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Current Candidates

The NHSA Health Services Credential course is a way for you to deepen and display your skills, knowledge and understanding of the provision of Head Start health services. Your Credential Portfolio will highlight many aspects of the important work you do. Below is valuable information to guide you through the credentialing process.


Credential Portfolio Activity Responses 

The Credential Portfolio is a demonstration of your knowledge, skills and understanding of health services Competencies. You will demonstrate these qualities by providing descriptive narrative responses to the Portfolio Activities. 

Be sure to provide thorough responses that address each part of the Activity including what your role is and real case examples where required. Providing relevant and detailed information strengthens the illustration of your knowledge and abilities.

Activity responses must be written in your own words, from your own point of view. Review the important information and web links in “In Your Own Words” below.

In addition to written descriptions, several Activities require actual documents. You can provide a copy of the required document or a hyperlink to the documents. However, program policies and procedures, the Performance Standards, and other documents do not substitute for narrative Activity responses.

Activity responses should be typed.

Many Activities contain more than one area to address. Be sure to address each one. A checklist is included at the bottom of each Activity page to help ensure that you've responded to each portion of the Activity.  


In Your Own Words

It is most important that you address the Activities your own words. The Credential Portfolio is a demonstration of your individual knowledge, skills, abilities, thoughts and ideas. Do not duplicate, reorder, or reword another candidate’s responses. Be sure to add sources for direct quotes and paraphrases of another person’s thoughts or ideas and information obtained from sources that did not originate from you, such as, websites, articles, books, and other sources.

Using another person’s work without giving them credit is called plagiarism. Plagiarism comes in a variety of forms. Read these Buzzle articles for information on the types of plagiarism and ways to avoid them.

Credential Portfolios that are deemed to be plagiarized, or portions thereof, will not earn the credential.


Describe Your Role

Responses should reflect what you do specifically not what the family services or health services staff do in general. Therefore, when an Activity requires you to explain how you accomplish a task or to describe your role, avoid general statements such as, "Family Services Advocates will…" or "Health Services Specialists conduct…" Use "I" statements instead.


Helpful Resources

Resources, such as articles and videos, are included as a part of some Activities to help strengthen or refresh your knowledge or understanding of the topic. You will also need to access the Head Start Program Performance Standards and specified policies from your Head Start/Early Head Start program. 


Portfolio Deadlines & Re-enrollment

Original Deadline

You will have four (4) months to complete the Credential Portfolio. This is referred to as the original deadline date.

You may choose to complete one Competency per week or to spend 1 hour per day on Credential Activities. Plan for time to re-read through your responses and to have someone review them prior to the four month deadline.


Extended Deadline

An extension to the deadline can be requested if a candidate is unable to complete the Credential Portfolio by the original deadline date.

The terms of an extension and the steps to make an extension request are outlined in the Extension Policy

Effective August 1, 2017, extensions will incur an Extension Fee of $50.


Past Due Credential Portfolios

Credential Portfolios that are not submitted by the candidate’s original, extended, or Activities to be Readdressed deadline date are considered past due.

A candidate whose Portfolio is past due will automatically be withdrawn from the Credentials Program. However, if the candidate wishes to participate in the Credentials Program re-enrollment can be requested.



If a candidate desires to participate in the Credentials Program after being in Past Due status, s/he can request re-enrollment.

The terms of re-enrollment, as well as the steps to make a re-enrollment request, are outlined in the Re-enrollment Policy.

Effective August 1, 2017, the Re-enrollment Fee is $300.00. 


Save Your Work

Save your responses and attachments as you work on them. Also save a copy of the final version of your entire Credential Portfolio, including attachments, prior to submitting it for review. Candidates have found this practice to be invaluable.


Submitting the Portfolio (Upload Only)

NHSA only receives Credential Portfolio submissions as uploaded electronic documents. The link to submit your portfolio is provided via email. Instructions on how to upload the portfolio are here.

Do not mail the Credential Portfolio even if your portfolio is one of a few that contains a mailing address. The mailbox is closed. Therefore, your Portfolio will not be received at the address.


Review Timeline

The review of submitted portfolios typically takes 12 weeks. The review results will be emailed to you. Be sure to check spam/junk folders.

If your email address has changed, contact with your new, active email address.

Upon successful completion of the portfolio, the Credential will be e-mailed to you. If you do not successfully complete the portfolio, you will be required to complete the Activities to be Readdressed indicated in the review results as the next step toward earning the Credential.



When you earn the Family Services Credential or Health Services Credential, take time to celebrate this significant accomplishment! Whether it be with your colleagues, supervisor, family, friends, or by yourself, take the time to acknowledge the work, dedication, and knowledge that you demonstrated to reach this milestone.

We would like to celebrate with you by highlighting your achievement on our website, Facebook page, e-newsletter, or other media outlet! Please email a photo of you with your Family Services Credential or Health Services Credential to