Just to review:
The CWS certification (Certified Wound Specialist) is offered by the AAWM (American Academy of Wound Management).
First time exam fee is $550.00.
In order to take the exam, you must be "any licensed healthcare professional with a Bachelors, Doctoral or Master's degree in a life sciences related field who has three (3) or more years of clinical wound care experience is eligable. " So, that would include physical therapists, BSN nurses, etc.
The exam is self-study, but the AAWM will begin offering wound care courses in 2008 in conjunction with the American College of Wound Care Specialists (the AAWM's educational arm).
The WCC certification is offered by the WCEI (Wound Care Education Institute).
It is a one week course, but in actuality, only 4 days are devoted to content. The 5th day is the certification exam, administered by the National Alliance of Wound Care. The WCEI was founded by Nancy Morgan and Donna Sardina, and they own the WCEI. It is not university affiliated.
The cost of the program is $2797 (as of April, 2008). This includes the test on the fifth day.
Eligibility: "Active unrestricted license as a Registered Nurse, LPN, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapy Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Physician
or Physician's Assistant.
3. CWOCN (Certified Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse)
This certification is open to bachelor's prepared nurses only (and, of course, MSNs, etc.) The certification test is administered by the WOCNCB (Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing Certification Board). In order to take the test, the nurse must have completed a training program from one of several accredited WOC training programs. The list is here: http://www.wocn.org/Education/WOCN_Accredited_Programs
One can be certified in wounds only, ostomy only, continence only, or a combination.
These training programs are rigorous, but certainly not impossibly priced. I just finished the wound and ostomy training at Emory University. I did the distance learning option, and each module (wound, ostomy, and professional practice) costs $995. There is a mandatory 1 week session in Atlanta. It will be about a year since I have applied and when I am certified. I will probably have spent about $4000 on the certification. The test costs about $400 for the first time test taker.
Obviously, I am biased toward the last certification, since I am working on it. However, I think that prospective students must be aware of the differences in training. (4 days vs. many months). I don't mean to start a flame war, but it is important to understand what each certification entails.