Frequently Asked Questions
New PGP Requirements
Q: Why are the PGP requirements changing?
A: A review of submitted PGP portfolios showed that use of the PGP has remained in the range of 33% of recertification applications for several years, and a lot portfolios were being returned to applicants for clarification or revision. The WOCNCB Board of Directors initiated changes in the requirements that would make more certified nurses eligible to recertify by PGP.
Q: When do the new PGP requirements begin?
A: The new online PGP system will open on 1/2/2024.
Q: Will my CE’s and activities earned and completed prior to 1/1/2024 be accepted in the new PGP portfolio?
A: You will be able to count CE, and projects/activities that occurred in the past 5 years after earning your most recent certification – as long as they meet the criteria in the 2024 PGP Handbook.
Q: What if my PGP submission date is between 6/1/23 and 8/31/23?
A: If your submission date is between 6/1/23 and 8/31/23, you will submit in the existing PGP system.
Q: What if my PGP submission date is between 9/1/23 and 12/31/23?
A: You can either submit using the current PGP requirements or request a credential extension and submit in the first quarter of 2024.
Q: What is the new points category, practice hours?
A: This category gives you points for your daily practice, whether that position is clinical, academic, industry, administrative or management. You can claim up to 40 points for 2000 hours per specialty over 5 years. You can find details on points for less than 2000 hours here [insert link].
Q: Will I need to create a new PGP account in the new system?
A: No, if you have an existing account in the old system, you will automatically have an account in the new system. Keep in mind, only those activity items that exactly match the activities in the old system will transfer.
Q: Will my existing portfolio account automatically transfer data to the new system?
A: PGP portfolio activity items that exactly match will transfer to your account in the new system. There will be activity items no longer available for PGP points, and those will not transfer. Keep in mind you have the opportunity to use practice hours for up to 40 points in the new system, which should fill any gaps.
Q: How do I transfer my current portfolio to the new PGP? It says to download it, but the only thing showing on my current PGP is everything that I already entered.
A: The portfolio download is only set up to produce an MS Word version as a copy of what you currently have in your existing portfolio, and then you may save that Word document for your files. The transfer of the current portfolio to the new PGP system will be automatically taken care of by WOCNCB. You do not need to do anything for this transfer of data.
Q: What if I did not submit a portfolio prior to 12/31/23 for my 3/31/2024 credentials expiration?
A: Please contact WOCNCB directly regarding a credential extension to submit in the first quarter of 2024.
Q: Can I submit my portfolio in the old system, as an early submission?
A: Portfolios can be submitted up to 12 months prior to credentials expiration. The old system will allow you to submit through 12/31/2023 if you wish to send it in early under the existing requirements. Look at your online account for the “Eligibility Window” dates – this is your date range for submissions. Portfolios submitted through 12/31/2023 will be reviewed in the first quarter 2024 under the 2022 PGP Handbook requirements.
Q: I want to split points from one activity, across multiple specialties. How do I do this?
A: Point splitting has been removed from the online system. This is because we have pre-designated Specialty (S) and Professional Practice (PP) for all the activities. Also, points are pre-determined using increments of 5, 10, 20 and 40 for the activities. Because your practice hours can be counted now, the new system will eliminate the need for using an activity across the specialties.
Q: Will I still be able to request Pre-approval on items?
A: The pre-approval system will no longer be necessary in 2024 and beyond, since we are now accepting all Professional Practice items from SAWC (WHS), WCET, NPIAP, WOCN, SUNA, AANP, ANCC, or AAWC. You may enter them as needed for your portfolios.
Q: How do I claim points for CEs/CMEs/CNEs?
A: Continuing education points can be for specialty or professional practice.
Q: I serve on the board or a committee of a regional organization. Can I still get points for doing this?
A: Yes, points are still awarded for board and committee service. The new 2024 requirements give the same number of points if it is a national or regional organization. You can earn 10 points per year.
Q: Why have some points categories been removed?
A: To streamline the PGP system in 2024 and beyond, activities with less than 5 points have been eliminated, and activities that were used rarely were removed.
Q: I’ve never done PGP portfolio recertification before, how do I start?
A: Please review our PGP Quick Start Guide, as well as the PGP Handbook for the portfolio requirements. You will create a PGP account to start entering your recertification details, and submit a completed portfolio no later than 3 months prior to credentials expiration.
Advanced Practice Certification
Q: I am only interested in advanced practice certification in the Wound and Ostomy specialties. Is AP certification only offered for the tri-specialty (CWOCN-AP)?
A: In addition to the tri-specialty (CWOCN-AP), advanced practice certification can be earned for any single specialty, or any two specialties.
Q: Will the AP certification replace my current certification, or must I do both?
A: Once you have earned your basic WOCN certification, and take the AP exams to earn your Advanced Practice credential, you will only need to carry forward with the AP credential. Certification must be established every five years.
Q: I'm certified via Experiential Pathway. Will I qualify for AP credential without going through a WOCN Education Program?
A: Yes. If you have established WOC certification you are eligible, no matter which pathway you used to establish your credentials initially.
Q: I just recertified via PGP - can I use the same activities in my AP portfolio?
A: If you have established your initial AP credential via examination and are recertifying the AP level via portfolio, activities may be used for AP portfolio certification that was previously used in your PGP portfolio. You will need to use activities occurring during the past five year period.
Q: I have a Masters, but not in Nursing - will I be eligible for the AP credential?
A: The current eligibility requirements are that you have completed a graduate level NP or CNS program. A copy of your diploma and transcripts must accompany your application. Therefore, you must have a MSN.
Certification / General
Q: When will I receive my credentials certificate?
A: Certificates are issued on a monthly basis, about the 15th of the month following the one in which you tested. For example, if you tested in February, it will be mailed about March 15th. If you have not yet taken all the exams for which you applied, the certificate will not be issued until you have passed all your specialty exams, in order to issue the duo- or tri-specialty credentials. Credentials can be verified online and are posted about twelve weeks from the actual testing date, at http://www.wocncb.org/credential-verification/index.php. In the meantime, you or your employer may contact us for written or verbal credential verification.
Q: How long is certification valid?
A: Certification is valid for a 5-year period, at which time you may become recertified.
Q: Can I take my wound exam a year prior to my credential lapsing, so it falls in the same date as my ostomy and continence credentials, in order to earn the tri-specialty CWOCN?
A: Yes, you may apply early and take all three examinations. When you pass all three examinations within twelve months, you will be able to earn the tri-specialty CWOCN credential.
Q: My credentials lapsed, may I become certified again?
A: Yes, you may send an exam application with lapsed credentials, which must be accompanied by documentation of eligibility by the application deadline.
Q: I forgot that I have to recertify before the end of the month. Is it too late to register to take the exams?
A: You may apply any time, and up to 18 months prior to credentials expiration. Once you apply, you will have a 12-month eligibility period in which to schedule exams – or until your credentials are due to expire. You may send an exam application with lapsed credentials, which must be accompanied by documentation of eligibility. Please review the Exam Handbook for complete details.
Q: Can I sign CWOCN after my name if my credentials have lapsed, but I'm scheduled to take the exams?
A: You must not use our trademarked credentials once your certification has lapsed. This is considered fraudulent use of a credential. Once you successfully pass your exams again, you may begin using the earned credential(s) immediately.
Q: Can the WOCNCB link to the affiliate websites and visa versa?
A: The WOCNCB links to sites that relate to certification. If you discover a site that may be appropriate, please e-mail us at info@WOCNCB.org.
Q: Why do we have to re-certify every 5 years?
A: Certification validates your knowledge in wound, ostomy and/or continence. Certification also shows that you meet nationally recognized standards in your specialty. Demonstrating you have kept your knowledge current validates professional education and experience, ultimately promoting quality patient care. To read more about recertification, please visit our web site at www.WOCNCB.org and view "Recertification by PGP."
Q: Can we see archived newsletters?
A: Yes, visit our website section by clicking on "Newsletter."
Q: Can the WOCNCB offer the certification in Canada? Can a Canadian take the test?
A: The WOCNCB does not limit its certification. If a nurse demonstrates eligibility, and passes the certification exam(s), they will earn our certification credentials. If you are unsure whether your educational background qualifies, please contact us via e-mail at info@WOCNCB.org. Please refer to our Candidate Handbook regarding test locations.
Q: I changed my address through WOCN® but did not receive my recertification reminders. Because the WOCNCB did not change my address in their database, I missed the deadline to sign up for the test. What is the process for me to change my address through the WOCNCB?
A: Because the WOCN® Society and the WOCNCB are separate organizations, you must notify both organizations regarding change of address information. Please e-mail the WOCNCB at info@WOCNCB.org if your address has changed since your most recent certification.
Q: Can someone from the WOCNCB monitor the WOCN® chat rooms and give feedback to the questions posed by the users?
A: The WOCN® has set up chat rooms for its members, some of whom are certified by the WOCNCB. The WOCNCB can only speak to nurses who contact our organization directly. Please visit our "Ask the Board" feature on the www.WOCNCB.org website to post your question. Our Board members answer posted questions on a regular basis.
Q: Why can't we recertify with CEU's and not take the exam?
A: You may want to consider our alternate method of recertification, the "Professional Growth Program" (PGP) which uses a combination of CEUs and other WOC-nursing activities. For more information on the PGP process, please visit the website section "Recertification by PGP" and click on "Handbook" at www.WOCNCB.org. The current practice of CEU only recertification by other organizations may soon be a thing of the past. The American College of Nursing is recommending portfolios similar to the WOCNCB as the best way to document ongoing knowledge in a specialty.
Q: When are exams held?
A: Exams are offered year-round and you may schedule your exam date any Monday through Friday within 12 months of your application submission date. Please refer to the Examination Handbook for complete information.
Q: Where are exams held?
A: Click here for a listing of test centers.
Q: If I have a question or problem, who do I contact?
A: Please contact Castle Worldwide at (919) 572-6880.
Recertification by PGP
Q: How many CEUs are required?
A: Please refer to the PGP Handbook for complete instructions.
Q: Why can't we recertify with CEU's and not take the exam?
A: You may want to consider our alternate method of recertification, the "Professional Growth Program" (PGP) which uses a combination of CEUs and other WOC-nursing activities. For more information on the PGP process, please visit the website section "Recertification by PGP" and click on "Handbook" at www.wocncb.org . The current practice of CEU only recertification by other organizations may soon be a thing of the past. The American College of Nursing is recommending portfolios similar to the WOCNCB as the best way to document ongoing knowledge in a specialty.
Q: How long do pre-approval requests take?
A: The pre-approval process can take up to 4 weeks to receive your response.
Q: How many teaching programs can you develop?
A: See the PGP Handbook in the “Teaching” category for presentations/development; there is no maximum.
Q: For Conference CEs (e.g., WOCN Society) what date do you use to submit for PGP?
A: CEs should be grouped together, see Appendix A in the PGP Handbook for an example and you will use the date listed on the CE certificate, or if over multiple dates then use the last date completed.