The Patient Advocate Certification Exam
(Updated January 29, 2018)
The Patient Advocate Certification Board is pleased, proud, and excited to announce the opening of registration for the inaugural examination for professionals involved in the practice of patient advocacy. The certification will allow professionals to achieve the credential Board Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA).
Earning the BCPA Credential requires passing the exam developed by the PACB organization.
The first two exams will be administered in Spring and Fall 2018, on behalf of the PACB, by the Professional Testing Corporation (PTC). PTC administers exams for hundreds of boards and professional organizations nationwide.
Find the information you need to plan and prepare for the exam below.
You will choose the date most convenient for you when you register for the exam.
- The Spring exam will be available between March 17 and March 31, 2018.
- The Fall exam will be available between September 15 and September 29, 2018.
You will sit for the exam in a formal testing center run by PSI (a company that runs testing centers, not the same as the Professional Testing Corporation, PTC). Hundreds of these centers are located throughout the US and Canada, and you will designate your choice when you register.
If you would like to review the possible locations ahead of time, this is how to do so:
- Link to the PSI and choose “Certification / Professional Associations”
(Note: works best with Chrome or Firefox in Windows, and Safari on Macs.)
Please note: as of February 14, problems using the PSI website have been reported. You can go ahead and register, then for the final step, you will need to phone PSI and they will complete the registration for you. The phone number is provided at that step.)
- Select the “Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB)”
- Choose the License Name “Examination for Board Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA)”
- The “Portion” will be pre-selected (Examination for Board Certified Patient Advocate”)
- Choose your zip or postal code* and hit “SEARCH”. It will return with the list of testing centers closest to you.
*Postal Codes: If you are in Canada, yes, you may take this exam and earn your BCPA. Please note that the exam has not yet been reviewed by Canadian advocates and some exam questions are specific to the US healthcare system. We anticipate the review for Canadian advocates to take place in the near future.
Registration (and Deadline for Registration) for the Exam
You may register for either the first or second exams. Register Here.
- Registration for the Spring exam must be completed by March 1, 2018.
- Registration for the Fall exam must be completed by August 15, 2018.
Important to note: During the application process, you will be required to answer questions that are demographic in nature; not related directly to your own exam experience. In the future, your answers to these questions combined with your test results will help us determine whether our eligibility requirements need to be changed or updated, as described when they were first published.
Cost and Payment for the Exam
The cost is $375. Payment by credit card is accepted when you register. If you prefer to send a check, you will find the instructions you need in the PACB Exam Handbook.
Eligibility for the Exam
Eligibility requirements for taking the exam can be found here.
What to Take to the Testing Center
Take a valid ID. Approved government-issued photo identification includes a state-issued driver’s license, a state-issued non-driver’s license photo identification, U.S. military ID, or U.S. passport.
You will be using a computer to take the exam, so you won’t need pens, pencils, or paper. Also – important – you will not be able to take a purse, cell phone, or other digital device into the test with you, so leave them home or locked (and out of sight) in your car.
There are further limits to the items you can take into the testing room with you. Please consult page 8 of the PACB Exam Handbook for a complete list.
If you would like to see how the questions will appear, and how you will answer them, you can find a Demo Exam on the PTC site. Note: These are not questions you will find on the PACB exam; they are simply a demonstration of the mechanics for taking the exam.
Special Needs Candidates
Accommodations are available for special needs and for international testing. Please review the PACB Exam Handbook for this information.
You will be given up to 3 hours to complete 125 questions, all multiple choice. Candidates will need to answer 100 of those questions correctly (80%) to receive a passing score.
The questions all stem from the 7 Domains of Patient Advocacy Practice, as outlined by the PACB and found here. Specifics of each domain’s “weight” for the exam can be found in the PACB Exam Handbook on page 10.
Exam Results Reporting
Candidates will receive their results in postal mail approximately 4 weeks after you sit for the exam.
Successful candidates will be granted the designation BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate), and will receive a certificate, instructions for use of the designation, and recertification requirements.
Handbook, Study Materials, and Resources
While in the future we expect private organizations may make study aids and guides available, the PACB is able to provide the following to help you prepare for the exam:
- The PACB Exam Handbook
- Ethical Standards
- Competencies and Best Practices
- Glossary of Terms
- Additional Study Materials (Websites, Books)
If you have a question about registration, please contact the testing company, PTC, directly at 212-356-0660 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We, PACB, cannot help you with those questions.
We will not answer questions about the content of the test. All content is based on the Practice Domains and other materials listed above in “Handbook, Study Materials, and Resources.”
The PACB wishes you the best as you sit for the exam. We are eager to see you succeed.
*Sign up at right (or below, on mobile devices) to be notified when more information becomes available.