Frequently Asked Questions
As credentialing and certification is a new and complex issue to the practice of patient advocacy, we know you will have questions and comments. We encourage you to share any comments or ask your questions through the comment box (below.) We will do our best to answer them. Please note: In order to receive an answer to your question, you must include your first and last name and an email address.
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PACB = Patient Advocate Certification Board. This is the body which developed this credential. Learn more about the Board.
BCPA = Board Certified Patient Advocate. This is the credential name itself. Those who earn it will add BCPA to their name: “Joan Advocate, BCPA” or “James Advocate, BCPA”
(updated November 2018)
Q: Who is this certification being developed for?
A: The BCPA certification is a national/international standard being developed for patients and caregivers. The intent is to assure the general public that any BCPA advocate they work with has met at least the standards and competencies defined through this credential.
The credential is further being developed for advocates to help them determine their own level of competency. Passing the exam will show they have developed at least the standards and competencies tested.
Q: Will there be an opportunity to be ‘grandfathered’ for certification?
A: Any Advocate wishing to earn a BCPA credential will need to meet the eligibility requirements and pass the certification exam.
Q: Is there a minimum educational requirement as a Patient Advocate to sit for the exam?
A: At this time (late 2018), there is no minimal educational requirement to take the exam. However, the PACB does reserve the right to impose requirements at a later date.
Q: Is there a minimum experience requirement as a Patient Advocate to sit for the exam?
A: At this time (late 2018), there is no minimal experience requirement to take the exam. However, the PACB does reserve the right to impose requirements at a later date.
Q: Do I need to undergo a criminal background check to be certified?
A: The PACB strongly recommends you undergo a criminal background check and post your results publicly so potential clients can be assured of your trustworthiness. However, no such background check will be required for certification.
Q: How can I know if I am eligible to take the BCPA exam?
A: Review the Eligibility Requirements to see if you meet our criteria.
Taking the Exam:
- Find all the basic exam details on the Exam page of this website.
- Find more information in the PACB Exam Handbook.
Q: Who should take the exam?
A: Anyone with an interest in proving their ability to serve patients at the level of competence required to pass the exam should take it. You may be an independent, private advocate, or a hospital advocate who goes above and beyond, or working for an employer to serve fellow employees in an advocacy capacity. Once you have earned this certification, you will have proven you know what you’re doing and that you can serve patients well. (Those who have not passed the exam will not have this measure of competency.)
Q: How soon will the exam be offered and how much will it cost?
A: Two exam sessions are available each year. One in the spring and another in the fall. All exam details may be found here.
Q: What should I study to take the exam?
A: The exam questions are based on the documents published by the PACB including the Ethical Standards, Competencies and Best Practices, and the Definitions. Find exam preparation materials on the exam details page.
Q: What will the exam process be?
A: The exam will be administered by the Professional Testing Corporation, a company with decades of experience in handling professional exam programs. There will be an application period, an eligibility determination made, candidates will take the exam, and the results will be issued. Those passing the exam will be awarded the BCPA credential, and will be listed publicly on the Board website so patients can confirm the credential.
Q: How long will it take to get my test results?
A: This depends on when you take the exam. Find more details with this post.
Public Comment and Participation:
Q: How can I participate in the development of this credential?
A: Since establishing the PACB in 2012, we have invited individual input in several ways, including participation on Task Forces and requests for public comment for each of the documents developed and published during the process. As necessary, the Board will continue to reach out for assistance. Be sure you have signed up for updates (at right, or below)
(as submitted by site visitors)