Healthcare Simulation Certification

Certification in healthcare simulation is similar to other certification and is the process to obtain, verify, and assess the qualifications of a practitioner. In accordance with the International Society for Quality in Healthcare, accreditation is a process “in which trained external peer reviewers evaluate a health care organization’s compliance with pre-established performance standards. This HealthySimulation.com article will explore options for official recognition as a qualified Healthcare Simulation Profession.

DIfference Between a Certificate and Certification

To earn a certificate issued by a higher education institution depicts that the person has completed an education program or training. However, certification recognizes the person has demonstrated the requirements and competency to work in the healthcare simulation industry. Certification is usually obtained through successfully passing an examination. Certification typically has designated credentials to include after the person’s name. Examples of certification with the credentials will be discussed in this article.


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The Society for Simulation in HealthcareSSH Certification

The purpose of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH), a not-for-profit organization, is to serve a global community of practice that enhances the quality of healthcare. The Mission of SSH is to:

  • Serves our members to foster education, professional development, and the advancement of research and innovation
  • Promotes the profession of healthcare simulation through standards and ethics
  • Champions healthcare simulation through advocation, sharing, facilitation, and collaboration

SSH offers multiple certifications and advanced certification for healthcare simulation professionals. The vision of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Certification Council is to foster excellence in healthcare simulation internationally through certification.

The mission of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Certification Council is to promote competence, recognition, and development of healthcare simulationists through standards and processes for certification within the global healthcare simulation community.


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Reasons to Become Certified

  • Receive formal professional recognition of specialized knowledge, skills, abilities and accomplishments in healthcare simulation education
  • Confirm the commitment to continued professional development and lifelong learning
  • Receive international recognition for professional accomplishments
  • Demonstrate the skills and specialized knowledge to employers, practitioners and the public

Benefits of Certification:

  • Improves healthcare simulation education through the identification of best practices and recognition of practice
  • Improves healthcare simulation education through provision of standardization and a pool of knowledge of best practices
  • Strengthens patient safety efforts through support of simulation modalities
  • Provides external validation of individual educator knowledge, skills, and attitudes
  • Strengthens organizational, community, and learner confidence in the quality of education
  • Garners local support, resources, and commitment
  • Fosters a feedback loop between education and practice
  • Encourages performance improvement and knowledge expansion of the individual educator
  • Programs with certified simulation professionals receive a competitive edge in the community, program offerings, and grant fund availability
  • Recognizes expertise in simulation above and beyond domain expertise

SSH Certifications: CHSE, CHSOS, CHSE-A, and CHSOS-A

The Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) applicant should determine eligibility to apply for CHSE prior to submission of the application. All eligibility criteria must be met prior to application to become certified. Once certified, individuals must continue to meet the eligibility criteria in order to maintain their certified status. An individual may apply to take the exam to become certified if there is a demonstration to meet these criteria:

  • Participate in healthcare simulation in an educational role
  • Demonstrate focused simulation expertise with learners in undergraduate, graduate, allied health, or healthcare practitioners
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Document two years continued use of simulation in healthcare education, research, or administration
  • Any candidate who does not have a Bachelor’s degree or higher may petition the Council for consideration of equivalency based on combined education and experience

The Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS) examination was constructed as a result of the international Practice Analysis of healthcare simulation operations that occurred between July 2017 and May 2018. The results of this Practice Analysis are contained in this document that describes the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are expected of individuals functioning in this role. As candidates for the CHSOS prepare to take the examination, these should be considered on how to use the examination blueprint:

  • This document includes the high-level examination blueprint which shows the domains and the percentage of the exam for each domain, and also the detailed examination blueprint which lists the KSAs within each domain. Every question on the examination must map back to at least one of the KSAs included in the detailed examination blueprint. Any items that cannot map back to at least one KSA will not be on the examination.
  • The KSAs listed represent the breadth of work in the healthcare simulation operations specialist role around the world. Individual job descriptions may have significant variance, both in breadth and in depth of function as required by an individual simulation program.
  • The KSAs, and thus the examinations, are written at the two-year competency level.
  • The verb for each KSA has been carefully chosen with use of published verbiage in Bloom’s Taxonomy. This should indicate to the candidate the expected level of function for each individual KSA, and thus the scope of knowledge that could be expected on the exam.
  • Questions on the examinations are typically written at the application and/or analysis level. Very few questions are simple recall level questions (e.g. definitions).

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There are advanced certifications. The Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator-Advanced (CHSE-A) and Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS-A) certifications are portfolio-based certification for leaders in healthcare simulation. These certifications distinguish those who have proven themselves to be advanced educators and operations specialists in their practice in healthcare simulation and serve as mentors and examples to others in the field. These certifications are portfolio-based that demonstrate the professional’s commitment to advancement of the profession in the simulation community.

Canadian Nurse Educator Institute Canadian Certified Simulation Nurse Educator

In Canada, the Canadian Certified Simulation Nurse Educator (CCSNE) certification for the nurse educator who works in simulation represents a national mark of excellence in the field of teaching and education related to simulation theory, design, practice, and scholarship. It communicates to academic institutions, faculty, students, and the community that the educator has achieved and maintains a high academic standard in this area of nursing practice. Those candidates who are successful on the CCSNE exam will earn the CCSNE designation, includes the right to include it in their signature, and the CCSNE pin. The primary goal of the CCSNE certification is to promote high-quality nursing education in Canada by fostering excellence among nurse educators who use simulation in their teaching.



The CCSNE examination assesses candidates on their knowledge and expertise related to simulation theory, design, and facilitation; interprofessional education in simulation; evaluation; and scholarship in simulation. The requirements to determine eligibility to take the CCSNE certification examination are:

  • The candidate must be a registered nurse with a current license in their province or territory
  • The candidate must have completed the Simulation Certificate Program OR
  • The candidate must be a registered nurse with a current license in their province or territory
  • The candidate must have completed the Simulation Certificate Program
  • The candidate must be a registered nurse with a current license in their province or territory
  • The candidate must hold, at minimum, a master’s degree
  • The candidate must have a minimum of three years of healthcare simulation use in their teaching practice
  • The candidate must have completed professional development courses in simulation

Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH)

Simulation-based education (SBE) has matured into a formally recognised teaching method embedded in all healthcare training programmes. It is therefore important that standards of delivery of SBE are defined and described in a document that can be readily applied in different organizational contexts. Throughout 2015 and 2016, ASPiH consulted widely and developed the standards framework for simulation-based education in the UK. ASPiH is now in the early stages of provision of an accreditation scheme that individuals and organizations can apply to demonstrate that they are delivering high quality simulation-based education that will benefit patient care in clinical practice.

The ASPiH recognition differs from other certifications, as this is a portfolio based application and evaluation. The ASPiH is titled as an accreditation for individuals and institutions. There are two key documents recommended to review before the start of ASPiH Accreditation application: ASPiH SBE Accreditation Guidance 2019 and The ASPiH Standards for SBE Framework. There are also assessment descriptor matrices to help applicants to have a better understanding of what is expected by reviewers in each of the sections of the individual and organizational application forms.

To become accredited, individuals and organizations should be:

  • Involved in the delivery of simulated-based education
  • Able to provide evidence to support their application
  • Able to meet the requirements of the standards and accreditation documentation

To continue to advance the field of healthcare simulation, clinical simulation professionals need to commit to a career of lifelong learning to grow the incorporation of healthcare simulation in academia and practice. Certification demonstrates to others the commitment to excellence and improving patient care through healthcare simulation.

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