Renewal Guidelines


The BCPA certification is valid for three (3) years. The BCPA certification renewal program allows Board Certified Patient Advocates to extend the designation for three-year intervals. There are two renewal options:


OPTION 1 – Documentation of thirty (30) clock hours of approved continuing education.

OPTION 2 – Renewal by re-examination.


Renewal Option 1


Renewal of Certification Through Continuing Education


  1. Continuing Education (CE) must be directly related to one of the six domains outlined in the Competencies and Best Practices required for a Board Certified Patient Advocate or the Ethical Standards for a Board Certified Patient Advocate.
  2. Continued agreement and compliance with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
  3. Submission of thirty (30) hours of approved Continuing Education including six (6) hours of Ethics and three (3) hours in the area of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Pre-approved programs are pre-populated in the Prolydian database and will auto-fill when the correct activity code is entered. Post-approved CEs or University courses require additional information.  Get more information about the submission of Post-Approved CEs here (including College and University courses).

CE credits must be completed as defined by the Renewal of Certification Criteria. All activities must be completed before the application deadline and before submitting the renewal application. Renewal applications may be submitted starting up to six (6) months before the certification expiration date.



The Patient Advocate Certification Board must approve CE activities for BCPA recertification. Criteria for approved continuing education (both pre-approved and post-approved):

  • The program must be at least 60 minutes in length. 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.
  • The session must be provided in a manner that allows for individuals with a disability to participate.
  • The session must include an evaluation.
  • The purpose of the program must be defined in terms of learning objectives.
  • The program must be designed to increase the participant’s knowledge or skill related to one of the domains of practice for patient and health care advocates.
  • The program must take place or be completed within the BCPA’s current 3-year renewal cycle.

Pre-Approved Continuing Education


PACB offers educational sponsors opportunities to obtain pre-approval for their continuing education programs. When a sponsor receives pre-approval for an educational program, PACB issues an approval code. If a CE program is pre-approved, there is no additional cost to submit the certificate of completion to your BCPA Online CE Manager. However, CE sponsors may charge a fee to access courses that have been ‘pre-approved’ by PACB.

For pre-approved CEs, the only required documentation for submission is the certificate of attendance (provided by the sponsor) which must include the approval code. See the sample below.

Criteria for Post-Approval of Continuing Education


Advocates who have taken a CE course that has not been PACB pre-approved, may apply for post- approval review of the course. There is a $15 non-refundable fee due at the time of submission for each post-approved course submitted.

Items to submit for Post-Approval Review:


  • The title of the course.
  • The date and the location of where the course was offered.
  • The number of credit hours requested.
  • A description of the activity completed and to which of the Competencies and Best Practices for the BCPA or the Ethical Standards for a BCPA it best relates.
  • The learning objectives or outcomes from the activity.
  • Certificate of attendance.


Academic Coursework from a university, college, or other educational institution can be converted to contact hours.

Note: If uncertain whether a university or college course would qualify for certification, PACB recommends submitting the course description and syllabus for pre-approval before enrolling.

1 semester credit = 5 contact hours1 quarter credit = 4 contact hours


  • Repeat courses are not eligible to count toward certification.
  • Courses must be related to understanding, practicing, or advancing patient and health care advocacy.




Health CommunicationHealthcare PolicyEvidence-Based Medicine
Health PsychologyProfessional  EthicsCase Management
Culturally Competent Health CareHealth AdvocacyBehavioral Health Navigation
Sociology of HealthUS Healthcare SystemMedical Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability
Motivational InterviewingMedical EthicsSubstance Misuse and Addiction

Activities that May Count toward Continuing Education include:

  • National Conferences
  • Online programs
  • Telephone or video conference programs
  • Seminars
  • Webinars
  • Presentations and publications by the certified advocate

Activities that Not Count toward Continuing Education:

  • Volunteer activities
  • Poster presentations
  • Serving on boards or elected offices in organizations
  • Serving as a preceptor
  • Other certifications
  • Research hours
  • Blog entries


Securing Pre-Approval for Continuing Education at a College or University


Not all programs, courses, or offerings are appropriate for BCPA maintenance of certification. Since college or university courses are often a long-term and more costly commitment, advocates may seek pre-approval for a college or university course they may wish to take before enrolling in a course in order to be certain that the course meets the PACB guidelines for Continuing Education and recertification. A non-refundable fee of $25 is due at the time of submission for college/university course review and pre-approval.

Items to submit for college/university course pre-approval:


  • The institution where the course is being taught.
  • The term the course is being taught.
  • The course title, course number, course description, and the number of credits hours.
  • The name and contact information of the instructor of the course.
  • A description of how the course relates to the Competencies and Best Practices for the BCPA or the Ethical Standards for a BCPA and the work of a patient or health care advocate.
  • The learning objectives or outcomes for the course.
  • A copy of the course syllabus.


Submitting Continuing Education


All BCPAs have an account in our online portal (hosted by Prolydian). Access to the online portal becomes available on the first day after a certification is conferred. Submission of all continuing education and the renewal process, takes place within the BCPA’s online portal. PACB encourages BCPAs to earn continuing education routinely over the three-year cycle. Although three years sounds like a long time, it will pass quickly. Cramming CEs at the last minute does not reflect a BCPA’s commitment to lifelong learning and continued professional development.

Learn how to access your BCPA record through the online Access Portal (hosted by  Prolydian).

Learn how to prepare a Post-Approved CE submission including examples.