Frequently Asked Questions About ACNPC Certification

What is ACNPC certification? 

ACNPC is the credential that was awarded to adult acute care nurse practitioners certified through AACN Certification Corporation.  

How does the APRN Consensus Model impact the ACNPC certification program? 

The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education, which went into effect in 2015, impacts certification options for Acute Care NPs.  

The ACNPC is no longer available for initial exam but remains as a renewal exam. The Consensus Model-based ACNPC-AG exam is available for those educated as Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NPs. 

For more information, refer to Frequently Asked Questions about the Consensus Model for NPs available on the Practicing APRN Resources page.

Why did AACN develop an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certification exam? 

From 1995 to 2001, the national adult ACNP certification program was offered as a joint venture between AACN Certification Corporation and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  

In September 2001, largely due to differences in our respective organizations’ visions for the future of certification, we allowed ANCC to buy our share of the program and entered into a specified period of non-competition, as a stipulation of our dissolution contract. 

Using the agreed upon non-compete period, AACN spoke extensively with our ACNP constituents to ensure that their needs were fully understood and the Corporation was prepared to meet them. A national job analysis of currently practicing ACNPs was also conducted to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for certification as an ACNP. 

In 2007, AACN Certification Corporation launched an adult ACNP certification exam, aligned with our mission to provide comprehensive credentialing for nurses to ensure their practice is consistent with established standards of excellence in caring for acutely ill patients and their families.  

In 2013, AACN Certification Corporation launched a Consensus Model-based adult-gerontology ACNP certification exam. 

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What are the ACNPC renewal requirements?

ACNPC certification is recognized for a period of 5 years. Renewing candidates may complete one of the following renewal options.

  • Option 1 - Practice Hours and CE Points
  • Option 2 - Practice Hours and Exam
  • Option 3 - CE Points and Exam

For complete information about the ACNPC renewal requirements, please refer to the ACNPC Renewal Handbook.  

How many items are on the ACNPC renewal exam?

The 2-hour ACNPC renewal exam consists of 100 multiple-choice items. 

Where can I obtain a copy of the test plan for the ACNPC renewal exam? 

The test plan for the ACNPC renewal exam is available in the ACNPC Renewal Handbook

What does “board certified” mean? Are AACN certifications considered board certifications? 

Board certified is a term primarily used by physician organizations. Only 3 of the 34 national nursing certifying organizations that are members of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) label their credentials/programs in this way. While an organization may use the term board certified when referring to their nursing certification programs, it does not reflect a different or higher level of certification.

Board certified in the nursing world simply refers to certification from a nationally-accredited organization that is governed by a board of directors. As such, AACN certification programs are, indeed, board certified.  

What is ACNPC Certification by Endorsement?

ACNPC Certification by Endorsement is for currently certified ACNPs who wish to obtain AACN’s adult acute care nurse practitioner certification. Candidates must meet the ACNPC renewal requirements (practice hour and continuing education) in the 5 years of practice prior to application.  

How can I obtain a copy of the ACNP Scope and Standards? 

The Scope and Standards of Practice for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Practice, published by AACN, is available for free on the AACN website.  

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