CCNS — Certification for Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialists

CCNS® is an entry-level advanced practice certification launched in 1999 for nurses educated at the graduate level as clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) providing care to acutely and/or critically ill adult, pediatric or neonatal patients and their families.

The CCNS certification program meets the NCSBN Criteria for APRN Certification Programs.

The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education (LACE), which goes into effect in 2015, impacts certification options for CNSs. 

Because the CCNS certification exam is not Consensus Model-based, it will not be offered as an initial exam option when the Consensus Model is in effect.

Candidates eligible for the CCNS initial exam must submit their application for the exam by December 31, 2014

Those who hold CCNS certification will be able to renew into the future. To learn more, visit the APRN Resources page.

New Candidates

Current Certificants


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