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AIM Winter 2011 Newsletter

Winter 2011
In This Issue
Passing the Test
Tips for Winter Exercise
Michigan Asthma Calendar

Passing the Test            by Karen Kain, PhD, LRT, RRT-NPS


woman at computerThe primary purpose of the National Asthma Educator Certification Board, Inc. (NAECB) is to prepare and test candidates to become certified asthma educators (AE-C®). The certification is voluntary and is not required by law for employment in the field, although some agencies may use AE-C® certification as a basis for employment, job promotions, salary increases, or other considerations. For my doctoral thesis, I studied the characteristics of candidates who took the National Asthma Educator Certification Exam September 2002 through April 2005*. Characteristics included profession, number of hours worked per week in asthma education, years experience as an asthma educator, primary practice setting, location of primary practice setting, and highest level of education received.


As of December 2010, almost 3,500 participants have taken the exam, with a national pass rate of approximately 68% for first time candidates. The test is divided into four categories including: the asthma condition (20% of total test questions), patient and family assessment (26%), asthma management (43%), and organizational issues (11%). 


Who scored better on the exam? Most people who scored high on the exam tended to score high in all content areas. This held true for those who scored average and low as well. In addition, it appeared that category 3 (asthma management) had the most overall predictive value for passing or failing the exam, while category 4 (organizational issues) had the least predictive value.     

  • Physicians had the highest passing scaled score, while pulmonary function technicians had the lowest overall passing scaled score. 
  • For those who failed the exam, certified physician assistants had the highest failing scaled score while health educators had the lowest failing scaled score. 
  • Overall, registered pharmacists had the highest scaled scores while health educators had the lowest scaled scores.
  • People who took the exam in the afternoon did better than those who took it in the morning. 
  • Candidates who worked in a physician's office or multispecialty clinic performed better than others on the exam, rarely failing it. 
  • No individuals who worked in a university (academic) setting passed the exam. 
  • The more hours a person works in the asthma field the better they did on the exam. 
  • People who worked in a suburban area did better than those that worked in an urban or rural area.
  • Health educators, "others," and to some extent, social workers, scored consistently lower on all content areas of the exam. However, only a small number of people working in those occupations took the exam. 
  • The more education or advanced degrees, the better the exam score.
  • The ideal candidate:  a registered pharmacist with a master's degree who works 25-32 hours per week in a physician office and who has been providing asthma education for 6-10 years.

*Generalizations from the findings of this study are limited to the sample from which the subjects were drawn. Any generalization beyond this group will be valid only to the extent that the group is representative of other samples. Also, the study only provides information on the nature of the characteristics being studied.


Dr. Karen Kain is the Pulmonary Education Specialist, Clinical Coordinator and Pulmonary Rehab Coordinator in the Respiratory Care department at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan. 


Tips for Winter Exercise
Follow these tips for a healthier cold weather work-out:
  • Avoid strenuous exercise in cold dry air, as cooling and drying of the bronchial airways may trigger an asthma attack.
  • Use your bronchodilator inhalers, such as albuterol, 20 minutes prior to exercise (as directed by your doctor).
  • Keep your inhalers warm in order to avoid a cold aerosol spray.
  • Be sure to "warm-up" and "cool-down" after strenuous exercise.
  • When exercising in cold air, wear a scarf or face-mask over the nose and mouth to warm the air you are breathing.  
kids playing music
Quick Links

Michigan Asthma Calendar 
10   Asthma 1-2-3 Facilitator Training, Michigan Public Health Institute, 2436 Woodlake Circle, Ste. 380, Okemos, 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. For more info: Patty Inman, 810.953.3951 

19    Not One More Life, FREE asthma screening, education & follow-up, Mt. Olive's Life Center, 1601 Fay St., Flint. For more info: Jan Roberts, 810.262.9591  
Please direct questions and comments about this newsletter to Tisa Vorce
Phone: 517.335.9463

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