Pre-Approval Criteria

Policies, Procedures, Terms and Conditions for Providers of Continuing Education.


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Pre-Approval Requirements

Regardless of the category under which an organization applies, the following requirements must be met. The minimum CE amount that can be submitted for approval is 1.0 CE or sixty (60) minutes in duration. Thereafter, only quarter-hour increments will be accepted. (For example 1.40 would not be acceptable, while 1.45 would be.) One clock hour (60 minutes) equals one CE credit. Breaks, meals, and social hours where instruction is not taking place do not count toward the 60-minute clock hour. PACB also accepts applications for college and university program pre-approval. Pre-approved CEs are issued as follows:


  • 1 semester credit = 5 contact hours
  • 1 quarter credit = 4 contact hours


The purpose of the program must be clearly defined in terms of expected learning outcomes. And the purpose of the program must be to improve the participant’s knowledge of or skill in the practice of professional patient or health care advocacy. To be approved, a program must clearly meet at least one of the domain focus areas for continuing education, as described in the Competencies and Best Practices or Ethical Standards for Board Certified Patient Advocates. The program must include an evaluation which at minimum, provides a mechanism for participants to determine how well the program met each of the stated learning objectives.


PACB supports the intent of and actively encourages compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). PACB encourages all CE providers to take steps reasonably necessary to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities, as covered under the ADA. Live programs must be held in an accessible, barrier-free location (in accordance with section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) to not exclude any participants with a disability.


Application for Ethics CEs


Board Certified Patient Advocates are required to earn at least 6 CEs (clock hours) in Ethics. Continuing Education providers seeking to offer Ethics CEs must demonstrate the content of the program supports the Ethical Standards for Board Certified Patient Advocates. In particular, the application should include a properly cited reference to the BCPA Ethical Standards within the content of the program and/or a written explanation as to how the program will address the Ethical Standards.


Important Note: If Ethics CEs are part of a larger program that also includes Regular CEs, you must indicate so on the application. The Certificate of Completion should include a PACB Ethics approval statement:



[Name of provider], [Name of Program] is approved for [number of CEs granted]. These CEs satisfy the requirements for Board Certified Patient Advocates (BCPA), approval code [approval number] of which 1.0 are in Ethics.

Application for J.E.D.I. Continuing Education


Board Certified Patient Advocates must earn thirty (30) hours of approved continuing education over the three-year term of their certification. Of the thirty (30) hours, six (6) must be dedicated to Ethics and three (3) related to J.E.D.I.* The requirement for J.E.D.I. CEs begins with advocates earning the credential in 2022. Individuals with renewal dates in 2023 and 2024 may submit J.E.D.I. related CEs but are not required to do so. Thereafter, all renewals will require a minimum of three (3) J.E.D.I. related CEs for renewal.


*The requirement for J.E.D.I. CEs begins with advocates first credentialed in 2022. Individuals with renewal dates in 2023 and 2024 may submit J.E.D.I. related CEs but are not required to do so. Thereafter, all renewals will require a minimum of three (3) J.E.D.I. related CEs for renewal.


Criteria for Submission of J.E.D.I. Continuing Education for Pre-Approval


The mission of the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) is to maintain a quality certification program for patient and health care advocates. Toward that goal, promoting Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion is one of five core objectives in PACB’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

As the certifying body issuing the Board Certified Patient Advocate credential, PACB believes advocates should reflect the communities they serve by:

  • Demonstrating cultural humility.
  • Providing compassionate person-centered advocacy.
  • Standing against all forms of discrimination in support of any under-represented or marginalized community.


Beginning with advocates first credentialed in 2022, Board Certified Patient Advocates will be required to demonstrate completion of three (3) hours of approved continuing education in the area of Justice Equity Diversity, and Inclusion. Providers of continuing education may qualify for J.E.D.I. pre-approval using one or more of the following strategies and by focusing on topics and content on inequity and racism that exacerbate health disparities.

Strategies for providers to foster justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in continuing education programs, include but are not limited to:

  • Activities that reflect, discuss, and assess the current state of bias, racism, and discrimination.
  • Include representation of speakers/presenters from diverse backgrounds.
  • Incorporate relevant social determinants of health in CE program content (age, geographic location, ethnicity, race, appearance, disability, gender, sexual orientation, language, literacy, level of education, religion, socioeconomic status, living conditions, etc.).


Similar to requesting Ethics CEs, when submitting for J.E.D.I. pre-approval, indicate which of the core areas the content of the program supports.


Justice – Dismantling barriers to resources and opportunities in society so that all individuals and communities can live a full and dignified life.

Equity – Allocating resources to ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers exist.

Diversity – All the differences between us based on which we experience advantages or encounter barriers to opportunities. Diversity is more than racial differences.

Inclusion – Fostering a sense of belonging by centering, valuing, and amplifying the voices, perspectives, and styles of those who experience more barriers based on their identities.


Pending Statement


For General, Ethics and J.E.D.I., use the statement, “This activity is pending approval from the Patient Advocate Certification Board” on your marketing materials until approval notification is received.


Avoiding Commercial Bias


The CE provider may not show commercial bias or promote commercial interests during CE activities. Avoidance of commercial bias includes:

  1. Course instructors may not promote, offer, or sell specific products or services in the context of a learning activity.
  2. Course materials must not promote a specific product or service.


Record Retention Policy


All organizations approved by the Patient Advocate Certification Board to offer BCPA CEs must maintain the following records, for each approved activity, for a period of five (5) years.

  • Course outline (including all dates and locations given, or time(s) offered online).
  • Resume, CVs, or biographical information for all presenters and/or authors.
  • Participant list.
  • Completed Evaluations.
  • Record of certificates issued.

Terms and Conditions


If approved to provide BCPA CEs the applicant:

  1. Understands the obligations of a CE provider as outlined in these documents.
  2. Understands that information about approved providers and courses may be available to the public on the PACB website.
  3. Attests that the organization will maintain compliance with all requirements and meet PACB standards while providing pre-approved CEs.
  4. Understands that PACB does not approve certification examination preparation courses.

During the approval period, the applicant will:

  • Adhere to any new standards and requirements by the date those new standards go into effect.
  • Review course and contact information to ensure it is accurate, meets PACB standards and reflects current programming.

Failure to adhere to the terms of this agreement or the most current standards may subject the CE provider to adverse action by PACB and may result in suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew the provider’s approval status at any time.


Approval Period


For BCPA-ACE, the initial provider approval term is for a period of one year from the date of approval. Approved providers may request annual renewal upon timely submission of a provider renewal application with the appropriate renewal fees.




BCPA-ACE approvals are not transferable to any other entity. Only BCPA-ACE providers may use BCPA-ACE identifying information.



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