General Rules and Regulations

Click Here for Printer-Friendly Version (HOSA Handbook Section B)
1.  HOSA members with disabilities, and non-English speaking competitors, will be reasonably accommodated in the National Competitive Events Program through event modification as a means of providing them an equal competitive opportunity.  Such members may be allowed to provide and utilize their own special equipment that HOSA may not be able to provide.  Requests for reasonable accommodation must be indicated on the HOSA International Leadership Conference registration form or Student Eligibility form in Special Needs events, must be submitted to National HOSA by the May 15 deadline, and must have been provided at the state level.
Cell Phones/Smart Devices
2.  CELL PHONE AND SMART DEVICE POLICY - Competitors may not use cell phones or smart devices/watches during HOSA competition unless the guidelines indicate they may be used for electronic notecards.  Competitors may use cell phones or smart devices/watches to access electronic event guidelines used during the event orientation.  Competitors will be asked to place their cell phone or smart devices/watches in the OFF position (or with the battery removed) in plain sight of the Section Leaders, during a written test, or secured with their personal belongings during a non-testing event.  The cell phone or smart device/watches may not make any noise or vibrate during the event.  The competitor may not touch the phone or device/watch during the event.  Cell phones or smart devices/watches may be used in holding rooms and on event buses as long as the use of the cell phone does not violate event confidentiality and ethical standards.  Violation of any part of the cell phone policy will result in the assessment of penalty points.  Judge and event personnel cell phones and smart devices/watches should be on silent or airplane mode during the competitive events, and may be used as a timer.
Eligibility for National Participation
3.  HOSA’s affiliated state associations offer the National HOSA Competitive Events Program at the Regional, Area and/or State levels, according to the approved National Competitive Events Guidelines (as released annually in August).  It is recommended that state associations plan and conduct the Annual State Conference in sufficient time to meet the International Conference registration deadline of May 15.  (Note: The International HOSA Conference is held in June each year.)
4.  States may submit a maximum of three (3) competitors/teams per event per division, with the exception of Recognition events as noted in Rule #10 of these General Rules and Regulations.  If ties or event challenges result at the state level, states must implement a process to determine which three (3) competitor/teams per division may register for the international conference.
5.  To be eligible for international competition, a delegate must be a member of National HOSA, registered on a chapter roster, no later than January 1 if the member is enrolled in the Fall semester; Spring enrollees must be affiliated by March 1 or within thirty (30) days of the beginning of a program initiated during the Spring semester.

  • States determine and publish specific state competition eligibility deadlines.
  • All participants must adhere to the eligibility requirements as specified in the individual Competitive Event Guidelines.
  • Members are not eligible for international competition if they are not affiliated with the national organization prior to their respective State Leadership Conferences

6.  Competitive event participants must be registered for International Leadership Conference with National HOSA by May 15.  Registered participants may be dropped or another eligible student may be substituted until the state advisor has completed registering the state with competitive events at the International Conference.   All state participants are officially entered when the HOSA advisor (or his/her designee) verifies the international registration.
7.  Individual and team participants must have competed in the same competitive event at the state level for which they are entered at the international level.  The competition must have taken place in the school year immediately preceding the HOSA International Leadership Conference.  (Substitutes on a team are not required to have competed in the event at the state level.)
8.  HOSA members may enter only one competitive event in international competition.  In addition, competitors may participate in as many Recognition Category Events as they wish.
9.  EVENT STATUS -  Skill events must have a minimum of three (3) states and nine (9) total competitors (Secondary and Postsecondary/Collegiate) in order to have the skills procedures implemented at the international level the following year.  Events not meeting this criteria will have a written test only.  This written test will include clinical written application or scenarios. For the Middle School division, all events must have a minimum of three (3) states and three (3) total competitors in order to have the event implemented at the international level the following year.  The event status will be evaluated annually.
10.  In Recognition events, each state association may register the following number of competitors:

  • HOSA Chapter Reflection:  All state Chapter Reflection earners.
  • Healthcare Issues Exam:  25% of the ILC student delegates from the previous year.
  • National Service Project:  One per chapter
  • Barbara James Service Award:  Unlimited
  • HOSA Happening:  One per chapter
  • Outstanding State Leader:  One per state
  • MRC Volunteer Recognition:  Unlimited

11.  All international competitors must be active members of HOSA in good standing as established by local, state and national organizations.  In good standing means that they must have a minimum of five (5) members in their chapter, an advisor, and their affiliation fees paid in full.
12.  FAILURE TO BRING EQUIPMENT – Competitors who fail to bring the required material/equipment as specified in the Competitive Events guidelines for any skill/procedure used in any event will be allowed to compete but will not earn points for all or part of the procedure(s) that require the missing material/equipment.
13.  EQUIPMENT FAILURE – It is the competitor’s responsibility to assure that the equipment they bring to the event and use as a part of the event is in good working order.  Equipment failure (when the equipment provided by the competitor) may result in an inability to judge all or part of an event that involves the use of equipment.  This includes battery-operated laptops.
14. PODIUM – When a podium is provided during an event, the use of the podium by the competitor(s) is optional.
15.  Appointment times are used in many HOSA events to avoid detaining competitors in holding rooms for long periods of time.  Professional ethics demand that competitors DO NOT discuss or reveal the secret topic or scenario for ANY event until after the event has concluded.
16.ETHICS AND INTEGRITY – As future healthcare professionals, HOSA members are held to a higher standard in regard to their ethical behavior as competitors. HOSA members should follow the national rules and act with honor at all times.  Plagiarism, copyright violation and falsification of information is prohibited  Any attempt to lie, cheat, or gain an unfair advantage will not be tolerated.  Competitors may be disqualified for violation of the ethics rule.
17.CODE OF CONDUCT – Any competitor who violates the HOSA Code of Conduct during the course of the International Leadership Conference may forfeit any award won during the conference. 
Event Content
18.  INDEPENDENT WORK – Except for team events, competitors must work independently, without assistance from judges, teachers, fellow students or observers.  Participants may be disqualified for receiving assistance.
19.  CONTENT SELECTION – Competitors should use good judgment and discretion when planning event content.  Procedures, demonstrations, displays or speeches with content that could be interpreted as insensitive, invasive, or of a highly personal nature should be avoided.
20.  CHANGING EVENT CONTENT – When advancing from one level of competition to the next (such as from state to international competitive events), except where expressly prohibited, competitors are allowed to change/improve their speech, notebook, scrapbook, portfolio, or any other event products as a part of the competitive event.
21.  NOTEBOOK PAGE CLARIFICATION – When a section of a notebook or portfolio indicates a range of pages, if a competitor uses fewer than the maximum number of pages, he/she CANNOT add pages in another secton.
22.  MATERIAL SUBMISSION - All copies and materials submitted at the International Leadership Conference as part of the HOSA Competitive Events program become property of National HOSA. Submission of materials implies consent for National HOSA and/or affiliated partners, with HOSA's permission, to publish materials in newsletters, websites, blog posts, social media etc. as deemed appropriate to help market and promote HOSA and/or its partners.
23.  RATING SHEETS AND TEST SCORES – Participant rating sheets or test scores for any event will NOT be returned to the competitor.
24.  CONSENSUS POLICY – After individually rating competitors, Judges MAY compare ratings before turning in the rating forms.  If the point spread is greater than 10 points, Judges MAY discuss why they rated the way they did and MAY choose to adjust their score, if needed.
25.  COMMUNICATION RULE – It is the competitor’s responsibility to communicate fully and effectively with judges.  In spelling events, this may include verbalizing capitalization, separate words, and punctuation.  For skill events, this may include “thinking out loud” so that judges are clear on why the competitors are doing what they are doing.
26.  JUDGE GIFTS – The distribution of event samples, materials or thank you notes to judges, other than those materials specified in the event guidelines for judges to review, is NOT permitted.
Divisions of Competition
27.  DEFINITION OF DIVISIONS-The official definition for middle school, secondary and postsecondary/collegiate members of HOSA, for the purposes of Competitive Events registration and participation, is:

  • Middle School – A middle school student is one who: a) is enrolled in a state-approved health science program or is planning to pursue a career in the health professions; and b) has not been promoted to a secondary institution (grades 9-12) prior to the state’s annual conference.  He/she must be in grades 6-8.
  • Secondary – The Secondary Division shall be composed of secondary students at the junior high (9th grade) or high school level (9th-12th).
  • Postsecondary/Collegiate – The Postsecondary/Collegiate Division shall be composed of undergraduate students who (a) are enrolled in a state-approved postsecondary program at the community college level or college level program; (b) have received a high-school diploma (or its equivalent) or (c) have been out of the continuous, sequential educational system prior to the current enrollment for two or more years prior to the current year’s HOSA International Leadership Conference and/or enrolled in a health career program in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree.

28.  SECTIONS – Separate sections of each event shall be conducted for middle school, secondary and postsecondary/collegiate unless stated otherwise.  (For HOSA Happenings and Extemporaneous Health Poster– Middle School, Secondary and Postsecondary/Collegiate may be combined.)  Competitors/teams may have the same section number or may demonstrate their skills for the same judges, but the divisions will not compete against each other.  Individual and team competitor numbers will be randomly assigned by the computer.
29.  TOPICS – Secret topics, tests, and event procedures will be the same for all levels (MS, SS and PSC) in the same event, unless otherwise noted.
Point Deductions
30.  EVENT TIME – All competitors must be at their competitive event at the designated time and place.   The competitor’s failure to report to the competition area within five (5) minutes of the appointed time may result in the assessment of ten (10) penalty points.  For possible special circumstances, prior arrangements must be made by the State Advisor through HOSA Management.
31.  FAILURE TO ATTEND THE EVENT ORIENTATION may result in the loss of ten (10) points.  Registered participants must attend the scheduled orientation session at the International Leadership Conference for the event in which they are competing.  Check guidelines for events allowing a proxy.  A proxy may be an advisor or student who is qualified to communicate to the competitor the information shared at this orientation.  A completed proxy form is required.  At least one (1) team member must attend the orientation for team events.  When a team member is representing others on a team, he/she must bring a completed proxy form.  All competitors must be present at the orientation for those events in which the orientation includes a Round One or other event component.
32. EVENT GUIDELINES AT ORIENTATION  – Event personnel often refer to the event guidelines during the event orientation, and for that reason, competitors are required to bring a print or electronic copy of the guidelines (at least one copy per team) to the event orientation.  Failure to bring the guidelines to the event orientation will result in a five (5) point penalty.  Competitors are not required to bring their guidelines to any activity beyond their event orientation.
33.  OFFICIAL USE – If the official book, notebook, binder or portfolio specified in the event guidelines is not used, there will be a five (5) point deduction.  (Unless bonus points are available for using the official notebook or portfolio, in which case the bonus points should be withheld and no other penalty assessed.)
34.  PENALTY POINTS – If judges feel there is a rule infraction that is not addressed in the written guidelines or processes, they may assess penalty points after consultation with HOSA CE Management.  If the competitor is stopped at the time limit for any event, there is no additional penalty.  If the rating sheet awards points for following the guidelines, then points should be withheld for failure to follow the guidelines.
35.  NUMBER OF SECTIONS – The National Competitive Events Management Team will determine whether (and how many) sections will be scheduled for each Competitive Event at the International HOSA Conference according to the number of registered participants.
36.  FAIRNESS BETWEEN SECTIONS – A mathematical formula will be used for multiple sections in selected events.  The computer adjusts the judges scores to account for judging differences, such that all sections are considered to be mathematically equal.  Such a process provides a statistically fair method for evaluating students in multiple sections with multiple sets of judges.
Skill Events
37.  SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT – The National Competitive Events Management Team will determine which skills are to be performed for skill events, based upon criteria which include space arrangements and condition of available sites, availability of equipment and similar factors pertaining to operation of these events in a particular year.
38.  POINTS AND TIME WITH COMBINED SKILLS – When multiple skills are used and steps in skills are duplicated on the rating sheet but not in practice, points will be awarded one time only.  In such cases, the amount of time allowed for the total skill may be adjusted by the Competitive Events Program staff.  Competitors would be notified of total time allowed via the written scenario.  For example, in CPR/First Aid – If a victim has a burn and fracture, the competitor would only call 911 one time and would only receive points for that step one time.
39.  SKILL EVENT SCENARIOS – Events that require the performance of a health related skill use a written scenario to give information to the competitor about the setting and skill to be performed.  The timing of the skill performance begins when the competitor (team) is given the scenario.  Competitors must read quickly and begin the skill performance promptly.  Competitors may keep the written copy of the scenario as a reference as needed during the performance of the judged skill.  For special needs events that use a scenario (Life Support Skills and Personal Care), the scenario will be read out loud to all competitors.
40.  OFF-SITE EVENTS – Due to the distance between the hotels and skill event sites in some skill events, competitors should be prepared for an extended stay.  It is strongly suggested that competitors bring recreational materials.  Food and/or snacks may be available for purchase at the sites if at all possible.  Just in case, the competitor should be prepared.
41.  HIGHEST LEVEL OF TRAINING – Competitors should compete in skill events at the highest level of training.  An example would be students enrolled in Emergency Medical Technician course should compete in the Emergency Medical Technician event and not in the CPR/First Aid event.
42.  HIGHEST STANDARD OF CARE – In the performance of a skill scenario, competitors are required to follow the highest standard of care when treating victims/patients.  Competitors should follow the steps on the rating sheets unless the highest standard of care required differs from the steps on the rating sheet.  Judges will know when the treatment of victims/ patients differs slightly from the rating sheet and when the competitors provide medically acceptable care, and will award points accordingly.
43.  MERCURY EXCLUSION – HOSA does not use thermometers, sphygmomanometers, or any other equipment that contains mercury.
44.  Study materials may be used in holding rooms, at the event site, and on event buses to skill sites, but may not be used during competition.
45.  SUBSTITUTIONS – A team event must include at least 25% of the members who were members of the winning team at the state level. Other “qualified” student members may be substituted or added in the remaining team positions so that the number of team members is consistent with the rules for that event.  (Qualified is defined as any active HOSA member, and may include members from other chapters.)
46.  MINIMUM TEAM MEMBERS – Teams may not compete with less than the minimum number of team members.
47. LATE TO TEST  – For all written tests, a competitor who is late to the orientation/event will be allowed to take the test.  The competitor will stop when all other test-takers are stopped and will not receive the full time for taking the test.
48. HIGHER ORDERED THINKING - Written test will measure knowledge and understanding at the recall, application or analysis levels.  Higher-order thinking skills will be incorporated as appropriate.
49.  USE OF CALCULATORS – Competitors may NOT use calculators when taking any written test, unless permitted in the individual event guidelines.
50.  TEST SECURITY – Tests and word lists for HOSA competitive events are developed from the National HOSA secure bank for the event.  At all levels, HOSA tests are the property of National HOSA and should never be taken, copied, or shared with HOSA members or chapter advisors.  HOSA tests are provided exclusively for use in state approved competitive events and at the international level.
51.  TEST PLAN AND RESOURCES – The test plan and list of resources in the guidelines are designed to help the competitor prepare for the test.  States have the option of using the previous year’s International tests for State competition, and the previous year’s state tests for Regional/Area events. For that reason, tests at the State and Regional/Area will reflect the test plan and/or resources from the previous year’s guidelines.  When a resource lists “latest edition”, this is the latest edition available as of the initial writing of the guidelines in August.  Any edition released August or later will be used in the following year’s resource list.  After the initial release, only editorial changes will be made to guidelines, unless there is an error that would affect the outcome of the event or how competitors prepare. In this case, updated guidelines are posted online with a note to membership explaining any changes.
52.  NEW TESTING EVENTS – For any new event that requires a 100-question test, the regional and state tests will be 50 items for the first year. In the second year of this new event with a 100-question test, the regional/area test may still be 50 items, per rule #51 above. The state test in the second year will be 100 items.  
53.  PENCILS – For all written tests it is the responsibility of the competitor to bring pencils to the event.  Mechanical pencils are discouraged for use on scantrons.
Dress Code
54. Competitors shall wear proper business attire, official HOSA uniform or attire appropriate to the occupational area, during the orientation, written test and skill(s)– jeans and shorts are not acceptable. For all competitive events, five (5) bonus points will be added once per competitor and/or team to the tally sheet for appropriate dress.  In team events, all team members must be properly dressed to receive the bonus points.  Exceptions are as noted in the event guidelines.
55.  INQUIRY PROCESS – A process is established to provide an opportunity for an individual competitive event participant to submit constructive inquiries and recommendations to the Competitive Events Management Team at the International Leadership Conference via completion of a “Competitive Event Inquiry Form.”  This completed form must be signed by the student and the State HOSA Advisor and turned in to Competitive Events Headquarters within two (2) hours after the competitive event concludes (see Appendix B).
56.  PERSONAL ARTICLES – Competitors will be asked to place personal articles (purses, bags) under their chair during a test or an event.  They may not obtain anything from their personal article until the test/event is complete.  Event personnel will NOT collect or hold competitors’ personal articles during an event.
57.   INTRODUCTIONS – For events with judges, competitors (teams) will be introduced to the judges by the Section Leader.  At the ILC, for individual events, competitors are usually introduced by name and ID number.  For team events, teams are usually introduced by school and ID number.
58.  OBSERVERS – There will be no observers in any of the events at the ILC except for the semi-finals and finals of HOSA bowl.
59.  EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES – It is the intention of HOSA to fairly and consistently enforce all rules and event guidelines.  On rare occasions when circumstances are beyond the control of the competitor, such as a canceled flight, a rule can be appealed to the Competitive Events Leadership Team.