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Life Care Planning Certification and Certificate Program Info

A certified life care planner is a registered nurse or other medical professional who works with seriously injured or ill patients to help them plan the financial, medical, and legal aspects of their futures.

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Essential Information

Life care planner programs are designed to provide individuals with the tools and education necessary to interview terminally ill patients, assess their medical and financial needs, and structure a life plan to help them manage their affairs. Participants must be certified healthcare professionals and a bachelor's degree is sometimes required. Programs are typically available online. Students must complete a practicum for graduation. The primary goal of most life care planning certificate programs is to prepare graduates to pass the certification examination given by the International Commission on Health Care Certification or the Certified Nurse Life Care Planner Certification Board.


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Life Care Planning Certificate Programs

Students enrolled in the certificate programs must learn how to take testimony from patients, develop written life plans and include ethical concerns into the decision-making process. They are often designed to work around the professional schedules of nurses and other medical personnel. Topics covered in such courses include:

  • Introduction to life care planning
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury and illness
  • Amputations
  • Psychological and physical disabilities
  • Taking testimony

Popular Career Options

A life care planning certificate can prepare graduates to apply the skills of life care planning to several different aspects of the healthcare industry. Some potential careers that might benefit from life care planning training include:

  • Registered nurse
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Life care manager
  • Geriatric care manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for registered nurses was expected to be 16% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Rehabilitation counselors were projected to experience a 9% increase in job openings in that same time period, per the BLS. The BLS reported that the median salaries for registered nurses and rehabilitation counselors were $67,490 and $34,390, respectively, as of May 2015.

Certification Options

Some organizations that offer certification for life care planners include the Certified Nurse Life Care Planner Certification Board (CNLCP), a division of the American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners, and the International Commission on Healthcare Certification. Individuals must prove they have completed pre-certification courses in the field and must complete a written examination before gaining certification.

Healthcare professionals who wish to become certified life planning professionals can enroll in a certificate program at a university to gain additional knowledge in dealing with serious illness before taking exams for certification.

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