What does it take to get WCC® recertified? A little preparation goes a long way – here’s what you need to know.  

Earning your Wound Care Certified® (WCC®) credential is one of the best feelings in the world. Once the exam is behind you (what a relief!), you can take all that new knowledge back to your practice and continue making a positive impact in wound care.  So, it’s completely understandable how tempting it can be to delay even thinking about recertification.

But trust us when we tell you that planning and preparing ahead of time will make it so much easier in the long run. When you’re ready for the nitty-gritty, please consult the WCC® Recertification Handbook. For now, let’s take a look at the basic – and surprisingly easy – steps of the WCC® recertification process.

When to Recertify

Your WCC® credential is valid for five years. At the four-and-a-half-year mark (six months before your WCC expires), the “recertification window” opens. During this six-month period, you can submit your application for recertification and begin the process.

Afraid you might forget? No need to worry. The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®), the credentialing board, will send you a postcard 15 months before your WCC® expires and additional email reminders thereafter. Just be sure to keep your contact information current with NAWCO® so you can receive the notices.

To recertify, you need to maintain your active unrestricted license and keep your WCC® current. If you allow the five years to pass and let your WCC® lapse, you will need to take different steps to reinstate your credential.

Before you hit that five-year mark (if you meet the recertification requirements), you will need to:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay required fees
  • Choose and complete one of the options below

Option One: Take a Recertification Course

The education pathway is best for those who want a no-muss, no-fuss option. It requires little long-range planning, and there’s no suspense about the outcome. You simply complete an approved course during the six-month period before your WCC® certification expires. No exam required!

WCEI’s Online Skin and Wound Management Course. This is the most popular option for recertification. Once enrolled, you have 90 days to complete the 22.75-hour curriculum at your own pace. You can stretch the course over the entire period (under 20 minutes per day), or binge-watch to your heart’s content. Either way, you’ll fulfill the requirements and refresh your knowledge at the pace that best suits your lifestyle.

Do you prefer the classroom environment? Visit the WCEI calendar to find an onsite class near you. You’ll benefit from immediate access to your instructor, plus meet clinicians from all disciplines who share your love of wound care.

Whichever WCEI® course option you choose, you’ll receive a new and updated Skin and Wound Management workbook. If you’re like most WCEI® alumni, your current workbook is a dear friend and you consult it often. But after five years, standards change in wound care, and taking a course is the only way to obtain a new version of this valuable resource.

Option Two: Earn Continuing Education Credits

To recertify your WCC® through continuing education (CE) credits, it helps to start early and think ahead. During your five-year certification period, you’ll need to acquire and document 60 contact hours in skin and wound care.

So, where can you find approved CEs? WCEI® provides many ways to earn those contact hours and stay on the leading edge of wound care:

To see the number of contact hours/credits you can earn from WCEI® programs, visit https://www.wcei.net/cme.  For more information on accepted approved CE’s, refer to the WCC® Recertification Handbook

Option Three: Sit for a WCC® Recertification Exam

Let’s say you’re a wound-care master. You’ve stayed 100% up-to-date on guidelines, definitions and standards, and you’re cool as a cucumber under pressure. If this is the case, you might choose to recertify by taking the NAWCO® WCC® exam within the six-month period before your credential expires.

To recertify with this option, you’ll sit for the exam at a PSI testing center, where you’ll have a two-hour period to complete a computer-based exam. If you pass, you’re done. If you don’t pass, you can retest three more times before your expiration date.

After the fourth try, you’ll need to wait an entire year, during which your WCC® credential will lapse. See Page 8 of the WCC® Recertification Handbook for information about reinstatement of a lapsed credential.

Keep in mind that once you’ve applied for the examination pathway, you cannot decide to recertify by the other options at a later date. In short, this option involves some risk. But if you are confident that your skills and knowledge are top-notch, taking an exam could require the lowest time commitment.

Putting it All Together.

NAWCO® has summarized all the recertification pathways in a handy chart (shown below). In addition, friendly NAWCO® representatives will be happy to answer any of your questions – including topics like eligibility, approved education credits, and deadlines. Contact them toll-free at (877) 922-6292, or fill out the contact form on the NAWCO website.

Ways to recertify your WCC credential

(Click to enlarge)

Are You Ready for Recertification?

Have you been thinking about getting recertified but keep putting it off? Or have you recently completed the recertification process, and you have advice or suggestions for your fellow wound-care lovers? Please share your experiences, thoughts, fears or words of wisdom in the section below.

Keisha Smith, MA, CWCMS

Keisha Smith, MA, CWCMS, is a freelance digital marketing consultant who works with clients in healthcare, law and behavioral health. Her specialties include content creation, social media and brand clarity. As an eight-time Wild On Wounds conference staff member and an alumna of WCEI's training program for wound care marketing professionals, she loves the exceptional passion of clinicians who treat wounds. She frequently finds herself advising friends and family to keep their minor wounds warm and moist.

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