Earning a CPHQ


Interested In The CPHQ® Credential; Where To Begin 

First, review the Exam Content Outline. Each exam question not only relates to a task on the outline, but also is meant to test an applicant’s knowledge to complete a task or apply the information to a given situation. Take some time to review the four major content areas and assess the less familiar topics to form a personalized study plan. For additional information on preparation, see here.

Next, once you have formulated a study plan, review the available materials to determine which products to use. The National Association for Healthcare Quality offers online and in person review courses as well as reference products. The CPHQ Candidate Handbook includes a list of several published resources to assist with exam preparation. The handbook is available online.

How Long Should One Study?

Exam preparation varies, based on a candidate’s experience. In general, candidates with healthcare quality experience should plan on 6 weeks to 3 months studying prior to sitting for the exam.

The third step is Registering for the Exam. Candidates find that once they schedule their exam appointment, they tend to focus their study efforts. For details on how to register for the exam, please review the section in the candidate handbook.

The final step is to Sit for the Exam! In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the exam is available remotely or at testing centers. Please take a moment to review the candidate handbook or the website.

When you are done with your exam, you will receive your score report. This report includes your photo that was taken before you started your exam. The score report is your unofficial score report. It reflects either ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ and includes a raw score showing the number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores in each of the four content categories is also included in this report. You are NOT ALLOWED to use the CPHQ credential until you receive your official documentation. This arrives typically 6-8 weeks after you take the exam.


What Study Products Are There?

A variety of resources and publications are used for writing the questions on the CPHQ® exam. The final pages of the candidate handbook has a list of suggested publications that are helpful for candidates to use while studying:

1. HQ Solutions: Resource for the Healthcare Quality Professional (4th ed.) Luc R. Pelletier & Christy L Beaudin, Eds. (2018)

2. Q Solutions: Essential Resources for the Healthcare Quality Professional. 3rd edition. (2012)

3. CPHQ Practice Exam. This self-assessment can help identify areas of strength of improvement for the CPHQ examination. www.nahq.org

4. CPHQ Review Course Online. The presentation was recorded at a live CPHQ Review Course and contains four modules that follow the content outline, including two to three practice questions with answers to help you prepare. www.nahq.org

5. Journal of Healthcare Quality CEU activities.

6. The Janet A. Brown Healthcare Quality Handbook: A Professional Resource and Study Guide 30th Edition, Brown, Janet A. and Mellott, Susan (2018)

7. Essentials of Managed Health Care (6th ed, 2013) , edited by Peter R. Kongstvedt.

8. Facilitating with Ease -Ingrid Bens (2018)

9. Preventing Medication Errors, Institute of Medicine. (2007).

10. Understanding Patient Safety, Robert Wachter. (2017).

11. Storytelling with Data Cole N. Knaflic (2015)

12. The Quality Toolbox, Nancy Tague. (2010).

13. Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook, Michael George, David Rowlans, Mark Price, & John Maxey. (2005).

14. The Memory Jogger™ 2, 2nd edition. Michael Brassard, (2010). www.goalqpc.com

15. The Healthcare Quality Book: Vision, Strategy, and Tools (3rd ed.) Maulik S Joshi, and Elizabeth R. Ransom (2014) ISBN-13: 978-1567935905; Publisher Health Administration Press.

16. Quality Chasm Series: Patient Safety—Achieving a New Standard for Care, Institute of Medicine.(2004).

17. The Team Handbook, 3rd edition, Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, & Barbara Streibel. (2004).

18. The Lean Enterprises Memory Jogger, Richard L. Macinnes & Carolann Scherer (2011).

19. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: www.ahrq.gov

20. Institute for Healthcare Improvement: www.ihi.org/Pages/default.aspx

21. Institute for Safe Medication Practices: www.ismp.org