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.


When does the special pricing expire?

We are extending the initial launch pricing through December 31, 2021.

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 directly 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?
Where physical badges or printed certificates have been in use for a long time, digital badges are an appropriate, easy and efficient way for educators, community groups and professional organizations to exhibit and reward participants for skills obtained in professional development or formal and informal learning.

Digital badges (or ebadges) are a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in various learning environments.

Benefits associated with digital badges include the ability to capture the complete learning path, so it "travels" with the user wherever they decide to display the badge. The digital badge carries with it information about assessment, evidence and other metadata required by the badge.

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
There are 2 different ways you can share badges to LinkedIn; as a post to your LinkedIn Feed or to the Certifications section of your profile.

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.