Aren’t there other certifications that exist for those who care for those with Alzheimer's disease?
Officially, no. Believe it or not, other than the NCBAC™, there is no existing bona fide, independent, national board that administers standardized certification examinations following the healthcare certification/licensure model in this area of care. Some organizations offer training in conjunction with a test, and then refer to it as “certification”. In reality those are certificates of training, rather than a certification. Although most jobs in healthcare require certification or licensure, Alzheimer care has not yet been so regulated. NCBAC™ has established there is a specific Body of Knowledge essential to most effectively deal with those who have Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. We are rectifying this oversight and have established national standards. Additionally, per standards accepted as best practices, any certifying body MUST NOT require their own training as a requirement for certification.
Who will take this exam?
The CAC is appropriate for anyone who works with those who have Alzheimer's disease and related disorders: home healthcare providers, family members, nurse aides, caregivers, activity directors, nurses, house managers and administrators. The exam allows the candidate to demonstrate the knowledge necessary to effectively deal with the special needs of this population. The CAEd is for those such as nurses, social workers, trainers, or administrators who delve deeper into the subject and want to educate employees, family and the public.
Why is certification important?
The objectives of certification in the private sector are to promote professional standards and improve the practice of quality assurance. Certification protects the consumer, the profession and employers by ensuring that individuals who obtain the credentials have skills consistent with specific national standards and criteria. It is a quality indicator when organizations support and employ those who are certified in their profession.
Who is the NCBAC™ and how does it know how to create these certifications?
The NCBAC™ is a group of people who believe in the mission statement of the Organization. Among us are psychometricians who are experienced in healthcare licensure and certification, as well as those who research the disease and care for the patients. In addition we have a large group of legal, association management, public relations, communication, public policy, journalism, healthcare, business, management, finance, and education experts who have committed their talent, time and resources to this project. Click the following links to see lists of the test development committee, item writers and external reviewers.
How much will it cost to become certified?
It is $165 to take the CAC test and $365 for the CAEd test. Exams are administered through Pearson VUE Professional Testing Centers. Click here for more information on how to purchase an application for either certification.
The first year of registration is included in the test fee. Yearly registration to maintain current certification is $35 for Caregivers plus 6 hours continuing education requirements; and $65 for Educators plus 12 hours of continuing education.
What are Certification benefits?
When candidates pass the examination, they may use the appropriate designation (CAC or CAEd) after their name, as proof to employers, colleagues and clients of their additional training and knowledge. Certificants are placed in a national registry for verification of Certification. In addition they receive a pin with the certification logo, a certificate, and newsletters.
How do candidates get training for certification?
Most states require specific training to offer care to persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Most facilities and home agencies offer additional training to their workforce. The NCBAC™ provides a Reference List that is available to all registered candidates. Additionally, we have a Study Guide available for purchase that is an excellent educational tool for exam prep for Caregiver candidates. The Alzheimer's Association and its local chapters and other organizations provide extensive education and outreach. Scientific research produced our Test Plan, which allows trainers to follow the recommended course of study and match the national standards. For Educator candidates, in addition to the Study Guide for Caregivers, we have developed an on-line course for Adult Learning Theory & Techniques.
If employees expect more pay, aren't employers going to be resistant to Certification?
There are enough benefits to the employer to balance the additional pay. The employee who takes the time and is interested in obtaining Certification is likely to do better work and stay on the job, so turn-over costs are reduced. The administrators, community and marketing directors we interviewed felt that Certification is viewed as such a positive benefit to the families that it helps sell the facility or services to prospective clients. Certification will help ease the minds of family members by knowing that their loved one is being treated with understanding, compassion and competence. In addition, ideally, Certification will enable better care of the person with dementia, which will reduce hospitalizations (no loss of revenue), maintain the patient in the facility (no loss of revenue), prevent litigation, lower liability insurance costs, and increase compliance with Public Health Department regulations.
Isn't there such a shortage of healthcare workers that it is foolish to have the extra hurdle of Certification?
Yes, there is a shortage, but most types of healthcare workers are already licensed or certified. Certification raises the level and quality of employees. Persons with dementia offer unique challenges, and many of the people caring for them would welcome the opportunity to undergo additional training to meet those challenges. The NCBAC™ offers the ONLY independent national board certifications specifically for those who work with persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.