Frequently Asked Questions about LNCC Certification

    Q: How do I become certified?
    A: The first step is downloading the application handbook. The application handbook includes complete information on the application and examination process as well as a resource list for examination preparation.

    Q: Do I have to have a bachelor's degree to take the exam?
    A: No, a bachelor's degree is not required.

    Q: What qualifies as 2000 hours of legal nurse consultant experience?
    A: Generally, those activities described in the AALNC Scope and Standards of Legal Nurse Consulting Practice are acceptable. A list of sample activities is part of the application handbook.

    Q: What if I don't meet all the eligibility criteria?
    A: The LNCC is not an entry-level credential. You must meet all the eligibility criteria in order to sit for the examination. It is designed for those with experience as legal nurse consultants.

    Q: How long is the certification valid?
    A: The LNCC certification is valid for 5 years. Once you are certified as an LNCC you must recertify every 5 years, if you do not recertify you cannot continue to use the LNCC credential. 

    Q: How do I prepare for the examination?
    A: The application materials contain a list of suggested resources you may find helpful in preparing for the examination. Please note that the ALNCCB suggests that you do not rely on any single resource and does not sponsor or endorse any review or preparatory course.

    Q: I received certification from another legal nurse consulting program. Will I also receive the LNCC credential through a "grandfather clause"?
    A: No. The LNCC credential is achieved by individuals who meet the specific eligibility requirements determined by the certification board.

    Q: How will I renew my certification?
    A: In order to renew your certification, you will need to meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

    1. current licensure as a registered nurse in the United States or its territories, with a full and unrestricted license
    2. evidence of 2000 hours legal nurse consultant experience in a staff, administrative, teaching, or private practice capacity within the past 5 years
    3. completion of a designated number of hours of continuing education for nurses in the area of legal nurse consulting or successful reexamination.

    Q: Is there a fee for renewal?
    A: Yes. The fee for certification renewal will be similar to the fee for the examination.

    Q: Why should I become certified as an LNCC?
    A: Certification as an LNCC shows nurse colleagues, clients, employers, and others in the medical-legal system that you are knowledgeable of, experienced in, and committed to the specialty of legal nurse consulting.

    Q: How is the LNCC program different from other certification programs for legal nurse consultants?
    A: The LNCC credential is achieved by individuals who meet specific eligibility requirements including licensure, education, and experience. Unlike some programs, it is not a certificate program designed to measure knowledge achieved in a specific course or series of courses.

    The LNCC credential is carefully designed to follow standards set by the testing and measurement community. A professional testing company, Schroeder Measurement Technologies (SMT), provides expert assistance to ensure that the examination is valid and reliable. The LNCC program has been designed to meeting the requirements of the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC), formerly the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS), an organization that accredits nursing certification boards that meet stringent membership criteria.

    The LNCC program is administered by the ALNCCB, a functionally autonomous component of AALNC.

    Practicing legal nurse consultants, representing a wide range of demographic and practice-related characteristics, develop the examination. Content is based on a job study analysis of professionals in the specialty.

    Q: Why should I spend the time and money necessary to become certified as an LNCC, especially if I already have another certification?
    A: Choosing to become certified in a specialty practice of nursing is an important decision. It is a large undertaking to prepare and sit for a specialty certification exam and to commit to validating competency through continuing education and practice throughout your career. The choice you make may have ramifications for job security, career advancement, salary increases, or the ability to change fields within the specialty. When considering any significant investment of your valuable time, money, and professional commitment, it is wise to arm yourself with information that helps you make an astute and discriminating decision.

    For example, you will want to consider whether the sponsoring body is a not-for-profit or a for-profit enterprise. Most nursing certification programs are developed by a related professional or specialty association, such as a not-for-profit organization designated as a 501(c)(6) organization by the IRS. As such, the revenue from these programs returns to the organization to benefit the specialty and its members, rather than an individual or private enterprise. The Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) program is administered by the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB), an autonomous arm of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC), a volunteer-based not-for-profit organization.

    You will also want to ask whether the certification exam reflects entry-level, intermediate, or advanced practice. Are there practice and educational requirements? As with most specialty nursing certification programs you are familiar with, AALNC's certification program is not entry-level. Individuals who achieve the LNCC credential will have demonstrated both the knowledge needed to pass the examination and the experience to implement that knowledge in practice.

    How was the examination developed? Is the content for the exam based on a formal study or analysis of practice? Are test questions written and reviewed by LNCs currently practicing in the field, representing a variety of practice settings and demographic characteristics? Are questions tested and reviewed for validity and reliability by professional psychometricians with knowledge and qualifications in professional testing methodologies and structure? How is the test administered and scored? What considerations go into determining the passing standard? Is successful completion defined by a standard or in comparison to other test takers? Is there a profit motive involved in determining who passes and who does not? Is there an appeals process?

    The LNCC program is designed to meet the recommendations of the testing and measurement community for a valid professional certification program. The content outline for the examination is based on a practice analysis of current legal nurse consulting. All test questions are categorized according to the content outline to ensure that the examination is representative of current legal nurse consulting practice. The questions (items) themselves were written by legal nurse consultants selected to represent a diversity of practice and demographic characteristics. Test questions are referenced to legal nurse consulting literature and are written and reviewed by carefully selected legal nurse consultants. When complete, the ALNCCB approves the examination. This development process ensures that the examination comprehensively reflects the current spectrum of legal nurse consulting practice.

    A professional testing agency, SMT, plays an active role in the LNCC examination process. SMT staff, who are well-versed in specialty nursing certification credentialing, train writers to prepare items that test legal nurse consulting knowledge fairly and accurately.

    The passing score for the LNCC examination was developed through the modified Angoff procedure. This is a process whereby a panel of experts representative of the specialty serve as independent judges of the level of difficulty of each test item for the candidate who has achieved the minimum level of experience and qualifications to meet the eligibility criteria. Each judge works independently, then all of the judges' ratings are combined to calculate a recommended passing score. This method of determining the passing score is commonly used in professional certification examinations.

    Renewal of certification is required periodically to ensure that those holding the LNCC credential continue to demonstrate current knowledge in legal nurse consulting.

    The preceding was adapted from the "President's Message" written by Julie Bogart in the April 1998 issue of JLNC.