Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health
Specialist Certification Exam

Improving Access to Care for Children and Adolescents with Behavioral and Mental Health Concerns

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) has gathered information from a variety of national resources to establish interest in the development of a mechanism of formal recognition of a post advanced practice nursing certification specialty in child and adolescent mental and behavioral health.

This exam will help to address the need to strengthen care to children and families experiencing these health care concerns. The purpose of this exam is to recognize and validate eligible primary care providers who have added knowledge, skills, and expertise in the early identification, intervention and collaboration of care of children and adolescents with mental and behavioral health concerns. The PNCB developed the PMHS exam for the eligible PNP, FNP, and CNS who:

• Provides improved early access to care for children, adolescents, and families with behavioral and mental health concerns.

• Is experienced in early identification and intervention for behavioral and mental health concerns typically seen in primary care.

• Assesses, diagnoses, and manages mental health and behavioral concerns. When needed, these providers also help patients and their families manage these concerns until specialized care is available.

• Plays a role in collaboration and coordination of care with other professionals in medical and educational settings.

If this describes your practice, the PNCB invites you to review eligibility criteria, the exam content outline, and apply.

Who Can Take This Exam?

Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs/APRNs)
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Family Nurse Practitioners
Clinical Nurse Specialists
See full eligibility information>>


Specialty certification in child and adolescent behavioral and mental health care provides added recognition, beyond APRN certification, of practice knowledge and expertise in child and adolescent behavioral and mental health care. PMHS specialty certification does not replace basic advanced practice nursing certification linked to licensure. You must maintain your primary certification (CPNP-PC, PNP-BC, FNP-BC, FNP-C, PMHCNS-BC, or PMHNP-BC) according to your state board regulations to be able to practice as an advanced practice nurse and to maintain PMHS certification.

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The Faces of Certification

PNCB launched the Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist Certification Exam in December 2011, improving access to care for children and adolescents with behavioral and mental health concerns.
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