Certification Frequently Asked Questions 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center and the credentialing process.  Please contact us at 412-787-1057 or by emal at [email protected] if you have any additional questions.  

Who is HPCC?

The Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center Board of Directors is a competence-based board comprised of a minimum of seven voting directors and a maximum of two non-voting ex officio directors. Board members represent a wide variety of geographic areas, practice settings, and educational backgrounds. HPCC is responsible for the development and oversight of certification for the specialty of nursing in hospice and palliative care.  

How is hospice and palliative nursing practice defined?

Hospice and palliative nursing practice is the provision of nursing care for the patient and family, with emphasis on their physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs when experiencing a life-limiting illness and through bereavement. This is accomplished in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team in a setting which provides pain and symptom management, family support, and 24 hour nursing availability. 

Why seek certification?

Certification validates an individual’s competence and knowledge in the specialized area of hospice and palliative care. Certification is highly valued and provides formal recognition of having achieved a standard of knowledge in the specialty of hospice and palliative care. Research studies confirm the value placed on certification. 

What are the benefits and advantages of being certified?

Certified individuals have achieved formal recognition of their knowledge, experience and confidence. HPCC certification provides benefits and advantages for continued personal and professional growth.

Who is eligible for certification?

Eligibility varies for each HPCC certification exam. All eligibility requirements are outlined in the Candidate Handbook or can be found in the “OVERVIEW” of each exam that is posted on the website.

How do I apply?

A candidate can apply for the HPCC certification exams online or by paper.  The paper exam application can be found in the back of the Candidate Handbook and must be mailed to and received by the testing company.  PSI/Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) by the deadline posted in the handbook. The Candidate Handbook contains all application windows and deadlines.

How is the test administered?

All HPCC certification exams are computer based exams and are given at approximately 200 PSI/AMP approved test site locations.

What content is covered in the exam?

A detailed content outline of the information that may be covered on each exam is provided in the Candidate Handbook. Each exam consists of multiple choice questions along with pretest questions. The content is formulated from a national survey known as a Role Delineation Study (RDS). The breakdown is provided below:
  • ACHPN® exam: 175 items (questions) with 3 ½ hours for test completion
  • CHPN® exam: 150 items (questions) with 3 hours for test completion
  • CHPPN® exam: 150 items (questions) with 3 hours for test completion
  • CHPNA® exam: 110 items (questions) with 2 1/2 hours for test completion
  • CPLC® exam: 120 items (questions) with 2 1/2 hours for test completion

What are pretest questions?

The multiple-choice examinations contain items (questions) that do not count toward candidates’ scores, but are being pretested to use as scored items on future versions of the examinations.

How is pretesting done?

Pretesting is accomplished by interspersing a small number of new, untried questions throughout the examination so candidates will answer them with the same care they would answer questions to be scored. Only a small number are included so that additional testing time will not be needed by the candidates. The pretest questions are not used to compute the candidates’ scores. The performance of the pretest questions is later evaluated, and questions that perform well may be included as scored questions on a future examination.

Why use pretest questions?

Using the pretesting methodology promotes fairness to all candidates by ensuring examinees that their test scores are the result of sound measurement practices and that the scored questions are reflective of current practice. Also it is the only way for HPCC to issue immediate scores to candidates. Developing a test using items that have not been pretested could lead to examinations of different levels of difficulty, which could have cut scores that do not represent an appropriate level of knowledge deserving of certification, which would not be fair to candidates.

What is the cost of certification?

Persons applying for the certification exam who are current HPNA members PRIOR to applying for the HPCC exam are entitled to the HPNA member discounted exam fee as a membership benefit. Each certification has fee listed on its main web page.

Are there additional savings on certification costs?

PIn addition to the discounted rate for HPNA members, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation offers certification scholarships to HPNA members for both certification and recertification. These will be listed under the membership tab of this website, where you can also become an HPNA member.

What credential is granted for certification?

Candidates that sit for and pass the HPCC exams are granted the following credential:
  • ACHPN®- Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
  • CHPN®- Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
  • CHPPN®- Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse
  • CHPNA®- Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant
  • CPLC® – Certified in Perinatal Loss Care

Are the HPCC certification exams accredited?  

The ACHPN® and CHPN® exams are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

How often must I renew my certification? 

Certification is valid for a period of four (4) years at which time the candidate must renew their certification. 

How do I renew my certification?

Find details about renewal for each certification program on the website under each individual credential. 

What are the benefits of certification?

Once certified, the individual is:

  • Entitled to use the appropriate credentials: ACHPN®-Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse; CHPN®-Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse; CHPPN®-Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse; CHPNA®-Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant; CPLC®-Certified in Perinatal Loss Care; CHPLN®-Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse; CHPCA®-Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator.
  • Eligible to serve on the HPCC Board of Directors, Examination Development Committee or join HPCC project teams.
  • Honored at the annual certification recognition event.
  • Provided the HPCC certification newsletter.
  • Eligible for a discount with renewal of certification.
  • Eligible for HPCC and Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation awards, scholarships, and grants.
  • Able to access a national network of experienced and knowledgeable hospice and palliative professionals. 

What are the values of certification? 

  • Certificants achieve a tested and proven competence across the spectrum of hospice and palliative care.
  • Certificants increase their knowledge of hospice and palliative care by seeking and maintaining certification.
  • Certificants demonstrate a commitment to their specialty practice by pursuing certification.
  • Certificants demonstrate dedication to professional development in their careers by attaining the credential.
  • Certificants are assets to themselves because the commitment to certification improves patient outcomes, provides compensation incentives, and gains industry-wide recognition.
  • Certificants are assets to their employers, because board certification is a recognized quality marker by patients, physicians, providers, quality organizations, insurers, credentialers, and the federal government in an atmosphere of increasing awareness regarding quality in health care and appropriate utilization of services.

 How do I find an PSI/AMP Computer-Based Testing (CBT) Assessment Center?

For the PSI/Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) Assessment Location pages/maps, please see the links below.  Locations are the same for the APRN, RN, Pediatric RN, NA, and Perinatal Loss exams, however each exam has its own map.