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Exam Information

Certification Exam

The ADEC Certification Exam is

  • A standardized exam measuring foundational knowledge in the field of Thanatology.
  • Not intended to measure skill or competence.

Exam Date: Saturday, November 7, 2020

2020 Exam Fees

CT Applicants

        $ 380 USD – ADEC Member Rate
$ 599 USD – Nonmember Rate

FT Applicants (without prior CT)  

        $ 520 USD – ADEC Member Rate
$ 739 USD – Nonmember Rate

Exam Design   

  • Written in English
  • Based on the ADEC Body of Knowledge
  • Made up of 150 multiple choice questions requiring a range of cognitive skills
  • Representative of the diverse Thanatology roles of certificant.

Body of Knowledge Categories
*35 of 150 questions are in scenario or case-study format

Total Number 
of Questions

% of Exam Content




End of Life Decision Making



Loss, Grief and Mourning



Assessment and Intervention



Traumatic Death



Death Education






Exam Scoring

  • Each question qualifies for one point.
  • Points are not deducted for incorrect answers.
  • Grading is done as pass/fail.
  • The cut score is determined each year using standard setting methods after the completion of the exam.
    • Please reference the Exam Analysis and Score Reporting section at the bottom of this page.

Online Certification Exam

The Certification Exam is

  • Administered by an exam vendor contracted by ADEC.
  • Schedules once per year in November.
  • Taken on the candidate’s computer, in the home, office or other identified secure location.
  • Made available within a nine hour window.
  • Must be completed within 3 hours of logging in.

Preparing for the Exam

  1. Exam questions are referenced in the following 3 resources: 
    • DeSpelder, L. A. & Strickland, A. L. (2019). The last dance: Encountering death and dying (11th ed.). McGraw Hill Higher Education. ISBN-13: 978-1260130744
    • Corr, C. A., Corr, D. M., & Doka, K. J. (2019). Death & dying, life & living (8th ed.). Cengage Learning. ISBN-13: 978-1337563895
  2. Purchase of references is not a requirement.
  3. Candidates eligible for the exam will receive:
  • Within 30 days of applying:
    • Notification of approval.
    • Access to the study guide resource.
  • Within a few weeks of the exam date:
    • Instructions for accessing the online exam.
    • Link to familiarization exercises.
    • Important instructions in the event of unforeseen circumstances encountered during exam.

During the Exam

  • Outside materials or references are prohibited.
  • Leaving the exam window locks out the exam taker.
  • The exam window closes 3 hours after logging in.

After the exam

  • Surveys are sent to exam takers for feedback.
  • Urgent concerns may be sent in writing to the Credentialing Administrator within 10 days of exam date.

Exam Analysis and Score Reporting*   To insure a fair exam was administered

  • Exam management experts analyze all aspects of the exam and exam process.
  • Exam results are reported via email as soon as possible but may take up to 8 weeks.
  • Successful candidates are awarded the credential and receive proof of certification by mail.
  • Candidates who fell short of meeting the passing score are:
    • Provided with feedback as to the categories with lowest scores.
    • Not informed of the specific incorrect exam items.
    • Eligible to retest the following year without reapplying by submitting the Retesting Request.
  • ADEC retains the right to cancel or withhold any exam scores whenever:
    • There is suspected irregularity or misconduct.
    • Problems are discovered within the exam materials or the testing process.