DWC® Certification

The NAWCO®offers the “DWC Certification Examination”. The certification objective is to demonstrate a candidate’s competency and mastery of essential knowledge and skills of diabetic skin and wound management as they relate to complications of the disease.

Eligibility for Certification

Applicants for the NAWCO DWC certification must meet all 6 items of the following criteria:

  1. Hold a current, unrestricted license as an LPN/ LVN, RN, NP, PT, PTA, OT, OTA, MD, DPM, DO or PA.
  2. Successfully complete an NAWCO approved “Diabetic Skin and Wound Management Course.”
  3. Must meet ONE of the following:
    1. Currently hold an accredited certification in wound care. (WCC®, CWS®, CWCN®, CWON®, CWOCN®) OR
    2. Document active involvement in the care of diabetic patients, or in management, education or research directly related to diabetes while actively licensed for at least two (2) years full-time/four (4) years part-time within the past five (5) years.
  4. Completion of application and required supporting documentation.
  5. Payment of required course fees and exam fees.
  6. Receive passing score on the NAWCO DWC®Examination.

NAWCO Approved Diabetic Skin and Wound Management Course

Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI)

WCEI offers the NAWCO approved Diabetic Skin and Wound Management course  either online or onsite at various locations around the United States.


Upon successful completion of the Diabetic Wound Certification examination, candidates may use the initials DWC®, Diabetic Wound Certified, to designate their status. Credentials are awarded for a five (5) year period following obtaining a passing score on the examination. Upon expiration of credentialing term, DWCs are required to recertify with the NAWCO to maintain their credentials.

Scope of Practice

The role of the DWC is based upon expert evidence based clinical knowledge and skills that are practiced in acute, outpatient, long-term care, and home care settings. The focus of the DWC is on high quality care to achieve optimum patient outcomes and cost control in diabetic wound management and prevention of complications. In order to assure appropriate and thorough diabetic wound management, a holistic comprehensive approach is utilized. All factors affecting healing, including considerations of systemic, psychosocial, and local factors are reviewed.

The DWC provides direct patient care, necessary patient education, and prevention measures through comprehensive assessment, referrals, and continuing evaluation of high risk diabetic patients and all types of diabetic wounds.

Diabetic wound management requires the skills of the interdisciplinary team that includes the DWC, physician, nurse, dietitian, physical therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, and other health care disciplines or providers depending upon each individual patient assessment.

The DWC scope of practice is performed in accordance with legislative code and scope of practice as determined by each respective professional state licensing board.

Content of Examination

The Diabetic Wound Certification examination is an objective, multiple choice test consisting of up to 100 questions with a total testing time of two (2) hours.
The questions for the Diabetic Wound Certification examination are prepared by teams of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The examination questions are written to assess cognitive levels of knowledge, comprehension, application and analysis related to diabetic wound management.

References for Study

The following reference list may be helpful in preparing for the examination. This list does not attempt to include all the acceptable references available, nor is the examination based solely on these sources. The NAWCO does not sponsor or endorse any one reference over another.  Some of the references can be accessed online, while others are available at local book stores.

American Diabetes Association, “Preventive Foot Care in Diabetes” Diabetes Care 2004 27: 63-64

American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2017, Diabetes Care 2017 Jan; 40 (Supplement 1): S4-S5. Click here

American Diabetes Association. Consensus Development Conference on Diabetic Foot Wound Care. Diabetes Care. 1999; 22 (8):1354-1360.

Armstrong DG, Lavery LA (eds): Clinical Care of the Diabetic Foot.  Third Edition Alexandria, VA, American Diabetes Association, 2016.

Bowker JH, Pfeifer MA, editors. Levin and O’Neals ‘The diabetic foot’. 7h edition. Philadelphia PA: Mosby, Inc., an affiliate of Elsevier, 2008.

Edmonds M, Foster AVM, Sanders L. A practical manual of diabetic foot care. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell Science, 2008.

International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot (1999) International Consensus on the Diabetic Foot Practical Guidelines. International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Hurt. Mix, Godfrey. The Salon Professional’s Guide to Foot Care. Milady Salon Innovations Publishing. 1999.

Ousey, Karen, McIntosh, Caroline. Lower Extremity Wounds A Problem-Based Approach. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons. 2008.

Sidawy, Anton N.  Diabetic foot: lower extremity arterial disease and limb salvage 1st ed. Philadelphia : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006.

Sussman, Carrie, Bates-Jensen, Barbara, Wound Care: A Collaborative Practice Manual, Fourth Edition, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: 2011.

Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN). Guideline for management of wounds in patients with lower-extremity neuropathic disease. Glenview (IL): Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN); 2012.

Examination Administration

The Diabetic Wound Certification Examination is sponsored by the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy™ and is developed and maintained by the independent NAWCO Certification Committee.

A passing score of 70% is required to become certified. The passing score is based upon recommendations from statistical analysis performed by the testing corporation, and is set by the NAWCO Certification Committee.

The DWC examination is administered at computer based testing facilities managed by PSI Computer Testing, Inc. PSI has testing sites in the United States and other countries. A listing of available testing centers with detailed maps may be viewed at PSI. Click here to view locations.

Paper and pencil administrations of this examination will be offered periodically on site at the Diabetic Wound Management Certification Training courses. For locations and information, visit www.wcei.net.

Accommodation Procedures

An applicant may request special accommodation directly through the PSI website. Please refer to the NAWCO Candidate Information Bulletin available at the PSI website. click here to go to the PSI website.

Examination Results

Your exam results will indicate “Pass” or “Fail“.

Official results are reported in electronic form only through our online examination results process. Results are not reported over the telephone or by facsimile. Candidates taking the computerized version of the examination will receive their results immediately following the completion of the exam

Examination Disclosure

The examination questions remain solely the property of the NAWCO. These materials are confidential and are not to be shared with any person or agency for any reason.

Review of Examinations

For security reasons, examination materials are not available for review. Neither the testing corporation nor the NAWCO will discuss specific questions on any of the examinations. Comments about questions should be directed in writing to the NAWCO Certification Committee. The NAWCO will review comments relating to the exam but will not make a written response to comments.


NAWCO strictly protects the security of your personal information and honors your choices for its intended use. We carefully protect your data from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration, or destruction. Though we make every effort to preserve user privacy, we may need to disclose personal information when required by law wherein we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order, or legal process. Otherwise, your personal information is never shared outside the company without your permission. Inside the company, data is stored in password-controlled servers with limited access.

Retesting Policy

Candidates who take the Diabetic Wound Certification examination and are unsuccessful may retake the examination for a total of three additional re-examination attempts within two years of the first examination date. After either four attempts or two years, whichever comes first, you would be required to wait for a period of one year prior to taking the exam again.

If you are unsuccessful in passing the examination, you will receive instructions and a re-examination application by email from the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy.

Candidates are encouraged to self-study or attend a diabetic wound management training course during this time. After the one year waiting period, you would be required to reapply and meet all eligibility requirements in order to retake the examination. Unsuccessful candidates are not eligible for any refunds.


Individuals may appeal decisions regarding eligibility, examination results, and disciplinary matters made by the NAWCO certification program by submitting a written letter of appeal to the NAWCO Certification Committee within 30 days of the NAWCO decision or action that is being appealed. Certificants may request a copy of the appeal policy by contacting the NAWCO office.

Certification Certificate

The NAWCO will award an official numbered certificate to all candidates upon passing the NAWCO Diabetic Wound Certification examination, denoting status as DWC, Diabetic Wound Certified.

Reinstate a Lapsed DWC Credential

Requirements for reinstatement of lapsed DWC credentials are by examination only and include all of the following criteria:

Active unrestricted license as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Physician Assistant, OR Physician.

  1. Previous DWC certification.
  2. Active involvement in the care of diabetic or diabetic wound care patients, or in management, education or research directly related to diabetes or diabetic wound care for at least two years full-time or 4 years part-time within the past 5 years.
  3. Completion of application. (Please Contact the NAWCO directly for this application)
  4. Payment of required fee.
  5. Receive passing score on DWC examination within two years or four attempts (whichever comes first) of credentials lapse*.

*After two years/four attempts, you will no longer be able to reinstate your lapsed credentials. You will be required to wait one year and will need to meet all the eligibility requirements again for certification under one of the existing certification options.

**If you fail to attempt to recertify within two years of credential expiration and allow your credential to lapse, you do not need to wait one year before meeting the eligibility requirements again for certification under one of the existing certification options.

***If you can demonstrate that you were falsely imprisoned, held hostage or otherwise held against your will, on active duty out of the US in the military, or in a coma, and as a result, unable to complete your recertification prior to credential lapse, then you may reinstate your credential via any of the recertification options available.

Please contact us by email at Information@nawccb.org for an application to reinstate your credential by examination.