The Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS) exam validates the added knowledge, skills, and expertise of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in the early identification, intervention, and collaboration of care for children and adolescents with mental and behavioral health concerns. PMHS certification does not replace primary APRN certification required for licensure.
You will need a current, valid, unrestricted, and unencumbered APRN license and certification in the role and population foci of Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Child/Adolescent Psychiatric & Mental Health CNS (PMHCNS-BC) or Psychiatric-Mental Health NP [formerly Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)].
The cost is $300. Re-testing is $225. After review of your complete application, PNCB will send you an Approval & Scheduling Notice and a month-long testing window in which to schedule and test, either May or November depending on when your completed application is approved.
The exam is 2.5 hours and asks 150 multiple-choice questions based on categories in the content outline, an essential study reference. We offer the resources at right to help you prepare.
Check your application status regularly to ensure that all necessary documents have been received and that your application is complete. Tracking your status online, in real time, means you can follow up on documents not yet received and keep your application moving forward.
Test within your approved testing window. Arrive 30 minutes early, proper IDs in hand, and take your exam. Pass/fail status is provided before you leave the center.
You receive official results by mail 2-3 weeks after testing. PNCB sends free verification automatically to boards of nursing listed in your application. An archived copy of your results letter and more are at My Documents.
Our suggestion is to always list your degree first, then licensure followed by certification. Should you have any awards or honors, these come last. Listing your highest
degree first is fairly standard. If you have a non-nursing degree, this would come next then licensure. If you have multiple certifications, often people list the one earned first in the first
position, and the one earned most recently in the final position.
Terri Moore, DNP, MPA, RN, CPNP-PC, PMHS
Let others know the value of your PNCB certification by wearing your lapel pin and introducing yourself as a PMHS to patients, their families, and peers. Mention your credential in your employer website's staff biography. The PMHS credential is federally trademarked and may only be used by those who earn and actively maintain their certification.
☐ Recertification is every three years, so start planning how you will fulfill requirements now. You will recertify between October 1 and January 31 prior to the expiration date on your online wallet card.
☐ Use My ReCErt Tracker any time of the year to archive contact hours and other activities. When you recertify, you can refer to your Tracker when filling out the application.
☐ See the My PMHS Corner resource page for free CE, volunteer opportunities, discounts on nursing-related products, and more.
☐ PMHS Colleague Referral Program: Earn rewards when you encourage colleagues to seek PMHS 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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