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FAQs Regarding Military Specialty Certification

Q1: Why Hospice/Palliative Care Specialty Certification?
A: All professionals serving in a hospice/palliative care program need specialized training and advanced education in the field in order to provide competent, evidence-based care.  This is the expectation of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other hospice/palliative care professionals. The BCC-HPCC credential is a mark of excellence to employers, professional colleagues, patients, families, and the public. It identifies chaplains who have mastered the specialized praxis and advanced knowledge essential to hospice/palliative care chaplaincy.

Q2: Who can apply for BCCI® Hospice/Palliative Care Specialty Certification?
A: BCCI® Board Certified Chaplains with at least one year of certification and three years of direct patient care experience in hospice/palliative care may apply for the BCC-HPCC certification. The chaplain must be currently providing direct patient care at least 25% of the time and not only serving as a manager or educator.

Q3: What if my work responsibilities are split between hospice/palliative care and other departments?
A: In each of the past three years, 25 %of the applicant’s time must have been devoted to direct patient hospice/palliative care in order to qualify for this certification.  The applicant may have practiced hospice/palliative care chaplaincy in a hospice, in a hospital palliative care program, in the ICU, or in other locations.  It is the percentage of direct patient practice in hospice/palliative care and not the setting that is critical to this criterion.

Q4: What if my work is only in hospice or only in palliative care?
A: That is fine. Many applicants have experience in only one segment of the palliative care continuum.  Nevertheless, the applicant must demonstrate competency in all areas of hospice/palliative care regardless of the applicant’s primary employment setting.  While it is understood that an applicant may be more experienced in a particular setting, such as home hospice, inpatient hospice, or hospital- or home-based palliative care, it is expected that applicants for the BCC-HPCC certification have mastered skills and knowledge across the continuum of hospice/palliative care.

Q5: What is the educational requirement for the BCC-HPCC?
A: Applicants must have at least 15 hours of continuing education in hospice/palliative care for each of the last two years. Maintenance of the BCC-HPCC credential requires at least 20 hours of continuing education in hospice/palliative care annually. It is strongly recommended that the continuing education be helpful to the applicant in demonstrating advanced practice in hospice/palliative care.  

Q6: Is a specific education program required?
A: No specific program of education is required, although it is expected that applicants will undertake educational opportunities designed to foster the advanced skills and knowledges required for specialty practice in hospice/palliative chaplaincy.

Q7: Is there any special consideration for chaplains who have completed a formal course in palliative care?
A: No.  However, because applicants are expected to pursue educational opportunities oriented toward advanced specialty practice in hospice/palliative chaplaincy beyond the BCC level, the hours invested in formal course work in hospice/palliative care are credited toward the continuing education requirement for the BCC-HPCC application.  BCCI® recognizes that some organizations and universities offer courses, but these are not required.  NO course substitutes for the specialty certification process.  

Q8: Do I need to be a BCCI® board certified chaplain for three years before applying?
A: No. You must be a BCCI® Board Certified Chaplain for one year before applying for hospice/palliative care specialty certification.

Q9: What if I am certified by another chaplaincy organization?
A: Only chaplains certified by BCCI® may apply for the BCC-HPCC specialty certification. There is a simplified BCCI® board certification process for applicants who are CPE supervisors or chaplains certified by ACPE, CASC, NACC, NAJC or NAVAC.  Click this link to reach the form for applicants certified by organizational partners.  

Q10: If the certification committee determines that I met some, but not all, ofthe criteriafor Hospice/Palliative Care Specialty Certification,would Ibe eligible for provisional or associate status, as with BCC certification?
A: No.  Because it is an advanced, specialty certification, there is no provisional or associate status for the BCC-HPCC.  The applicant must meet all of the requirements of the BCC-HPCC in order to be granted specialty certification. The interview committee has the option to grant a subsequent appearance where the candidate may demonstrate unmet competencies via new written materials and an additional interview. If certification is denied, the applicant may choose to work on the unmet competencies or requirements and submit a new application.  

Q11: How long does the certification process take?
A: It takes about four months from the time an application is submitted to BCCI® to the time when the certification interview is scheduled. If the committee recommends certification, the BCCI® Commission on Certification acts on the recommendation at its next meeting, and the BCCI® Board of Directors considers ratification of the certification at its next meeting.

Q12: What about other specialized areas of practice?
A: BCCI® plans to offer specialty certification for pediatrics, long-term care, mental health, and other areas of practice. As with the BCC-HPCC, there will be a period for developing competencies and standards of practice for each specialization, including periods for feedback, review, and adjustment at each stage of planning for any additional specialty certifications.

Q13: How were the specialty certification categories selected?
A: Specialty certification categories reflect the expressed interests of the membership. A task force also explored the overall trends and changing demands of the venues in which chaplains serve. Specialty categories are intentionally broad to minimize the need to change specialty certifications over the course of a chaplain's career.

Q14: How can I have input and get involved?  
A: Volunteer to serve on a specialty certification task force by contacting BCCI® at Questions and feedback are always welcome.