Answering Your Questions about Patient Advocate Certification

After these many years of work on building the patient advocate certification, the PACB decided to hold teleconferences, live Q & A type sessions, two of which were held during this month of March 2016.

To maximize the benefit of these calls, we recorded them. Find links below to podcasts of both calls.

The first call was focused on the information needs of individual advocates who have interest in the process and requirements for earning the BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate) credential. They wanted answers to questions such as “What do I need to do to qualify for certification?” “Do I need to take courses or get a degree” “What parameters will be used to grandfather existing advocates?” – and others.  This call was hosted by The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, and its 600+ members were invited to submit their questions ahead of time.

Find the Ask the PACB podcast here.  (45 minutes)

The second call was a briefing, held for representatives of the 60+ education and membership organizations we have identified as having an interest in patient advocate certification.  The focus was different; more about the process and the aspects to certification we will be working on in the near future. 

Find the Organization Briefing podcast here. (30 minutes)

The PACB is committed to keeping our process open and transparent, and so we will begin planning regular calls of this nature.


If you wish to stay up-to-date on progress of this health and patient advocacy credential development, please subscribe to receive updates (at right.) Large group emails are no longer being sent.


  • Julie Wenzinger

    Are there professional organizations that the PACB recommends? I’m familiar with Aging Life Care Professionals and Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. I know there are others our there but I’m hoping someone can help me understand which are really worth my time and money and will assist me in multiple ways in my business. Thank you in advance for your insight!

  • I am taking the exam this month. I have the PACB documents and the books that were listed on the reading materials (ordered through the library). I also have access and reviewed the numerous websites that fell under the resources for the exam (did not look at the other sites mentioned that will not be on the exam). I am getting a bit overwhelmed since, combined, these materials feel like a full 8 week course prior to testing (if I read all of the books, and try to navigate the websites without direct links). I know you mentioned that the questions are focused on the (3) PACB documents but how do I know what will be asked out of the entire book entitled, Improving healthcare through advocacy, or the or the entire HIPPA document on their website?

    • Danielle Marshall

      Hi Denise. Studying for any exam can be stressful, so I certainly understand how overwhelming it can feel. The BCPA exam is based on the core documents which includes the Competencies and Best Practices, Ethical Standards and the Glossary of Terms. The books and websites are primarily offered as additional resources. You may find it helpful to use the glossary as a way of identifying areas in which you may need additional study. Once identified, you can drill down further in the books and websites to find the appropriate references for those key terms. Also as you study the core documents, should any area seem unclear, you can use the additional resources (books/websites) to look for further clarification. Remember to study from the perspective of “what a patient advocate needs to know.” I hope this helps and best of luck to you.

  • Izabel Souza

    Where do you study to become a patient advocate and to take these exams?

    • Danielle Marshall

      Hi Izabel. Great question. Patient Advocacy is rapidly emerging as a distinct profession…which is why PACB set out to establish standards and competencies for the practice. There are educational programs in patient advocacy, however, PACB doesn’t currently offer education. Our only activity at present is the certification. I have included a link from the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. In providing this list, you’ll find APHA has done a lot of the legwork in compiling such a comprehensive list. I hope you find this helpful.

  • Gerald Tevrow

    Will the Certification exam given in September, 2018, include different questions
    than the March, 2018 exam, or the same offering?
    Appreciate your input.

    • PACBoard

      As does any credentialing organization, the PACB reserves the right to modify the exam questions as needed.

      The questions will always be focused on the material in the PACB documents:
      -Ethical Standards
      -Competencies and best practices

      You can learn more about this at this website:

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