How Do I Get a Palliative Care Certification?

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  • Written By: Tiff Finkle
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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Individuals in medical or related professions might choose to specialize in the field of palliative care. Certification in this field provides individuals with additional credentials and sets a standard level of care for all patients. Palliative care is a type of medical care that specializes in helping patients who are suffering from a serious medical illness. The requirements for obtaining a palliative care certification vary depending on the profession but usually require applicants to pass a comprehensive exam.

Palliative care is often associated with hospice care because of the nature of the field, but it is needed and appropriate in a variety of medical settings. Certification in palliative care is available in a variety of professions, including medical practice, nursing and social work. The main purpose of palliative care is to provide patients with relief from the symptoms associated with chronic diseases. Caregivers in this field might assist with pain and stress management in addition to other, related functions. This type of care focuses on maintaining the quality of life for patients and families who are dealing with serious illnesses.


The requirements for obtaining a palliative care certification vary by profession. The majority of professions require applicants to pass an examination that tests their knowledge of theories and practice in the field of palliative care. Most palliative care certifications are valid for only a specified amount of time. Individuals are often required to continue education in the field and, sometimes, pass another exam to maintain their palliative care certification.

Individuals who are interested in practicing palliative care generally first complete the required education and training and obtain the necessary credentials for their specific desired profession. Education requirements can range from an associate’s degree to a doctorate, depending on the type of career an individual is seeking. Some education programs require internships or rounds, and many individuals will prepare for careers in palliative care during this time.

Palliative care certification is not required to practice palliative medicine, but it does ensure a professional’s knowledge, skill and training in the field. After becoming qualified for the profession of choice, individuals often choose to obtain a palliative care certification through the palliative care board that governs their profession. Typically, these boards will verify an individual’s credentials before allowing him or her to sit for an exam. The palliative care certification is then generally earned by passing the board’s certification exam.


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