Certificate Program FAQ

Certificate Program FAQs

Health Literacy Specialist Certificate Program FAQs

About the Certificate Program

Are there any pre-requisites for the program?
No. Anyone can complete any number of micro-credentials. However, you should have a basic understanding about health literacy prior to taking the course.

What is an assessment-based certificate program?
An assessment-based certificate program means you must complete the program and pass a test to earn a micro-credential and digital badge. You have 3 attempts to pass each exam.
How long does it take to complete each micro-credential?
Each micro-credential varies in length depending on the number topics and lessons. We are gathering this information and will post the approximate time under each micro-credential.

How long do I have to complete the micro-credential?
You have six months from when you begin to complete each micro-credential.

How can I earn a micro-credential?
You earn the micro-credential after completing all course lessons and passing a summative exam. The exam includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions to assess learning.

Access Issues

What do I do if I am having trouble opening the learning module or exam?

Please be sure to check with your IT department to see if they use SPAM / web filtering. If they do, we recommend the following domains be whitelisted to ensure email and web access for you or those participating in the program from your organization:

  • mailgun.commpartners.com
  • badgr.com
  • fasttestweb.com
  • learn.healthliteracysolutions.org
  • scorm.com


What payment options are available?
You can pay online when registering via credit card. You can pay by check by contacting Yolanda Herrera at yherrera@iha4health.org. She can also provide you with an invoice for your purchase.

Is Group or Organizational pricing available?
Yes, if you have 5 or more people that want to register for the certificate program, please contact Beth Scott at bscott@iha4health.org.
What if I need a Purchase Order?
Please contact Yolanda Herrera at yherrera@iha4health.org.
About the Exams
How do I take the exam?
After completing the lessons, you will be directed to a link to complete an online exam. There are no other methods of conducting the exam (e.g., face to face, paper and pencil), and proctoring is not required. The exam is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing you to complete it at your convenience. Once you begin the exam, you must finish it in one sitting. The exam does not have a time limit to complete, and most participants finish in approximately 2 hours. You are allowed 3 attempts to pass the exam.

What is the score to pass the exam?
All exam questions are scored as correct or incorrect. There is no partial credit for multiple response questions when more than one answer is correct. The passing score for each exam was established using a criterion-reference technique called standard setting. During standard setting, a group of at least 8 qualified and trained SMEs met to evaluate each question and recommend the passing score. IHA beta tested the exam questions and used resulting data to inform a final decision regarding an adopted passing score. Immediately after completing the exam, you will be able to access your score report.

How will I know if I passed the exam?
Immediately after completing the exam, you will receive your score report. The report includes your name and the exam score with a pass/no pass indication.
Will I receive a credential after passing the exam?
No. This is a certificate program, not a certification. As such, you will earn a digital badge for each micro-credential after you pass the exam. If you complete all 7 micro-credentials, you will earn a Health Literacy Specialist Certificate.  
After Completing the Program
How can I refer to the Health Literacy Specialist Certificate once I earn it?
Once you earn the Health Literacy Specialist Certificate, you:

  • may state that you hold a certificate in Health Literacy;
  • shall not state that you are certified in Health Literacy; and
  • shall not use acronyms or letters after your name in reference to the certificate.

Does the certificate expire?
No. Once you earn the micro-credential, you will keep it forever.
Program Development
How were the micro-credential exams created?
The HLS Certificate Program was created in strict accordance with Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) 1100 accreditation standards.
To develop the series of micro-credentials and exams, IHA conducted a comprehensive study, called a Job Analysis. The job analysis identified the essential roles and responsibilities related to health literacy. This resulting content formed the foundation of the program. Each exam includes at least 50 multiple-choice and multiple-response items.
Who developed the content for the certificate program?
The training content was developed by subject matter experts (SMEs) with specialized knowledge in the field. Qualified and trained SMEs also participated in standard-setting to establish the passing score.
Program Development Timeline
IHA convened a Job Analysis task force, a diverse, demographically representative panel of subject matter experts (SMEs) and tasked them to answer the question: “What does one need to know, and need to be able to do, in order to be considered a health literacy specialist?”
Knowledge statements and task statements were compiled and sorted by a psychometrics firm and disseminated to members of the health literacy community to vet and validate.
2017 – 2021
The resulting Certificate comprises seven areas, referred to as micro-credentials. SMEs, instructional designers, writers, peer reviewers, and editors created, reviewed, and tested the learning modules. Item writers, SMEs, and a psychometrician created the assessment exams for each micro-credential, and – through standard-setting reviews and beta testing – set appropriate cut scores necessary to earn the micro-credential.

About Digital Badges

What is a digital badge?

IHA wants to help you differentiate yourself from others by rewarding your health literacy training with a digital badge. 
Where physical badges or printed certificates have been in use for a long time, digital badges are an appropriate, easy and efficient way for organizations to exhibit and reward participants for skills obtained in professional development in an online, publicly searchable way.
Digital badges are more than just a visual graphic. It is a dynamic portable icon that is embedded with the qualifying information about the issuer and a detailed description of the competencies met. When the badge icon is clicked, this information shows and can be authenticated and verified.

What is Badgr?
IHA selected Badgr for our digital badge platform. You can create an account in Badgr to manage your badges in your “Backpack”. In Badgr, you can share single badges or badge collections with users, websites, or social media.

How do I get my digital badge?
After you complete the micro-credential and pass the assessment, you will receive an email from Badgr with your digital badge.

How can I add the digital badge to my resume?
Simply, select “Download” and a new tab will open with the image of your badge. Right-click on the image and select "Save as" and save the image as a .png or a .svg.

Sharing via SOCIAL
Sharing badges on social media sites allows users to showcase their learning and/or achievements with a broader audience. Please note that you must be logged in to the social media channel to share your badge.

Sharing badges on Facebook
When you share on Facebook, you have the option to share to your news feed or as a story. By default, a link to your award will be added to your post as an attachment. Your audience can learn more details about the award by clicking the badge link.

Sharing badges on LinkedIn
You can share your badge directly to your LinkedIn profile. Simply find the badge in your Backpack, click "Share", and navigate to the social tab. Click Add to Profile and Save. 

Sharing badges on Twitter
When you opt to share your digital badge on Twitter, the post comes pre-written with a link to the achievement details.

About Continuing Education Credits (CECs)
How many CECs are available?
On the Certificate Program page, the credit allocation for each micro-credential is available for viewing once you click the "Learn More" button. The total sum of credits for all seven micro-credentials is 49.

What types of CECs are available?

  • Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES): Contact Hours from NCHEC, Provider #101864.

  • Outside of California Nurses- Institute for Healthcare Advancement is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. 

  • California Registered Nurses (RN, NP, NMW, CNS, PHN, NA): Contact hours from the CA Board of RN, CEP# 11933.

  • CPH Recertification Credits: From the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

How do I qualify for CECs?
After completing a micro-credential, you will be directed to a link to complete an online exam. The exam is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing you to complete it at your convenience. Once you begin the exam, you must finish it in one sitting. The exam does not have a time limit to complete, and most participants finish in approximately 2 hours. You must receive a score of 480 or higher to request a CE certificate. You will have three opportunities (6 months from the program start date) to pass the exam.

Once you pass the exam you will receive a link to the Continuing Education Form to request CE credits. Upon receipt of the form, IHA will email your CE Certificate. These are emailed at the beginning of each month.

What to do after receiving my CE Certificate of Completion?
Upon receiving your certificate, review the accreditation provider instructions below to understand how to acquire your CE credits.  

  • California Registered Nurse (RN) – You must self-report your time on the CA Board of RN website. Keep the Certificate of Completion for 4 years in case you are audited by the CA Board of Registered Nurses.

  • Nurses outside of California- Keep the Certificate of Completion for 4 years in case you are audited by your state licensing board.

  • Certified Public Health (CPH) - You must self-report your time on the CPH Recertification and Reporting System portal.

  • Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES/MCHES) - IHA reports Category I and Continuing Competency credits to NCHEC quarterly on January 15th, April 15th, July 15th, and October 15th. If you are requesting Category II credits, you must complete the online Category II Claim Form on NCHEC's website within 90 days.

Who can I contact with other CE questions?
Eskarlethe Juarez at ejuarez@iha4health.org.

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