Come see what's new on our redesigned AACN Website AACN Website

Initial Eligibility Requirements & Fees

A current, unencumbered U.S. RN or APRN license is required. 

An unencumbered license is not currently being subjected to formal discipline by any state board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse’s practice in any way. This applies to all RN and APRN licenses currently held.

Candidates must meet the following practice requirement. 

Practice as an RN or APRN for 1,040 hours during the previous two years, with 260 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application. Practice hours for CCRN-K are those in which you apply knowledge in a way that influences patients, nurses and/or organizations to have a positive impact on acutely/critically ill adult patients and families.

Eligible Practice Hours:
  • • Must be completed in a U.S.-based or Canada-based facility or in a facility determined to be comparable to the U.S. standard of acute/critical care nursing practice.
  • • May be a combination of role practice and direct care. Nurses who exclusively or primarily provide direct patient care are not eligible for CCRN-K; CCRN is the appropriate credential for direct patient care. The majority of practice hours for exam eligibility must be focused on critically ill patients.
  • • Are verifiable by your clinical supervisor or professional colleague (RN or physician). Contact information must be provided for verification of eligibility related to practice hours, to be used if you are selected for audit.
  • • Nurses eligible for CCRN-K certification may work in the following roles; academic faculty, case manager, clinical director, clinical or patient educator, manager/supervisor, nursing administrator or transitional care coordinator. This is not an all-inclusive list, and not all nurses working in these roles are eligible for CCRN-K.
  • • For complete eligibility requirements, refer to the CCRN-K Exam Handbook.

AACN Members





How to Prepare

CCRN-K (Adult) Exam Resources


Validate that you meet eligibility requirements detailed in the CCRN-K Exam Handbook and apply now.


Is your renewal date approaching? Be prepared – explore CCRN-K renewal options.