renew every three years in order for the credential to remain active and to maintain his or her name on the registry. Renewals are due in January of the third year that an individual’s credential is active. With each renewal a student will receive an updated certificate showing credential dates and a certificate good for registration in any HSA continuing education course (up to $200). Renewal application »

Renewal fees and policies

An individual who holds a three-year credential that is still in effect must submit a request before January 1 of the year the credential expires. For example, an individual who earned his or her CHES credential in April 2015 would need to submit a renewal application by January 1, 2018. From that point forward, all renewals would be due by January of the third year. In the case above, the next renewal application would be due by January 1, 2021. The fee for renewal of an active credential is $75, and the individual must submit the renewal application to the HSA Registrar with a check or credit card information. Upon receipt of the certification renewal, the individual will receive an updated certificate and the continuing education course information.

An individual who holds an expired credential may submit a request upon completion of additional renewal requirements as outlined below:

  • If the individual’s credential has been expired for less than one year, the renewal fee will be $125. The student must send in the renewal application with a check or credit card information.
  • If the individual’s credential has been expired for more than one year, the standard renewal fee of $75 applies, and the individual must take any HSA course in the humane education category (with the exception of HE 001: History of Humane Education), earn a score of 70% or above and submit the renewal application with a check or credit card information.

In both cases, upon receipt of the certification renewal, the individual will receive an updated certificate and the continuing education course information. Renewal application »