Credentialing & Privileging | 10.02.23
The Candidate Handbook for Exam Prep
Do you have questions about how to prepare for the CPCS®/CPMSM® exams, what is asked on the exams, or if you qualify? The best tool is the Candidate Handbook.
The handbook has the intel on the exam content — for example, the percentage of each (CPCS and CPMSM) exam that focuses on credentialing and privileging, ongoing monitoring, department support, and system management. Are you curious what to review in preparation of the exam? Look over the list of suggested preparation materials (page 11). If you are not sure if you meet the criteria to sit for the exam, see the eligibility requirements (page 5). Once you are ready, review the application deadlines (page 2). Then, find information on how to schedule (or re-schedule) your exam (page 7).
We are at the time of the year where recertification is at top of mind. The recertification window opened on Aug. 1, ,and all applications are due before Dec. 1. As outlined in the Candidate Handbook, single certificants are required to have 30 CE hours (15 must be NAMSS-approved), and dual certificants need 45 CE hours (25 must be NAMSS-approved). Those who obtained their initial certification in any of these years are due to recertify in 2023: 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, or 2020.
If you want help asking your leader to financially support certification and explaining why it is important, the section on Goals of Certification is a starting point (page 4). Here you’ll find justifications for their support, such as: becoming certified demonstrates knowledge and expertise and signifies to others that you’re an expert. It promotes the profession and enhances knowledge through continuing education.
Individuals are always curious about the scoring (page 9). It involves statistical equating and a psychometrician — pretty robust! It is a sound and validated practice which results in fair and standardized scores. This is essential, because in order for our certification to be meaningful, we want the exam and the exam process (from start to finish) to be consistent, reliable, and discerning.
As CCN Chair, I’m often asked for tips and tricks. First tip: review the candidate handbook and make a note of the deadlines. Next, get a study-buddy, or join a study group and dive in. You don’t need to have your full plan and timeline in place on day 1 – just get started and the rest will come.
The two most frequently asked questions CCN members and NAMSS staff hear:
- What questions are asked on the exam? Please refer to exam content (page 11).
- When will I get my results? 6-8 weeks after the close of the testing window. Not 6-8 weeks after your test, but 6-8 weeks after the exam window closes (page 9).
Ready to look into certification? Access the handbook here to check out eligibility criteria and next steps. Wishing you the best!
Natalie Rose, MHA, CPMSM, CPCS, is the director for Trinity Health’s system-wide CVO. She serves as Chair of the NAMSS Certification Commission. Natalie champions certification and encourages MSPs to invest in their professional growth.