BECOME BOARD CERTIFIED The certification process for hearing healthcare professionals consists of a psychometric exam developed by Subject Matter Experts. Compiled by a professional testing service, each exam is reviewed and revised on a regular basis by a team of trained individuals from the hearing health profession. The National Competency Exam (NCE) is based on a job task analysis study that determines the daily skills needed to be a successful hearing healthcare professional. The exam is designed to test competency in these important areas of hearing instrument sciences: Assess patient presenting problem and needs Test and analyze patient hearing Prescribe and analyze hearing instruments Fit, adjust, program, and service hearing instruments and equipment Counseling, rehabilitation, and professional practice The NCE is based on practical knowledge and decision-making capabilities.  Additional detail about the domains assessed is included in the Self-Study Guide.

Board Certification also enables you to:

  • Further your skills and professional credentials in this competitive field.
  • Advance your career.
  • Increase your earning potential (studies show that specialists with Board Certification have an average higher income than those without).
  • Demonstrate your commitment to achieving excellence in your profession.
  • Receive an annual NBC-HIS seal to place on your wall certificate upon payment of annual fees. This shows your clients that your certification credentials are up-to-date.
  • Use the “Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences” designation after your name.



Exam candidates must have a current State/Provincial/Jurisdictional dispensing license or certificate of registration, and  meet a minimum of two (2) years of full-time dispensing experience within the last five (5) years, or a diploma from one of the following programs to be eligible to take the exam: Grant MacEwan Hearing Aid Practitioner Program, Bates Technical College Hearing Instrument Sciences, Burlington County College Hearing Instrument Sciences, George Brown Hearing Instrument Sciences, Conestoga College Hearing Instrument Sciences, Ozarks Technical Community College Hearing Instrument Sciences, Douglas College Hearing Instrument Practitioner Program, or Spokane Falls Community College Hearing Instrument Sciences. Eligibility is obtained by submitting:

  1. A current State/Provincial/Jurisdictional dispensing license or Certificate of Registration (where applicable)
  2. A letter on company letterhead from a current employer or person that supervised your training attesting to your two years of full-time dispensing experience, or a diploma from the Grant MacEwan Hearing Aid Practitioner Program, Bates Technical College Hearing Instrument Sciences, Burlington County College Hearing Instrument Sciences, Douglass College, George Brown Hearing Instrument Sciences, Conestoga College Hearing Instrument Sciences, Ozarks Technical Community College Hearing Instrument Sciences, or Spokane Falls Community College Hearing Instrument Sciences.If you are self-employed, please contact NBC-HIS at 734-522-2900 for alternative verification of dispensing experience. Professionals who completed fifteen (15) months or more of the two-year dispensing requirement are eligible to sit for the exam. Upon successfully passing the exam, they will remain "Board Eligible" until the two-year requirement is fulfilled.


  • US Fees:

    New Applicant/Exam Fee: $225
    Annual Fee: $275

  • Canada Fees:

    New Applicant/Exam Fee: $225
    Annual Fee: $208

  • International Fees:

    New Applicant/Exam Fee: $250
    Annual Fee: $275

The New Applicant/Exam Fee must be paid each time a candidate schedules an appointment to take the examination, including re-takes.


When your application for Board Certification has been approved, you will be contacted via email by an NBC-HIS staff member to schedule a convenient date, time, and location for the exam.

Non-Discrimination Policy

No applicant who has otherwise satisfied the application requirements shall be denied eligibility to the NCE because of age, sex, marital status, national origin, sexual preference, religious preference, race, or physical disability. Any individual who wishes to question any of the eligibility requirements of the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences (NBC-HIS) shall submit these concerns in writing to the NBC-HIS office.

Exam Composition and Scoring

The NBC-HIS Item Writers’ committee, consisting of experienced and currently practicing board-certified hearing instrument specialists, develops items for the National Competency Exam. These individuals volunteer their time to research and draft questions based upon the NBC-HIS Role Delineation Study results and performance objectives required to be a competent, professional hearing healthcare provider. The NCE consists of 100 scored multiple choice items from each of the five (5) competency areas.  Exam candidates will receive a score based upon their performance on the hundred (100) scored items. Refer to the Candidate Handbook for additional information.

Passing the Exam

A passing score is required to become Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences. Enclosed in the Welcome Packet is a press release for local media, logos for advertising, and recertification criteria sheet and guidelines for proper usage of the BC-HIS designation.

Failing the Exam

A failed score result is automatically sent to the candidate and to NBC-HIS.

If a candidate does not successfully complete/pass the National Competency Exam (NCE), they may retake the NCE after a 30-day waiting period. An examination fee must be submitted each time a candidate sits for the exam.  After a candidate sits for the exam a second time or subsequent times, a six (6) month waiting period will be engaged moving forward.

If the exam candidate does not pass the NCE within two years from the initial exam date, they must file a new application for approval and pay the application fee.  The six (6) month waiting period carries forward with the candidate and is not started anew with the application.

Exam Score Review and Appeal

An exam appeal will only be considered if there was a condition at the exam center that caused a problem in taking the exam. There will be no appeals for a rescore of an exam since the chance of a scoring mistake is virtually nonexistent. Requests for exam appeals must be submitted in writing by within sixty (60) days of the exam date and must be accompanied by a payment of $75 USD. A candidate may appeal an exam score for the following reasons

  1. Excessive noise or confusion during the examination which inhibited concentration
  2. Exam room conditions (lighting, temperature, etc)
  3. Faulty computer operation


On the day of your scheduled exam, please arrive 20 minutes before your scheduled start time to allow sufficient time for the examination proctor to verify your identity (you will need two pieces of ID; one MUST be a photo ID) and check in before the published exam start time. At time of check-in, present your exam confirmation notice which was emailed to you after the exam session was scheduled.

A maximum of 105 minutes is provided for completion of the exam which begins at the conclusion of registration and instructions. Late arrivals WILL NOT receive a time extension. You may not carry any papers, briefcases or other personal belongings to the exam site.

A link to the online application is below. If you prefer a paper application, visit:


Individuals who are Board Certified by the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences (NBC-HIS) must recertify their credentials every three years. During the third year of certification, NBC-HIS will provide the annual statement and the instructions necessary to complete the recertification process. An annual fee is required and the bill is sent in May each year with payment due by June 30.

Recertification is valid for a 36-month period beginning on July 1 of the year the current certification expires. All recertification materials must be received at NBC-HIS headquarters on or before June 30 of the recertifying year.

The requirement for continuing education credits ensures that the certificants have spent at least 24 hours in an educational setting upgrading skills and knowledge and/or getting information on new technology and products in the hearing health profession within the 36-month recertification period. The recertification process ensures that board certificants have a state/provincial license, where applicable.

If this criteria is not met, the Board Certified certificate issued by NBC-HIS remains the property of NBC-HIS. Upon receiving written notice of revocation, the certificate and all duplicate certificates must be returned to NBC-HIS office.

Learn more about Certification Maintenance by visiting:

The NBC-HIS is an independent, non-profit, credentialing organization, established to promote continuing competency assurance of hearing healthcare professionals and to provide a standard of excellence in hearing healthcare for the consumer.

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    Tel: 734-522-2900
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