Nursing Certification

Certification has been available to nurses through the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center since 1994. Current hospice and palliative certification is available to the nursing assistant (CHPNA), the registered nurse (CHPN), the advanced practice registered nurse (ACHPN), and the pediatric nurse (CHPPN). See the HPCC website for more details and information.

Physician Certification

The specialty examination for palliative medicine physicians was launched in 1996, and is now administered by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). See the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) website for full details.

Physician Assistant/Associate Certification

Physician Assistants/Associates can now earn a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). This certification is a voluntary credential that will allow PAs to demonstrate competency in palliative care. See the NCCPA website for more information on prerequisites and requirements.

Social Work Certification

  1. Since 2009, palliative care certification has been awarded to social workers that meet specific competencies set by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Current certification is available to social workers prepared at the bachelor’s level (CHP-SW) and master’s level (ACHP-SW).
  2. As of 2019, a new certification examination for experienced bachelor’s- and master’s-prepared social workers is available through the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network (SWHPN). Find more information about the Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker Certification (APHSW-C).

Chaplaincy Certification

  1. Since 2014, The Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI), an affiliate of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) have offered palliative certification for chaplains. These organizations now collaborate to offer the Board-Certified Chaplain – Palliative Care and Hospice Advanced Certification (BCC-PCHAC). See the BCCI website or the National Association of Catholic Chaplains website for more details.
  2. As of 2018, the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy offers training and accreditation for chaplains, pastoral supervisors, and pastoral psychotherapists. See details on CPSP certification.

Counseling Certification

  1. Thanatology: Counseling in Death and Bereavement Certification in thanatology (CT) for death education counselors has been available since 1981. See the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) website for more information.
  2. Perinatal Loss Counselors Certification has been available for counselors of perinatal loss since 2012. See the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC) website for more information.
Palliative Care Program Accreditation and Certification

Use CAPC’s toolkit to learn more about how to certify your hospital or community palliative care program.


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