General Information Regarding Certification

Certification is a process by which a nongovernmental agency validates, based upon predetermined standards, an individual nurse's qualification and knowledge for practice in a defined functional or clinical area of nursing.

Certification validates your knowledge of nursing in your specialty area to hospitals, peers, patients and, most importantly, to yourself. Certification promotes continuing excellence in the nursing profession.

Exam and Renewal Eligibility Outside the U.S.

Eligible candidates for AACN Certification Corporation exams or certification renewal must hold a current, unencumbered RN or APRN license within the U.S. This applies to all RN and APRN licenses currently held.

Eligible practice hours for exam and renewal are those completed in U.S.-based facilities or in facilities determined to be comparable to the U.S. standards of acute, progressive and critical care nursing practice, as evidenced by Magnet Status or Joint Commission International accreditation

  • Practice hours completed in Canada-based facilities are acceptable for CCRN, CCRN-K, PCCN, PCCN-K, CMC and CSC exam and renewal eligibility. 
  • Eligible practice hours for ACNPC, CCNS, ACNPC-AG, ACCNS-AG, ACCNS-P and ACCNS-N renewal are those completed in the U.S. CNSs and NPs practicing outside the U.S. should contact AACN at regarding eligible practice hours.  


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