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Eligibility Pathways


All candidates must:

  1. Complete the self-assessment quiz.*
  2. Provide two letters of recommendation. All candidates must submit two letters of recommendation as part of their application to sit for the Board Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA) exam. These letters should primarily serve as character references and provide evidence that the candidate has demonstrated patient and health care advocacy skills. The letters should come from individuals who have directly observed the candidate’s advocacy work, thereby validating their commitment and competence in this critical field.
  3. Possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or the International equivalent); OR Equivalent experience (paid or volunteer) with appropriate evidence.

*The self-assessment quiz is only a guide to assist in determining readiness to test. Your score is required only as data collection for PACB and does not factor into your eligibility.

Candidates are eligible to take the exam if they meet the requirements of one of the two pathways outlined below and receive application approval from PACB.

Education Pathway: Bachelor’s Degree or higher (or the international equivalent).

Equivalent Experience Pathway: (paid or volunteer) submitted as written documentation.


For Candidates Applying via the Equivalent Experience Pathway


All candidates applying via the Equivalent Experience pathway, must include a written narrative. The narrative should be 250-500 words in length and should include citations from the list of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities obtained from the PACB Job Task Analysis Study.

Certificates or certifications earned do not constitute documentation of equivalent experience. See the following list for examples of supporting evidence AND the website for additional information regarding documentation of experience.

Examples of Qualifying Documentation

  • Publishing original materials related to patient advocacy.
  • Teaching coursework and/or seminars related to patient advocacy.
  • Volunteer work: i.e., Hospice, Disease specific foundations, Hospital.
  • Work in health-related industries.
  • EMT/Paramedics.
  • Military Recovery Care.
  • A job description that supports roles in patient/health care advocacy. 

SAMPLE Documentation of Patient Advocacy Experience

Using any of the Statements from the Self-Assessment Quiz, describe how you obtained the knowledge and/or how you were able to utilize that knowledge in providing Patient Advocacy services. Documentation of experience can be from paid work, pro bono work, or general volunteer services.



My spouse was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 15 years ago. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis was challenging. I set out to ensure she received the best care and to optimize her opportunity to live according to her wishes.

Over the years, I have invested significant effort to become her patient advocate. Using PACB’s Knowledge statements, the following describes some of the ways in which I can demonstrate experience in the practice and hopefully qualify to sit for the BCPA certification examination.

Since her diagnosis in 2005, I have become active in our state MS Society and share the skills I have obtained with other individuals. It is my hope to help others move more efficiently through managing this diagnosis by having an advocate with expertise in MS to provide patient advocacy services. [1.36]

Naturally, I had to first learn how the US healthcare system works [1.2] and how to access resources (including financial) that would enable us to manage this chronic, debilitating disease [1.1; 1.4; 1.7; 1.8; 1.45; 1.46; 1.47].

The exacerbating/remitting nature of this diagnosis has landed her in and out of the hospital on several occasions, and even at home, I have made multiple accommodations to provide a safe space that allows her to function optimally. This is particularly important with MS since clinical depression (the severest form of depression) is among the most common symptoms of the disease. [1.5; 1.12; 1.19]. As with all chronic illnesses, there is the ongoing (and sometimes ever-changing) management of medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), [1.19] and the never ending organizing, submitting, tracking, and negotiating insurance claims, appealing denials, and filing appeals. [1.2; 1.21]

Occasional utilization of PT and OT rehabilitation services also helps to support her desire to live as normally as possible. [1.45]

The rise of COVID in 2020 certainly added a layer of complexity for management of serious chronic illnesses, particularly since access to treatment has been limited. However, it has given rise to telehealth opportunities that in many ways are a better solution. [1.18].

Please see my two letters of recommendation from:

Percy Vere, Executive Director
Multiple Sclerosis Society,
Anytown USA


Rita Book, Director of Education
MS Support Services
Anytown USA

Appeals Policy

In the event an application is not approved, the applicant will be notified in writing. The applicant shall have the right to appeal the decision. Such notice must be in writing and received by the PACB Executive Director within thirty (30) days from the date of the original notification. The Executive Director shall forward all relevant data to the Appeals Committee who will make recommendations to the Certification Commission Chair. The Chair will make the final decision in writing to the applicant and further appeal will not be permitted. The entire appeal process must be completed within 120 days of the original denial notice. Get the Appeal Form.

Note: PACB reserves the right to amend these eligibility requirements at any time. Current as of  2/2/2023