Advanced certification created for social workers

Credential focuses on palliative and hospice care

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) have created the advanced certified hospice and palliative social worker credential (ACHP-SW).

This is the first national credential in hospice and palliative care tailored to capture the specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities of professional social workers in hospice and palliative care settings. Developed by NASW and NHPCO, it became available from NASW on Nov. 1.

"Many of the professions that comprise the interdisciplinary team in hospice and palliative care offer advanced certifications and credentials," Elizabeth Clark, MD, NASW executive director, said. "There has been no other certification available exclusively for social workers in this domain. Social workers in hospice and palliative care deserve recognition for the unique skills and abilities they bring to the field."

J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO, said, "In developing this new credential, NHPCO and NASW worked closely together to ensure that social workers who earn the ACHP-SW demonstrate the highest levels of expertise and accomplishment in the field. Social workers who earn this credential will show both the professional community and members of the public that they have achieved the highest standards of excellence in end-of-life care."

To secure the ACHP-SW, a social worker must be a member of NASW's and NHPCO's National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals (NCHPP). NCHPP is the individual membership category of NHPCO. NCHPP exists to support the individual discipline and the team concept. Social workers who are employed by an organizational provider member of NHPCO can join NCHPP for free. For others, annual member- ship rates are $79 for students, $149 for social workers with organizations that are not eligible for NHPCO membership, and $249 for social workers that are employed by organizations that are eligible for NHPCO membership but do not belong.

More information on the ACHP-SW credential is available from the NASW. Go to the NASW web site at On the right side of the page, select "continuing education and credentials," then scroll down to "Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker (ACHP-SW)." Readers also may call NASW at (202) 408-8600, ext. 447.