CCNS Renewal Options and Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements for Renewal

  • Current unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN in the United States is required. 
  • The name and address of your clinical director or a professional associate (RN or physician) who can verify that you have met the practice hour requirements must be given.
  • Complete one of the following renewal options:
    • Option 1 — Practice Hours and CE Points 
    • Option 2 — Practice Hours, Renewal Exam and Pharmacology CE*
    • Option 3 — CE Points and Renewal Exam

*Effective with January 1, 2016 renewal dates and beyond, all nurses renewing CCNS certification must complete twenty-five (25) Pharmacology CE.

The CE Points program includes programs granting contact hours or CE, as well as optional activities, such as publications, presentations, preceptorship and volunteer activities.

Eligible practice hours for CCNS renewal include active involvement in the care of acutely and/or critically ill patients within the U.S. in all roles of the clinical nurse specialist for a minimum number of hours during the most recent certification period. Hours must be in care of the same patient population (adult, pediatric or neonatal) in which certification is held. CNSs practicing outside the U.S. should contact AACN at regarding eligible practice hours.

For complete information about the CCNS renewal program, please refer to the CCNS Renewal Handbook.

AACN Certification Corporation may adopt additional eligibility requirements at its sole discretion. Any such requirements will be designed to establish, for the purposes of CCNS certification, the adequacy of a candidate's knowledge and experience in caring for the acutely and critically ill. 

View the CCNS Renewal Policy.

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