Initial ACCNS-AG Certification

Obtaining ACCNS-AG certification demonstrates you have mastered certain skills, knowledge and abilities that distinguish you as an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist.

Once you have reviewed the information below and are ready to sit for the ACCNS-AG exam, we recommend you submit your application online.

ACCNS-AG Exam Information

The Certification Exam Policy Handbook provides detailed testing and policy information. The ACCNS-AG Exam Handbook includes exam-specific information, including the application/honor statement and test plan.

Exam Content

  • The ACCNS-AG exam is a 3.5-hour test consisting of 175 multiple-choice items.
    • Of the 175 items, 150 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.
  • The ACCNS-AG exam focuses on the adult-gerontology patient population (young adults, older adults and frail elderly), covering the spectrum of wellness through acute care.  
  • Each question on the ACCNS-AG exam assesses one of the nurse characteristics identified in the Synergy Model.
    • The 2011 AACN Certification Corporation Study of Practice included Synergy Validated CNS Competencies.
    • Within the domain of Clinical Judgment, body systems is used as a second dimension of exam development.

Exam Eligibility Requirements

  • Current unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN in the U.S. is required.
    • An unencumbered license is not currently being subjected to formal discipline by any board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse's practice in any way.
    • Candidates and ACCNS-AG-certified nurses must notify AACN Certification Corporation within 30 days if any restriction is placed on their RN or APRN license.
  • Completion of a graduate advanced practice education program meeting the following requirements:
    • The education program is offered by an accredited college or university that offers a CCNE or ACEN accredited graduate degree in nursing with a concentration as an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist covering the spectrum of wellness through acute care. 
    • The program has demonstrated compliance with the Criteria for Evaluation of CNS Graduate Educational Programs.
    • Both direct and indirect clinical supervision must be congruent with current AACN and nursing accreditation guidelines.
    • The curriculum includes, but is not limited to:
      • Biological, behavioral, medical and nursing sciences relevant to practice as an adult-gerontology CNS including advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology and physical assessment.
      • Supervised clinical practice relevant to the specialty.
      • Legal, ethical and professional responsibilities of the CNS.
    • The curriculum meets the following criteria:
      • Curriculum is consistent with competencies of adult-gerontology CNS practice.
      • Five hundred (500) supervised clinical hours in all roles of the adult-gerontology CNS within the graduate program.
        • All clinical hours must be focused on the care of adult-gerontology patients. A portion of the total clinical hours must be focused on wellness and a portion on acute care, in the adult-gerontology patient population (young adults, older adults and frail elderly).
      • Supervised clinical experience is directly related to the knowledge and all role components of the adult-gerontology CNS.
  • Those making up clinical or didactic coursework to meet ACCNS-AG exam eligibility must complete all make-up courses in a postmaster’s certificate or DNP program. 
  • Applicants determined to be ineligible for the ACCNS-AG exam will have their application fee refunded.

Exam Fees

ACCNS-AG Exam  
AACN Members $245
Nonmembers $350
ACCNS-AG Retest  
AACN Members $200
Nonmembers $305

Payable in U.S. Funds. Fees are subject to change without notice.