Certified in Perinatal Loss Care (CPLC®)

The Certified in Perinatal Loss Care (CPLC®) examination is designed for professionals in a health care role that provide to those experiencing perinatal loss.  Candidates must hold a professional degree and appropriate current, unrestrictive license as a registered nurse, physician, psychologist, counselor, child life specialist, social worker or chaplain, and have evidence of work in their profession and in the area of perinatal loss care and/or bereavement support.

About Us

The Hospice and Palliative Certification Center is a competence-based Board comprised of a minimum of seven voting directors and a maximum of two non-voting ex officio directors. Board members represent a wide variety of geographic areas, practice settings, and educational backgrounds. HPCC is responsible for the development and oversight of certification for the specialty.

How is Hospice and Palliative Nursing Practice Defined?

Hospice and palliative nursing practice is the provision of nursing care for the patient and family, with emphasis on their physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs when experiencing a life-limiting illness and through bereavement. This is accomplished in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team in a setting which provides pain and symptom management, family support and 24-hour nursing availability.

This exam is designed for professionals working in a healthcare role which provides care to individuals experiencing perinatal loss that covers the content in the test content outline. Candidates applying for the CPLC® examination must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a professional degree and appropriate current, unrestrictive license in the United States or its territories a registered nurse, physician, psychologist, counselor, child life specialist, social worker or chaplain.
  • Have evidence of work in their profession and the area of perinatal loss care and/or bereavement support for a minimum 2 years within the past 3 years.
Why Seek Certification?

Certification validates an individual’s competence and knowledge in the specialized area of hospice and palliative care.  Certification is highly valued and provides formal recognition of having achieved a standard of knowledge in the specialty of hospice and palliative care.  Research studies confirm the value placed on certification. www.nursingcertification.org/research-bibliography.html

What are the Benefits and Advantages of Being Certified?

Certified individuals have achieved formal recognition of their knowledge, experience and confidence.  HPCC certification provides benefits and advantages for continued personal and professional growth.

How Do I Apply?  

A candidate can apply for the certification exam online by clicking the “Start Your Application” button to the right, or by mailing their application to the testing company, PSI/Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP).

The paper exam application can be found in the back of the Candidate Handbook.

What is the Cost of Certification?

Persons applying for the certification exam who are current HPNA members PRIOR to applying for the HPCC exam are entitled to the HPNA member discounted exam fee as a membership benefit.  List of Certification Fee and Deadlines.

Are There Additional Savings on Certification Costs?

In addition to the discounted rate mentioned above, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation offers certification scholarships to Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association members for both certification and recertification. You can become an HPNA member at advancingexpertcare.org/membership.

How is the Test Administered?  

All HPCC certification exams are computer based exams and are given at approximately 200 PSI/AMP approved test site locations.

What Content is Covered in the Exam?  

A detailed content outline of the information that may be covered on the exam is provided in the Candidate Handbook.  The exam consists of multiple choice questions along with pretest questions.  The content is formulated from a national survey known as a Role Delineation Study (RDS). The CPLC® exam has 120 items (questions) with 2½ hours for test completion.

What are Pretest Questions?

The multiple-choice examinations contain items (questions) that do not count toward candidates’ scores, but are being pretested to use as scored items on future versions of the examinations.

How is Pretesting Done?

Pretesting is accomplished by interspersing a small number of new, untried questions throughout the examination so candidates will answer them with the same care they would answer questions to be scored.  Only a small number are included so that additional testing time will not be needed by the candidates.  The pretest questions are not used to compute the candidates’ scores.  The performance of the pretest questions is later evaluated, and questions that perform well may be included as scored questions on a future examination.

Why Use Pretest Questions?

Using the pretesting methodology promotes fairness to all candidates by ensuring examinees that their test scores are the result of sound measurement practices and that the scored questions are reflective of current practice.  Also it is the only way for HPCC to issue immediate scores to candidates.  Developing a test using items that have not been pretested could lead to examinations of different levels of difficulty, which could have cut scores that do not represent an appropriate level of knowledge deserving of certification, which would not be fair to candidates.

What Credential is Granted for Certification?

Candidates who sit for and pass the HPCC exams are granted the credential of CPLC® (Certified in Perinatal Loss Care)

Are the HPCC Certification Exams Accredited? 

The ACHPN® and CHPN® exams are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

How Often Must I Renew My Certification? 

Certification is valid for a period of four years at which time the candidate must renew their certification.

How Do I Renew my Certification?  

Find details about renewal, click the “Recertification” tab on this page.

For more information contact the national office at hpcc@goHPCC.org or call 412-787-1057.

HPCC begins the development of every certification examination with a role delineation study (RDS), also known as a job analysis. The RDS is a research project that is conducted when initially developing a certification program, and then repeated approximately every five years to ensure that a certification exam is based on current practice.

The objective of an RDS is to define a role in terms of the work behaviors necessary for practitioners to safely and effectively perform the role at a specified level of expertise. The RDS is guided by an advisory committee of subject matter experts who are representative and knowledgeable of the role to be studied. The RDS uses a survey method which verifies the major domains of practice and leading to the development of the content outline. The survey is pilot tested and then nationally disseminated to individuals in the hospice and palliative team serving in the role to be studied.

The advisory committee reviews the survey responses and using decision rules, determines the detailed content outline. Next they decide the number of items (test questions) needed within each major domain of practice (ie knowledge area) on the outline to assess a reasonable sample of an examination candidate’s knowledge of the domain.

Items for the examination are then written respective to the test content outline. This chain of evidence is crucial for establishing content validity when building national examination. Every examination form developed and approved by the examination development committee will exactly match the test specifications to help ensure that all candidates have a fair opportunity to demonstrate their level of knowledge of the topics covered on the test content outline.

View the chain of evidence that establishes the content validity for HPCC examinations.

View the Executive Summary of the most recent Perinatal Loss RDS.

HPCC currently offers two options for CPLC® recertification. A CPLC® can renew their certification by fulfilling practice hour requirements and sitting for the computer based exam again or they can renew through an alternative recertification process known as the Hospice and Palliative Accrual for Recertification (HPAR).

The HPAR process requires fulfilling practice hour requirements and the accumulation of 100 points of professional development activities over the preceding four years. Points can be accrued through continuing education, academic education, professional publications, professional presentations, precepting students, orienting staff, and volunteer service in professional organizations. Each area varies as to how the points are calculated and how many of the total points can be obtained by that method. Each activity MUST correlate with the test content outline. More details and instructions are in the HPAR packet for CPLC®.

The packet is updated yearly. Be sure that you are using the current HPAR packet for CPLC® (dated in the bottom left corner) which corresponds to the year that your recertification is due. The packet contains the instructions, test content outline, application, category logs, and summary log, with fee structure and deadlines.

Click here for the HPAR packet for CPLC®

PowerPoint instructions for HPAR

If you have any questions please contact the national office at 412-787-1057 or via email at hpcc@gohpcc.org.

Click here to download the HPAR FAQs

Click here to view a brief informational slideshow on HPAR

Test site locations for Computer Based Testing (CBT) are determined and available through the testing vendor, PMI/Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP).

For a direct link to the PMI/AMP testing locations page, click PMI/AMP Testing Locations

NOTE: Locations are the same for all HPCC certification exams.

Candidate Handbook

What you need to know for the Certified in Perinatal Loss Care® computer based examination.

Download The Handbook!
Start Your Application!


HPCC neither endorses, approves, or sponsors exam preparation courses, guides, or study aids for any of HPCC’s exams offered by any third parties.

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