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What is Asthma Educator Certification?

Instructor: Jessica Munk
Asthma Educator Certification can help health professionals demonstrate their advanced knowledge and counseling abilities to patients and employers alike. Read on to learn what this certification is and how to attain it.

About Asthma Educator Certification

Asthma Educator Certification is a voluntary credential offered by the National Asthma Educator Certification Board (NAECB). According to this organization, an asthma educator is someone who uses his or her knowledge of asthma's physical, socio-economic, and psychological factors to educate and counsel people with asthma in ways to increase their quality of life.

To become certified as an asthma educator, you must pass the NAECB examination. After passing the exam, you are allowed to use the designation AE-C. You must also renew your certification every seven years by retaking the exam.

Eligibility Requirements

The exam is offered to two types of professionals. Certain licensed health care professionals are eligible to sit for the exam, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, as well as respiratory, occupational, and physical therapists. Alternatively, if you have a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience providing asthma education and counseling to patients, you are eligible to sit for the exam.

Test Registration

The certification exam is administered at testing centers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. You can register for a testing appointment online through a link provided on the NAECB website. A paper copy of the application is also provided in the Certified Asthma Educator Candidate Handbook, which is available for download.

During the registration process, you must agree to a code of conduct and submit the initial examination fee. A partial scholarship that can be applied toward the examination fee is available to two qualified applicants each year.

If you do not successfully pass the exam, you may retake it for an additional fee within one year. You must wait 90 days between each attempt on the exam, and you are allowed three attempts per year.

Exam Content

The exam takes three and a half hours to compete and contains 175 items. There are four major knowledge categories tested on the exam. Each of the four categories is listed below along with the corresponding percentage of test questions found in that category:

  • The Asthma Condition: 20%
  • Patient and Family Assessment: 26%
  • Asthma Management: 43%
  • Organizational Issues: 11%

The exam requires you to use three types of cognitive skills to answer these questions: recalling specific information, comprehending and applying knowledge to new situations, and analyzing information to evaluate and determine solutions.

Available Test-Prep Resources

The NAECB offers a self-assessment examination for an additional cost. This practice test is designed to parallel the actual exam and help applicants as well as certified professionals evaluate their current knowledge. The candidate handbook also offers a detailed list of topics that will be covered on the exam.

Further, the American Lung Association offers a two-day prep course for individuals sitting for the exam; the American Association for Respiratory Care has a similar program available online. You can find additional test-prep courses offered by college and university continuing education departments.

If you're studying for the Asthma Educator Certification exam, or if you're considering a career in treating asthma patients, you might also find the following video lessons useful for reviewing some of the anatomy and physiology topics covered on the test:

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