Chicago, Ill. (March 16, 2023) – The National Headache Foundation (NHF) announced today a record number of applicants who finished taking the exam seeking its Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine (AQH) from March 1-14.

Tom Dabertin, NHF executive director/CEO, said AQH candidates included 40 migraine and headache practitioners (11 physicians – M.D. and D.O. — 20 registered nurses or nurse practitioners, and nine physician assistants) from 26 states. States fielding the most applicants included Illinois and New York, four each, and New Jersey and Texas, three each.

Each candidate had to provide documentation of the following criteria regarding license, continuing education, and experience:

  • License-The candidate’s license must be in good standing.
  • Continuing Education-Completion of at least 20 hours, over the last year, of continuing education focusing on headache medicine.
  • Experience-Meet one of the following options:
    • At least one or more years of experience at a headache clinic or Headache Center of Excellence (HCoE), subject to review by NHF’s AQH Oversight Committee, or
    • At least three years of experience managing headache medicine in other clinical settings, or
    • A professional who has completed an accredited Neurology residency (MD or DO), or
    • A professional who has successfully completed a headache fellowship, as approved by the NHF’s AQH Oversight Committee.


Eligible healthcare providers can register for the Fall AQH exams, which will be held September 1-15, 2023. One must register by August 25, 2023, to quality to take the online test. More information is at

Dabertin said health providers earning the AQH certification secure multiple benefits. “They report greater competency in working with migraine and headache patients, and they have also had an uptick in patient referrals and recognition of skills when dealing with managed care and government agencies,” he said.

In 2012, the NHF Board recognized the growing number of allied health care practitioners, along with primary care physicians, who had gained experience in the diagnosis and treatment of headache. A competency examination was then developed for eligible candidates. The goals of the AQH are to establish the standards for headache practice and to help those with migraine disease and headache disorders in locating clinicians who can provide optimal headache-related health care.