Healthcare professionals desiring to demonstrate expertise in the field of healthcare quality can set themselves apart from the crowd by obtaining the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) certification.

CPHQ certification assures healthcare employers and the general public that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience required to work in the field of healthcare quality. Mometrix has developed the CPHQ study guide to assist you in obtaining the prestigious designation as a certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

The National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1976 with the purpose of advancing the healthcare quality profession through the creation of a certification program. The Healthcare Quality Certification Commission (HQCC) is the branch of NAHQ that institutes standards, procedures, and policies in the field of healthcare quality certification.

The CPHQ certification exam materials were developed by HQCC and practicing healthcare quality professionals. The CPHQ exam content is evaluated and updated regularly to make sure the exam mirrors current practices. The examination committee has written the test primarily for quality professionals who have been performing CPHQ tasks for at least 2 years.

Although there are no specified requirements for testing, the exam is not appropriate for entry-level applicants. Professionals who have achieved a passing grade on the CPHQ examination are eligible to use the designation Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® and the acronym “CPHQ” with their name on business cards, letterheads, and all correspondence.

Once certified, the credential is valid for a 2-year period beginning on January 1 of the year following the date the examination was passed. A total of 30 CE hours over the 2-year period is required for recertification.

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The CPHQ examination is a computer-based test available at test centers across the United States and internationally. On the day of your exam, you will have the opportunity to take a practice examination to allow you to get comfortable with the testing process before taking the actual CPHQ exam.

If you take the suggested practice exam, the time spent on it and the questions do not count toward your actual exam. You will have a total of 3 hours to complete the 140 questions on the CPHQ exam. Only 125 of them are calculated for the final test score. Fifteen of the questions are unidentified pretest questions scattered throughout the exam.

The pretest questions allow the test developers to validate questions before using them to measure competency. Once you have completed the exam, you will receive an unofficial score report indicating either a passing or failing score.

If a passing score is achieved, official documentation will be sent by mail. If a passing score is not achieved, a candidate may reapply to take the exam 90 days after the initial exam date. The exam can be taken a maximum of three times within a calendar year.

If a passing score is not achieved on three attempts within a calendar year, then the candidate must wait a full calendar year from the last attempt to reapply to test again. As you can see, you can save time and money by being adequately prepared before taking the CPHQ exam. The CPHQ study guide by Mometrix will provide you with the preparation you need to obtain a passing score.

The CPHQ exam tests not only the candidate’s knowledge but also their ability to use that knowledge to perform certain tasks and to appropriately apply that knowledge. The CPHQ exam includes three types of multiple-choice questions.

Recall questions, which test knowledge of specific concepts and facts, comprise 23% of the questions. Application questions, which test the candidate’s ability to interpret and apply information to a given situation, make up 57% of the questions. The analysis questions comprise 20% of the questions and ensure the candidate has the ability necessary to analyze and problem solve as needed in a healthcare setting.

A detailed content outline is available on the HQCC website but the content is organized into four areas: Organizational Leadership, Health Data Analytics, Performance and Process Improvement, and Patient Safety.

The CPHQ exam contains 35 questions from the Organizational Leadership content area and is further broken down into three subareas.

The Structure and Integration subarea includes topics such as:

  • organizational strategic planning
  • encouraging stakeholder involvement in the promotion of quality and safety
  • providing staff support in regards to their roles in quality assurance
  • developing councils and committees
  • assisting in the evaluation and development of data bases
  • evaluating and integrating best practices
  • leading and facilitating change
  • communicating to leadership the resources that are needed to improve quality such as staffing, equipment, and technology

The Regulatory, Accreditation, and External Recognition subarea includes questions regarding:

  • regulatory and statutory requirements
  • accreditations
  • certifications
  • compliance evaluation
  • communication with the accrediting and regulatory bodies

The Education, Training, and Communication subarea involves questions about:

  • designing and providing education and training on performance and quality improvement
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the training
  • distributing the quality improvement information throughout the organization

Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (2020)


The CPHQ exam includes 30 questions in the Health Data Analytics content area which is further divided into two subareas.

The Design and Data Management subarea includes:

  • selecting goals and thresholds for measurement
  • developing data collection processes
  • scorecards
  • dashboards
  • benchmarks for comparison
  • the collection and validation of the data

The Measurement and Analysis subarea includes:

  • using data management systems for analysis and reporting
  • using statistics to describe and display data
  • interpreting data
  • comparing data to benchmarks
  • external reporting of the information obtained

The third content area of the CPHQ exam is Performance and Process Improvement and 40 questions come from this area. This content area includes two subareas.

The Identifying Opportunities for Improvement subarea addresses:

  • establishing priorities
  • facilitating discussions about areas in need of quality improvement
  • developing and implementing action plans to improve performance
  • identifying areas of success

The Implementation and Evaluation subarea evaluates:

  • the ability to use quality techniques and tools
  • establish teams and responsibilities to implement quality processes
  • monitoring quality improvement projects
  • evaluating the success of implementation teams
  • evaluating success of the improvement projects
  • documentation of results

The CPHQ exam contains 20 questions in the final content area which is Patient Safety.

The Assessment and Planning subarea measures:

  • the candidate’s ability to assess the safety culture within an organization
  • investigate how technology can improve the patient safety program
  • the use of risk management assessment activities

The Implementation and Evaluation subarea includes:

  • the continual evaluation of safety processes
  • integration of safety concepts and principles
  • the implementation of safety and risk management activities

CPHQ certification is the only accredited certification in the field of healthcare quality. You will want to do everything you can to adequately prepare for this important examination which will designate you as a distinguished healthcare quality professional.

The Mometrix CPHQ study guide and CPHQ online prep course cover the same content as the actual CPHQ exam and include answers and detailed explanations of those answers so that you can clearly understand which questions you missed and why you missed them. The CPHQ study guide and CPHQ online prep course by Mometrix is your first step on the road to achieving the title of Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.



What is the CPHQ certification?


The CPHQ certification shows that you have the knowledge and dedication needed to become an employee in all healthcare settings.


How much does it cost to take the CPHQ?


For NAHQ members, the cost to take the CPHQ is $399. For nonmembers, the cost is $469. Paying by check will add $25 to your fee.


How do you become CPHQ certified?


To become CPHQ certified, visit nahq.org.


Is the CPHQ exam all multiple choice?


Yes, the CPHQ exam contains 135 multiple-choice questions.


How long do you have to take the CPHQ?


Test-takers are given 3 hours to complete the CPHQ.


How do you sign up for the CPHQ exam?


You can sign up for the CPHQ exam by visiting their site.


What is a passing score for the CPHQ exam?


The passing score changes depending on the difficulty of the test you take. On average, you have to answer around 73% correctly.