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HFSA Heart Failure Certification (HF-Cert)

HFSA has developed the Heart Failure Certification (HF-Cert) exam to recognize providers who have demonstrated advanced-level knowledge and skill to provide competent heart failure services in the United States. 

 

 

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The Heart Failure Certification (HF-Cert) recognizes professionals who have demonstrated advanced-level knowledge and skill in providing competent heart failure services in the United States.

HF-Cert Professionals:  

  • Exhibit expertise in the assessment, treatment, and management of patients with heart failure. 
  • Employ a patient-centered, multidisciplinary team approach..  
  • Demonstrate proficiency in a variety of settings including but not limited to academic medical centers, hospitals, medical group practices, ambulatory care, long-term care, and military treatment facilities. 
  • May be  cardiologists, internists, hospitalists, emergency physicians, intensivists, family practitioners, clinical pharmacists, physician assistants, or registered nurses with a graduate degree. 

Steps to Complete HF-Cert 

  1. Explore: View the HF-Cert Handbook for full program information, requirements, and policies. Look below for more information.  
  2. Apply: Applications accepted year-round. 
  3. Prepare: Jump to the Exam Preparation section below for suggested preparation resources and materials. 
  4. Test: Schedule* and sit for the exam at locations near you.
    *Special test accommodations can be requested when you schedule your exam.

218 heart failure professionals have earned their HF-Cert designation to date. Add your name to the list!

Application Fee
  Standard Rates
HFSA Member $350
Non-Member $580


Not a member of HFSA? Click below to join today and receive the member discount!

*Applications expire one year from approval date. Application fee will need to be resubmitted in order to reapply.

Additional Information About HF-Cert

About the Heart Failure Certification

Purpose

By passing the HF-Cert examination, heart failure providers not only display their aptitude in each specialized knowledge area, but also present their expertise in heart failure with a HF-Cert credential.

The Heart Failure Certification program:

  • Validates professional expertise
  • Protects the public
  • Distinguishes the heart failure profession
  • Differentiates heart failure providers in a competitive job market
  • Encourages education providers to develop programming that will improve the knowledge and performance of heart failure providers through academic training and professional development opportunities
  • Provides a learning path that recognizes career-long professional development
  • Improves the understanding of heart failure by related disciplines
Certification

Professional certification is a process by which an entity grants formal recognition to individuals that meet predetermined, standardized criteria. The certification process involves determination of eligibility, an assessment of demonstration of competence, and requirements for regular recertification. Certification is usually voluntary and established by a non-governmental entity. HFSA’s HF-Cert is a professional certification.

Value of Certification

HF-Cert designees benefit from:

  • Increased recognition by peers and respect of colleagues in the profession
  • Improved opportunities for employability and advancement
  • Greater confidence in their professional competence
  • Increased professional trust from employers or the public
  • Increased autonomy in the workplace
  • Better compensation and career longevity

Patients/Consumers benefit from:

  • Objective, independent, third-party evaluation and assessment of professional competence
  • Commitment to public safety and/or consumer protection
  • Accountability through ethical conduct standards and/or a disciplinary process
  • Recertification requirements for continued or enhanced competence

Employers benefit from:

  • Qualified individuals for employment or advancement
  • Recertification requirements for continued or enhanced competence
  • Commitment to public safety and/or consumer protection
  • Reduced risk of errors, accidents and/or legal liability
  • Reduced employee turnover and increased job satisfaction
  • Justification for potential compensation differential
Testimonials - Why Certify?

Eligibility

HFSA has developed eligibility requirements to ensure that the certification application process is fair and impartial. HFSA membership is not a prerequisite for the HF-Cert program.

Eligibility Requirements

All individuals who seek certification must meet the established eligibility requirements in effect at the time of application. Each eligibility requirement has been established to ensure that certified individuals have an acceptable level of knowledge, as evidenced by the examination and education requirements, and skill, as evidenced by the experience requirement, needed to provide heart failure services at an advanced proficiency level.

Education

Applicants must have earned one of the following advanced degrees:

  • Registered Nurse: graduate degree (e.g. MSN, DNP, PhD)
  • Pharmacist: A Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSPharm –graduated on or prior to 2005) or Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
  • Physician: A Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) plus completion of a residency in family medicine or internal medicine
  • Physician Assistant: Master of Science in Physician Assistant or Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Licensure

Applicants must have one of the following active licenses in good standing, with no current restrictions or pending actions, in the United States:

  • Registered Nurse 
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Physician Assistant

Experience

Applicants have two options to meet the Experience requirement: 

  • Option 1: Applicants with at least three (3) years of documented experience and a minimum of 1,240 clinical hours during the previous two (2) years that have a practice focus in heart failure across the HF-Cert content domains will have satisfied the Experience requirement. 
     
  • Option 2: Physicians who have completed a dedicated one (1) year (non-accredited) heart failure fellowship that includes a minimum of 1,240 clinical practice hours will have satisfied the Experience requirement. 


*Eligible experience is attained after completion of the respective advanced degree. 

Background, Code of Ethics, and Application Accuracy Attestation

Applicants must attest to comply with the HFSA Code of Ethics and report any State Board suspensions. Any State Board suspension must be reported to HFSA within 15 days. Applicants and certificants must abide to practice heart failure specialty in a manner consist with the certification standards and responsibilities set forth in the HFSA’s Code of Ethics. Applicants must attest to the accuracy of information reported within the application.

Examination

Applicants must achieve a passing score on the HF-Cert examination.

Eligibility Verification

HFSA reserves the right to verify any information provided on the certification application and/or as part of the application process.

Examination Content and Preparation

HF-Cert Bootcamp OnDemand
How the Examination is Developed

The HFSA Certification Council and Exam Development Task Force (EDTF) participate in and provide oversight for the development and ongoing maintenance of the HF-Cert examination. The Council works in partnership with the testing vendor to ensure the examination is developed and maintained in a manner consistent with generally accepted psychometric principles and education testing practices for certification programs.

Examination Content

The HF-Cert examination consists of 150 multiple-choice questions (125 scored questions and 25 non-scored, pretest questions) across four content domains. Pretest items are interspersed throughout the exam and are not identifiable as pretest items.

All exam content is developed based on practice in the United States.

Candidates will have three (3) hours to complete the computer-based examination. The exam is offered at testing vendor sites across the United States. The HF-Cert exam is offered only in English.

Candidates are encouraged to review the HF-Cert content outline in preparation for the examination.

Exam Preparation

To prepare, applicants may wish to:

  • Review the detailed content outline to familiarize themselves with the content of the exam.
  • Review the Exam Reference List for reading materials that may assist in preparing for the exam. Full documents can be found on the HFSA Clinical Documents and HFSA Guidelines pages.
  • Consider purchasing the HF-Cert Bootcamp OnDemand

 

HF-Cert Bootcamp OnDemand

HFSA developed a virtual bootcamp to help individuals prepare to pass the HF-Cert exam, with heart failure experts exploring each of the exam's content topics. The three-part OnDemand webinar is a must-have study tool available for purchase in the HFSA Learning Center.


 

The HFSA Certification Council’s role is in developing and administering certification examinations to determine the qualifications of candidates for certification. The HFSA Certification Council does not require, provide, or endorse any specific study guides, training or review courses. The HFSA HF-Cert Certification Council members, the HFSA certification staff members of the Practice and Patient Programs department, and HF-Cert certification subject matter experts do not have involvement in the creation, accreditation, approval, endorsement or delivery of examination review courses, preparatory materials, educational programs, or training programs that prepare candidates for the HF-Cert certification examination.


 

Purchase of review materials is not a requirement for testing, nor does use of any review materials imply successful performance on the HF-Cert certification examination.

Sample Question

1. The PRIMARY goal of therapy in patients with chronic heart failure and atrial fibrillation is

A. prevention of thromboembolism and symptom control.

B. immediate restoration of sinus rhythm.

C. to control heart rate to a minimum of 70 beats per minute.

D. to prevent worsening heart failure.

Answer: A

The HFSA Certification Council is the certifying body for the Heart Failure Certification program. The Certification Council is responsible for overseeing the development of certification for heart failure providers, implementing policies and procedures for this certification program, and overseeing the development of the certification examination.

The HFSA Certification Council’s role is in developing and administering certification examinations to determine the qualifications of candidates for certification. The HFSA Certification Council does not require, provide, accredit, or endorse any specific study guides, training or review courses, or other examination preparation products. The Certification Council, certification staff, and certification subject matter experts do not have involvement in the creation, accreditation, approval, endorsement or delivery of examination review courses, preparatory materials, educational programs, or training programs/products that prepare candidates for the HF-Cert certification examination. Purchase of review materials is not a requirement for testing, nor does use of any review materials imply successful performance on the HF-Cert certification examination.