Why Become a Certified Pain Educator?

The American Society of Pain Educators (ASPE) is a professional nonprofit organization dedicated to improving pain management through the education and training of healthcare professionals to become Certified Pain Educators (CPEs).

As the only organization focusing on pain educator training, the Society teaches healthcare professionals to serve as resources to educate their clinical peers, as well as patients, families, and caregivers, on ways to relieve pain by the safest means possible.

ASPE members are the frontline practitioners when it comes to treating pain. They are ‘go to’ resources in their practices and organizations, imparting evidence-based guidelines, translating care plans, and monitoring for safety, efficacy, and adherence. They are charged with delivering better health outcomes.

Our vision is that every healthcare facility will one day have a Certified Pain Educator (CPE) on staff. This is an important goal considering the current state of pain management in the United States.

"The Certified Pain Educator credential conveys credibility—to individual patients, to healthcare systems, to payers, to society at large. In my own case, for example, it conveys that not only have I met the mark by being a licensed pharmacist, with competence affirmed by the Board of Pharmacy, but additionally I have shown that I’ve gone above and beyond the minimally competent pharmacist in the area of pain management."

-Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, FASPE, CPE

"When it comes to the value proposition of the American Society of Pain Educators for primary care practitioners, I consider the Certified Pain Educator credential to be sort of a driver’s license for managing pain in a primary care setting. I highly recommend it as something that frontline practitioners seek and obtain."

-Kevin L. Zacharoff, MD

What is a pain educator?

A pain educator is a healthcare professional who provides education about pain assessment, evaluation, and management through "curbside consults" within a clinical practice or via formal presentations and direct contact with other healthcare professionals and/or patients.

Pain educators practice in a wide range of healthcare settings (eg, medical and dental practices, hospitals, free standing surgical centers, rehabilitation services, hospice and palliative-care facilities, nursing homes, physical- and occupational-therapy practices, chiropractic offices, integrative medicine practices) and focus on transferring knowledge to and teaching others about pain. Specifically, CPEs:

  • Translate care plans; extend the amount of service being provided to patients
  • Orient patients to new medications; monitor for safety, efficacy compliance, and toxicity
  • Serve as in-house consultants for other healthcare providers

If you devote a substantial portion of your time to keeping your clinical peers informed about key pain-related advances and developments, you're serving as a pain educator, and the ASPE is your organization.

The ASPE provides information, education, resources, and activities designed to help you grow as a frontline pain practitioner and has created a path to recognize those who add to their education and demonstrate what they've learned.

Some ASPE members will choose to pursue a path to certification, the CPE credential; other members may not. In either case, the ASPE encourages all healthcare professionals who serve in this role to pursue life-long learning.

The CPE examination is open to all qualified candidates. Please not that the verification process for completed applications (containing all required documentation) may take up to 2 weeks.

Become a pain educator!

Certification eligibility

To take the CPE Examination, a candidate must be a current member of the ASPE and be able to furnish documentation* that the following eligibility criteria have been met:

Licensure—Applicant must hold a current license as a healthcare professional

Clinical/Professional Experience—Applicant must have at least two (2) years of full-time experience or four (4) years of half-time experience in a position in which at least 10% of the applicant's time is devoted to providing pain-related education to clinical peers and/or patients (eg, 400 hours of pain education experience). Note: Experience must have accrued within the last five (5) years.

Certified Continuing Education Activities—Applicant must have completed at least 30 hours (credits) of pain-related educational activities certified for Category 1 CME, CPE, CE, or other professional credit. Note: Credits must have been earned within the last five (5) years.

Multidisciplinary Membership—The ASPE reaches out to numerous healthcare disciplines. A major goal of the organization is to establish a dialogue on pain management among frontline practitioners: primary care physicians, addiction specialists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dermatologists, pharmacists, occupational and physical therapists, mental-health specialists, hospice and palliative care professionals, practitioners of integrative medicine, and other healthcare professionals who treat pain.

CPE training brings together the knowledge and best practices of these disciplines to give professionals the broadest possible education. Every practitioner will be eligible to receive the same credentialing, fostering an interdisciplinary peer approach to pain management.

Recognition and Awards—The ASPE seeks to recognize the contributions and commitment of its members through an Awards Program. Members earn points for participation in the ASPE and its events, activities, and studies such as "benefits of botox". There are two award levels, Distinguished Member (25 points) and Fellow (50 points).

Member Benefits
  • Access to the Certified Pain Educator (CPE) credential
  • Participation in ASPE Distinguished Member and Fellow program
  • Discounted registration fee for the annual PAINWeek® conference
  • Access to sessions presented at past and present PAINWeek® conferences
  • Print subscription to Painview, the official newsletter of the ASPE
  • Personal paineducators.org e-mail address
  • Custom ASPE business cards (for a nominal cost)
  • Negotiated member discounts on travel, entertainment, and more

*The type of documentation required is described in the Candidate Handbook and on the Application Form. Both are available online.

Corporate Members


Purdue Pharma L.P.

Cooperating Organizations

Pain Treatment Topics


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Subscribe to ASPE eAlerts for notification on events & news.
ASPE members are the "go to” resources in their practices and organizations
Gain recognition for your knowledge, experience, & expertise as a pain educator. The CPE exam is administered year round and open to all qualified candidates

New CPEs

Noha Aldossary, PhD, CPE
Todd Woodard, PharmD, CPE