Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is certification?

Certification is a voluntary process by which a nongovernmental agency formally recognizes specialized knowledge, skills and experience in a designated area.

Certification establishes minimum competency standards in the specialty and offers recognition for those who have met the standards. A primary purpose of certification is the protection of the public through a means of measurement of current skills and knowledge through a standardized comprehensive examination.

Professionals living in the United States or Canada and working in the field of vascular access can demonstrate mastery of specialized knowledge by meeting criteria and passing the examination offered by the Vascular Access Certification Corporation (VACC)

Who is eligible to take the VA-BC™ exam?

Certification is open to candidates living in the United States and Canada. Practice in the area of vascular access is required for initial certification. Current practice in vascular access must use the knowledge and skills described in the content outline. Each candidate should assess their own body of knowledge, skills and understanding of the specialty in deciding when to sit for the exam.

The Vascular Access Board Certification (VA-BC™) is designed for clinical professionals to include but not limited to; MD’s, PA’s, NP’s, RN’s, LPN/LVN’s, RT’s, RRT’s, Infection Control, Educators, EMS professionals, that actively work in the field of vascular access. Having a thorough and sound foundation of the knowledge and skills required for competent practice in vascular access is essential. Knowledge can be obtained through work experiences and independent learning, as well as through formal educational programs. These components afford the candidate exposure and professional development and education in the vascular access specialty.

All candidates must:

  • Have a minimum of a post-secondary education (e.g.: LPN, nursing diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, PhD, MD).
  • Have a minimum of 1 year of professional experience. Practice in the area of vascular access is required for initial certification.
  • Attest they meet one of the following criteria:
    • Health care professional in the field of vascular access involved in assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating the care and needs of patients and clients who require vascular access in the course of their care.
    • Professional working in a field that complements Vascular Access, such as educators, administrators, infection control professionals, nutrition support professionals.

In addition, current clinical practice must include at least two (2) of the following activities:

  1. Assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating the care and needs of patients and clients who require vascular access in the course of their care

 

  1. Education of individuals in best practice as it pertains to vascular access

 

  1. Development and revision of vascular access policies and procedures

 

  1. Management of vascular access activities

 

  1. Provision of consultation of vascular access activities

 

  1. Self-employed individuals must meet the same practice criteria as above

 

Certification is open to all qualified candidates.

Note: This certification is NOT intended for sales, marketing, or other non-clinical industry professionals, and all candidates must attest that they meet education and practice requirements, which is subject to verification by the Vascular Access Certification Corporation. For industry professionals interested in furthering their knowledge of Vascular Access, please review the Vascular Access Industry Partner™ Program .

Vascular Access Industry Partner™ Program 

What credential is granted for certification?

Candidates that sit for and pass the Vascular Access Certification exam are granted Vascular Access-Board Certified (VA-BC) credential.

When can I take the test?

The test is administered every June and December
Applications for the June seating begin March 1st through April 15th
Applications for the December seating begin September 1st through October 15th

How is the test administered?

The exam is a computer based test administered at Prometric™ centers throughout the US and Canada.

Who is Prometric™?

Prometric™ is a wholly-owned, independently operated subsidiary of Education Testing
Service (ETS). Prometric™ provides computer based testing sites in more than 3000 locations across the globe.

Do I have to be an experienced computer user to take the computer-based examination?

No prior computer experience is necessary. At the beginning of an examination, each candidate will receive a brief tutorial on how to use the computer to answer questions and review responses. Test center staff members are also always available to answer questions. The complete tutorial lasts 15 minutes and does not count against your overall testing time.

Where do I take the exam?

Candidates can take the examination at many of the hundreds of test sites that our testing partner, Prometric, operates. When you apply to take an examination, you will be able to access a full list of test sites so that you can choose the location that is most convenient for you. You can also go to the Prometric website to view testing sites.

Can I look for testing sites before I apply for the exam?

Yes, go to www.prometric.com/VACC and follow the instructions under “Locate a Test Center”

How is the exam structured?

The exam consists of up to 150 multiple choice questions. Of these questions, 125 are scored and the remainder are non-scored. The content outline provides information about what is on the exam. You have two and one half (2.5) hours to complete the examination. The computer has a clock to monitor your time. The 2.5-hour clock will begin as soon as you complete the pretest tutorial. The clock will count down the time remaining.

How should I study for the exam?

First review the content outline to familiarize yourself with the subject areas that will be on the test. Focus your studies by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Review the list of references available in the Candidate Handbook. Many of these references were used to write the exam questions. VACC does not endorse any method of study or education.

How much does it cost to take the exam?

Pricing subject to time of submission and potential discounts. Details can be found on the VACC website.

How do I apply?

You can apply for the Vascular Access Board Certified exam online at
www.vacert.org (preferred) or by mailing or faxing their application to the Vascular Access
Certification Corporation. Candidates who mail or fax their applications will be charged a $25.00 administrative fee. See the Candidate Handbook for detailed information.

What is the application deadline?

For the June seating, early registration applications must be submitted and all fees paid by March 20th and all applications must be submitted and all fees paid by April 15th.

For the December seating, early registration applications must be submitted and all fees paid by
September 20th and all applications must be submitted and all fees paid by October 15th.

What happens if I miss the registration receipt deadline?

All registrations must arrive at VACC (not postmarked) by the application receipt deadline. Faxed applications will be accepted.
Late applications may be assessed a late fee, in addition to the $25 administration fee.

My organization is paying for my exam by check, how do I submit my application?

You may submit the application by fax or e-mail attachment or mail. A $25 administrative fee applies. We will not process any applications until we receive the check. All the same deadlines apply as with the online application.

My organization is paying for my exam by the organizational charge card, how do I submit my application?

You may submit the application by fax or e-mail attachment or mail along with the payment information. A $25 administrative fee applies. We will not process any applications until we receive the check. All the same deadlines apply as with the online application.

Do I have to be an AVA member to take the exam?

NO, participation in the certification program is voluntary and open to anyone meeting the eligibility requirements in the US and Canada. Membership in the Association for Vascular Access is not required. In order to take advantage of the reduced member rate you must be an active NO, participation in the certification program is voluntary and open to anyone meeting the eligibility requirements in the US and Canada. Membership in the Association for
Vascular Access is not required. To take advantage of the reduced member rate you must be an active member before beginning the application process.member before beginning the application process..

What happens after I submit my application?

You will receive immediate notice that your application has been submitted and you will be e-mailed a receipt of payment. If you do not receive a notice check your spam folder. All communication will be handled by e-mail only. To ensure that you receive all notices we recommend you add info@vacert.org to your email safe senders list.

Upon confirmation of eligibility to take the certification exam, the candidate will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter, via e-mail only. This may take 7-10 days. The ATT letter authorizes the candidate to take the VA-BC™ exam, and will include the following information:

• The contact information for Prometric™, so the candidate can schedule an examination based on the identified testing window
• Details on how to schedule an examination date with Prometric™
• Information on how to reschedule or cancel an examination, should that become necessary

What will I need to get into the testing site?

Valid photo identification and the Authorization to Test Letter (ATT) are required for admission to the examination test site. Examples of acceptable forms of photo identification include: driver’s license, employee identification card, passport, or bank card with a photo ID. NOTE: your first and last name on your photo identification must exactly match the first and last name on your ATT letter and online application. If your name changes for any reason prior to the exam date you must contact VACC before going to the test site. Individuals who arrive at the testing site without first notifying VACC will be considered “no show” and will forfeit all fees.

Is the examination scored immediately?

You will receive an official results report via e-mail within one (1) hour of completing your exam to the e-mail address that Prometric has on file.  The results report provides information on whether you passed or failed the examination. You will NOT receive a results report by mail.

What information will the results report provide?

The results report gives the candidates their pass/fail status.
If you pass the exam your score report will simply indicate PASS.
For individuals who fail the exam, the scaled score will be provided along with diagnosis information will help identify strengths and weaknesses in each of the content areas covered by the VACC examination. Candidates should use the information to identify areas where additional study may be needed before retesting. The diagnostic level definitions are:

• Proficient – The score obtained is at or above the acceptable level, demonstrating an acceptable understanding of the content. A review of this area may be helpful prior to re-taking the exam.
• Marginal – The score obtained is marginally unacceptable, indicating that understanding of this content does not appear to be strong. Additional study is suggested.
• Deficient – The score obtained is below an acceptable level. Substantial study of this content area is recommended prior to re-taking the exam.

Due to the need to maintain test security, examination questions and answers will not be released to candidates. Under no circumstances will scores or pass/fail information be released over the phone or by fax.

What is the passing score for the exam?

VACC tests are scored using a scaled score. A scaled score of 90 is the passing score for the exam. The 90 equates to different raw scores on various forms on the test depending on the difficulty of the form.

What is a scale score?

A scale score is transformed from raw test score (the number of test questions answered correctly). This is something like transforming inches into centimeters – the distance measured does not change, only the units used to express that distance. A scale score of at least 90 is required to pass the VA-BC examination. To interpret any test score, a uniform frame of reference is required. Scale scores provide that frame of reference based on the standard adopted by the VACC of the amount of knowledge necessary to pass without regard to the specific test form or version taken. Scale scores range from a low score of 30 to a high score of 140. Please note that a scale score is neither the number of questions answered correctly, nor the percentage of questions answered correctly.

Why are scores scaled?

The reason for calculating scaled scores is that different forms or versions of the exam may vary in difficulty. As new versions of the exams are introduced, a certain number of questions in each content area are replaced by new questions. These changes may cause one version of the exam to be slightly easier or harder than another version. Please note that a scale score is neither the number of questions answered correctly not the percentage of questions answered correctly.

How is the passing score determined?

A criterion-referenced or standard-setting procedure and expert judgment are used to identify the passing point. A candidate’s ability to pass the exam depends on the amount of knowledge he or she displays, not on the performance of other individuals taking the exam.
The reason for calculating scaled scores is that different forms or versions of the exam may vary in difficulty. As new versions of the exams are introduced, a certain number of questions in each content area are replaced by new questions. These changes may cause one version of the exam to be slightly easier or harder than another version.
To adjust for these differences in difficulty, a statistical procedure called “equating” is used. The goal of equating is to ensure fairness to all candidates. In the equating process, the minimum raw score (number of correctly answered questions) required to equal the passing scaled score is statistically adjusted (or equated). For instance, if the exam is determined to be more difficult than the base form of the exam, then the minimum raw score required to pass will be slightly lower than the base passing raw score. If the exam is a bit easier, then the passing raw score will be slightly higher. Equating helps ensure that the passing scaled score represents the same level of knowledge, regardless of which version of the exam a candidate takes.

When can I begin to use my VA-BC™ Designation?

You may begin to use your VA-BC™ designation on the first of the month after passing your exam; July 1 for test taken in June and January 1 for tests taken in December.

What if I do not pass the exam?

You may retake the exam during the next regularly scheduled exam cycle by submitting a new application. There is no limit on the number of times a candidate may take the VACC examination, however, if you do not pass the examination after three attempts in a row you must wait a minimum of one year before retaking the examination.

Can I cancel my exam?

These references are provided as examples of the type of materials that the Board believes would be useful in preparing for the certification examination. The list is not intended as required reading but as a resource for areas in which the candidate may want to develop Yes. If you have scheduled your exam with Prometric, you must first cancel with them at least five (5) calendar days BEFORE your scheduled appointment date prior to canceling with VACC (fees may apply). Fill out the online “Request a Refund” form before the last day of the test administration window (either June 30 or December 31) and VACC will refund all but the administrative fee of $100. If you do not cancel with Prometric within the 5-calendar day time frame you will forfeit ALL fees. more knowledge.

Can I transfer my exam date to a different test administration window?

Yes, you may only transfer to the next available window. If you have scheduled your exam with Prometric, you must first cancel with them at least five (5) calendar days BEFORE your scheduled appointment date prior to transferring with VACC (fees may apply). Fill out the online “Request a Transfer” form and pay the $50 transfer fee on or before the last day of the examination administration window. If you fail to cancel with Prometric within the 5-calendar day time frame you will forfeit all fees. You may only transfer one time. If you do not take the exam after transferring you will forfeit all fees.

Is the VA-BC™ certification accredited?

Yes, the VA-BC™ is accredited through the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies)

Is the VA-BC™ certification on the list of certifications accepted by the America Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition Program?

Yes, the VA-BC certification is considered a national multidisciplinary certification by the America Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Is the VA-BC™ certification recognized by any other entities?

Yes,
1. The VA-BC certification is on the Veterans Administration approved listing for nursing certifications.
2. The VA-BC is approved for veterans and other eligible persons utilizing the GI Bill for Reimbursement
3. VACC offers a discount to members of “Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs” Contact the NOVA organization for more information on obtaining the discount.

How long is the certification good for?

The certification is good for 3 years.

How do I recertify?

You re-certify by obtaining 30 Continuing Education Credits all related to vascular access or by retaking the exam.

I passed my test, where is my certificate and wallet card?

Your certificate and wallet card are embedded into your digital badge in PDF form. This allows you to immediately print them off for use. If you still want a hard copy certificate with a raised gold seal you can order it from our online store.
Your digital badge is e-mailed to you during the first week of July or January depending on when you take the exam.

What is a digital badge?

Digital Badges are web-enabled representations of your VA-BC™ credential. Your digital badge is made of an image and metadata uniquely linked to you. This ensures that only you can take credit for your achievement.

You can share your digital badge to popular online social media and professional platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. It can also be embedded in a résumé, your personal website, or an even your email signature. Anyone who views your badge can select it to learn more about your certification and to verify its authenticity.

Will I be notified when my certification is due for renewal?

Yes, you will receive e-mail notification 10 months prior to your certification renewal.

How soon before my certification is up can I submit my application?

You can submit your application 10 months before it is due.

When is my application due?

Your application is due on June 1 if your certification ends June 30.
Your application is due December 1 if your certification ends December 31.

Do I have to send in my proof of CEs when I send in my application?

No, simply submit your application and payment online. You only need to submit proof of CEs if you are audited.

What if I miss the deadline for renewal?

You can apply online after the deadline, if you have completed all your CEs. Additional fees will apply. You may be audited.

What happens after I submit my online renewal application?

As soon as you submit the online application you will receive a notification simply stating that the application has been successfully submitted. You will receive an email notification with a receipt of payment.

You will then not hear from VACC until June 5th if your certification cycle ends June 30th or December 5th if your certification cycle ends December 30th by email informing you that either:

1. You have successfully recertified; you will then receive an email with your digital badge the first week of July or January.
2. You have been chosen for audit; you will receive instructions on how to submit proof of your CEs.

My organization is paying for my recertification by check, how do I submit my application?

You may submit the application by fax or e-mail attachment or mail. A $25 administrative fee applies. We will not process any applications until we receive the check. All the same deadlines apply as with the online application.

Why do you do audits?

VACC audits about 15% of all candidates to monitor our recertification process and to meet accreditation standards. All names are chosen randomly.

I successfully recertified, where is my certificate and wallet card?

Your certificate and wallet card are imbedded into your digital badge in PDF form. This allows you to immediately print them off for use. If you still want a hard copy certificate with a raised gold seal you can order it from our online store.

Where do I find CEs related to vascular access?

The Continuing Education (CE) Credits encompass a wide spectrum of activities that, according to VACC standards, reflects continual learning opportunities. See our website for CE Resources.

Keep copies of all your CE certificates and activities in case you are audited.

I cannot attend the AVA conference, how am I supposed to get my CEs?

You are not required to attend any conference to obtain your CEs.

Can I get my CEs from all online sources or do I have to attend live meetings too?

You may obtain your CEs from all online sources, you are not required to attend live meetings.

What do you mean by “CEs must come from more than one source”?

Earning CEs must be spread out over the three-year certification cycle. It is prohibited to obtain all CEs from one meeting.

Once I certify, when can I begin to earn my CEs?

You may begin to earn them on the first day of your certification period. That is July 1 for people that certify in the June cycle and January 1 for people that certify in the December cycle.

I did not earn all my CEs; can I still renew?

Yes, you can recertify by retaking the exam. To avoid being suspended you must take the exam during the same cycle as your renewal.

How much does it cost to recertify?

We offer early and final fees for recertification by CE. Please refer to our fee schedule. If recertifying by testing, the test fees for that time will apply.
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