The Patient Advocate Certification Exam

(Updated November 2, 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 next exam will be offered in March 2019, 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.

Exam Dates

The Spring exam will be available between March 16 and March 30, 2019.

Testing Locations

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:

  1. Link to the PSI and choose “Certification / Professional Associations”
       (Note: works best with Chrome or Firefox in Windows, and Safari on Macs.)
  2. Select the “Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB)”
  3. Choose the License Name “Examination for Board Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA)”
  4. The “Portion” will be pre-selected (Examination for Board Certified Patient Advocate”)
  5. 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 spring or fall exam session.  Register Here.

Registration for the Spring exam must be completed by February 15, 2019.

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.

Practice Exam

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.

Exam Details

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). They will receive a letter with their results within four weeks of the last exam date in each exam period. Shortly thereafter, they will receive instructions for use of the designation, and recertification requirements. Within four weeks of receiving their results, they will receive their certificates in postal mail.

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:

Additional Questions

If you have a question about registration, please contact the testing company, PTC, directly at 212-356-0660 or by email at: We, PACB, cannot help you with those questions.

If you have another question, please review the Handbook** carefully and read our FAQs. If you send us an email and the answers are already available in either location, we will not reply to you.

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.

**Please note – a new, revised version of the Handbook will be available in early June 2019.