Certification FAQs

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Do I have to be a nurse or physician to apply?

The criteria differ for the five types of certification. In addition, candidates must meet all other eligibility requirements for each program.

CCHP: All professionals working in correctional health, including administrative, mental health and support staff, are eligible to participate in the CCHP program.

CCHP-MH: You must be a qualified mental health professional as defined by NCCHC’s Standards for Mental Health Services in Correctional Facilities (2015), MH-A-02: “psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, licensed professional counselors, psychiatric nurses, and others who by virtue of their education, credentials, and experience are permitted by law to evaluate and care for the mental health needs of patients.”

CCHP-P: You must possess an unrestricted license (MD or DO) to practice medicine in at least one state of the United States and be in good standing with that licensing board. For Canada and U.S. territories, credentials are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

CCHP-RN: You must possess a current, active RN license within a U.S. state (for Canada and U.S. territories, credentials are reviewed on a case-by-case basis); the license must not be restricted to practice in correctional settings only.

CCHP-A: All professionals working in correctional health, including administrative, mental health and support staff, are eligible to participate in the CCHP-A program provided they meet the other program requirements.

 
 

How much correctional health care experience do I need in order to be eligible to take the exam?

CCHP basic certification: No work experience requirement

CCHP-MH: Equivalent of three years of full-time practice in a correctional environment

CCHP-P: Practice in the correctional environment over the course of at least three years (no minimum requirement of hours)

CCHP-RN:

  • Equivalent of two years full-time practice as a registered nurse
  • 2,000 hours of practice in a correctional setting within the last three years
  • 54 hours of continuing education in nursing, with 18 specific to correctional health care, within the last three years

CCHP-A:The Employment section fo the application assesses time spent in the health care profession and the portion spent in correctional health care. Professional responsibilities and professional achievements and recognitions are also considered.

 
 

How long does it take to find out if my application was accepted?

For applications submitted online, an email confirmation is sent immediately. Applications sent by mail take 3 to 4 weeks to process. Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive an email on the status of your application and any additional documents needed to complete it. An email attachment will contain the candidate handbook, publication order form and exam registration form.

 
 

What do I need to do to complete my application?

Complete applications for the five types of certification consist of:

CCHP:

  1. Application form (online or paper)
  2. Resume or curriculum vitae documenting education and professional experience
  3. Copies of valid credentials, e.g. license, diploma (see Eligibility section in Applying for CCHP)
  4. Signed application statement
  5. Examination fee of $205
  6. Exam registration form (provided by NCCHC upon receipt of the above)

CCHP-MH:

  1. Application form (online or paper)
  2. Copy of professional licensure or proof of license eligibility, e.g., copy of diploma, if license to practice is not required by law in your state
  3. Signed application statement
  4. Examination fee of $305
  5. Exam registration form (provided by NCCHC upon receipt of the above)

CCHP-P:

  1. Application form (online or paper)
  2. Copy of professional licensure
  3. Signed application statement
  4. Examination fee of $305
  5. Exam registration form (provided by NCCHC upon receipt of the above)

CCHP-RN:

  1. Application form (online or paper)
  2. Copy of nursing license
  3. Signed application statement
  4. Examination fee of $305
  5. Exam registration form (provided by NCCHC upon receipt of the above)

CCHP-A:

  1. Completed application in three-ring binder with appropriate tabs
  2. Application fee of $205 payable when the application is submitted. If the application is approved, a $200 examination fee is due before taking the examination
  3. Three letters of recommendation sent directly to the CCHP Board of Trustees
  4. Exam registration form (provided by NCCHC upon receipt and approval of the above)

 

 
 

Are different examinations given to doctors, nurses, administrators, etc.?

For basic certification, the same examination is given to everyone. The exam focuses on correctional practice and does not seek to measure clinical competency. Separate exams are used for CCHP-MH, CCHP-P and CCHP-RN specialty certifications and for Advanced certification.

 
 

Can I take the exam at home or do I have to travel to a testing site?

The exam is not a take-home exam. It is a proctored, multiple-choice examination offered at least five times a year at NCCHC conferences and at regional locations across the country. Current test sites and dates are listed on the Exam Calendar.

 
 

Is the exam an open-book exam?

No. The exam is closed book.

 
 

What percentage of correct answers is needed to pass the examination and become certified?

For basic CCHP certification:

  • The exam has between 80 to 100 questions
  • You must answer at least 65% of the questions correctly
  • See the Candidate Handbook for the CCHP exam for more information, including a content ountline

For CCHP-MH certification:

  • The exam has between 80 to 100 questions
  • Passing grades are determined by the CCHP Board of Trustees
  • See the Candidate Handbook for the CCHP-MH exam for more information, including a content ountline

For CCHP-P certification:

  • The exam has between 70 to 100 questions
  • Passing grades are determined by the CCHP Board of Trustees
  • See the Candidate Handbook for the CCHP-P exam for more information, including a content ountline

For CCHP-RN certification:

  • The exam has between 70 to 100 questions
  • Passing grades are determined by the CCHP Board of Trustees
  • See the Candidate Handbook for the CCHP-RN exam for more information, including a content ountline

For CCHP-A certification:

  • The exam consists of 8 essay questions
  • You must answer at least 70% of the questions correctly
  • Passing grades are determined by the CCHP Board of Trustees
  • See the CCHP-A brochure for more information
 
 

What does it cost to take the exam?

Fees shown below are for applications submitted online; except for CCHP-A, a $15 service fee is charged for applications submitted by mail or fax.

Exam Exam Fee
CCHP $205
CCHP-MH $305
CCHP-P $305
CCHP-RN $305
CCHP-A $405

 

Veterans may be eligible for reimbursement of the exam fee by the Veterans Administration. Learn more »

 
 

How do I obtain the Candidate Handbook?

The handbook will be sent by email once your application has been received. You also may download the handbook (or brochure for CCHP-A certification) from The Examination page of the website for each CCHP program.

 
 

I applied for the exam, so does that mean I am registered?

No. You must complete the exam registration form that is emailed to you with your application confirmation and return it to NCCHC by the registration deadline noted on the form.

 
 

How do I request that an exam be set up in my city and state?

Site requests are accepted if submitted at least 90 days prior to the exam provided that the exam registration form still solicits such requests. Site requests are limited and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so candidates are encouraged to make requests well in advance. Please note that a site is eligible to host an exam only when it has at least five examinees.

 
 

Do you guarantee that site requests can be fulfilled?

No. We do our very best to secure a convenient location to test for each candidate, but we cannot guarantee that each request will be fulfilled. Please note that a minimum of five examinees is required for a site to be eligible.

 
 

How long does it take to receive the test results?

You will be notified of your test results by mail within 4 to 6 weeks.

 
 

Do you publish a list of candidates?

A list of new CCHPs (those who passed the exam) is posted in the CCHP News section of our website. No reference is made to candidates who have deferred taking the exam or did not attain a passing score.

 
 

Will you notify my manager that I passed the CCHP examination?

If certified, you will receive a press release for submission to your employer, facility newsletter and local news media.

 
 

Does everyone pass the examination?

We have found that, with adequate preparation and studying, most candidates pass the examination. Those who don't may take it two additional times within a two-year period (a retesting fee applies). Most examinees who retest are better prepared and pass on their second try.

 
 

What if I fail the exam?

We encourage you to try again. You have two years from your application approval date (the date your application is processed) to take the exam two additional times. All you need to do is submit a $45 retesting fee along with another exam registration form by the registration deadline.

 
 

How can I update my contact information for the certification program?

Simply log on to your NCCHC account to update your personal information, including mailing address, email, professional credentials and more. This also is important for CCHP correspondence and recertification, processing continuing education credit from NCCHC conferences or the Journal of Correctional Health Care, conference registration and much more. To update (or create) your account, go to http://orders.ncchc.org.