Many people as us if wound care certification is hard. Our simple answer is that nothing easy is worth pursuing. While accredited wound care certification is not necessarily easy, it can be less hard if you are adequately prepared.
When asking how hard is wound care certification, always remember that there are multiple different wound care certification exams. The level of difficulty can be dependent on the specific wound care test you take. To make the question “How hard is wound care certification?” more clear, we will cover a few of the popular wound care certifications here.
How Hard is the WCC Wound Care Certification?
Some people find the WCC exam to be one of the easiest to pass. 85% of people who take the WCC certification exam pass on their first try. The WCC may be known as the easiest wound care certification because it has the highest first-time passing rate and is also non-accredited. Remember, accreditation is not something that can be bought – it is an independent analysis and ranking given to the wound care certification organizations that prove their commitment to excellence.
The WCC certification is also one of the only wound care certifications that almost all healthcare professionals can take. Rather than having specific licensure inclusions, the WCC is open to any RN, LPN, LVN, NP, PA, PT, OT, MD, DO, and DPM with an active, unrestricted license. The WCC also has the lowest number of test questions; the exam is only 100 questions.
Even though the WCC is not accredited and can be taken by almost anyone in the medical field, it may be a great place to build your basics and confidence. Overall requirements also make this certification easier to get. Many wound care certifications require both clinical experience AND educational courses before you fully qualify, but the WCC can be achieved using one or the other. The WCC certification is offered by the NAWCO.
How Hard is the CWS Wound Care Certification?
The accredited CWS is another exam to research when asking “How hard is wound care certification?”. Many find the CWS to be the hardest wound care certification to pass. Currently, only 60% of people who take the CWS exam pass on the first try. There are 150 questions on the CWS certification exam.
The passing score on the exam is based on on the current ABWM established passing point. This passing point is documented by a qualified technical report. Psychometric principles and professional suggestions for any adjustments to the recommended passing point are documented by the Board. The Examination Committee meets two to three times a year to review the exam for validation and ensure the items in the test meet the job delineation study.
In addition to being one of the hardest, the CWS is also one of the most exclusive wound care certifications. The ABWM states the CWS to be a “formal recognition of a master level knowledge and specialty practice in wound management.” Only healthcare professionals with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree can be eligible to take the CWS exam. The CWS certification is offered by the ABWM organization. Unlike the WCC, the CWS certification is also NCCA accredited.
Some healthcare professionals feel that the CWS is hard because it covers a broad scope of wound care. The CWS covers all aspects and cross-disciplines, not just dressings, identification, and treatment. This scope includes treatment options, testing and results, disease progression, anatomy, physiology, and even nutrition.
“After practicing as a WCC for several years, I often felt that this certification was not accepted by those who held more advanced certifications [CWS] by accredited organizations [ABWM]. -Catherine Rogers, APRN, BC, CWCN, CWS, FACCWS, Rockford, IL “
How Hard is the CWSP Wound Care Certification?
80% of people who take the CWSP pass on the first try. Like the CWS, the CWSP is another accredited wound care certification offered by the ABWM. Only physicians (MD, DO, DPM) can qualify to become CWSP certified. The CWSP is 180 questions, 30 more than the CWS. The passing score on the CWSP exam is also based on on the current ABWM established passing point.
How Hard is the CWCA Wound Care Certification?
Despite being open to more healthcare professionals, the CWCA has a lower first-time passing rate than all other ABWM certifications. 64% of people who take the CWCA pass on their first try. Healthcare professionals including associates, RNs, LPNs, LVNs, PTAs, and Dieticians can be eligible to take the CWCA exam. The CWCA exam is 120 questions. You have 2.5 hours to finish the CWCA exam.
Some believe the CWCA has a lower passing rate because of the tendency of nurses and first-responders to study/focus more on wound dressings and treatment than the encompassing scope of wound care management and diagnosis. It is important to learn EVERY wound care aspect in order to pass your exam, not just the things that you naturally gravitate to. Like the CWS and CWSP, the CWCA passing score is based on on the current passing point.
How Hard is Wound Care Certification offered by the WOCN Board?
There are six certifications offered by the WOCN board. The one we will use for comparison is the CWCN, the Certified Wound Care Nurse.
Like all ABWM certifications, the WOCN board certifications use the Angoff technique to determine what a passing score is. (The Angoff technique has wound care experts review the examination questions and evaluate them according to how successful someone with minimally acceptable knowledge would answer. )
Other certifications offered by the WOCN Board are:
CWOCN® – Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse
COCN® – Certified Ostomy Care Nurse
CWON® – Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse
CCCN® – Certified Continence Care Nurse
CFCN® – Certified Foot Care Nurse
The current passing rate of the CWCN exam is 71%. If you do not pass your CWCN exam, you must wait 30 days before taking it again. The CWCN is also an accredited wound care certification. BSNs, RNs, and healthcare professionals with a Bachelor’s degree or higher can be eligible to take the CWCN exam. You have 2 hours to complete the exam. The scoring system for the CWCN is different – the minimum score is 200, the maximum score is 800. A passing score is considered 500 or above.
These 5 certifications have the same educational requirements and test timing allotments as the CWCN. The WOCN board considers these certifications “specialties”, and you may take more than one exam at a time. There are 120 questions on the CWCN exam and on each specialty exam.
Your Wound Care Certification Education
Most importantly, the course you use to prepare for these exams is critical to your exam success. WoundEducators.com covers EVERY wound care topic presented in the WCC, CWCN, CWS, CWSP, and CWCA exam. Our courses are extremely thorough and take between 50-60 hours to complete.
Because certification can be an investment, you want to make sure you choose the right wound care certification course to study for your test. None of the current wound care exams allow you free retakes if you fail.
Rather than risk your money on an easier or less comprehensive course, choose WoundEducators.com. Our courses are tailored to your knowledge level. Even though our courses are 100% online, you will have course access for six months and a supplemental textbook that is yours to keep forever!
We are so confident that our online courses will prepare you for multiple wound care certifications that we even offer an “Until You Pass Guarantee”. What this guarantee does is allow you re-entry into your course in the event you do not pass your exam the first time. Students who use our wound care courses to become certified almost always pass their certifications on the first try. We are confident in our courses – be confident in your education and your future.
Reviews: Anonymous opinions provided in this article are provided by healthcare professionals who obtained at least one wound care certification. They are not meant to influence your decision on one wound care examination over the other; they are meant to provide peer-level insight.
Resources for Current Statistics: