Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements Part I

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the largest, most prestigious nurse certification organization in the world. It has certified more than two hundred and fifty thousand nurses since 1990. Currently, more than eighty thousand advanced practice nurses are certified by ANCC. An ANCC certification increases a practicing nurse’s prestige, knowledge base, and earning potential.

Eligibility requirements and test content outlines for certification exams currently offered by the ANCC begin below and will continue in subsequent articles. All exams featured require candidates to hold current, active registered nurse (RN) licenses in a United States state or territory or what is recognized as its equivalent in another country:

FOR NURSE PRACTITIONERS

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria before submitting your application:

You must hold a master’s degree or higher from an acute care nurse practitioner program accredited by the Commission on the Collegiate of Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). At least five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours must be included in your program of study. The program must include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology AND content in health promotion and disease prevention, as well as differential diagnosis and disease management.

The one hundred and fifty questions that your exam will be scored on can be broken down into the following five categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect candidates’ scores on future exams:

  1. The relationship between the nurse practitioner and patient: Twenty-one questions
  2. Assessment and diagnosis: Thirty-six questions
  3. Clinical management: Fifty-one questions
  4. Health care delivery: Twenty-one questions
  5. Professional responsibility: Twenty-one questions

Adult Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria before submitting your application:

You must hold a master’s degree or higher from an adult nurse practitioner program accredited by the CCNE or the NLNAC. The content requirements of this program are identical to those for the acute care nurse practitioner program described above.

The one hundred and fifty questions that your exam will be scored on can be broken down into the following five categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect candidates’ scores on future exams:

  1. Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice: Thirty-four questions
  2. The Adult Nurse Practitioner’s Professional Role: Twenty-one questions
  3. Health Care Policy and Delivery: Sixteen questions
  4. Health Assessment: Thirty-four questions
  5. Clinical Management: Forty-five questions

Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria before submitting your application:

You must hold a master’s degree or higher from an adult psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner program accredited by the CCNE or the NLNAC. The program must include at least five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours. It must also include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology, AND content in health promotion and disease prevention and differential diagnosis and disease management, AND clinical training in at least two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.

The one hundred and fifty questions that your exam will be scored on can be broken down into the following five categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect candidates’ scores on future exams:

  1. Foundations: Twenty-five questions
  2. Assessment and Analysis: Forty-eight questions
  3. Planning: Thirty-two questions
  4. Intervention: Thirty-one questions
  5. Professional Issues: Fourteen questions

Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements Part II

Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements Part IIYou must hold a master’s degree or higher from a family nurse practitioner program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours must be part of this program. The program must also include content in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, health promotion and disease prevention, and differential diagnosis and disease management.

The one hundred and fifty questions the exam is scored on are broken down into five categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice: Thirty-seven questions
  2. The FNP’s Professional Role: Twenty-three questions
  3. Health Care Policy and Delivery: Fifteen questions
  4. Clinical Assessment: Thirty questions
  5. Clinical Management: Forty-five questions

Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

You must hold a master’s degree or higher from a family psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner program accredited by the CCNE or NLNAC. Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours must be part of the program. The program must also include content in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology and advanced pathophysiology. It must include content across the life span in both health promotion and disease prevention and differential diagnosis and disease management. It must also include clinical training in two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into five categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Twenty-seven questions
  2. Assessment of Acute and Chronic Illness: Thirty-six questions
  3. Nurse Practitioner and Patient Relationship: Twenty-two questions
  4. Clinical Management: Forty questions
  5. Professional Role and Policy: Twenty-five questions

Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

You must hold a master’s degree or higher from a gerontological nurse practitioner program accredited by the CCNE or NLNAC. Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours must be included in the program. It must also include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology. It must also include content in health promotion and disease prevention, as well as differential diagnosis and disease management.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into three categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice: Fifty questions
  2. Clinical Assessment: Forty-six questions
  3. Clinical Management: Fifty-four questions

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

To qualify for this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

You must hold a master’s degree or higher from a pediatric nurse practitioner program accredited by the CCNC or NLNAC. Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours must be included in the program. The program must include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology. It must also include content in health promotion and disease prevention, as well as differential diagnosis and disease management

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into four categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Foundations of the PNP Practice: Forty-six questions
  2. Health Care Policy and Delivery: Sixteen questions
  3. Clinical Assessment: Forty-one questions
  4. Clinical Management: Forty-seven questions

Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements Part III

For Clinical Nurse Specialists

Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Exam

To take this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

Hold a master’s degree or higher from a clinical nurse specialist in adult health program accredited by the Commission on the Collegiate of Nursing Education (CCNE) or National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours in the CNS-Adult Health Nursing specialty must be included in the program. It must include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into four categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Direct Care: Fifty-eight questions
  2. Professional Practice: Twenty-five questions
  3. System Leadership: Nineteen questions
  4. Foundational Knowledge: Forty-eight questions

Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Exam

To take this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

Hold a master’s degree or higher from a clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health program accredited by the CCNE or NLNAC. Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours in the adult psychiatric and mental health CNS specialty must be included in the program. It must include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and clinical training in two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into three categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Direct Care: Eighty-eight questions
  2. Professional Practice: Forty-six questions
  3. Organizations and Systems: Sixteen questions

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Exam

To take this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

Hold a master’s degree or higher from a clinical nurse specialist in child and adolescent psychiatric and mental health program accredited by the CCNE or NLNAC. Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours in the child and adolescent psychiatric and mental health CNS role and specialty must be included in the program. It must include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and clinical training in at least two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into eight categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Mental Health Science: Twenty-one questions
  2. Advanced Practice Nursing: Sixty-one questions
  3. Organizations, Networks, and Health Systems: Nine questions
  4. Basic and Applied Science: Twenty-four questions
  5. Research Priorities in Nursing: Four questions
  6. Education: Nine questions
  7. Professional Attributes: Nineteen questions
  8. Community and Public Health: Three questions

Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Exam

To take this exam, you must meet the following criteria:

Hold a master’s degree or higher from a clinical nurse specialist in gerontology program accredited by the CCNE or NLNAC. Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours in the gerontological CNS role and specialty must be included in the program. It must include course work in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are broken down into seven categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Basic and Applied Science: Eight questions
  2. Theories of Aging and Theories Applicable to Age: Three questions
  3. Advanced Clinical Practice: Sixty-five questions
  4. Organizations, Networks, and Health Systems: Twenty-two questions
  5. Research: Nine questions
  6. Education: Eleven questions
  7. Professionalism: Thirty-two questions

Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements Part IV

Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Exam

You must meet these criteria to take this exam:

Hold a master’s degree or higher in a clinical nurse specialist pediatrics program or a program that provides coursework that addresses children’s unique physiological, psychological, and developmental needs from birth through age twenty-one that is accredited by the Commission on the Collegiate of Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).
Five hundred faculty supervised clinical hours in the Pediatric CNS role must be included in the program. It must include three separate courses in advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and advanced pathophysiology.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are in six categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Growth and Development Theories, Concepts, and Findings: Thirty-five questions
  2. Advanced Practice Nursing: Forty-nine questions
  3. Advanced Nursing Practice Environments: Nine questions
  4. Basic and Applied Science: Thirty-three questions
  5. Research: Eight questions
  6. Education and Health Teaching: Sixteen questions

OTHER SPECIALTY NURSING CERTIFICATIONS

Advanced Public Health Nursing Certification Exam

You must meet these criteria to take this exam:

If you have completed a graduate degree in public or community health nursing, the program must be accredited by CCNE or NLNAC. If you have completed a master’s degree in public health, you must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing. If you have completed a graduate degree in nursing or a related field (other than public or community health nursing) you must complete two thousand practice hours of advanced public and community health nursing within three years of taking the exam. This includes clinical teaching or supervision in an undergraduate or graduate level public or community health nursing program. If your graduate degree is not in nursing, then your bachelor’s degree must be in nursing.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are in ten categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Foundations of Advanced Public and Community Health Nursing: Twenty-six questions
  2. Theories and Concepts of Human Development: Six questions
  3. Theories and Concepts of Epidemiology and Biostatics: Fifteen questions
  4. Evaluation and Research: Eight questions
  5. Assessment of Public and Community Health: Sixteen questions
  6. Strategies to Improve Public and Community Health: Twenty-six questions
  7. Health Promotion, Disease Prevention, and Risk Reduction: Fifteen questions
  8. Education for Populations and Communities: Twelve questions
  9. Health Systems, Organizations, and Networks: Nineteen questions
  10. Leadership: Seven questions

Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification Exam

You must meet these criteria to take this exam:

  • You must have two years of full time experience or its equivalent as a registered nurse.
  • You must have two thousand hours of clinical practice in clinical vascular nursing within the past three years.
  • You must have thirty hours of continuing education in cardiac vascular nursing within the past three years.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are in seven categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Pathophysiology and Manifestation of Cardiac and Vascular Disease: Twenty-six questions
  2. Communication: Sixteen questions
  3. Provision of Care: Sixty-four questions
  4. Patient and Family or Caregiver Education: Sixteen questions
  5. Psychosocial Aspects of Cardiac and Vascular Disease: Eleven questions
  6. Leadership: Eight questions
  7. Legal and Ethical Issues: Ten questions

Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements Part V

Case Management Nursing Certification Exam

You must meet these criteria to take this exam:

  • You must have two years of full time experience or its equivalent as an RN.
  • You must have two thousand hours of clinical practice in clinical vascular nursing within the past three years.
  • You must have thirty hours of continuing education in case management within the past three years.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are in eight categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Clinical Practice: Thirty-eight questions
  2. Data Management: Fifteen questions
  3. Resource Management: Twenty-eight questions
  4. Processes of Quality Management: Eighteen questions
  5. Legal and Ethical Considerations: Fifteen questions
  6. Principles of Education: Twelve questions
  7. Tools of Case Management Practice: Sixteen questions
  8. Professional Development: Eight questions

Gerontological Nursing Certification Exam

You must meet these criteria to take this exam:

  • You need two years of full time experience as a registered nurse (RN) or its equivalent.
  • You must have two thousand hours of clinical practice in gerontological nursing within the past three years.
  • You must have thirty hours of continuing education in gerontological nursing within the past three years.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are in ten categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. Aging as it Relates to the Older Adult: Three questions
  2. Health Issues: Forty-five questions
  3. Communication: Thirteen questions
  4. Nursing Process: Twenty-four questions
  5. Lifestyle, Health Changes, and Vulnerability in the Older Adult: Twenty-five questions
  6. Education: Five questions
  7. Health Promotion and Wellness: Fifteen questions
  8. Management and Leadership: Eleven questions
  9. Legal and Ethical Issues: Seven questions
  10. Research: Two questions

Informatics Nursing Certification Exam

You must meet these criteria to take this exam:

  • You need two years of full time experience as an RN or its equivalent.
  • You need a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  • You must have completed thirty hours of continuing education in informatics within the past three years.
  • You must meet one of the following practice hour requirements: You must have practiced two thousand hours in informatics nursing within the past three years OR one thousand hours of informatics nursing practice within the last three years along with twelve semester hours of academic credit in informatics courses which are part of a graduate level informatics nursing program OR you need to have completed a graduate program in nursing informatics containing two hundred hours of faculty supervised practicum in informatics.

The one hundred and fifty questions your exam is scored on are in seven categories. An additional twenty-five questions will not affect your score because they are pretest questions being tested to see how they may affect scores on future exams:

  1. System Life Cycle: Forty-one questions
  2. Human Factors: Ten questions
  3. Information Technology: Thirty questions
  4. Information Management and Knowledge Generation: Twenty-seven questions
  5. Professional Practice, Trends, and Issues: Fifteen questions
  6. Models and Theories: Twelve questions
  7. Management and Leadership: Fifteen questions

In addition to the areas outlined above, the following specializations are also available for board certification by exam:

  • Ambulatory Care Nursing
  • Medical and Surgical Nursing
  • Nurse Executive
  • Nursing Professional Development
  • Pain Management Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

For more particulars about any of these exams, please visit the Web site of the American Nurses Credentialing Center at www.nursecredentialing.org