This month, the ABWM announced two major changes to their CWS Certified Wound Specialist eligibility. The first major change is the expansion of professional licenses accepted for Certified Wound Specialists- Diploma RNs and Associate RNs can now become CWS certified!
This is a positive change made by the ABWM to help healthcare professionals who are passionate about wound care. This change allows RNs with diplomas or associate degrees to qualify for the same wound care certification that BSNs can take- the CWS Certified Wound Specialist. Formerly, accredited wound certification options for Associate and Diploma RNs were limited. Many had to pursue the CWCA Certified Wound Care Associate due to lack of options they qualify for. (The CWCA is the same certification that LPNs, LVNs, CNAs, and MAs often choose.)
The second change to the CWS Certified Wound Care Specialist certification opened up more options for the minimum experience requirements. Formerly, the CWS certification required three years of cumulative wound care experience. Now, the requirements have been adjusted to include a one-year minimum fellowship in lieu of the three-year experience minimum.
While the fellowship may seem like a great option, there are still monitored requirements that you should be aware of. For the fellowship to be accepted, it must be certified by a credentialing organization. In addition to the fellowship certification proof, the CWS applicant must obtain and supply a letter of recommendation from the fellowship program director. The former requirements for the CWS application required three letters of professional recommendations. For healthcare professionals using the fellowship pathway, two of the three required letters need to come from specific professionals involved in the fellowship. The first letter needs to be from the fellowship director. The second letter needs to be from a CWS that was involved in the applicant’s wound care training. The third can be from another professional resource.
In addition to offering more wound care certification options for RNs, the fellowship option allows those without previous career experience to become wound care certified earlier.
While the CWS eligibility requirements have changed, the majority of the application requirements remain. Anyone pursuing the CWS Certified Wound Specialist must have an active, unrestricted professional license in at least one state, and in all states in which they currently practice. Current licenses accepted for the CWS certification include the RN, BSN, PA, PT, RD, DO, DPM, DVM, MD, NP licenses.
The full CWS wound care certification application includes:
- Completed application form
- Professional resume or curriculum vitae.
- Personal statement, including a full description of three years of clinical wound care experience or one-year minimum certified fellowship.
- Copies of professional licenses and board certifications.
- Your three letters from professional references, sealed in original envelopes. Letters should discuss wound care knowledge, skills, and expertise, and must document the required years of experience.
- Signed ABWM Code of Ethics statement
- Payment for the required application fee
- Complete the checklist form by initialing next to each application item.
It is now easier than ever to gain the CWS certified wound specialist certification. The CWS is a highly acclaimed and most importantly, accredited wound certification. To prepare for the CWS wound care certification, consider taking one of our online wound care certification prep courses. Every Wound Educators course comes with our Until-You-Pass guarantee to help you feel confident you will pass the certification board test.
Current CWCA RNs – Get CWS Certified!
UPDATE: any current CWCA that tested within the last three years can sit for the CWS exam for a reduced fee of $200. Simply fill out a Re-Test Form (ticking the CWS box) and include a note highlighting the CWCA certification date.
CWCAs who certified more than three years ago must fill out a Re-Certification Form (ticking the CWS box) and pay the standard $575 CWS wound care recertification fee.